WSJ: Google, Motorola challenging Apple, Samsung with 'X phone'

WSJ: Google, Motorola challenging Apple, Samsung with 'X phone'

Summary: Google's strategy for Motorola Mobility is beginning to unfold as reports of a "marquee handset" is on the way.


Google is in the midst of designing a brand new smartphone that is said to "rival" anything coming from mobile giants Apple and Samsung, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In a report on Friday, engineers at now Google-owned Motorola Mobility are developing what is being referred internally to as the "X phone."

Based on information from "people familiar with the matter," Google's strategy for Motorola Mobility appears to revolve around the following points:

  • The X phone is intended to be a "marquee handset," and it will "stand apart from existing phones."
  • Motorola is primarily developing mobile phones for Verizon Wireless (mostly for the Droid brand).
  • Motorola will follow up with new "X tablet" later.

However, the WSJ did also note that the Motorola team is running into some major obstacles before anything can be officially announced -- let alone released.

Here's an example:

For the X phone, an initiative being led by former Google product manager Lior Ron who specialized in mapping, Motorola wanted top-notch features for the phone's camera and photo software, such as better color saturation and the ability to take panoramic shots, two people familiar with the situation said. But some of the features were found to drain battery life or already have been incorporated into popular new devices, such as the iPhone 5 that launched earlier this year, they added.

Motorola also ran into difficulties when it looked into using a bendable screen and materials such as ceramics that would allow the company to make the X Phone more stress resistant, use more colors and mold into different shapes, these people said.

Nevertheless, these moves (if true) are made even more interesting (not to mention complicated) given that Samsung is a major OEM partner within the Android ecosystem. Google has also partnered directly with Samsung on past mobile devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus.

When Google originally made its $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility, there was some skepticism and worry from analysts and manufacturers about how this would affect the OEM partnerships.

Google has tried to downplay any fears, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Google is obviously going to direct most of its resources and innovation towards Motorola over other OEM partners -- even one as powerful and important as Samsung.

Topics: Google, Apple, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones

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  • what gives

    i thought nexus was the google phone that was supposed to challenge apple, samsung, htc etc.
    • nexus

      google said the purpose of the nexus phone was to get the newest version of google into developers hands. they have never been big sellers.
      • There were many claims in the past, yet nothing was big time success

        But let's see
        • Re: yet nothing was big time success

          The Asus Nexus 7 has been a big enough success to panic Apple into rushing out its overpriced, underperforming Ipad Mini.
          • I've tried both

            And I can say that without a doubt the iPad Mini is a superior tablet (screen size, display (colour ratio, brightness), battery life and apps), weight and width. The only area it falls down in is price BUT given the benefits who cares about the extra $70.
          • Re: who cares about the extra $70.

            Not the lucky few, I guess, who were fortunate enough to escape the effects of the current financial crisis.
          • Why are you so threatened

            By the iPad mini? Why so scared?
    • Well

      The only Nexus that was sold locally was the Galaxy Nexus and the dispute with the Carriers over the LTE software keys pretty much killed that and pushed it back to the Google Play store and GSM alone.

      The Galaxy Nexus did sell well, and it was a nice phone but, typical of Samsung, they gimped things like the Camera to sabotage the sales.

      Google is smart to put this pressure on them and get a top performing device out on the Market.
  • Is anyone but Verizon keeping Motorola alive?

    I cant remember the last time I saw a moto out in the wild.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Moto no more..

      While my title is misleading, I've seen two. My cousin, as well as a co-worker both have a Moto Droid Razr. It's a beautiful phone, and if it weren't for the Galaxy Note II that I longed for, and recently just purchased, I'd of considered.. a Galaxy SIII.
    • Yes

      AT&T has a few phones as well.
    • The Motorola Razr Maxx HD

      Is a killer looking device... then again it is on VZW.
  • Google can't keep a secret.

    If Google is building a superphone, then it should keep that a secret, just like Apple keeps its future products a secret.

    The fact that this Project X superphone plan has leaked out means there is someone within Google who is willing to leak stuff to the Wall Street Journal. A leaker can't be a good thing.
    • Wrong idea .... this is an official leak

      Google is just trying to bring hype in the hopes that people will stop buying other smartphones (on contract) before they have the chance to release theirs.

      And given Google's horrendous record when it comes to releasing anything, I would not hold my breath thinking that is going to be anything better than average.

      Just look at the record: .... Nexus ..... Q .... Google Glass ... Google TV ... ChromeOS ... etc. All of them were nothing special and a few were beyond mediocre.
      • Huh?

        Google Glass is cool and has been released to Devs last year.

        Google TV is great and I don't know why you continue to spread this about products you haven't used. Oh and LG has "The Google TV" on store shelves, where is that Apple TV?

        Chrome OS is starting to attract attention for their Laptops.

        Nexus Q had some nice features but, then wanted more and scrapped it before it was released.

        Either way, they do typically release what they say they are going to when they say they are going to.
        • Sure .... to fanboy idiots a mediocre product is good

          Google Glass cool?? It is a me-too product. Nothing new. Multiple Japanese companies had released similar products ... and nobody is buying.

          GoogleTV is GARBAGE. It has being GARBAGE since it was release. Just ask Logitech and Samsung.

          ChromeOS is a total failure. Anybody who thinks it is a success is an delusional. It has being more of a failure than WP7, in fact, it is about the same level of failure as the Kin.

          Nexus Q after all the Google hype turned out to be a mediocre me-too, too late to the game product that was CANCELED before they even released 1 unit.

          Google has NEVER delivered anywhere near the hype and claims.
        • Google TV

          Pretty much a failure up to date....may change one day.

          Apple TV basically being sold everywhere but in small numbers.
  • chromebook for android?

    Similar to the Ubuntu for Android concept, perhaps the Linux-based Google Chrome OS could be made to work on a phone running Android, which would turn the phone into a Chromebook-like desktop when the phone is inserted into a dock. That would be more interesting & useful to me than a bendable phone.
  • X Phone

    More mediocre Google stuff. Best phone on the market to date is the Motorola DNA.