Moto X: Is it the start of Google's hardware era?

Summary:Moto X, to be unveiled to a select group in New York City, is designed to show the art of the possible when Android, hardware and cloud services blend together. Can Google-Motorola develop hardware mojo?

Google's Motorola unit on Thursday will unveil its Moto X, a smartphone that appears to be the first device that shows the mashup between the search giant, Android and the company that was largely acquired for patents.

Executives at Google have repeatedly said that they needed time to rightsize Motorola, work through the old product pipeline and get to the new stuff. In some cases, Google execs sounded like they were making excuses for Motorola's performance. Judging by the marketing noise, leaks and plugs for customized hardware, Google is jazzed about the Moto X .

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Google acquired Motorola almost two years ago in a move to protect Android from patent lawsuits. Since then Google has offloaded manufacturing operations, sold a set-top box business and retooled Motorola's logo. Based on previous calculations , Google acquired either Motorola's patents or handset business for minimal cost.

Moto X, to be unveiled to a select group in New York City, is designed to show the art of the possible when Android, hardware and cloud services blend together.

The smartphone's specs---as have been leaked---are midrange, but there are some interesting perks. For instance, Moto X's Android will largely be pure. Moto X is also supposed to have voice commands. Sensors and customization are also key items to consider.

In some respects, Moto X looks like your everyday smartphone with a few features that may end up gimmicky. Time will tell if Google and Motorola can approach smartphone nirvana in the new era of the search giant's hardware efforts.

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Topics: Smartphones, Android, Bring Your Own Device, Google, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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