Moto X's four fatal flaws

Summary:The mythical smartphone and supposed answer to the iPhone is finally out and it's a dud. Here are four reasons why the Moto X could crash and burn.

Moto X's four fatal flaws - Jason O'Grady

Let me start out by saying that despite the name of this blog, and my long affiliation with Apple products, I was looking forward to the Moto X as much as anyone. I recently got Google Glass, switched to Google+ (mostly) and generally been drinking the Google Kool-Aid of late. 

Although an iPhone 5 is my daily driver, I've always been an Android user and don't travel too far without bringing my trusty Droid-of-the-moment with me. For starters, the MyGlass app is only available on Android (as is Google Music) and the Google Plus app doesn't work on iOS 7 betas 1-4. 

Disclosures aside, I really, really wanted to love the Moto X. Everything about it sounded sweet in the buildup to the heir apparent to the Jesus-phone: made in the USA, $199 off contract, latest Android, customizable, yadda. 

The problem is that, except for the "assembled in the USA" and "customizable" parts, the Moto X announced yesterday bears little resemblance to the phone that was being rumored. And it's mostly a disappointment. 

Here are four fatal flaws of the Moto X:

1) Price

$199 with a two-year contract? Pfft. That's super expensive, for what is by most accounts a mid-level Android phone. And I'm being kind here. There are tons of people calling its 720p screen and lack of an SD card slot "last year's technology." I'm not quite in that camp, but it's not a super-premium device. What's worse is that there's no unlocked Google Play Edition initially (it's supposedly "coming soon") and the price is on track for the $600-700 stratosphere. UPDATE: AT&T tells The Verge that the full off-contract retail price for the 16GB and 32GB Moto X will be $575 and $630, respectively. Yikes.

2) Android 4.2.2

After all the hype around Android 4.3 last week the Moto X ships with Android 4.2.2. Although it was promised to get an upgrade to Android 4.3 "soon" it will be when the carriers are good and ready and finished packing it with custom apps like Verizon Tone Manager. Speaking of which...

3) Carrier Bloatware

The Moto X is going to ship with tons of crap from the carriers. Verizon will be bulking up the Moto X with its famous bloatware, including Caller Name ID, Mobile Hotspot, NFL Mobile, QuickOffice, Verizon Tones, Voicemail, Setup, My Verizon, and VZ Navigator. I wonder if you'll be able to delete all the cruft? Don't plan on rooting it right away either, because of the...

4) Locked bootloader

Moto X will ship with its bootloader locked, although it's not clear if it's also encrypted. If it is, users won't be able to unlock it to load custom software of any sort. The device will be restricted to running software ROMs provided by the manufacturer. A SIM unlocked version of the Moto X is "in the works," however it will be specific to AT&T’s LTE. Google has not said whether there would be an bootloader-unlocked developer edition, but there is a Google Play version "in the works." (There's a good discussion of bootloaders here).

BONUS: 5) It's only customizable on AT&T

Remember all the hype around Moto X's "customizability?" Well, you better like AT&T, because it paid for the exclusive ability to do that. Everyone else can choose black or white. But don't worry, Motorola says other carriers will offer customizable hardware "later this year." Gobble, gobble .

Again, I wanted to love the Moto X. I had my credit card out and ready to roll, but now I'm not sure. Honestly, I'd rather wait a week or two for the next Samsung, LG or HTC hotness to come along.

The Moto X is a serious disappointment. 

What's your take on the Moto X?

Topics: Apple, Android, Google, iOS, iPhone

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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