It’s official: Dennis Woodside the CEO of Motorola Mobility has announced that the Moto X smartphone will arrive on the market “by October”. Right now, there is no profusion of details on the upcoming handset, but so far we do know that the Moto X is not the Nexus 5 which has been rumored but unconfirmed by Google, LG or any other partner. Dennis Woodside also mentioned other Motorola smartphones arriving in the same October time-frame. He did have one with him which could be an indication of readiness since executive don’t usually carry super-early engineering samples, but he declined showing it to the world yet. “It’s in my pocket, but I can’t show it to you” he said.
Moto X To Be Contextually Aware
This is the surprise news about Moto X, but what does “Contextually Aware” mean? Basically, the Moto X will use its array of sensors to be smarter than today’s handsets – that’s the idea. It knows when it is in your pocket, and it also knows if you’re driving or walking. This in itself is hardly “news”, since many current phones would have that capability. However, Motorola Mobility’s CEO hints that the sensors on the Moto X would be ON at all times, and they would use little power and *that* would make all the difference in the world. For context awareness to be truly useful, the sensors need to be working at all times so the smartphone can anticipate your needs… without killing the battery life.
Made in America
The upcoming Moto X will be “made” locally, in Texas, and that is a rare feat since nearly all high-end electronics is made in Asia, if not China. Over the years, it has been said that not only it is more cost-effective and efficient to build in Asia, but that the knowledge for those things has been “lost” in America and that this would be very difficult (or not competitive) do build these devices locally, especially in a cut-throat business like smartphones. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said “these jobs are not coming back”.
Building in China is not really a “must-have” step: LG manufactures a huge chunk of its smartphone in Korea, and both LG and Samsung have plants in China, but they are not “manufacturing contractors”: those plants are the property of those two Korean giants. Apple on the other hand relies on the manufacturing capability of companies like Foxconn which have demonstrated their ability to build to the highest quality standards with an amazing efficiency, although not without the occasional working conditions scandal.
If Motorola can build smartphones in the USA and do so competitively, this would hugely alter the perception of manufacturing. But this could also be a public relations coup as well – It’s too early to tell. We hope for the best, but let’s be realistic: some components will still be sourced from abroad, and Motorola has already said that chips would come from Taiwan and displays are from Korea. Still, the final assembly will be in Texas and may require up to 2000 people, which is not negligible at all.
Moto X = Moto XT smartphones at the FCC?
As of late, a number of Motorola smartphones codenamed “XT” have been spotted passing the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) administration, and it is not a big stretch to assume that they may just be the new phones that Motorola Mobility’s CEO mentioned today. At the moment nothing is certain, and this even seems a bit early for an October launch, but Since Motorola doesn’t launch a plethora of phones every year now, this may just be it.
Motorola/Google To Aim High
Given that “Google X” is quickly becoming “the stuff of legend”, it is fair to assume that the Moto X phone should be as innovative and should simply aim for the top spot where Samsung, Apple, LG and HTC are today. We will have to wait a little more for the details, but we do know that by October, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 will have landed onto the market. Based on recent models, my money is on Qualcomm, but this should be interesting either way. If it uses the S800 platform, Moto X should outperform the Galaxy S4 and possibly the iPhone that is said to be coming out in June, giving Apple a small window of opportunity to (maybe) lead.
The stage is set… and we will keep you posted about the inevitable leaks. Next steps: leaks, launch, hands-on and full-review. Excited?