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Could the rumored Motorola X Phone be Google’s solution to our smartphone problems?

Google MotorolaCheck out our full review of the Motorola Moto X smart phone.

Google has sparked further rumors it’s working with Motorola on a brand new smartphone, by discussing – in a roundabout way – some of its potential features during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

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CEO Larry Page talked briefly about Motorola, saying he was, “Excited about the business,” before going on to highlight some of the areas he felt needed improving in this, “multi-screen world.” The first was to extend the battery life on our smartphones, as, “We shouldn’t need to worry about constantly charging our phone,” while the second was on durability, as our devices shouldn’t, “go splat,” when they’re dropped. He concluded by saying “There is real potential to invent newer and better experiences.” Page called the team at Motorola, “World class,” and confirmed that it was already working on these opportunities, although it’s still early days.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility in May 2012, but has so far left the company to rollout its planned portfolio of devices, and has continued to work with companies such as Samsung and LG on its Nexus line. There have been rumors of a so-called Motorola X Phone for a while, so could Page have been hinting on the type of problems it’s trying to solve with the device?

Originally leaked through the Wall Street Journal, the Motorola X Phone was described as a flagship handset designed to compete with the iPhone and the Galaxy S3. Motorola was said to be working on extending the battery life and experimenting with making the phone more, “Stress resistant.” This certainly fits in with Page’s statement. Google is also a fan of using the letter X when referring to its cutting-edge projects, as evidenced by its X Labs, where Project Glass and its self-driving cars were born.

Motorola X Phone wishlist

Last week, discussion of the X Phone was reignited, when a (wish)list of features appeared on an Internet forum. It stated the Motorola X Phone would be the first device to use Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, but instead of it being a clean install of the OS, it would use a Motorola-designed UI that is intended to be, “Nexus-like.”

Like the Nexus 4, the X Phone could be sold through Google Play and with a contract through all major networks. A $299 on-contract price with Verizon was also suggested. Finally, a Google I/O announcement along with a July 8 release date was stated. None of this can be verified, and should be treated as pure speculation. In December, Larry Page told Fortune it would have been impossible to come up with a Motorola Nexus phone before that point, making the suggested announcement date sound somewhat realistic.

Later in Google’s earning call, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette took a moment to remind us it was only 180 days into its ownership of Motorola, a company he says is being, “reinvented,” and when it took over there were 12 to 18-months worth of products to get through. A year will be up this May; the same month Google I/O is scheduled to take place. There’s a chance it’s a coincidence, but it’s sounding more like the perfect opportunity to hold Motorola’s debutante ball as each day passes.

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Moto X vs. Droid Ultra: Google’s vision of Motorola versus Verizon’s
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Last week, Motorola made a big splash with Verizon subscribers by unveiling its new Droid lineup that would be handled by that carrier. Today, the company showed off what everyone else would be getting: The Moto X. The handset will be available on every major carrier in the United States and aims to be the device that is consider the best of the best as far as Android phones go. Is it giving us much different than what the Droid lineup already provides, or is it just another entry in the same vein but for those not on the Verizon network? We put the Moto X up against the top Droid devices to see how it stacks up in a spec showdown.


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Moto X Rumor Roundup: What we know about Motorola’s mystery phone
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Check out our full review of the Motorola Moto X smart phone.
It has been a long time since the tech world got all over excited about what promises to be a mid-range smartphone, but that’s the situation with the Motorola Moto X, a phone which is due to make its official debut very soon. How soon? Motorola has sent out invitations to an event on August 1, and there’s nothing to disguise the topic of conversation, as the Moto X name is plastered across the artwork.
Due to the length of time we’ve been hearing about the Moto X, there’s a lot of information on the device and its key features out there already, so here’s a run down of what we know, and think we know, about the first smartphone to come from Motorola and Google’s engineers.
How about the spec?
We’ve called the Moto X mid-range, as that’s the definition which currently suits it best. That doesn’t make it a bad phone, it’s just the spec list won’t touch the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. Back when the Moto X was known as the X Phone, early rumors speculated about a super-high spec, including a Snapdragon 800 processor, sapphire glass over the screen, and a 4000mAh battery. The most recent reports paint a more modest picture. The size of the screen could be 4.7-inches, although other reports state 4.5-inches is a possibility, and the resolution is almost certainly going to be 720p, much like the Nexus 4.
The processor set will likely mirror Motorola's new Droids, with an octa-core, split design. We expect a dual-core chip for app processing, a quad-core processor for graphics, a core for language processing, and a core for sensors. It will likely have 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, as well. The camera will likely be the same 10-megapixel shooter in the new Droids, while Android 4.2.2 seems to be the OS version of choice. Other rumored features include NFC, a 2200mAh battery, and a 2.1-megapixel video call camera.
If you’re wondering why Motorola hasn’t gone all out, specs wise, with the Moto X, it’s likely to do with the device’s final price.
What's it going to cost?
There has been talk of a $200 price tag with a two-year contract for the Moto X, along with a $600 SIM-free cost, but if the specs above are accurate, then this would be much too expensive. Other, more sensible, reports put it at the same level as the Nexus 4, at about $300 SIM-free. As the Nexus 4 has a slightly higher specification, but with a Google subsidized price tag, this makes sense. A rumor from sources in China suggests the 16GB Moto X will cost $300 SIM-free, or $350 for the 32GB edition. The same sources say these prices will be repeated in Europe, so expect 300 euros for the 16GB at 350 euros for the 32GB Moto X.
The Wall Street Journal says the Moto X will have a price which is, “Comparable to its competitors,” then goes on to list the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S4, and the HTC One. This fits in with the early reports, but we’re not sure the Moto X is really competing with those phones. The same article says it has been informed all major U.S. networks - Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile - will be carrying the Moto X. Apart from being able to purchase the Moto X through your local mobile store, the phone should be available online through Google Play, or a dedicated Motorola site.
Build your own Moto X
Ever since Guy Kawasaki said how cool it would be if our phones were as customizable as a Porsche, the Moto X has been linked with talk of personalization. The world has been anticipating news on just how deep we’ll be able to take this, while Motorola has fanned the flames by mentioning it in its first print advertisement, and tweeting a picture of a cup of coffee with the line, “Some things are just better when they’re designed by you.”
However, any dreams of specifying the amount of RAM, the processor, or even the apps which come pre-installed were crushed when an article detailed what Motorola was planning for the Moto X and its customers. Anonymous sources stated the case and trim would be available in various colors, while buyers could have the back engraved with a phrase of their choice, then upload a photo which would be added as the phone’s wallpaper.
More recently, another rumor has surfaced saying there would be a wide range of materials for buyers to choose from, and the Moto X’s rear panel could be made from wood, ceramics, and metal. TechCrunch notes Motorola’s trademark Kevlar rear panel could be one of the options. The plastic version we’ve seen in various photos, including in the hands of Google chairman Eric Schmidt, will be the default option. The custom versions of the Moto X may only be available through Google Play or a dedicated Moto X site, while in-store, a plastic black or white version of the phone could be sold.
Latest version of Android
Naturally, the Moto X will be running Android, but the question is, which version? Android 4.2.2 has been present on almost all the leaked spec sheets, but with a Google event taking place just before the launch of the Moto X, it’s a possibility it may run Android 4.3, which Google may announce beforehand.
Even if it is running Android 4.2.2, it may have some unique features all of its own. For a start, the Moto X’s Android OS could be free of any Motorola user interface, and operate an almost stock version instead, just like the Nexus range. This Wall Street Journal report says Motorola has, “Minimized the amount of software and apps that wireless carriers will pre-install on the Moto X,” which is also good news. There’s a good chance a Moto X purchased without a contract will come without anything superfluous installed.
A leaked video from Canadian network Rogers shows the Moto X’s voice command features, and a gesture control for the camera. The Moto X looks like it will be listening all the time, and a simple “OK Google Now,” wakes the device and can be used to activate weather, navigation, and the browser. A new notification system was also demonstrated, while the camera app opens after a couple of flicks of your wrist.
Finally, a video has been posted on YouTube showing the animation which greets users when the Moto X is switched on. Check it out below.

Hints of Moto X found in the Motorola Droid Ultra
Verizon announced the Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, and the Droid Mini recently, and the new devices include several features previously associated with the Moto X. For example, the voice command system, referred to as, "Touchless control" was included, allowing you to wake and command your phone just by saying, "OK Google Now." The Droid phones are always listening, which isn't as sinister as it sounds, it just means you don't need to press a button to wake them up.
A new camera app was shown off, which looked very similar to the one seen in the Rogers demo video, plus Active Display briefly shows notifications on a small section of the lock screen to conserve battery power. Active Display is also clever enough not to make notifications appear when the phone is in your pocket, or face down on a table. Leaked screenshots seem to confirm the Moto X's ability to change modes based on GPS and you calendar, so if you've got a meeting planned, it'll automatically silence the phone.
Assembled in Texas
A lot is being made about the Moto X being assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, despite it meaning little to anyone who doesn’t live in the U.S., and patriotism was the prime feature of Motorola’s initial print teaser - part of a $500 million marketing campaign - which was published over the July 4 weekend. Subsequently, Motorola tweeted a picture of an engineer hard at work in a factory, saying, “Yep, this guy is building exactly what you think he is. Designed by you. Assembled in the USA. We’ll have to wait and see if this translates into more domestic sales after the phone’s release.
When's it coming out?
We’re almost certain the phone will be announced on August 1, so when will it go on sale? The leaked Rogers video said the phone would be out in August, while a document supposedly from Verizon indicates August 23 will be the big day. A similar document from US Cellular has the Moto X down for August 26, so it’s a safe bet we’ll see the phone on sale before the end of the month. That said, Motorola CEO Douglas Woodside said in an interview the phone would be out in October, so it’s not final yet.
More to come?

There’s still plenty we don’t know about the Moto X, and because of Google’s involvement, some of the news revealed at the event could be really exciting. For example, the question of the phone’s sensor array (will it be able to switch functions when it realizes you’re in a car going a certain speed), software updates, and even if it’s the first in a line of models has yet to be answered. So even though this rumor roundup is fairly extensive, the Moto X still has the potential to surprise and delight us on August 1.
Rewritten 7-26-2013 by Andy Boxall: We've learned so much about the Moto X in recent weeks that we decided to revamp our Rumor Roundup from top to bottom. Enjoy!
Updated 6-4-2013 by Joshua Pramis: We’ve added new concrete ‘facts’ to the roundup, thanks to a Motorola appearance at the D11 conference. Other rumors have been added, removed, and tweaked to reflect the newest information we have.
Article originally published 3-18-2013.

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Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie Rumor Roundup: What could be coming at Google I/O
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The evolution of the world’s most popular mobile platform has been swift - Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and now Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. The original beta was released in November 2007, so we’re closing in on six years of tasty desserts. It’s tough to cover Android without getting hungry.
Looking at the platform itself, the change has been incredible. A raft of features baked in with every new release, the performance has gone from clunky to buttery smooth, and the app market has really matured. Android offers the most diverse device line-up of any of the mobile platforms. The question is - how does Google keep up the pace? Let’s take a look at the speculation and rumors.
Key Lime Pie will be unveiled at Google I/O
Expectations are that Android 5.0, Key Lime Pie, will be unveiled at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 15-17. That’s largely because Jelly Bean was unveiled at last year’s I/O event, but it was also backed up by a Qualcomm roadmap leak that mentioned two new Snapdragon devices sporting Android 5.0, to hit the market in the third quarter of 2013. The fact that Qualcomm demanded that the published leaked documents be taken down seems to add legitimacy.
Google Babel brings unified messaging
Early rumors call it Google Babble, but whatever the name is, the aim is to tie together instant messaging, VoIP, and video calls. This would be a big addition to the Android platform and a real competitor for BBM and iMessage. In addition to one-on-one chat, it is expected to support group chats and file sharing, drawing on Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Google Talk, and Google Voice. This could be the headline feature of Android 5.0.
Interestingly, another big rumor that popped up a couple of weeks ago could be related to this news, namely that Google is looking to acquire WhatsApp. This rumor has been denied by WhatsApp, but with over 200 million monthly users you can see why Google might want the cross-platform messaging service. It allows users to send messages as text, images, video, or audio using their mobile network or Wi-Fi.
Performance improvements
This is a real no-brainer. Google is always looking to improve the performance of the platform and we can reasonably expect Key Lime Pie to be smoother, faster, and possibly less power-hungry. According to Android Central, this could involve the 3.8 Linux kernel which would deliver “support for open source Nvidia Tegra and Samsung Exynos DRM drivers, support for the Flash-Friendly File-System, and a lower memory footprint.”
Possible launch devices
Could the Android 5.0 release come alongside the Nexus 5? It’s possible, but it seems unlikely this soon after the Nexus 4 (it was released in November 2012 and the Nexus phones have been roughly a year apart in the past).
How about Key Lime Pie on the much anticipated Motorola X Phone? That’s been a pretty persistent rumor, but there’s simply no corroborating evidence.
What about the next generation Nexus 7? There have been strong rumors it will be shown off at Google I/O. If Android 5.0 is unveiled at the same time, then you’d expect it to be on the new Nexus 7.
New versions of Android always roll out to Google’s devices first, so the Nexus 4 is a pretty safe bet as the first device to get Key Lime Pie.
Wish lists and speculation
That’s it for Key Lime Pie rumors. The rest of the Android 5.0 related news right now seems to be a combination of tech writer’s wish lists and wild speculation. Sometimes the features that manufacturers have been adding or the features in popular third-party apps can get sucked into the platform, but there’s no solid reason to believe any of this speculation.
Here are a few of our favorite possibilities anyway:

Performance profiles: Quickly set your device to the optimal state for reading, gaming, or other activities. Maybe a serious power-saving mode for when that juice is running low and you’re expecting a call.
Improved Google Now: A few new commands might be good, maybe some integration with Google Keep for note management, and a general improvement to the voice recognition.
Better lock screen widgets: More choices for updates on your lock screen wouldn’t go amiss.
Multiple device sync: You start watching a movie on your tablet and then pick it up where you left off on your smartphone. Live content synchronization would be nice.
Child or guest mode: Children are the future and guests are nosy. How about a way to block access to text messages, email, and other sections of your device, so you can hand it to your child or a guest without fear they’ll discover or do something they shouldn’t?

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