Motorola Aims Squarely at Apple iPhone With Moto X Handset

NEWS ANALYSIS: There's little question that Motorola is aiming at Apple with the publicity for its new U.S.-built phone, taking advantage of slower iPhone sales.

In the smartphone marketing game these days, there's no sport that's better than hitting the leader while it's stumbling. It's even more fun if that leader has already taken a couple of body blows and is trying to remain standing.

So it should be no surprise when I opened the July 3 issue of The Washington Post to find the very Apple-like ad on Page A20 touting the Motorola Moto X.

As Michelle Maisto explains in eWEEK, Motorola is announcing the new smartphone called the Moto X. This phone appears to be aimed at Apple's iPhone 5, and apparently is intended to give potential users something better and more personal than what they can get from Apple.

Motorola hasn't announced much about the Moto X, except to say in its sign-up page that the phone will be built in its Fort Worth, Texas, factory and that the company is hiring additional production workers for the plant, which will be operated by Motorola contractor Flextronics.

Details on the phone are limited as Motorola ramps up speculation in the process of building interest. But at least some details have been leaked by mystery tweeter @evleaks, who has a good track record. But it's unclear if the details on the Moto X are accurate or not.

Still, Motorola, now owned by Google, does say that this will be a phone that owners can design themselves. But the obvious next question is how much of the design can users influence and still stay within the bounds of what the FCC allows and what is reasonable for mass production.

But it's also worth noting that given the right platform that can leave room for a lot. If you want an example, just visit a car dealership and immerse yourself in the vast number of options you can get and still call it, say, a Ford Mustang.

So what will you be able to design in to your Moto X? I think it's a safe bet that you'll be able to choose a color, perhaps not any color, but one from a selection of choices just as you do when you buy a car. Beyond that it's unclear what Motorola means by design. Are they talking about decorative features? Will they let buyers choose their favorite carrier, or perhaps decide if they want an unlocked GSM phone like Apple does?

Right now Motorola has released few details. Rumors flying around the Internet indicate that the Moto X will be a Verizon Wireless device, but a company spokesperson declined to comment on speculation.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...