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Top Engineer at Motorola Answers Moto X Critics

August 9, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

The Motorola Moto X is the first smartphone released since Google purchased Motorola Mobility. It was anticipated and now scrutinized more than most new device launches. Just the name, Moto X, is intriguing, but what about the specifications…we expected a quad-core processor with blazing speed, but instead, we get a dual-core 1.7GHz. We expected a 1080p, 441ppi (Pixels per Inch) display, but what we got was a 720p, 312ppi. We expected a microSD card slot to expand the onboard 16GB (32GB) storage, but no expansion is available. With these specifications, we expected a two-year contract price of $149, but what we got was $199 – $249.

Reviewers and potential customers are all waving a red flag saying that Moto is offering last year’s technology priced at this year’s specs. They all agree it is a nice phone, but simply not innovated enough to warrant the price. To squelch these naysayers one of Motorola’s top engineers, Iqbal Arshad, sat down for an interview with CNET to defend the design of the Moto X.

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Motorola has said on several occasions that it is not about the specs, but about the total experience of the phone. Arshad claims we put too much emphasis on specs and not on how the phone interacts with the user. Arshad, Motorola’s senior vice president for product development, said he thinks the critics are missing the point. And he said there is nothing “last year” about this device. He even called the Moto X the “most advanced smartphone on the market. Period. I think people who are hardcore about comparing specs simply don’t understand the design of the product.

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Dual-Core Processor

Arshad defended the dual processor by pointing out that 90-percent of the time only two cores are being used – more cores does not equate to faster speed. He also pointed out that they are using this year’s fastest dual-core Qualcomm processor, not last year’s model. Motorola’s X8 chipset also helps make the Moto X run faster by incorporating several other processors, like a dedicated natural language, contextual computing, and graphics processors. This has enabled Moto to do things like always on touchless control and save battery life.

Display

First Arshad explains that Samsung’s display is not a true 1080p because they use a PenTile design and a separate graphics processor that give worse performance than the Moto X, while HTC is using an inferior LCD technology. He claims Moto is using a true RGB pattern that gives true color reproduction without sacrificing battery life. He then reminds us that the human eye cannot discern any resolution beyond 300ppi and the Moto X delivers 312ppi so anything beyond that simply makes no difference.

Android 4.2 vs. 4.3

Arshad reminded us that while they are owned by Goggle, Motorola is run as a separate company and Google wants to treat everyone in their ecosystem fairly. So we now know that Google’s Nexus partners get the latest and greatest, even before Moto.

He also claimed the design of curved back made a removable battery too hard to incorporate. He also defended the absence of a microSD slot by saying that a lot of issues come into play when you are offloading storage. They wanted to make the device as simple and easy to use as possible. However, he also said that future devices would offer even more capabilities and customization.

What kind of smartphone user are you – give me the specs or give me the features. The target user will find the Moto X to be a “fun” phone and I imagine Moto will sell a good amount of them