Friday, August 02, 2013

The Motorola Moto X, the Most Important Phone Since the (original) iPhone?
- Oh yes, it's made in the USA

In the past decade and a half, Motorola has slipped from being a leader in the cell-phone industry to a marginal player. The company was on its last legs when it was purchased by Google in 2011-2012. At the time, it appeared that Google just purchased Motorola for its patent portfolio, but now it appears there was a "secret project" to come out with a ground breaking new phone that would showcase many more Google ideas than the run-of-the-mill Android smartphones. Yesterday Motorola unveiled the first "Google phone", the Moto X. This phone has the potential to either be a bust or to blindside Apple and be the hottest thing since the original iPhone. At first blush, the Moto X doesn't look like anything special. It's smaller than average, so it doesn't have a screen that you'd be tempted to use as a tablet. It doesn't claim to have the fastest processor. What the Moto X tries to do is to first adapt to how you use your phone, but also enable behaviors that let you get more out of your phone. The Phone has specialized processors that allow the phone to always be on, but yet draw very little power. It is set up for instant voice commands, enabled whenever the user says "okay, Google now".

One of the biggest game changers is that Google's flagship phone is not designed for the upper-tier of the market; instead, it's designed for the middle. Prices have not been announced, but it appears that it will sell for much less than the current top line phones. The Moto X will have hundreds of customization options so your phone won't look just like your neighbor's. I saved the best part for last; the Moto X will be made in the United States, in a 20 year old plant that Motorola shut down years ago. This will be the first smartphone ever built in the US. It's also a thumb in the face of Apple, which said it couldn't be done. I think that I am likely to make the Moto X (or next year's model) my next smartphone - assuming it comes to Virgin Mobile. If you're in the market, it's worth a look. If I get one, I think I'll turn off the always-listening feature. I'd rather the NSA stay busy listening to other people.

For more details on the Moto X, check out this article and this one from Gizmodo.

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