Google’s hardware unit Motorola has dropped out of the specs race. That’s the big takeaway from the Moto X announcement as a smartphone with decidedly “mid-range” specs hopes to take on the Galaxy S4s, the HTC Ones and the iPhones of the world. So we don't have the highest resolution display nor the fastest processor on the planet. Despite this, the Moto X's hardware is supposedly good enough to deliver the best Android experience currently and is optimised to a point where the UI is reportedly lag-free. Will this be the way forward for smartphone makers or is the Moto X a minor anomaly in an age of quad-core, 1080p phablets?
2012 specs for a high-end 2013 phone. Will it work?
I'm completely sold on the Moto X and and it is on the top of my list to replace my ageing Galaxy Nexus. I loved the fact that Motorola didn't go crazy with the screen size of resolution. Don't get me wrong, we all salivate over a full HD smartphone display, but in reality, it's not really needed and there's no discernible difference between that and a 720p display as long as the pixel count is high. Another feature that I'm really kicked about is the unique way in which notifications are displayed, illuminating just parts of the AMOLED display. It's high time OEMs start taking advantage of the way AMOLEDs function and use it to their advantage. The two things that I'm a little disappointed about is the fact that there's no expandable memory and despite having such a close tie-in with Google, you still won't get the latest version of Android like the Nexus devices.
I completely agree with Motorola's philosophy that specs aren't everything and it is the user experience that really matters at the end of the day. Motorola seems to have a very good offering that defies today's trend of super-sized screens and crazy number of cores under the hood. While I am patiently waiting for the Moto X to hit our markets, I'm also keeping an eye out for the Nexus 5.
Ever since Google acquired Motorola at that whopping $12.5 billion price tag, tech enthusiasts have been waiting for the day when they would see this collaboration come out with something worthy of that heavy asking price. With the Moto X, Google finally has a device where it not only controls the software, but also the hardware (at least the internal components). It was a welcome change to read a phone launch, which did not talk much about pixels per inch, large screen size, 1080p displays, higher megapixel cameras – something which has become a norm with flagship phone launches these days. Moto X, at first glance, looks all about customising the look of your phone, what with numbers being thrown around – 18 back plate covers, 504 potential combinations to choose from (based on different customisations using Moto Maker, the online tool) and so on. It claims to have an octa-core processor, but technically speaking, there is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro along with a four-core Adreno 320 GPU and two dedicated processors for natural language processing (NLP) and contextual processing respectively.
I feel the Moto X is quite an interesting proposition. Some of you may crib about the older SoC having a dual-core processor, but honestly, how many of us use apps that completely exploit the four cores of a quad-core device (and we don’t mean benchmarking apps). With a dedicated always-on low-power NLP processor and Google Now, there are tremendous possibilities to further evolve personal assistance. Think of a future where Moto X is constantly monitoring your speech (even when you aren’t actively using your Moto X, it’s a phrase away from becoming active) and throws up relevant results using Google Now, just like currently it uses our online activities, emails and location to throw up results.
I like the idea Google has used to compartmentalise tasks to relevant processors, thereby not really needing a quad-core processor housing SoC. Sure we have had low power processors bundled with more powerful processors in a mobile device before, but never so specific.
Whether this innovation, or rather tweaking, will bring about real life performance improvements, only time will tell. But I am excited to see Google and Motorola attempting to do something different from competition.
Moto X has got my heart racing. I won't fault you for asking why. After all, it doesn't have a full HD display, nor is there the latest quad-core processor, a norm in most high-end phones these days. Indeed, it can be called the complete opposite of a regular Android high-end smartphone. But that's the allure of the Moto X. It's simple, has manageable dimensions (this thing is smaller than the Nexus 4 and even the 4.3-inch HTC One Mini) and there's a bunch of innovations without there being Motorola-branded bloatware. If the performance of the phone holds up over time, colour me sold (if there's ever an international model). The Moto X’s need-based innovation trumps the want-based cramming in of high-end components. The Moto X could be the blueprint for the Android smartphone industry, which is likely to see the market for high-end phones peak out in the next couple of years.
Google has shown the way to other manufacturers by focusing on experience rather than hardware. Sure, advances in hardware development have given us insanely-spec'd phones such as the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, but it’s still a great accomplishment to match the real-world performance of those phones in a smaller, less powerful package. Motorola and Google have had a lot of time to optimise the software for Moto X’s hardware and early reports indicate that the phone runs just as smoothly as any current Android flagship. So in a way, this is the closest that Google has come to Apple’s way of doing things – have just about enough horsepower and make it tick like clockwork.
Have your say. What do you think of Google's Moto X strategy?
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