Google + Motorola = Moto X
The first smartphone born of Google’s marriage to Motorola was as hotly anticipated as the latest UK Royal baby. Let’s take a look at the coolness of the Moto X...
Review: The Motorola Moto X
A 100% Google phone, the Moto X was built to maximize the use and capabilities of Google services. Most smartphone use involves mail, maps, and search – things that Google does very well. Android smartphone developers have always thrown in Google apps because customers want them, but the hardware was not designed with Google in mind. The Moto X was. Accessing Google services has never been easier than it is on the Moto X.
“Touchless control” is another nifty feature, also known as “voice command.” Just say, “OK, Google now!” and the Moto X wakes up to do your verbal bidding. Obviously, this means the Moto X’s microphone is always on, and that may set your tin-foil hat to tingling. But it’s not recording or analyzing everything it hears; it’s simply activated by that one magic phrase. (I didn't try "OK, NSA now!" but it might be worth a shot.)
Google Now's voice command does just about everything that Apple’s Siri does: make phone calls, answer queries, get directions, schedule appointments, play (or identify) songs, etc. But Google Now has more knowledge than Siri. The former is able to draw upon Google’s vast wealth of data to become an uncannily competent personal assistant.
For example, Google Now can monitor traffic reports and alert you to wrap up a meeting early, giving you enough time to get to your next appointment. Motorola says you should be able to use the voice features from up to 15 feet away, but that will depend on the noise level of your surroundings.
You may never miss a photo op again with a Moto X. Just shake the phone to activate the camera app, aim, and touch any part of the screen to trigger the shutter. Motorola claims a “pocket to picture time” of 1.5 seconds, half the average of the completion.
Moto X: Looks and Specs
In your hand, the curved back of the Moto X is designed to put fit your palm. A custom designed battery fits into that space. Curved edges and a slightly thinner width than the Galaxy S4 should make this phone easier to manage, especially as a single-handed device.
The engine under the hood of the Moto X is made up of three components: The 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a quad-core Adreno 320 graphics GPU, and the X8 Mobile Computing System. Some call it an 8-core system, some say it's more accurately described as a six or quad-core animal. Setting aside the geeky trivia, the cool thing about all those cores, is that they're actually being used. The Moto X uses one core just for speech recognition, and other cores for specific tasks, so the user interface stays snappy.
Several improvements increase battery life. Notifications and the time of day are displayed dimly without waking up the phone, a feature of the AMOLED screen technology that allows for small areas of the screen to be turned ON or OFF independently. The super-low-power circuitry that listens for the words, “OK, Google Now” is another energy-conserving feature; it enables one of the phone’s processors to listen while the others sleep.
Motorola has tossed in a useful app, Motorola Connect, which works in conjunction with the Chrome browser on your desktop computer. Connect lets you see incoming text messages and reply to them with your "real" keyboard. You can also preview incoming calls to see who's calling, before scrambling for the phone in your purse or pocket. Motorola Connect works on the Moto X, Motorola DROID MINI, DROID Ultra, and DROID MAXX phones.
The Password Problem: Solved!
The Moto X has one feature that I find most compelling, and it's one that I hope all mobile devices eventually have. I insist on having password protection on my phone, because it carries so much personal data. But the downside is that I have to enter that screen lock password dozens of times every day. Hands-free authentication, which will be available after Moto X launches, will use optional RFID “buttons” that clip to users’ clothes, bags, or other accessories. The phone will remain locked unless it’s near you. You will also be able to program “safe zones” into the phone where it will unlock without the button, such as the interior of your car. Annoying problem solved!
When ordering a Moto X, users can customize the hardware with their choices of case colors; several species of wood veneer will also be available, and you can order optional matching headphones. Users can even choose what apps will be pre-installed on their phones. Each custom Moto X will be assembled in Texas and delivered within four days.
Moto X buyers will get nearly 100% pure Android 4.2.2, not a heavily modified version tweaked by OEM developers. Future Android updates will be easier, more frequent, and less likely to fail. Motorola is promising the Android 4.3 update "soon."
The Moto X is available now through AT&T (http://www.att.com/att/moto-x/?source=IC2Y0H0000000000L&wtExtndSource=moto-x) at a price of $199 with a 2-year contract. Leaks from Verizon indicate an August 23rd release date on that network. Other major carriers will be offering the Moto X shortly. But keep in mind that the carriers' retail stores are usually not the best place to buy a mobile phone. See my related article The Worst Place to Buy a Mobile Phone to learn where the best deals are usually found.
Your thoughts on the Moto X are welcome! Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Aug 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google + Motorola = Moto X (Posted: 6 Aug 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved