Moto X's four fatal flaws

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.

TOPICS: Apple, Android, Google, iOS, iPhone
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

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  • Amazing for you to admit this, I like it

    "$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."

    So a $199 (with 2 year contract) phone with 720p and no SD card slot is expensive and is not a super-premium device?

    Yikes, imagine how bad a $199 (with 2 year contract) phone with WORSE than 720p (like, for exampe, 640p) and no SD card slot would be, if such a phone existed?

    Oh wait.
    • But I thought Apple products were overpriced and expensive...

      ...compared to Android phones.

      In other words, its not better than a phone released almost an entire year ago, and its also no cheaper than said phone.

      The X is a perfectly fine product, no doubt, but nothing to get excited about. Its just another me-too phone.

      I also thought that Google was leading the way, at least that is what you said a few days ago...
      • Except it IS better than iphone

        It has better resolution.

        But, okay, let's take you at your word. When the iphone 5S/C/6 comes out with an SD card slot and at least 720p for no more than $199 (with 2 year contract) then you will have made your point.

        If I were a betting man however, I would feel VERY comfortable making a BIG bet that the next iphone will have the same resolution, no SD slot, and be at the same price, making it WORSE than a phone that even an apple fanboy like Jason has just said is super expensive but not super premium. AND apple will have released it months AFTER the Moto X making it even worse.

        I know if I was limited to only buying the Moto X or the iphone, I'd buy the Moto X, it is far better than the iphone.
        • Oh Please

          Anyone who reads this site knows you'd choose ANYTHING over an iProduct so your discussion is meaningless.
          • Let's follow this logic

            Since anyone who reads this site knows you'd choose ANYTHING over a Microsoft product, any of your posts regarding Microsoft are now meaningless?

            Actually, that does work.
          • MS

            I have not express one system over another. I frequently use MS daily. So your opinion is still invalid.
        • It does not have better resolution

          It has a larger screen size. That is like saying a 15" laptop is better than a 13" laptop.

          The moto x has a 316ppi display while the iphone5 has a 326ppi display. So actually the iphone has better resolution. The iphone5 screen is also better with colors, as the amoled screen used for X has issues from what most reviewers say.

          In addition, the iphone5 is physically smaller and lighter, which to most people, is better.

          I would also bet that the next iphone will not have a SD slot, no iOS devices does or probably ever will.
          • Logic

            Yoshi, please don't try to use logic on one of the MS stooges (Curly I think he is). It won't work.
          • if by "it" you mean the iPhone 5

            The Moto X has a screen with a resolution of 1280x720 while the iPhone 5 has a screen with a resolution of 640 × 1136. That's what "resolution" means. So you're wrong and the Moto X has better resolution.

            In addition, the iPhone 5 has a smaller screen, which to most people, is worse.

            I would also bet that the next iphone will not have a SD slot, no iOS devices does or probably ever will, which is yet another reason they are worse than many comparably priced Android devices such as the Galaxy S4
          • Its a tough trade off

            People seem to like bigger screens but smaller phones.

            I would certainly like a bigger screen than my iphone 4S has, but I don't want a larger, bulkier phone to carry around.

            We need some Doctor Who technology here!
          • Also prefer smaller phone

            The iPhone is large enough for me for a mobile device that you carry around all the time that I can use with one hand comfortably. However, a bigger screen will be nice - yes Doctor Who technology.. :)
          • Tell this to Jason

            Let's ignore the fact that you are wrong about resolution (gillonba properly educated you on this topic). But, I'm happy that you brought up pixel density because my Nokia Lumia 920 has a higher resolution AND a higher pixel density (332ppi which, in case you need to be reminded, is BETTER than the iphone's 326ppi).

            Jason is the one who compared resolutions. Jason is the one who said that this phone was only 720p and that prevented it from being a super premium phone. Jason didn't say anything about pixel density or AMOLED.

            The iphone is NOT a super premium phone. It is typically at the middle to low end of phones.
          • My Bad

            I mixed up density with resolution!
          • Flaws??

            1. The X outperforms the GS4 (the fastest clocked Android) in 70% of tests and has real cool features (voice, battery & customization) that aren't just gimmicky. Regardless of all that he says it's not a premium device and not worth $199, but the IP5, BB Q10 and Droid Ultra are?

            2. The X has been in development for months and Android 4.3 just came out, so how on earth is Motorola gonna have time to upgrade their skin in 2 weeks?! Pandora and Hulu haven't even upgraded to Chrome Cast yet but upgrading an entire OS should've been done by Aug 1st? Oh, and carriers have to test & approve OS changes.

            3. Every phone bought from a carrier has bloat. This is a Motorola device not a Nexus.

            4. The bootloader is only locked with Verizon and At&t. Unfortunate but that's why those people have XDA. This isn't Motorola's fault though. Blame your carrier.

            5. This is a legit complaint. Why they made this deal at all is unclear but I hope the exclusivity to Moto Maker ends within a few weeks.

            The X is a serious entry that could change how we all use smartphones in the future just like the Note & iPhone changed things.
            Sim Lash
    • holy crap

      i had no idea different people liked different products. all this pointless arguing back and forth about which is "better" is ridiculous. people have their preferences and always will
      Kyle Maune
    • I Completely Agree with Jason...

      From the processor, to the screen resolution, to the OS (4.2.2 instead of 4.3) the Moto X was a complete let down. The Moto X could of and should have been a pure Android device aka Nexus, but instead it's another over hyped smartphone that doesn't live up to consumer expectations.

      How can any company release a "new" phone and not include the latest hardware and software is beyond. Especially in a market as competitive as the smartphone market is. Motorola really needs to get it's act together and that means firing people making decisions to use outdated components.
      Cl Reply
  • You forgot 2

    No microSD card
    No removable battery
    • Re: You forgot 2

      Yep. No microSD card slot is a deal breaker for me.

      And the fact that the THREE newest, & yet to be released, Droid phones do not have any SD slots either is just plain dumb.

      Not being able to change batteries is annoying as well. The only possible solution is the "Maxx" Series of Droid phones, which do have fantastic battery life. I have been using a Droid Razr Maxx for a year or so, and find it has acceptable battery life, and I use a LOT of data per day.

      Just earlier today, I purchased a Droid Razr Maxx HD phone, and it will probably be with me for many years to come, as it is the last (right now) Droid Maxx phone to have an SD slot.

      No Moto X in my future.
      • You "use a lot of data per day"??

        What does SD card have to do with you using a lot of data every day?

        I wish they would've put an SD card as well but I guess Google influenced them. At least they're giving you 50GB of Drive storage with the phone. People will just have to put less movies or TV shows on their device. With LTE it's certainly possible to stream more especially if you have Sprint or T-Mobile.
        Sim Lash
  • er

    BONUS 6) It's not made by Apple.

    Which is a good enough reason for calling it crap for Jason (what's the weather like, I can't tell with my head up Apple's rectum) O'Grady.