Today, Motorola officially announced the Moto X, likely the worst kept secret in recent tech history and the first major addition to its lineup since its acquisition by Google. This phone is not a direct competitor to the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4; it has mid-range specifications and a $199.99 on-contract price.
The phone packs a dual-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon MSM8960T processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,200 mAh battery. It also features a 4.7-inch 720p SAMOLED screen with a special new type of Gorilla Glass called "Magic Glass." This glass covers the device's face and wraps around the sides. The Moto X features a zero-gap construction built to sit comfortably in-hand and a removable back shell made of a composite PET material. Interestingly, the phone uses a nano-SIM card, like the iPhone 5.
The Moto X uses a 10 megapixel “Clear Pixel” camera with a pixel size of 1.4 microns
The Moto X uses a 10 megapixel “Clear Pixel” camera with a pixel size of 1.4 microns (µm) which will help with low-light performance. In comparison, the Galaxy S4 sensor has a size of 1.1µm while the HTC One's is at 2µm. Video-wise, the phone can record 1080p video at 60 frames per second. Additionally, to reduce noise and provide clearer videos the device uses a process called pixel binning.
The Moto X’s marquee feature is its customizability. The front and edge can be either black or white, but Motorola has a ton of customization options for the back and accent colour. The back shell comes in 18 colours and 7 accents at launch. In total and in the future, there are 504 different possible design variations of the Moto X. Note, after customization the back is not user removable. In the 4th quarter, we will see a wooden back. All of this is done and made possible by Motorola’s Texas plant. This process, besides adding American jobs, allows for quick customization before the phone leaves the factory for immediate shipment to customers. Customizations are chosen online when customers place their order and are at the moment only for AT&T customers.
The Moto X’s marquee feature is its customizability
On the software-side, the Moto X runs Android 4.2.2 with an update to 4.3 promised in the near future. The same passive listening features that were introduced on Motorola’s Droid line of phones are also present on the Moto X, but rest assured it can be turned off. Also, the phone is only listening for the phrase, “Okay, Google Now”. Taking advantage of the AMOLED display onboard the Moto X is Motorola's Active Display, which turns on and off selective pixels to display notifications at set intervals without waking up the entire display and thus saving energy. The phone’s camera interface deviates from the well beaten path of clunky pop-up menus in favour of an UI based largely on swipes and gestures - with a similar theme to some of the labs features in Android's stock browser.
Passively Listening, until you choose to turn it off
To take advantage of the Moto X’s numerous sensors is Motorola Assist, the replacement to the old Smart Actions feature. It will change your device's settings based on where you are and what time of the day it is.
United States of America: The phone will be available on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint around late August or early September for $199 on contract. Canada: It will be available in Canada exclusively on Rogers, later this month for 189.99 in Black or White on a two-year term. Europe: Europe will be seeing the Moto X in the coming months.
Tim Hoogsteen contributed to this report.