All Eyes Are on Moto X, Thanks to Touchless Control

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-08-02 Print this article Print

Google hasn't had lots of luck selling hardware, but the Moto X is a different story. It's the first smartphone to be designed by Google and Motorola together, since Google bought the once-leading phone-maker in 2012 for $12.5 billion. It's also the first smartphone to be "designed, engineered and assembled" in the United States. Additionally, it's the first smartphone—a rather amazing feat, in a market saturated with feature-rich, attractive options—to allow users to design their own version from a slew of color and material options. (Also amazing: Motorola says the phones will go from drawing boards to user's hands in just four days.) That all said, Motorola introduced the device to a select audience in New York Aug. 1, and across social media, it quickly seemed clear that a feature called Touchless Control—which Verizon introduced a week earlier in its three Droid-branded Motorola smartphones—was the real attention-getter. "You've heard of the self-driving car?" said Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside. "This is the self-driving phone." Let's hope it can drive Motorola's fallen market share in the right direction.

  • All Eyes Are on Moto X, Thanks to Touchless Control

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - All Eyes Are on Moto X, Thanks to Touchless Control
  • Moto X: Express Yourself

    This image from the Motorola site sums up the Moto X: Be young. Be fun. Be creative. Just not yet. The Moto X will arrive "late August, early September," says Moto.
    2 - Moto X: Express Yourself
  • Customize: It's Your Phone

    Motorola clued into something that brands like Vans—which lets shoppers design their own shoes through an online system—understood early: Some people want what everyone has, while other people want what no one else has.
    3 - Customize: It's Your Phone
  • Buyers' Choices

    Buyers will be able to choose from 16GB or 32GB; dictate the front and back colors, the accent colors of the power button, the volume key and the camera ring; choose the wallpaper; purchase accessories; add a "signature phrase" and eventually even choose from different materials.
    4 - Buyers' Choices
  • Patriotism

    Motorola is smart to play up the fact that the Moto X is made in the USA—in Texas, to be exact. Some will recall President Obama asking Steve Jobs in early 2011 what it would take for the iPhone to be made at home. Jobs answered, according to The New York Times, "Those jobs aren't coming back."
    5 - Patriotism
  • Idea to Reality in Four Days

    Motorola is also capitalizing on the location of its factory by promising that a user can design a phone online and have it in-hand in just four days.
    6 - Idea to Reality in Four Days
  • 2,000-Plus Possibilities

    Motorola says that, all told, there are more than 2,000 possible option combinations. What's non-negotiable are the internals. There's a 10-megapixel back camera with 1080p video, a 2-megapixel front camera, Long Term Evolution (LTE), mobile hotspot capabilities and the Android 4.2.2 operating system.
    7 - 2,000-Plus Possibilities
  • Moto X Specs

    The Moto X is 129.3 by 65.3 by 5.6 to 10.4mm thick. That last wonky measurement is because the back of the phone is curved, to fit more comfortably in a user's hand. Motorola executives say the shape of the phone was determined by measuring thousands of hands to figure out the average size.
    8 - Moto X Specs
  • All-Day Battery Life

    With the size of the Moto X determined, the Motorola team then put in the largest display that would fit: a 4.7-inch Active-Matrix Organic LED (AMOLED). The battery is 2,200mAh and said to last 24 hours.
    9 - All-Day Battery Life
  • Touchless Control

    While it's easy to focus on the hardware, early users suggest the device's key feature is its Touchless Control software. A user prompts the phone by saying, "OK, Google Now," and then can tell it to do any number of things. This, however, isn't unique to the Moto X. It's also in the three Motorola-made Droid devices Verizon introduced July 23.
    10 - Touchless Control
  • The Perks of Droid

    The three Droids, like the Moto X, also feature Quick Capture, which wakes up the camera with a quick twist of the wrist, and Active Display, which sends desirable information to the home screen so that the user doesn't have to wake the phone and look. This saves time and battery life.
    11 - The Perks of Droid
  • Where to Get It

    In the United States, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and retailers including Best Buy will all sell the Moto X. The 16GB model is priced at $199 and the 32GB model (on the AT&T network) at $249.99.
    12 - Where to Get It
  • Black and White

    Chartreuse isn't for everyone. "If customization isn't your thing," AT&T said in an Aug. 1 statement, "you can also pick up the 16GB version of the Moto X in black or white."
    13 - Black and White

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