The History of Motorola's Moto X

Moto X Style Hands On AH 07

The Motorola Moto X has been on a pretty rocky road since it debuted in 2013. Then again, so has Motorola. After being sold by Google to Lenovo in 2014, and then the Motorola brand becoming extinct – but keeping “Moto” around. The Moto X line of smartphones has been pretty successful for Motorola though. Many have called them a souped up Nexus smartphone, since they run stock Android. With the rumors of the new Moto X – which is rumored to be the Moto Z – coming fast and furious and we’re expecting to see it announced on June 9th at the Lenovo Tech World, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and see how far the Moto X line has come since 2013, and more importantly, how far the smartphone industry has come since then.

Motorola Moto X



The first smartphone from Motorola that had input by Google. Leading up to the release, many were excited to see what Motorola had up their sleeves. Leaks and rumors pointed to a somewhat mid-range smartphone, however. Motorola announced the device in August of 2013, and reviewers fell in love with it. The Moto X was a 4.7-inch smartphone, in a world where most smartphones were around 5 to 5.5-inches or larger. That was a 720p panel too, as that was before QHD panels really became popular. The Moto X sported a modified Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, which was named the Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System. It was paired with 2GB of RAM, 16GB/32GB/64GB of storage along with a 10MP “ClearPixel” camera on the back. There was also a 2200mAh battery inside, which Motorola claimed would get you all day battery life. It launched on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and was priced at $579.

The software was perhaps what stuck out the most for Motorola. It was stock Android with a few changes made on top. Motorola debuted Active Display in 2013, where notifications would “breathe” on your device’s screen to let you know that you had notifications. Touchless Control also debuted, allowing you to say “OK Moto” and basically have access to Google Now even with the screen off. These were just some of the tweaks that Motorola added on top of stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

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Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen)

Moto X

In September 2014, Motorola held an event at their new headquarters in downtown Chicago. They took the wraps off of the Moto X (2nd Gen) or some referred to it Moto X (2014). It was a slightly larger smartphone, coming with a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 resolution display. Bumping both the size and resolution this time around. Motorola also dropped the Moto X8 processor and opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset. However they did stick with the same 2GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB/64GB storage models. We got a better camera, which was bumped to 13-megapixels, as well as a slightly larger battery with a 2300mAh capacity.


Motorola changed up the software with the Moto X in 2014. Although it was mostly in name. Gone was “Active Display” and replaced with “Moto Display.” It was the same thing with “Touchless Control” being renamed to “Moto Voice”. Motorola also debuted Moto Actions. One of the more popular actions was the ability to wave your hand over the display and wake “Moto Display” to see the time and your notifications. This was done using IR Blasters in each corner of the Moto X 2014.


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Motorola Moto X Play

Moto X Play AH-2

Fast forward to 2015, and Motorola unveiled two members of the Moto X family. We’ll start with the Moto X Play. This was their first release under Lenovo’s management, which could be why we saw two phones announced. The Moto X Play featured a 5.5-inch display, which was 1080p once again. It was powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor along with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. However, Motorola did add in a micro SD card slot this time around. Allowing you to expand that storage up to 200GB. The camera got improved once again, jumping to a 21-megapixel sensor, which received glowing reviews. The Moto X Play was powered by a 3630mAh battery, which was slated as lasting all day long. The Moto X Play launched on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which was the current version of Android at the time of release.



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Motorola Moto X Style



Along with the Moto X Play, Motorola announced the Moto X Style – or as it was known in the US, the “Moto X Pure Edition” because it worked with all four US carriers seamlessly. The Moto X Style was a bit more high-end than the Moto X Play. Featuring a larger 5.7-inch 2560×1440 or QHD display. Also featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM and the choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage. Like the Moto X Play, it also featured a micro SD card slot, along with the same 21-megapixel camera around back. However it did feature a slightly smaller 3000mAh battery. Like the Moto X Play, the Moto X Style also launched on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Software for both devices were largely the same. Motorola kept their features like Moto Display, Moto Actions and Moto Voice. Motorola didn’t really add anything new to the software in 2015, however they did refine it. Adding a few more actions to Moto Actions, more functionality to Moto Voice and features to Moto Display.


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