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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Say hello to Motorola's new Moto X

The phone's price and its lackluster features will hamper Motorola's efforts to return to profitability, said Gillis.

"Motorola has been in the money-losing club and clearly they want to stay there," he said.

Since it bought Motorola, Google has promised that it would rationalize the company's phone range, which included as many as 45 phones in 2011. Along with the Moto X and three Motorola Droid phones, Motorola will likely have just one more phone launch this year, said Rick Osterloh, Motorola's vice president.

A Motorola spokesman told Reuters that the next phone would be less expensive than the Moto X.

Analysts also noted that the Moto X does not include the newest version of Android, the mobile operating system software that Google gives away for free and which is featured on three out of every four smartphones sold worldwide.

Google must walk a fine line in its ownership of Motorola, to make sure that other phone vendors that use its Android software - including Samsung - do not feel that Motorola receives preferential treatment.

Motorola, which Google runs as a separate company, does not get early access to new versions of Android, a spokesman said, noting that the newer 4.3 version of Android was only made available last week.

Google primarily makes money off of Android from online advertising when consumers access its services on Android-powered devices.

Rick Osterloh, Motorola's vice president for product management, said consumers have shown that they are interested in putting their personal stamp on a phone, seen in the popularity of phone cases featuring various colors and sparkly surfaces.

Motorola is still working out which wood to use, he said. Aside from cosmetic concerns, the decision will have technology ramifications because different woods "respond differently" to radio signals.

In addition to industrial design changes such as a curved back and the choice of colors, the phone's key features found in its camera and a voice-activated user interface are the same as what Motorola introduced in its line-up of new Droid devices last week.

Motorola said that Moto X would become available in Canada and Latin America as well as the United States around the same time.

Motorola said it has yet to establish a price for customers who want to pay the full retail price without signing a contract.

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