Those waiting for a non-carrier edition of the Moto X in Google Play might be wondering: Will the phone lose all of the features that make it unique because it runs a pure version of Android? My gut says probably not because there’s a precedent here with the HTC One Google Experience phone and some chatter from Leo Laporte on This Week on Google.
So far, there are only two Google Experience phones in the Play Store: The Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One. Both are the same hardware as the carrier-branded versions but they run a stock version of Android: No skins or additional software, just like the Nexus devices.
That means the Touchless Controls, Active Display and Quick Capture features of the Moto X won’t be in that phone when it hits the Play Store, right? Not necessarily.
All of those features are tied to hardware in some way; they’re not pure software bits. The same holds true for the IR-blaster in the HTC One, which is present in the Google Play phone. Beats Audio is also still part of the phone’s software as well. So there’s obviously some leeway between a “pure” Android phone and the Google Experience handsets.
Last week’s This Week in Google podcast touched upon this topic as well, with Leo Laporte saying the phone will keep its “extra” enhancements, per Phone Arena. Laporte’s source is Guy Kawasaki, an evangelist for the Moto X that’s likely in the know.
Clearly, until there’s an official announcement, this is all speculation or an educated guess. But the Moto X without its “special sauce” won’t be a Moto X in my opinion. There wouldn’t be much of a point to selling it directly to consumers without the features that are innovative and useful, even if the price was greatly reduced.