Motorola continues to push the Moto X. It's now $99, available from five carriers and users can add a free message to the outside.
Motorola has been promising additional options for customizing the Moto X, its first collaborative effort with parent company Google, and Nov. 11 they arrived.
There's now the ability to, free of charge, print a name or a phrase on the back of the phone, using "fiber laser technology." (We recommend not going with the "Hashtag Happy" example shown on the Motorola blog
The Moto X was exclusive to AT&T when it was introduced Aug. 1, but now it's available from all four major carriers. (U.S. Cellular will also offer it, but only in black and white options.)
Additionally, for what Motorola says is a limited time, the price of the Moto X has been dropped to $99.99 with a new two-year contract.
The fine print on that one is that T-Mobile doesn't offer two-year contracts, and so it has priced the phone at $499.99. It's a given that T-Mobile will make the Moto X available for 20 or so monthly payments of something around $20 a month, though the carrier has yet to release a statement about the Moto X. A good bet, though, is that one will arrive by Nov. 15, the date that the Motorola site says the T-Mobile phone will be available.
Yet another change, if not exactly a customizable one, is that the Moto X will "soon" run Android 4.4, known as KitKat
. This latest version of the OS includes a new phone app, faster multitasking, Google Cloud Print for printing to any HP ePrint printer, the ability to prompt the phone into action by saying "OK, Google," and an "immersive mode"—ideal for reading books or watching movies—that hides everything not related to what the user is doing.
Motorola's iPhone Alternative
Another sales pitch for the Moto X
is that it's the only smartphone designed, engineered and assembled in the United States. (This also has the practical benefit of enabling users to design their phones online and have them in-hand four days later.)
On Sept. 10, the day Apple introduced its latest iPhones, Motorola invited journalists to the Fort Worth, Texas, factory where the Moto X is made. While Motorola wouldn't share how many Moto X handsets it has sold, executives told reporters that 100,000 smartphones were leaving the factory each week
Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside added that the number of units that had been customized to date was "substantial."
Repair site iFixit opened up the Moto X
and declared it a "fresh look at smartphone design" with "tons of new innovations."
"Motorola's design team is paying the kind of attention to detail we usually only see from Apple," iFixit's Julia blogged Aug. 26 about the teardown. "Instead of making another cookie-cutter copy of the competition, Motoroogle took the time to innovate new ways of constructing their flagship smartphone."
also liked the Moto X
. In our review, we noted that while the camera was overly slow and unimpressive, the screen was bright and crisp, the processor fast and the phone physically comfortable to hold and use. Best of all, though, was the fun-to-use and seriously convenient "OK, Google," command.
Come the holiday buying season, it'll be interesting to see how many more people are saying it.