Motorola bets on customization features with $199 Moto X

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?


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.


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

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  • Wow...

    So Google and Motorola are going to revolutionize the smartphone with the X.

    Because I can get it pink with purple swirls and "Rock and Roll All Nite" engraved on the back.


    I'd rather have an S4 or HTC One or iPhone 5. They are equal or better, and I can walk out with it. Otherwise, if I want it now Moto X is the same as the others (even a Nexus version would be equal or better). And I want to talk to someone else via my phone, I don't want to talk to my phone (sorry, Siri).

    Maybe we'd get better stuff it the tech press and bloggers would do a little less sniffing of Google's, well, Google...!
    • Hmm

      Yea seems like a Razr HD with a different cover. Not bad, but not new. You could just get last year's HD and be set. Actaully I'll stick to my MAXX HD. Great phone.
      • Motorola never again

        20 years ago motorola had a good name and products. I have had 2 motorola cell phones, they were both junk. The last was a android X, the touch screen was horrible, it would lock up halfway through a phone number. You had to shut it off restart it and start over. Wont ever have another Motorola product.
        • Agreed

          I bought the Motorola Triumph last year and two weeks later the screen went black. Had it replaced and that screen went black in two days. Now I have the moto razr M and not satisfied with the freezing up. And the screen went black 6 months after getting it. I take very good care of my phones and never toss or drop them. Nice specs but not worth the hype at all.
          Anti Fanboy
    • you may want to sound sarcastic

      but being unable to choose your phone by looks is boring. just a few models have something that you can call "design" and what if none of these is up to your taste? we had much more choice in the age of "mobile phones" (not smartphones). although color alone doesnt solve this, of course
      • or you can just put ...

        OR you can just put rhinestones, beeds, and jewels all over it like some fashion faux pas.

        Although.. you might tell where my head was.. I saw the title and thought .. holysh*t did someone finally come out and give us a phone where EVERY application can be uninstalled, or could customize much more easily and as we'd want to .. rather than hack crack and root the phones like we are forced to now?

        As for the outside .. skins were created for a reason. Making skins better and cleaner to install and remove.. should actually be the goal of the phone makers..
    • Apple

      Or you could go with the wild new apple innovation where they change the background color and the shapes of the icons and call it a new model.
    • Revolutionize the smartphone? Seriously!?

      How exactly is coming out with a brand new phone using Android 4.2.2 instead of 4.3 revolutionary? It's absolutely unbelievable to me that Motorola is not installing Jelly Bean on it's new phone and it even more unbelievable that Google is not using Motorola to produce it's Nexus 7 phone.

      What a joke this acquisition has turned out to be.
      Cl Reply
      • Re: t Motorola is not installing Jelly Bean on it's new phone

        4.2.2 is Jelly Bean too.
  • What is...

    ... the off contract price. The way this phone could have been interesting (given its adequate but not so hot specs) is if it was very cheap off contract. There was speculation it would be $225 off contract.
    • Exactly

      I think we should be past listing contract prices for phones these days... Off contract pricing is what needs to be listed.
      • Off Contract Pricing

        I agree. I am only interested in off contract pricing.

        In two months I will have 3 phones "off contract" with big V. No more contracts for me because these clowns think I am stupid enough to continue to pay monthly rates that are priced to include amortization of the phones.

        My Droid Bionics are near two years old and still work just fine with Android 4.1. I of course would like new phones, but under no circumstances will I lock into another contract.
  • Big deal - You still need a case

    You still need a case to protect the delicate screen from shattering should you drop it, so who's going to see the customizations?

    I'm on my 3rd DROID RAZR MAXX, with it's precious Kevlar.

    Make a phone out of rubber, that would be a step in a useful direction for phones that don't break so easily.
    • Cases

      What in the world are you doing with your phones? I've carried phones in my pocket, completely unprotected, for years and never had one break. Yes, I've even dropped them a few times.
      • Obviously not a large screen smartphone

        If you've ever dropped a current smartphone, you'd understand.

        I accidentally dropped a Palm Trio off of a 2nd story balcony onto a concrete slab. It broke into pieces... which I was able to simply snap back together and it was good as new (with a minor dent). My original DROID has a series of dents and scratches, but is still functional.

        I've dropped my DROID RAZR MAXX 3 times in the past almost two years; each time, the screen shattered. Luckily, insurance covered the first two.

        I know lots of people who have shattered their Galaxy or iPhone screens simply by dropping them.

        Come on, they're thin, light, slippery little devices; you'd have to be a ninja never to drop one.
      • I wonder the same myself

        But, some folks are careful with their stuff, many are not. Just check the used phone sale ads on Craigslist to see how abusive some folks are with their phones.
  • Soooo....

    Saw another site says $650 for the 32gb phone off contract. Customization only on ATT contract. Last year's tech at this year's prices. Way to go Moto. Would have bought for $300ish off contract.
  • Not listed features

    I'm sure it does not have a SD card slot or it would have been touted. Missing from the article is 50 GB free for 2 years on Google Drive. I guess that's something although I'd much prefer the SD card. Motorola's website says the Wi-Fi is dual band 802.11n and it has LTE.
    • google drive SD card slot

      Google drive is no substitute for an SD slot. Google drive requires an internet connection, so you are stuck if there is no service and when there is service you are paying to access your data. Not to mention that now your data is on someone else's server.
  • 'Ullo, John! Got A New Moto?

    I just came here to say that.

    (With apologies to Alexei Sayle.)