Motorola’s not-exactly-secret Moto X smartphone, the first developed entirely under Google’s ownership was unveiled overnight.
It’s tough to stand out in the very busy Android market, and I’m not entirely sure that Motorola’s mid-range Moto X is genuinely going to stand out enough.
Motorola’s last run of Android devices, the RAZR HD and RAZR M were top notch devices; the RAZR M still sits as my favourite 4G-capable “small” Android handset, a market that I still feel is horribly under-represented. The Moto X is different, and it shows most clearly in the fact that this could well be a Nexus device in all but name, given that it’s running mostly stock Android rather than the Blur-based skins we’ve seen out of Motorola in the past.
The big differentiators for the X appear to be in customisable back covers. Colours and styles are things that other phone makers have dabbled with in the past, but are they really enough to sell a new smartphone?
The battery life claim for the Moto X is an interesting one. Underneath your choice of those custom colours lies a 2200mAh battery, but Motorola’s claim is that this should be enough for a full 24 hours of active work. That’ll be fascinating to put to the test; if Motorola’s really cracked getting good battery life out of a full-featured phone it could be onto something very special.
Voice control is the other key selling point for the Moto X, with the option for what’s called “Touchless Control”. Let’s just say that my own experiences with spoken word commands, be they on Android, iOS or Windows Phone have left a lot to be desired, and in any case, there’s a certain social aspect to spoken controls that’s always bugged me. Yes, it’s all very Sci-Fi to talk to your computer, but who’s going to want to say “OK, Google Now, when is my appointment at the VD clinic?” out loud? Not many, I’ll wager.
There’s no word as yet on Australian availability of the Moto X, although it’s fair to assume that as long as the frequencies line up, one or more of the direct importers will offer it at some stage, albeit probably without the fancy customisation options, because that would involve importing a truly ludicrous number of different phone models on the off-chance they’d sell. As always, don’t be fooled by the $US199 price point, either — that’s the upfront cost of the phone when you sign up to a two-year plan, as is common on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
As mentioned, I thought the previous generation of Motorola Androids were genuinely great phones. I’m less enthused overall about the Moto X, at least on first glance.