Ever since Google – the makers of Android, acquired Motorola Mobility, there’s been speculation surrounding the lineup of products likely to come out of the phone maker following its new ownership.
With devices like the Motorola RAZRi and RAZR HD now out in the wild, the pipeline is finally clear for new hardware with a stronger Google flavour to take shape, with the first Google / Motorola device being the long-rumoured Motorola Moto X.
There’s been to-ing and fro-ing with regards to the hardware this new handset will offer but certain key pieces of internal tech continue surface. The brain of the outfit is expected to be a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor paired to 2GB of RAM, ensuring that all the latest apps and 3D games run buttery smooth. Suffice to say, it’ll offer a super fluid user experience when paired with stock Android – hopefully version 5.0, Key Lime Pie.
Rumblings from mobilephones.org.uk throw the amount of memory into question with the possibility of users being able to pick a more affordable version of the Moto X with a single gigabyte over the 2GB model if they prefer, but this claim feels shaky. Storage wise, users will also have 16GB of inbuilt memory to play with.
On the imaging front, the Moto X is expected to feature a 10-megapixel (or thereabouts) camera with all of the additional shooting modes that graced previous releases of Android in tow – like Panorama and Photo Sphere.
Perhaps in the pursuit of conserving battery life and keeping costs down, the screen tech in play isn’t expected to offer up Full HD resolution like some of the other flagship devices currently on the market, instead serving up a 720p HD display between 4.3 and 4.7-inches, keeping the pixel density nice and high.
Update: The Verge has offered up a report of the specs of the handset ahead of its official debut. According to the site, the Moto X will include a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor clocked at 1.7Ghz, along with 2GB of RAM, and a 4.5-inch 720p display. The publication goes on to say that that the Moto X will include a “near stock” version of Android 4.2.2, and that the potentially controversial “Open Mic” feature is disabled by default.
Twitter tipster @evleaks has given us a great look at the phone too thanks to a leaked press render.
Hands free and ears open
The arrival of the Moto X is likely on track to take place alongside the reveal of a new version of Android, which means new features and services from Google. Canadian telecoms company Rogers has produced a video showcasing the Moto X and a number of the software features it’ll offer users.
The video itself has disappeared from Rogers directly, as it clearly went live prematurely, but thankfully YouTubers have been able to re-upload the video that you see below.
According to the leaked footage, the Moto X will use a Google Glass-style implementation of Google Now called ‘Open Mic’ so that users will be able to search for terms online, weather forecasts, directions, set an alarm and so on, all by starting with, “OK, Google Now…”. The idea that the Moto X is always listening isn’t the most comforting thought, but it’ll likely be a feature that can be turned off from within the settings menu.
In addition to voice-only input, the notifications system has been reworked, so that instead of a multi-coloured LED light, the display now silently lights up with an app icon referring to the notifications type.
The last key piece of information revealed from the video is that users will be able to fast launch the camera, with a somewhat awkward looking double flick of the wrist to open up the viewfinder and then snap a shot by tapping anywhere on the screen.
Made in the USA
A big component to the Moto X’s reported $500 million marketing campaign comes from its US origins. Not unlike how Google were stamping ‘made in the USA’ on the forgettable Nexus Q, so too has the Moto X been designed, engineered and assembled in the USA; Fort Worth, Texas to be precise.
The first official marketing for the Moto X has already popped up Stateside and although it doesn’t exactly feature the phone itself, it does heavily push the ‘made in the USA’ message. Whilst potential buyers here in Europe might not be particularly fussed where their Moto X is made, for American consumers, the thought of being able to inject money back into the bruised US economy and support local jobs could be a big attraction.
Tailored to fit
The Rogers video mentioned that the Moto X would be available in both black and white, but it’s possible that users will have far deeper control over the look of their device when it finally goes on sale. Not only will there be a wealth of colour options on offer, but material choices too.
DroidLife directed us to a Google+ post from Texas-based tech writer Taylor Wimberly, who claims that users will be able to pick from not just colours of textured plastic, but also suggests that metals, ceramics and even wood are alternate options. The option of engraving is also a possibility to add yet more of a custom feel to each device.
On and on
Motorola’s biggest hook in the smartphone space before its procurement by Google was undoubtedly the battery longevity particular handsets offered. RAZR MAXX-branded handsets paired decent specs with mammoth battery capacities, ensuring that users could easily crack a day or more without taking a trip to the charger while even non ‘MAXX’ handsets were pack leaders on the power front.
Although Google is now running the show, some of that Motorola DNA has remained intact and the Moto X is said to sport a 2000mAh battery. As was mentioned earlier, such battery capacity, paired to slightly less demanding components like a 720p screen, should result in better overall power efficiency and as such, deliver longer-lasting battery life over the competition.
Tough nut to crack
Another important part of the Motorola design ethos was to create handsets with durability in mind. There’s no word on DuPont Kevlar featuring in the Moto X’s makeup but the display is rumoured to be protected by a layer of either hardened sapphire crystal or the latest Gorilla Glass 3 and the same could potentially apply to the phone’s rear camera too.
Summer launch time
So we have the potential design, the hardware, plus a little on the software and features, but what about its availability? Well, considering a number of spy shots and most recently Google’s Executive Chairman – Eric Schmidt flaunting a functioning Moto X on campus at Google HQ have appeared, the arrival of the handset to the masses can’t be far off.
A launch of summer 2013 is all that’s officially been talked about, but with the summer months ticking away we’re expecting an unveiling in the latter half of August, ahead of the iPhone 5S’ arrival in September, with prices in the UK expected to be around £300.
Update: Motorola has sent out press invites for the Moto X, which will be announced on August 1st. We’ll find out exactly when Motorola intends to release the phone then.