Motorola covered the main compelling features of its Moto X handset during the product launch on Thursday, but I’m finding more little bits of goodness as I use the phone as my primary handset. A number of them could be — or already are — replicated through third-party applications. However, I like that Motorola took the time to integrate them natively. Aside from the Touchless Control, Active Display and Quick Capture camera tech, these additional tidbits should appeal to mainstream consumers.
1. Motorola Assist. This pre-loaded app helps the phone take advantage of its contextual smarts and currently helps manage three activities: Driving, Meeting and Sleeping. Note that these are all optional features, so don’t have to use them. After seeing what they do, however, I’ve enabled all three.
With Driving enabled, the phone uses its GPS to determine when you might be behind the wheel of a car. Assuming that you are, this function can read aloud incoming text messages automatically. It can also send an auto-reply in this situation. The only downside to me is that I could be a passenger, in which case I wouldn’t necessarily want these functions on. However, I see enough benefit here to keep it enabled.
There’s also a “Resume music play” setting in the Driving mode. Say you’re listening to tunes at home and have to leave. Turn this feature on and when you leave home, the handset can automatically connect to car’s Bluetooth radio and continue playing your music where you left off. Pretty handy.
Meeting mode works off of your Calendar events. When the phone sees you’re in a meeting, it can automatically silence the handset. You can allow Meeting mode to ring the phone or auto-text replies to favorite contacts or if anyone calls twice in a five-minute period.
The Sleeping mode is pretty simple but useful: It works just like Apple’s Do Not Disturb. You set your sleep time and the phone will stay quiet save for any exceptions such as call from Favorites or multiple calls from anyone in five minutes.
2. Motorola Connect. I recently touted an Android app called Android Desktop Notifications that pushes phone alerts to your desktop through the Chrome browser; that’s exactly what Motorola Connect is although only for certain notifications. You link your phone and your Chrome browser through an extension so you can get caller or text information when on your computer.
No need to pick up your phone for that data and you can also choose not to pick up the phone if you don’t want to take the call. You can also reply to text messages from your computer browser.
3. Motorola Migrate. Moving from an older Android phone to the Moto X? This app makes it easier. You actually install the app on your older phone and then scan a QR code from that app using the Moto X. You can also use NFC as the mechanism to “link” the old and new phones if your old Android supports NFC.
Once paired, the app will wirelessly move your photos, call and text history and videos from the old phone to the new one. If you keep contacts on your SIM, those too can be migrated. There’s no need to move other Google data since signing in on the new phone will pull that data down from the cloud. For average consumers, Migrate will be useful and simple.
4. A smart speaker. I don’t know for sure, but I strongly suspect that Motorola is using NXP’s solution for the Moto X loudspeaker. We wrote about it last year:
“Your next smartphone or tablet may have richer, deeper sound even with the small speakers usually found in such devices. On Tuesday, NXP Semiconductors introduced a new integrated circuit and algorithm that boasts five times more output power for sound. Even better, the sound boost won’t damage the speakers, claims NXP, because the chip uses a current-sensing amplifier to dynamically monitor and adjust for the speaker temperature and movement.”
This speaker is indeed loud.
That sounds familiar to me. And it takes away one of my reservations from potentially buying a Moto X over the HTC One Google Experience phone. The dual speakers of the HTC One are pretty nice, but with the Moto X speaker, I don’t feel like I’d be missing that.