I'm in the penthouse suite of a beautiful hotel on New York City's west side, the aircraft carrier Intrepid bobbing in the Hudson just outside the window. A silver Halliburton briefcase lies on the table in front of the window. It's like a movie prop, festooned with ridges and combination locks. Inside lies the answer to a question we’ve been asking since Google announced its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola: what happens when Google builds a smartphone?

The answer to that question is the Moto X. It has endlessly leaked out in various forms for the past few months — Google chairman Eric Schmidt even posed for an impromptu photo shoot with one several weeks ago. I was about to see the 4.7-inch distillation of everything Google and Motorola believe about what technology means and how it fits into our lives.

But when my host spun the combination lock and unlatched the case, I realized that Motorola still had a few surprises. There wasn’t one Moto X to play with — there were 18, at once all the same and each very different. Every color of the Google rainbow, and many more besides.

Eighteen phones, face-down in rectangles of gray foam. I flipped one over — white front, royal blue back, white buttons — and turned it on.

Okay, Google. Now.


Read our review of the Moto X here