Ever since Google's surprise purchase of Motorola Mobility in 2011, the tech world has imagined what the two companies could make together. It seemed that Motorola — the longtime Android partner and once-legendary phonemaker — could dominate when combined with Google's software expertise. While Motorola Mobility has continued to flounder under Google's ownership, the first product conceived entirely under the search company's stewardship is now upon us. It's an Android smartphone called the Moto X, and it is the first major smartphone to be assembled in the US. Motorola is also putting a focus on customization with the new device, though at launch only AT&T customers will get to choose from the numerous color options at launch.
Jun 6, 2014
On Monday, consumers will be able to customize a Moto X smartphone and test it out for 14 days. And Motorola says it's charging just a penny for the opportunity. The one-day promotion is easily Motorola's most aggressive attempt yet to stir new momentum for the Moto X. Numerous flash sales (sometimes with throw-ins) over the past year haven't helped much; only a week ago, Motorola announced plans to close down the Texas factory where it currently assembles the Moto X and send those duties overseas.Read Article >
We've reached out to the company for specifics, but it's safe to assume you'll need to provide a credit or debit card number for the penny promo and have enough funds to cover the full $349 Moto X retail cost in the event you decide it's worth holding onto. Still, the trial means you'll be able to design your own device for any supported carrier through Moto Maker and avoid the financial hit — at least temporarily. It's a slight improvement over the regular return policy. We're hoping to hear more about the Moto X's successor at some point this summer; the current flagship was released last August. For now, Motorola remains a Google company as its pending sale to Lenovo continues to push forward.
Jan 14, 2014
Although the two phones have broadly similar industrial design, the Moto X has a superior camera and unique software features, such as always-on voice control and active notifications that only light up certain parts of the AMOLED display. In the US, the phone is also available to order in customized materials and colors through the Moto Maker program, although it's unclear whether that will be extended to Europe.Read Article >
The Moto X received strong reviews upon its US release, but that doesn't appear to have translated into equally strong sales for Motorola — the phone has been subject to multiple discounts and special offers since launching at the standard $199 on-contract price.
Jan 9, 2014
Is Motorola having trouble selling the Moto X? It certainly seems like a possibility. Only one week after a permanent price drop to $399, the company is now throwing a Google Chromecast in for free. The offer is only valid on the $399 16GB and $449 32GB off-contract models, and it's only good until January 14th, but it's the fourth time in the last few months that Motorola has tried to spur demand with a deal.Read Article >
Dec 20, 2013
If you didn't get a chance to buy an off-contract Moto X for just $350 on Cyber Monday because of technical issues or supply constraints, you might not have totally missed out. Motorola is offering a very similar promotion today, courtesy of The Today Show. Today's program offered viewers a special code that they could redeem for a huge discount on the flagship smartphone, and you might be able to get in on the action as well. Assuming supplies last, you can get 50 percent off a new Moto X on a two-year contract, or $150 off the price of an off-contract phone. Simply go to Motorola's site and sign up for the deal of your choice using "todayshow50" as your code, and if all goes well you'll get a link to the Moto Maker website where you'll have four days to customize your phone and receive the discount.Read Article >
Motorola says the promotion will expire tomorrow night at 8PM ET or when supplies expire, whichever is sooner, but we'd expect those supplies to run out long before that date. The company's previous $350 Moto X offers sold out in a matter of minutes.
Oct 29, 2013
Motorola has been clear that Moto X was just the start. The company's building a whole new brand around that colorful, customizable smartphone. Now, it appears the company has inadvertently leaked the name of the next model in the lineup: the Moto G. Droid Life and Engadget both spotted a new version of Motorola's website today with the name "Moto G" placed in an exceedingly prominent spot: the very first tab on Motorola's homepage, right next to the Moto X itself. That tab linked to "www.moto-g.com," a website that doesn't work. Unfortunately, Motorola didn't go so far as to leak any pictures or details, and has already removed the tab from the website as well.Read Article >
Oct 25, 2013
Creating a customized Moto X on AT&T just got much cheaper. Motorola's flagship phone has dropped to just $99.99 on contract for orders placed using its Moto Maker tool. Sprint and US Cellular have also halved the handset's cost. US Cellular is even tossing in a $75 gift card for customers that port an existing number to the carrier, making the final price $24.99. Unfortunately, the non-custom black and white 16GB models still cost $199 on-contract when purchased directly from AT&T. Likewise, Verizon Wireless hasn't yet budged on its $199 asking price.Read Article >
The larger 32GB variant has also seen a price cut at Moto Maker; it's now $149.99, down from $199. One of the immediate strikes against Motorola's flagship Moto X smartphone was price; some consumers have likely struggled with the idea of paying $199 for the device when lining it up against the HTC One, Galaxy S4, and more recently the iPhone 5S. But at $99, the Moto X instantly becomes an easy recommendation. It's easy to argue that this is the price Motorola should have pitched from the start, but if you've been waiting for a cheaper Moto X (and are willing to sign a contract), it's now here.
Oct 21, 2013
Over the last eight months, losses at Google's Motorola Mobility have accelerated despite three rounds of layoffs that slashed around 6,000 workers. The division is now on pace to bleed $1 billion a year out of the search giant’s bank account. And yet Google's stock topped a record high $1,000 a share today as investors showed renewed confidence in the company's future. The questions raised back in April seem more pertinent than ever: why exactly did Google buy Motorola? We’ve got another quarter of data and a new device to look at, but the answer still isn’t pretty.Read Article >
Does a money pit like Motorola have a major impact on Google’s bottom line? In a lot of ways, the answer right now is no. Despite the losses, Google is profitable overall, and its cash on hand has grown steadily. But if Motorola continues to slide, Google may eventually be forced to write down the cost of the $12.5 billion acquisition — and its investors could clamor for the company to scuttle what has so far been a painful experiment into the world of mobile hardware. "Looking at the purchase I’m still scratching my head about why they did it," says Avi Greengart, the research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis, "and how they see it playing out going forward."
Oct 17, 2013
Motorola's Moto Maker site is primarily meant to help customize and purchase a new Moto X, but today the company is adding another feature: the option to transfer your contacts and calendars from an Apple iCloud account to a Google account. The process, according to Motorola's help document, is relatively straightforward. Simply enter in your iCloud credentials, then your Google credentials, and your data will be transferred from one to the other. The service only appears to be offered to new customers who have completed the purchase process at Moto Maker.Read Article >
It's a convenient feature that may help switchers, but Motorola doesn't quite deserve all the credit for it. The tool is "Powered by Mark / Space," according to screenshots posted by Motorola VP of Product Management Punit Soni. Mark/Space has been creating migration tools in the mobile space for over a decade — from The Missing Sync for PalmOS in 2001 to tools for switching to Windows Phone just this year.
Oct 5, 2013
Fans of the Moto X have so far had just one option to turn to when it comes to customizing the body of their phone online: the Moto Maker, offered exclusively through AT&T in the US, at least for the time being. Right now, if you're not an AT&T customer ordering online, your choices for the Moto X's body are black or white. But that could all change as early as next month. Verizon Wireless is also set to get the Moto Maker on November 11th, according to generally reliable mobile news leaker Evleaks.Read Article >
That follows Motorola's statements earlier this year that the Moto Maker would be rolled out to other carriers. We've reached out to Verizon to see if they're ready to confirm the arrival of the Moto Maker for their customers and will update when we hear back.
Oct 4, 2013Read Article >
AT&T has become the latest carrier to release that all-important Moto X update designed to improve upon the handset's inconsistent camera performance. After T-Mobile users began receiving the firmware upgrade last month, with Sprint following shortly thereafter, AT&T has announced that its customers will begin receiving the same fixes starting today. While the new software doesn't radically improve picture quality, AnandTech found that it results in more consistent exposures along with improved white balance and noise reduction. The software update also includes optimizations for Touchless Control and a streamlined setup process for those "OK Google Now" voice commands. Verizon Wireless now remains the sole US carrier that has yet to roll out the latest update — a delay it's established a reputation for with previous devices. AT&T meanwhile remains the only carrier where consumers are able to customize the Moto X's appearance.
Sep 19, 2013
Republic Wireless, a startup that launched in 2011 with unlimited cellphone service for $19 a month, is growing up. The carrier is overhauling its plans, introducing LTE data service, and, most importantly, offering its customers a true, quality smartphone that isn't an embarrassment to carry around. That phone is the Moto X, and it will soon be available for $299 without a contract.Read Article >
You can see why that's an appealing offer just by doing the math, but despite today's changes, the very basis of Republic Wireless — and its cut-rate prices — hasn't changed. First of all, you can't bring the Moto X to any other carrier. But the main trick is that Republic primarily routes calls, texts, and data over Wi-Fi. When you're outside range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, your phone will use cellular data provided by Sprint. This makes Republic what's known as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), since it doesn't run a wireless network, but the carrier's focus on VoIP calls is what makes it fairly unique. The company is from Bandwidth.com, which specializes in VoIP service and provides some services for Google Voice and Skype.
Sep 18, 2013Read Article >
The Developer Edition of Motorola's Moto X is now available in two variants: one for Verizon Wireless, and the other for GSM networks worldwide. The $649.99 model that's compatible with Verizon's network is shipping now, but the GSM SKU won't go on sale until Friday. With a Google Play edition on the way, we're not sure who's going to opt for the $649.99 Developer Edition of Motorola's flagship. But with its unlocked bootloader, the Developer Edition may be the best way for Verizon Wireless subscribers to get custom software running on the device. It also offers a storage bump compared to the regular Verizon version, featuring 32GB instead of 16GB. And while you can't customize this model via Moto Maker, it does stand out thanks to its black front and white patterned rear casing — complete with "developer edition" printed on the back. If more battery is vital to your smartphone needs, Verizon's Droid Maxx has also received the same Developer Edition treatment and is similarly priced at $649.99.
Aug 31, 2013
As if the Moto X wasn't already one of the best options for US Android phone buyers, Google's own-brand phone is now rumored to be fated for a price cut as well. Prolific leaker evleaks has just tweeted his prognostication that the Moto X will fall to $100 on contract — presumably across all carriers, it's presently available for $199.99 on AT&T and Verizon— before the end of this year. Furthermore, he puts a $50 price on the wooden back options that everyone's been hankering for since the X's announcement, and throws in a picture of four different variants.Read Article >
The X has only just spread its wings from its AT&T start with Verizon availability and is expected to very soon be available on all American carriers. That's all well and good for the United States, however international fans of the phone will have to remain sideline observers for now — Motorola itself told The Verge that it has no plans for releasing the Moto X in Europe.
Aug 28, 2013
Motorola is advertising the Moto X as the first smartphone ever assembled in the United States, and that comes at a cost. Analysts at market intelligence firm IHS estimate that the cost of domestic assembly might add a $4–$5 premium to the price of every smartphone. The company told All Things D that the phone costs roughly $221 to build based on a preliminary cost estimate, of which Motorola might be spending as much as $12 on manufacturing alone. IHS says that phones produced in Asia typically cost a good bit less to manufacture. For instance, IHS previously estimated that the Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $8.50 for manufacturing, and the iPhone 5 just $8.00.Read Article >
Aug 16, 2013
AT&T will begin sales of the eagerly anticipated Moto X just one week from today on August 23rd. Both the black and white versions of Motorola's new flagship will be available in stores and online, though we presume online buyers may opt for a bit more personalization. You'll be able to place orders through Moto Maker on the same date. The 16GB Moto X will run you $199.99, with the 32GB variant priced at $249.99 — both with new two-year agreements, naturally. A few "lucky customers" who registered their interest at AT&T's website will be able to place an order ahead of the general public beginning August 19th.Read Article >
Aug 16, 2013
Motorola has made a big deal out of its customizable Moto Maker feature for the Moto X. There are 18 different backplates, 504 different combinations and, finally, an engraving feature that lets you write anything you want on the back. Well, almost anything. If you try to something nasty like, "Fuck Russell Brandom," then you'll get a polite but firm refusal: "We'd rather you not say that," the site tells you. "How about another try?" (I sympathize.)Read Article >
Aug 2, 2013Read Article >
The Moto X is finally here after months of anticipation, but not every carrier is committed to the new smartphone. T-Mobile, one of the five US carriers that Motorola said would support the Moto X, won't be carrying any stock of the device in stores. Additionally, customers won't be able to place an order for the smartphone from T-Mobile locations, either. Instead, T-Mobile customers will need to purchase the Moto X from Motorola's website. The news comes from T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert, who told All Things D: "We do not plan to stock Moto X devices immediately in our stores but are working closely with Motorola to make the Moto X a great experience for T-Mobile customers. Any news about distribution in our stores would come at a later date." It's unclear why the carrier is taking a different approach, and it remains unknown how much the Moto X will cost T-Mobile customers. The carrier no longer uses traditional contracts, and instead offers phones for a down payment plus a fee for 24 months.
The Moto X has finally been revealed and although it’s the first phone that truly reflects the new company’s post-Google philosophies, it’s thoroughly a Motorola phone, not a Google phone. It’s not running the latest version of Android, it’s being sold in partnership with the carriers, and it’s priced like a traditional smartphone instead of as a low-cost Nexus. It could be disruptive, but it’s more likely to stake out a middle road. Motorola insists that it’s just another phone maker to Google.Read Article >
Now that we know what the Moto X is — and more importantly what it isn’t — we can say pretty definitively that for the time being, the job of pushing Android forward falls to the same people it always has: Google’s Android team and the Nexus program. Both are paradoxical and always have been. Android is open source and despite Google’s best efforts, fragmented at both the device and software level. The Nexus program has always seemed more like a vanity project for diehard Android fans than a genuine attempt at dominating the smartphone market.
Both Motorola and Google have steadfastly maintained that, even though it's owned by Google, the phone maker is treated just like any other Android manufacturer. That sentiment apparently undersells some of the divisions between the two, according to a report at The Wall Street Journal. As we learned earlier today, the Moto X doesn't ship with the latest version of Android, and the WSJ cites the usual "people familiar with the matter" who claim that a chilly relationship was part of the reason. "It's not like we were equally disadvantaged—we were more disadvantaged," an ex-Motorola employee told the publication.Read Article >
Some of the tensions reportedly centered on ex-Android chief Andy Rubin, who is said to have "opposed embracing Motorola more closely." Other tensions apparently fell along fault-lines within Google that we've heard about before, namely that Motorola was reportedly concerned that it wouldn't be able to ship with the Chrome web browser preinstalled. The Android team is said to have not returned Motorola emails and generally kept a chilly distance that apparently wasn't fully resolved until Sundar Pichai took over the Android division.
Aug 1, 2013
After the formal launch of the Moto X today, Motorola's first true flagship phone as a Google-owned company, the hardware maker decided to tweet just one thing — "Yep. We've got wood." The tweet was partly a nod to the coming option for a wooden backplate, but mostly it was an off-color attempt to be edgy with a penis joke. After a couple hours, and after being called out on Twitter and Gizmodo for the crude approach, Motorola pulled a 180. The company took down the original tweet and replaced it with something much simpler: "Yep. It's here, w/ more than 2,000 combos."Read Article >
Aug 1, 2013
The Moto X isn't a one-size-fits-all smartphone, and that's not just because there are 504 different color combinations. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside told CNET that "Moto X" doesn't just refer to the handset announced today, but a whole new brand for Motorola, with a family of new devices on the way. That's good, because Motorola may not be bringing the existing Moto X to Europe.Read Article >
Aug 1, 2013
Motorola’s long-rumored Moto X smartphone has finally appeared. It’s a slick looking device with hundreds of color options that can constantly listen for voice commands and subtly wake up portions of its display to reveal notifications. The Moto X is supposed to be Motorola’s first big step toward making a smartphone under Google’s influence. It looks great, but with mid-range specs, the question remains as to whether it’ll be able to stand up to Apple’s iPhone and the great Android devices already on the market.Read Article >
The Moto X immediately falls just a bit short of the latest and greatest by virtue of its display. At 4.7-inches, its 720p resolution should by all means look great, but it certainly can’t stand up against the pixel dense 1080p displays on the equally sized One and the slightly larger Galaxy S4. Even so, the Moto X is on par with the rest of the field — it just won't be able to show every glorious HD pixel of your favorite movie or TV show.
Aug 1, 2013
Five major US carriers will sell the new Moto X when it comes out later this year, but those who want a truly pure and unlocked version of Motorola's latest will be glad to hear that Google will be selling the device as well. Yes, there will be a Google Play edition of the Moto X. Like the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One before it, Moto X devices bought directly from Google will be unlocked and will run a completely stock version of Android. Perhaps most importantly, the Google Play edition of the Moto X will get updates before models purchased directly from a carrier.Read Article >
Considering the Moto X is the first Motorola phone built and designed entirely under Google's watch, many may be wondering why a Google Play edition of the Moto X is even necessary. After all, the device doesn't use a skin like the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that carriers aren't tinkering with versions of the smartphone that they sell. The Verizon Wireless Moto X, for example, is pre-loaded with a number of apps, including NFL Mobile, VZ Navigator, Verizon Tones, a voicemail app, a caller ID app, and a setup wizard. The device also has a Verizon Wireless logo on the back, and the phone checks with the carrier to see if tethering is enabled on your account before letting you share your internet connection.
Aug 1, 2013
The new Moto X is coming to every major carrier in the United States. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will all be offering the handset starting at $199.99 on contract, with smaller provider US Cellular also planning to include Moto X in its lineup. The $199.99 price tag gets you a Moto X with 16GB of storage; select carriers will also sell a 32GB model at a higher premium. (AT&T has priced it at $249.99.)Read Article >
Here's the bad news: while its rivals will all be carrying the phone, AT&T has managed to land a huge exclusive. At launch, it's the only US carrier where you'll be able to customize the Moto X's physical design. Placing a web order through Moto Maker allows AT&T subscribers to choose one of two colors for the phone's front casing, and pick between a total of 16 options for the back. Color customization also extends to the volume rocker, power button, and camera ring. And buyers can even have their name or a short message engraved on the Moto X. In store, things work a bit differently. AT&T is only carrying black and white at its retail locations, but you can order the phone and take home a redemption card to customize your device before it ships.
Aug 1, 2013
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?Read Article >
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.