About That Motorola X Phone
I have had some time to consider this mythical device and have come to a few conclusions.
This will not be shown at Google I/O.
I'm sure many of you will disagree with me here, but hear me out if you will.
Google I/O is aimed at developers. These are the people that drive the platform through great apps, so if you wanted to design hardware for them it would be different specification-wise to that which would be aimed at consumers, these are the people that drive the platform via product sales.
Google has the Nexus line, a series of devices that while not 'top-end' are still very capable and feature processors of the three top silicon varieties; Nexus 7 contains nVIDIA Tegra 3, Nexus 4 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Nexus 10 utilises Samsung's Exynos 5. Ideally Google would have a developer own all of these items and be coding their application in line with the various specs. This way it should, in theory, be catered to the vast majority of user's devices out there.
Now, being that the focus of Google I/O is different to that of a consumer based brand I do not think we will see the Motorola X phone here. There will be a specific event for that in June/July.
It needs to be advertised. A LOT.
Here's the crux. Samsung is the leading Android device manufacturer, their marketing budget is humongous. HTC, Sony, LG et al. are unable to compete, not because their products inferior but purely because they do not have as much sway in the mind of a shopper. Motorola while once massively in there, in the US at least, has declined steadily since the original Droid at the tail end of 2009. So how do we get people to take notice.
It needs a massive marketing campaign behind it, something that Google will undertake if the genuinely feel that Samsung is threatening to have a chokehold on the market. I'm not talking about one or two big budget ads, like the super-bowl Xoom tablet ad. I mean it needs to be constantly in rotation on all major TV channels, I need to see it at bus stops, billboards, fly posters. It needs to be everywhere and even then the battle for consumers is far from over, which brings me to point...
It needs to 'Wow!' people.
The X phone needs to make average Joe stop and have a play. Therefore the external hardware needs to be different. The Nokia Lumia is what I'm on about. It's visual design language is very different to most phones, sadly it runs Windows Phone and there seems to be less of an incentive for phone reps to push it.
We can't have another black, rounded-cornered slab. If it is people will dismiss it almost instantly as an also ran.
In terms of software, I feel that stock Android, while beautiful in my eyes, doesn't have the instant candy factor. I say candy factor and what I mean is that if you look at the Galaxy range the UI is vibrant, shiny and inviting. If I were to similarly describe the stock Android experience I'd probably have to go with hard, cold and utilitarian. All of which work but are not mass consumer friendly.
Admittedly I'm not a user experience guy, but I can see what sells. iOS and Touchwiz look similar, and to a prospective buyer they look 'nice'. Thus Motorola need to create a mass appeal UI, not something that apes the afore-mentioned ones, but something that is on the same level.
As for features I think it needs a cohesive promise in usability.
The camera needs to be on a par with the iPhone 5, if not besting it. I don't really see that any other specs will matter to most, but they should be up there with 2013 high-end phones. As long as it provides an experience with no lag, no hiccups and no issues then it'll be good, admittedly somethings that have evaded many Android phones.
So with all of this said I feel it is feasible to achieve all of this. Whether or not it is, is solely down to Google and Motorola.
As an added bonus for reading all of this I present to you my 15 minute vision of a X phone. Influenced by current Motorola design language and initially inspired by the specs mentioned in this blog post.
To put it in perspective with other current devices. Left to right: BlackBerry Z10, Apple iPhone, HTC One, Moto X, Nokia Lumia 920.
I'm sure that you intelligent folks will pull apart my scattershot thoughts, but I'd love a great conversation about yours and my own hypotheses. If you like how I think you can also check out a blog I co-curate Opinionated World and my own blog which I use for my tinfoil hat theories, Technology Theorist, I've cross posted this one there.