It seems the Motorola’s X phone arrival at Google I/O on May 15th is almost imminent as we’re getting more and more news about it. The latest rumors offers us some more details about the phone’s specs. It’s supposed to have a RAZR MAXX-like battery of at least 3,000 mAh, although being supposedly 4.8″-5″ large, I think the battery should be approaching 4,000 mAh by now. If they could put 3,300 mAh batteries in a 4.3″ device before, I’m sure they can do this, too. They may be trying to make it thinner, but I’d rather take the extra battery. And if they’re using a 13MP camera, it’s going to have a bump on the back anyway, if they make the body too thin.
Sony Exmor RS Sensor
The next big spec rumor is that it will use a Sony Exmor RS camera sensor, which is supposed to have HDR video and photos, and it will probably be the 13 MP version. We’ll see how competitive this will be when it arrives. It sounds pretty good, and Sony makes some of the very best smartphone cameras around, and even Apple uses them in their iPhones. However, with Nokia rumored to launch another “Pureview 808-like” camera this year, with a much larger sensor and much higher picture quality, I was really hoping Sony would be focusing on making such cameras, too, by now.
It’s been 2 years since Nokia first launched theirs. That’s enough time for Sony to notice it and realize that such cameras have a bright future in modern smartphones. Why do we have to wait for incremental upgrades for “regular” phone cameras, when we could get close-to-DSLR quality one in one gulp? Sure you would get a big bump on your phone, but I think some of us are willing to live with that. I know I am. If I were Sony, I’d really prepare to launch such a camera within a year, otherwise they will be left behind. For now though, the Exmor RS sensor seems like a pretty good one when compared against most of the current competition. But Sony should be thinking outside the box more, and so should other Android manufacturers, instead of just adding incremental upgrades every year.
The next big Motorola X-phone rumor is that it will use Kevlar body, just like the RAZR devices. This is in line with that Larry Page said about building tougher phones (not sure why they made the Nexus 4 of glass then?!), and Kevlar is definitely one way to do it, but we’ll see if it offers any design compromises, and how Google is going to make the front screen tougher so it doesn’t “splash” when it falls down, like Larry Page said. One way to do that would be using Samsung’s flexible Youm display, which makes the screen virtually unbreakable. But I’m not sure that display will be ready for mass-production in the next few months. Rumors say even the Galaxy S4 won’t have it, although that’s supposed to arrive about 2 months earlier than the Motorola X-phone.
Other Hardware Specs
Other rumored details about this phone include much internal higher storage (up to 128 GB), and even a microSD slot, which is certainly going against the trend Google has set for Nexus devices, which have no microSD slot. Personally, if they found a way to solve the problem they have with SD cards, and avoid patent issues (there is an open source implementation of the exFAT file system now), then I would prefer the SD card to live on. It has become very cheap to expand your storage by more than most people need with a class 10 microSD.
Stock Android 5.0
The phone will also be the first one to have Android 5.0 on board , which makes it kind of a Nexus device, although they won’t call it a Nexus. I think the Nexus phones will remain scheduled for the fall releases with the point version of Android (Android 5.1?), while Motorola’s own flagship devices will start rolling out at Google I/O events, which is Google’s biggest event of the year.
I think it makes perfect sense for Google to release the major version of Android with Motorola devices at their own event, even if it goes a bit against what they promised when they bought Motorola. But to be honest I’ve never liked that attitude. They need to take advantage of Motorola, if they want it to survive as a business, and they should make all Motorola devices come with “stock” Android. Anything else makes no sense to me.
If the other manufacturers don’t want to use stock Android, that’s their problem. They’re certainly free to do it. Nobody is stopping them. The problem is they don’t want to do that (even though they seem very happy adopting a very stock Windows Phone 8 on their devices – isn’t that ironic?). And Google wasting time with Motorola adding another skin on top of the work they’ve already done with stock Android, also makes no sense. Just make all Motorola’s devices use stock Android. Considering nobody else is really doing that, that would actually be a competitive advantage for Motorola.
The Android community would absolutely love it. And again – if the other manufacturers want to benefit from all of that, they’re certainly free to offer stock Android on their devices, and 2 year upgrade cycles. We’ve all been waiting for them to do that for a long time now. They just need to take the leap.
So there you have it: large 3,000+ mAh battery, Sony Exmor RS sensor with HDR photos and videos, Kevlar body, 4.8″-5″ screen, up to 128 GB of storage, microSD slot and Android 5.0 for the next Motorola X-phone. I wonder what other surprises Google I/O will hold for us.