Google on August 1 unveiled the Moto X, the first smartphone created from the collaboration of Google and Motorola since Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2011. The Moto X is an innovative combination of Google software and Motorola’s proprietary X8 mobile computing system, and it comes with some compelling features.
First among these, the Moto X takes voice-command technology to the next level. It is the first smartphone that is always listening – that is, the first smartphone that can be activated from an off position with voice commands alone. The technology is called “Google Now” and it is activated by saying the words “Google Now.” For instance, your Moto X could be switched off sitting next to you on the passenger seat of your car and you could say “Google Now, navigate to 33 Pine Terrace,” and the device would turn on, open Google Maps, and give voice directions to your destination (as well as present the directions visually on the screen).
This is a step beyond Apple’s Siri voice command function, which requires some manual input. On the Moto X, all of Google’s Android apps can be switched on with voice commands alone. The Moto X achieves this advancement with eight processing cores, two of which are receiving information at all times from the phone’s microphone, gyroscope, and accelerometer. Thus the phone is not only always listening, but is always aware of its surroundings and updating itself accordingly.
Another innovative feature of the Moto X is the ability to personalise the appearance of the device to a high degree. Purchasers will be able to choose from more than 2,000 combinations of colors, textures, and designs, which can be overlaid with additional artwork. Unique accents and script can be scrawled on to bodies of wood grain or stone, in any combination of colors. This seems an obvious idea, as smartphones have hitherto come only in standard black or white plastic, but Google and Motorola will be the first to turn this idea into reality and bring it to market.
Google is betting that the customisation feature will be popular in the American market, especially with teenagers and young people. The company has set up assembly operations in Texas so that such customisation work can be completed, and the phones delivered to customers, as quickly as possible. Having these operations in Texas will also allow the company to quickly make alterations to customised designs in the event that a customer is dissatisfied and wants the artwork changed. They should expect this to happen frequently if these smartphones become popular with teenagers.
The Moto X is scheduled to go on sale in late August or early September for a starting price of $199.99.