AH Primetime: Should Motorola Make a “Moto X Tablet” ?

August 12, 2013 - Written By Benjamin Commet
The Motorola Xyboard

Motorola has an interesting obsession with the letter x. In 2010 the Droid X was released, followed by the nexus-ish Xoom tablet. The rather ill-fated Xyboard followed soon after. Now it’s 2013 and Motorola has brought the creatively named X phone into the world and there’s no reason to think a tablet won’t come soon after. Of course the real question is, should they?

The community reaction to the X phone hasn’t exactly been overly positive. Many of tech reviewers and journalists have praised the device, but it seems quite a few individuals have gave up on the phone as soon as they saw the, admittedly, mediocre spec sheet. When the public finally gets their hands on the phone perhaps some opinions will be swayed. Unfortunately, until that happens the X brand may not be strong enough to sell a phone, let ¬†alone a tablet.

An “X Tablet” would have a lot of stiff competition. The new Nexus 7 (we really need a different name for this thing) has received numerous glowing reviews. I can personally vouch for its awesome combination of value and, well, awesomeness! Since the Nexus 7 is such a strong competitor I doubt Motorola would bother to make a 7 inch tab. Most likely we would see a 10 incher more in line with the previously mentioned Xoom and the Xyboard 10.1. The Google subsidized Nexus 10 plays in that space as well, but it has yet to achieve the traction of the 7. The 10 inch market has still is has no Android device that comes even close to nibbling at Apple’s full sized Ipad’s market share. Unfortunately a successful 10 inch tablet needs an impressive spec sheet and it’s very unlikely an X branded device will ever come with truly top of the line specs.

My favorite feature of the X phone is its practically unlimited customization. There will be more than 2,000 different¬†possible customization combinations. Despite the myriad combos Motorola will still have your Shiny (perhaps matte, wood or carbon fiber?) new phone at your door in four days. This is possible only because the X is made in the US. (sorry international guys, no X phone for you) Unfortunately for spec sheet lovers anywhere this adds significant cost to the manufacturing process. Hence the rather neutered specs found on the X phone. Fortunately the X can get away with a 720p display and slower processor. The difference between a 720p phone and a 1080p device like the Galaxy S4 is nothing like the difference between SD and HD. However, with tablets, especially high resolution tablets, this is not the case. Pixel density is far more apparent on a large display. Even if they keep the resolution competitive, it will be hard to find a SOC cheap enough to push those pixels lag-free. I just don’t know if it’s possible yet to build a highly speced tablet in the US and keep it at a reasonable price point. Charging extra for customizations will help, but it won’t be able to compete with a new Nexus 10. Especially at a $399 price point.

So should Motorola make an X tablet? If they are going to try and keep the customization like it is on the X phone, probably not. There are just too many compromises forced by US production. Especially the huge loss of foreign sales. Do you think Motorola should go ahead and make an X tablet? Or are you just tired of hearing about the letter X? Let us know in the comments below, and go join in the conversation on whichever social network you prefer (as long as it’s Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter, apologies to that one guy from Myspace.)