A new 21 report by Goldman Sachs says that the new Moto X might be priced at $300 or so, just like the Nexus 4. There have been some rumors about the Moto X’s price before, with most putting it at around $300, and The Verge being the only one who said it’s going to be $200, but my guess is The Verge’s source misunderstood the $200 price, which will probably be the carrier price, not the unlocked price.
If Google prices it at $300 unlocked, that would make a lot more people want to buy it unlocked than on contract, which is exactly what Google wants. On the other hand, while the carriers might agree to carry it, they probably don’t want it to sell better than their bloatware-filled models. I imagine Verizon definitely doesn’t want it to sell better than its own Droids. So it’s likely they will price it at a $200 on contract.
If its components won’t cost too much, then I could see Google pricing it at around $300, like the Nexus 4. But remember there’s one huge difference between the Nexus 4 and Motorola X – the Nexus 4 was subsidized by Google, and only in some countries anyway. The Nexus 4 cost about twice as much what it was in US (although about half of the difference was from taxes and such).
Motorola X on the other hand will most likely not be subsidized, and why would it be? Google is losing a lot of money with Motorola right now, and they need Motorola to be profitable as soon as possible, maybe not this year, but definitely until next year. So if they’re still losing money, they can’t lose even more by subsidizing it. It’s enough that they plan to launch a half a billion marketing campaign for it.
Also, don’t be disappointed if the Motorola X turns out to be a little more expensive than $300. It’s possible the phone is worth more than that, since we don’t know all the specs right now. Ultimately, the Motorola X might begin to redefine what a high-end smartphone means. Maybe we’ve already reached that point where getting ever faster processors and ever bigger resolutions is not that rewarding anymore, and we may begin to see diminishing returns from that.
Instead, the OEM’s could focus on new types of innovations, and new types of hardware that they can put in their phones (much better cameras, bigger batteries, more intelligent sensors, new kind of accelerators and processors), and those components will also cost money. But you can’t do that as long as everyone keeps demanding the highest performance processor and the highest resolution display (which also cancels out some of the bigger battery benefits).
That’s why the smartphone market seems a lot more innovative than the laptop market. In the laptop market you didn’t see high-resolution IPS displays, because people kept asking for the fastest processors, most RAM and most storage they can get, for the same price, and there was little room to add anything else. So we may need to rethink what we want our phones to do, and if they’re more about enriching our lives than simply having better specs (for the same type of components every year).