Motorola’s next major flagship is and has been perhaps the most speculated and hyped Android device ever. The origins of the phone date back till last year and have only escalated since then. Up until a couple of weeks ago, there was no indication that this phone was even real, never mind what specific features there would be. However, at All Things Digital’s D11 conference this year, Motorola’s CEO Dennis Woodside not only confirmed the existence of the phone, but also stated that the device was lying in his pocket. Later that day, Motorola released a press statement making the device as official as possible without disclosing any concrete information.
Since then, the rumors have escalated. While everything is just speculation, there are a couple of things that we can legitimately expect and if they pan out, this device could be the Android device that every user will want. While Google and Motorola have stated many times that Motorola is not receiving any special treatment, it is likely that the two are working more closely on this phone than usual. This is because during his interview at D11, Woodside made a few references to personal meetings that took place between him and Google CEO Larry Page, where they would discuss important aspects of smart phones.
The hardware of the Moto X is supposedly going to address the two aspects that are most important to every user: durability and battery life. This certainly meshes with what Motorola has been doing recently with the Droid RAZR line of phones. The Droid RAZR Max HD for example has arguably the most impressive battery life of any smartphone and is constructed out of Kevlar fiber, making it incredibly durable.
Even beyond that, there will likely be some impressive sensor work on this phone. Woodside made it clear that the Moto X will be incredibly aware of its surroundings, adjusting various settings if your phone is in your pocket or on your desk. Woodside implied that this process was designed for power management, pushing the battery situation even further. However, it is possible that even the interface will change slightly depending on where the phone is. After all, with the new Maps API that Google announced at I/O, location-awareness doesn’t always have to eat up your battery.
The only other aspect of hardware that we are positive about is that it will have an OLED screen. This isn’t necessarily good or bad as it will depend on the resolution and how much power it sucks up. Additionally if Google is really involved every step of the way, then we can assume that this device will have an above average camera. This is because after Google I/O this year, it became clear that photo quality is very important to Google.
Back in mid-April, Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks had a conversation with PCMag. In this conversation, he stated that Motorola is working on stock Android devices that are slated to ship in the second half of 2013. Based on his statement and the fact that Google may be working closely with Motorola on the Moto X, it would make sense that the device would be rocking stock Android.
However, the Android version is a complete mystery. If the device is going to be aimed for the high end, major flagship market, then it would makes sense that it could even rock a version of Android that hasn’t been released yet. With Android 4.3 Jelly Bean rumored for July and Key Lime Pie now rumored for an October release, the version the device actually ships with could literally be anything.
There is no doubt that Android users are beginning to overwhelmingly favor vanilla Android devices. This is likely due to the inconsistency and downright ugliness of most modified skins. Slapping a stock Android experience on the Moto X might just be enough to convince most users that they really need this phone. If the excitement over Google’s latest Google Edition devices is any indication, then they absolutely will need it.
Network and Manufacturing
While hardware and software specifications are what consumers look for most, it is no secret that carrier availability is what will decide which consumers can practically use the phone. Woodside said the device will be “broadly available.” This could mean one of two things. Generally speaking, “broadly available” could simply mean that the device will be available not only in the US, but internationally as well. If the phone turns out to be as big of a deal as it is supposed to be, then this will likely be inevitable even if it doesn’t happen right away.
However, another interpretation is that the phone could remain in the US initially. Then it is likely that “broadly available” means the device will have both GSM and CDMA variants. This would be huge because CDMA users haven’t been able to enjoy a stock Android experience since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was released on both Verizon and Sprint.
The latter seems to much more likely at first, which brings us to the final aspect of the device that should make consumers happy. The device is going to be primarily assembled in Fort Worth, Texas. This is huge because not only does it signify a move away from cheaper Asian labor, but it also indicates how frustrated Google really is with China. Google has suffered hacks, threats, and a lack of search freedom at the hands of the Chinese. While Google certainly isn’t looking to sever ties with the country, it certainly appears as though they want Motorola to lesson their dependance on the nation.
On paper, the Moto X is everything every Android user could ever want. However, as history has showed us, devices very rarely live up to the hype. However, it is clear that the initiatives Motorola is interested in like stock Android, battery life, and durability are the exact same ones that the majority of Android users care about. In addition, making sure that every Android user, regardless of carrier allegiance, has access to the device is absolutely essential to making sure the device is properly received. In a nutshell, Motorola is looking to please every Android user with the Moto X and consequently, those users should be very excited.