Besides touting a “Made in America” approach for the Moto X smartphone, Motorola(s goog) suggested that the device will be the first phone you can design yourself. According to ABC News sources you can design your own Moto X, provided by “design” you mean you can pick the color, have it engraved or use a pre-installed custom wallpaper.
Color me not impressed if that’s all there is to the user-design aspect. Colors can easily be added with cases, which are often bought for phones to protect them. It’s not too difficult to install a wallpaper photo in this day and age, either. And as far as engraving? That might be appealing for some, but as someone who often sells old phones to offset the prices of new ones, I don’t want a handset with my name engraved on it.
Hopefully, there’s more to the Moto X strategy than this; frankly, I’m still confused by it just as much as I was last week when images and hardware specifications leaked. At that point, I saw a mid-range phone even though Motorola described Moto X as a flagship device. ABC is confirming my view with emphasis added by me:
“The phone will run Google’s Android operating system, and a version running Android 4.2.2 is currently being tested by carriers, including Verizon. People will be able to buy the mid-range phone via the web but also buy standard versions through carrier stores.”
Motorola has slowly headed towards irrelevance in the smartphone market after a promising start. Now that the company is owned by Google, I had hoped we’d see more of the innovation that Motorola is capable of. So far, however, everything points to just another Android phone in the Moto X because custom colors, wallpapers and engraving isn’t something that’s going to make the device stand out from the crowd in 2013.
ABC does reiterate some of what we heard before about the phone: It will smartly take advantage of the many internal sensors:
“The biggest tricks of the phone come with what Motorola has been doing with the hardware sensors, sources say. Instead of having to fumble to find the camera icon or button, users will be able to flick the phone to launch the camera. There are also added voice capabilities, which leverage Google’s advanced voice recognition technology. The phone is said to be smart enough to know when you are driving and will automatically launch the speakerphone function.”
These are all welcome features, but they’re not quite new; there are third-party Android apps that have done much of this in the past. In other words: They’re not particularly innovative enough for anyone to say, “Motorola is back!” Maybe I expected too much, but I’m still holding out for more.