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5/30/2013
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Motorola To Make Moto X Phone In Texas

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside confirms it's preparing to storm the market with a new flagship phone in early fall.

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Motorola's CEO said on Wednesday what Apple's CEO wouldn't say on Tuesday: It plans to launch a new, flagship smartphone later this year. Speaking at AllThingsD's D11 conference, Motorola's Dennis Woodside announced that the company's comeback device, the Moto X Phone, will arrive by October.

Woodside didn't reveal any specific details about the device, but provided a few nuggets of information about where Motorola is placing its priorities moving forward.

For example, the new device will be made in the USA. The company has a 500,000 square-foot facility in Texas that's nearly ready. It will employ some 2,000 people there by August. Motorola's former manufacturing facilities were located in China, but it sold them last year as part of its cost-cutting and restructuring efforts.

Further, the company is going to lean on what it has learned while developing some of its peripheral products to give the Moto X some unique features. Speaking with AllThingsD, Woodside said that the company plans to do some interesting things with Bluetooth and sensors with technology it culled from the MOTOACTV smartwatch.

[ Learn why "Apple vs. Android" may be a moot point. Read Windows Phone 8 'Gets' Business Needs. ]

"Motorola has a leading position in Bluetooth headsets, but we actually think Bluetooth is going to get a lot better," said Woodside. "What Motorola learned was how to manage very-low-power sensors. [Our engineers] took those learnings to the smartphone."

This ties in well with recent developments in the Android world. Google announced at its I/O developer conference earlier this month that a future version of Android (presumably Android 4.3) would adopt the full Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy stack. Previously, manufacturers were on their own to add certain Bluetooth features to their Android devices. Moving forward, Bluetooth will be supported at the core, which means Android devices will soon be able to work with innumerable low-energy sensors, such as heart-rate monitors, and their respective applications.

The going hasn't been easy for Motorola the last few years. It was acquired by Google about a year ago. Since then, it has released only a handful of phones as it refocuses its efforts on hardware. The Moto X will be joined by several other devices before the end of the year, but it will stretch to nearly a full 12 months between product launches for the company that put the Droid on the map.

In the meantime, Motorola has had to drop products that don't meet its new set of goals. "We've shut down or postponed a couple products in the last couple weeks," said Woodside. "It's hard. You have people who put their lives into a product or the last year into a product."

For example, you won't see any new tablets from Motorola in the near future. Motorola decided that the things that differentiate its phones from the competition don't necessarily apply to tablets. Power management is one such example. The last batch of smartphones announced by Motorola last fall all offered excellent battery life. Tablets can contain bigger batteries, and managing their power efficiency doesn't carry the same urgency that it does in smartphones.

Woodside expressed confidence in the company's product pipeline -- and so have Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. Woodside's comments and revelations stand in stark contrast to those of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who spoke on the same stage a day earlier. Though Cook was grilled for 90 minutes, he revealed no new information about Apple's plans for future products.

Motorola was smart to take the opportunity to create some enthusiasm for its future.

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