Meet Motorola's Moto X

Motorola's latest Android device may have ho-hum hardware, but the real story is in the software.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

August 1, 2013

3 Min Read

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Motorola on Thursday took the wraps off the Moto X, its first smartphone under Google's umbrella. The Moto X might not be the most impressive piece of hardware ever created, but it has some creative software features that help set it apart.

The Moto X was designed, according to Google, "for you." That means it's comfortable to hold and use and has a pleasing shape and finish. The screen measures 4.7 inches and offers 1280 x 720 resolution. Its front is made of glossy glass, and its sides and back have a matte finish. The device is light and thin with a curved back.

It is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro from Qualcomm, with each core rated at 1.7 GHz. The processor is paired with 2 GB of RAM. The Moto X might not have a quad-core powerhouse under the hood, but its additional X8 architecture includes two more cores, one for graphics and another for sensor-intensive tasks. The Moto X has a 2200-mAh battery that is sealed into the phone. Motorola says it provides enough power for 24 hours of continuous use. It comes with either 16 or 32 GB of storage. There is no memory expansion slot.

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The Moto X features two cameras: a 10-megapixel main shooter and a 2-megapixel user-facing shooter. Both can record 1080p HD video, and the device includes an LED flash on the back. It can connect to most 3G/4G networks and offers dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and GPS.

The Moto X will be sold by five carriers in the U.S., including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. The 16-GB model will retail for $199; the 32-GB model will cost $249.

The Moto X's hardware details are unremarkable -- the real story is its software. The device offers four innovative new features:

-- Touchless control: The Moto X is able to learn its owner's voice and respond to voice commands. Say, "OK Google now" and a command, and the phone can perform various functions such as initiate a voice call, map directions or do a Google search.

-- Quick capture: The camera can be opened with a quick flick of the wrist. Google believes this will help users get their cameras -- smartphones -- out and ready to shoot images faster. The idea is to help users get shots they might otherwise miss when trying to capture a fleeting moment.

-- Active display: The revised notification system on the Moto X brings more actionable information to the lock screen. Moto X owners will be able to see emails, text messages and call history notifications without fully unlocking their device or even turning on the display.

-- Moto Maker. For most people, the Moto X will be available only in black and white. AT&T customers, however, will be able to use the Moto Maker online tool to customize the look of their device. They can choose from 14 different back panel colors and a half-dozen accent colors and even add personal messages to the back of the phone. Moto Maker customizations are free and because the devices are assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, most orders will ship within four days.

The Moto X will go on sale in late August or early September.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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