Motorola bets on customization features with $199 Moto X

Summary:The Moto X is here, and Motorola wants to make it your own -- in more ways than one. Are you impressed yet?

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After months of secrecy along with strategic hints dropped here and there, Motorola Mobility has finally unveiled what could be its saving grace -- or its last ditch effort.

The Moto X is here. Are you impressed yet?

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

Unveiled amid an invite-only event in New York City on Thursday afternoon, Motorola might be trying to separate the Moto X from the pack by touting each individual handset could be different.

That is, Motorola is betting big on the idea that today's consumers (especially Millenials) favor personalization when it comes to whatever they buy.

As promised weeks ago, customers have a rainbow of colors to choose from along with patterns and the option to engrave whatever they please.

At first glance, that doesn't seem like much. But Motorola is boasting that there are "more than 2,000 possible combinations" with hints of more design choices on the way.

So for consumers that really want to stand out from the crowd, the Moto X would be an ideal option.

Custom designs are promised to ship from Motorola's Texas facilities within four days of ordering.

But beyond that -- at least on paper -- the Moto X doesn't seem that much more different than other $199.99 contract smartphones coming out these days.

That's not necessarily a bad thing as the specs look decent and it's shipping from multiple carriers.

But the customization angle better play out for Motorola, or it could spell even worse things next time Google churns out an earnings report.

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Here's a rundown on the specs so you can judge for yourself:

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • 4.7-inch 720p (1,280 by 720 pixels) OLED screen
  • Qualcomm S4 Pro 1.7GHz dual-core processor
  • Adreno 320 quad-core graphics
  • 16GB and 32GB storage options (depends on carriers)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, nano-SIM card slot
  • Camera: 10-megapixel "Clear Pixel" RGBC sensor and LED flash
  • 2,200 mAh embedded battery
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • "Touchless Control," or voice commands for initiating calls, checking weather, getting directions, etc. (Operates similarly to Glass with "OK, Google" commands)
  • Available in black or white if customers forgo personalization

The 16GB Moto X will be sold for $199.99 with the signing of a two-year service agreement. A 32GB option will be available with AT&T for $249.99.

Motorola said five carriers will offer the device in the United States. But so far only AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have been confirmed.

Sprint is even offering a "lifetime guarantee" with this smartphone for new and existing customers. That entails unlimited talk time, text and data while on the Sprint network for the life of the line of service.

The Moto X will roll out first across the United States, Canada and Latin America starting in late August/early September.

In Canada, Moto X will be available in black or white exclusively to Rogers Wireless customers, starting at $189.99 with select two-year plans.

In another show of stepping up its customer service game, Motorola touted that buyers can redesign or return the Moto X within two weeks if they don't like it, with the note "no problem." California buyers have up to 30 days.

Images: Sarah Tew, CNET

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apps, Google, Smartphones

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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