Mar 14 AT 3:38 PM Taylor Wimberly 58 Comments

Rumor: Motorola “X Phone” brand devices will have user customizable hardware


Outside of the Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One, the rumored Motorola X Phone is the only other smartphone that matters this year. There have been a steady stream of rumors since last year, but we still don’t have many concrete details on the project. Today an old time friend shared some inside information about Motorola’s upcoming devices, as a “nice counter” to whatever Samsung announces tonight. Read on for the full scoop.

Rumor: The Motorola “X Phone” is not just one phone, it’s their new brand to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy.

Response: This makes perfect sense. Every OEM is trying to recreate what Samsung has done with the Galaxy brand, and we would be surprised if Motorola was not working on launching a new brand.

Rumor: The first Motorola “X Phone” will be released around June.

Response: Again, no surprises here. Google is holding their annual developer conference in May, and many are expecting them to announce some new Android-powered devices. If Google and Motorola reveal the first “X Phone” in May, then it could probably ship by June.

Rumor: Motorola will guarantee at least one full Android version update after the purchase of the phone. Software updates will be delivered by Motorola, and not the carrier.

Response: Google has always talked about guaranteeing updates, but we have never seen an actual program put in place. If Motorola is putting all their resources into this program, then it shouldn’t be too hard to upgrade this year’s phone to next year’s software when it comes out. We all know that carriers slow down the software update process, so it’s nice to hear that Motorola is taking them out of the picture.

Rumor: The X line of products will be sold through an “online store” and they can be ordered from carrier retail stores.

Response: I’m going to assume that the “online store” is Google Play. It makes sense for Motorola to support the Google Play store, but we think the carriers might have something to say about selling a device where they don’t control the software. Apple has managed to pull this off so it’s not impossible, but Motorola will need to offer some kind of incentive to get the carriers on board.

Rumor: Customers will be able to customize their device. They can choose the color of the device and configure some of the hardware specs like RAM and internal storage. Motorola will guarantee your custom device will be delivered in one week.

Response: This could be the WOW feature that Google was hinting at earlier this year. Google previously allowed some level of customizations with their Nexus One (you could engrave the back), but this is taking things to a new level. Most OEMs already let you choose the level of internal storage, but we think it would be awesome to have the ability to change around other hardware specs. This would allow consumers to essentially build their own phone, similar to how Dell or other companies let you build a PC.

Rumor: Customers can pre-load their own wallpapers, ringtones, apps, contacts, etc. before the device arrives.

Response: Sounds like someone is a fan of HTC Get Started.

Rumor: You can opt to unlock the bootloader and SIM lock to use the device on any carrier.

Response: I’m not sure how Motorola would technically pull this off, but Qualcomm and others are working on modems that should work on any US network.

Rumor: The first “X Phone” will be an octo-core device, with a full core dedicated to Motorola’s new human language system.

Response: Quite a few semiconductor companies are working on octo-core chips, so that’s no big surprise. Qualcomm has been demoing a new voice activation feature on their Snapdragon 800 that allows users to wake up their device with a voice command. The Snapdragon 800 is coming in the second half of the year, but it’s only a quad-core CPU, so maybe our source has the number of cores wrong.

Rumor: Motorola and Google will heavily subsidize the cost of the device to attract more customers.

Response: Google is already doing this with the LG Nexus 4 sold at $299, and we have said that we expect the trend to continue.

A fully customizeable device, with the latest hardware and software, shipped without carrier crapware, and sold at an affordable price? Take my money.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • sandwich

    I actually hope they don’t make it a Google Play exclusive phone (as far as online sales go), since GP ain’t available worldwide yet.

    • DSaif

      Yep, if they’re serious, they have to make it available worldwide via Google Play

  • Cesar Cardoso

    “Rumor: Motorola will guarantee at least one full Android version update after the purchase of the phone. Software updates will be delivered by Motorola, and not the carrier.”

    In the launch of RAZR D1 and RAZR D3, Motorola Brazil guaranteed an update to the next Android version. It could be understood as “one full Android version update”, so we can conclude that Motorola is already doing this.

    • kazahani

      Agreed. They just upgraded the original RAZR to 4.1, so I don’t doubt that this will keep happening.

    • dan

      It says “At least one full Android update” That might mean if you got the X on version 5.0, then you would be guaranteed all updates to, at least, 6.0, plus all the 5.X updates in between.

  • ihatefanboys

    If it premieres on T-Mobile it wont have to be subsidized. With T-Mos new sales model ill be able to get the device with no contract and pay it off monthly on my bill. Cant wait, itll be this or the HTC ONE

    • Mark

      Then why is the Nexus 4 more expensive through T-Mobile?

      • Justin W

        Because Google doesn’t subsidize the device since the carrier already did (or used to). They only subsidize the device when it’s sold to the general public.

        • ihatefanboys

          Plus T-mo’s new no contract model hasnt gone into effect, im hoping its this spring.

      • kazahani

        You don’t think that $299 is the “real” cost of a Nexus 4 device do you? Google is selling it at a steep discount. They are making no money at all selling it for that price. You can’t expect T-mobile to do the same thing.

        • Keith

          No. LG makes a profit, even at $299. Not Google.

          Apple has over 50% margins on its phones. And that’s with higher quality production (machined metal and gorilla glass). So you can bet that LG is making a profit.

          The main point of the Nexus program is to give an OEM early access to the new version of the OS so they can roll it out across their other handsets. The Nexus phone acts as the developer phone for the new OS. It offers a little bit of profit. The rest comes from the advantage of the headstart on the OS.

    • pjamies

      Wind Mobile in Canada has been doing this for years already.
      It’s called Wind Tab.
      You basically pay for a % of your new phone in your monthly bill,
      until it is fully paid off.
      It makes it easier to get a phone without having to drop 100′s of
      dollars upfront. Most students do not have that much cash, and it is
      a good way to lure them in .. lol

  • DSaif

    Wow Wow Wow!!!

  • Jeremy Sheehan

    Where do I sign up? Been a Motorola guy for some time now (going back to original Razr days). I bought the Droid and the Bionic. If the X phone is real, please take my money.

  • roland

    The X and the Nexus I hope they can be price reasonably.

  • robd1893

    Still looking online for the site that allows be to throw my money at the screen and the ordering page comes up. (Scratches head)

  • jamal adam

    Wow!! If this is true, sign me up and take my money. I’m getting more and more excited about the X phone.

    • kazahani

      Me too! I might wet myself!

  • Sathariel

    Hopefully one of the things we can customize is screen size.

    • vishnumohanc

      great idea, but don’t think its gonna be a reality soon

  • heat361

    The real question is will Google take this x phone and turn it into a nexus x at the end of the year.

  • uknowme

    I don’t even know where to begin! Did Google and Motorola team up to be the grown up version of Santa Claus?

  • aykutb

    I really have no words,my dreams come true. Nightmare of picking between devices will be over, we will be able to choose design and power together! This will be “the” game changer.

  • Nate B.

    Sounds good and all but I can’t wait to see what’s really concrete.

    The “custom” options I believe will be somewhat fixed. Because taking that literally you would think you could ask for just about anything. They will probably have a variety of configurations and you select from there. Like a 16GB in such and such color, 32GB in such and such color, etc. Because you’re asking them to basically build you a device from the ground up and then ask to have it in a week….

    I love the rumors Taylor. They just keep the imagination going and how I feel in love with Android. But the details are still lacking and people get so hyped and it’s like the telephone game. You say one thing and when it comes around it’s interpreted differently.

  • Co1e

    Sounds amazing. I really need a new phone and have been thinking Nexus 4 but with this possibly just around the corner it seems like a bad time to buy. Bring on the customization!

  • Christopher St. John

    I’d buy this is a heartbeat if it runs on Verizon and gets updates that don’t have to be approved by Verizon, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • YMS123

    This could potentially solve the lack of SD card support, just choose to add more memory before you buy it

  • redraider133

    User customization would be nice. Can’t wait to see hopefully at least some of these end up being true

  • aranea

    As much as the hardware sounds good, promise of “one” update is a deterrent for me. Let’s say the phone goes on sale in June. A new version of Android will be out when the phone is about 6 months old. Then another version will be out when the phone is about 1.5 years old. That’s shorter than most contracts in US that are 2 years. They should promise at least 2. Besides when I got my atrix Motorola promised GB. It took them 6+ months to get it to my phone and never went beyond GB. I simply won’t trust Motorola’s upgrade policy and promises until Google takes over them completely and promises updates in line with Nexus phones.

  • furius

    I’m tired of Samsung, its poor materials and its marketing dominance! If Motorola does a good job with design this could be the only device I can consider as alternative to the HTC One, the best until today… Up with Motorola!

    • ari-free

      Can you go with Motorola with what they have today? If you don’t like what they are currently offering who knows when you’ll get something you like.

  • Rashaan

    FINALLY!!! I have been waiting for you Taylor to deliver some news like this. Thank You. This is what I am talking about. Customize your device, latest software,timely updates. Take my money now.

  • Jorge Eslava

    If this is true, this is my response: shut up and take my money!

  • cthonctic

    “Outside of [two other phones), the rumored Motorola X Phone is the only other smartphone that matters this year.”

    Sorry to say this, but I just can’t get over how dumb this opening statement is. The rest of the article was interesting enough but seriously, that sentence alone almost made me want to stop reading.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I was referring to the million other Android phones that will be released in 2013.

      • becks0r

        and still I’m asking me why a HTC One should matter more than the Sony Xperia Z

  • DroidSamurai

    To be honest, it sounds too good to be true. I hope I won’t be disappointed when it’s unveiled because I am depending on it to continue the ride on my grandfathered Verizon unlimited data plan.

    That said, I have my doubt on the customization part of the rumors: it’s one thing to allow customization of the color of the phones, but the internals? It’s like introduction of more unknown to the developers — which they have to deal with a lot with so many different Android phones out there.

  • Dags -

    What about not a rumor – but the actual words of Google CFO Patrick Pichette – that Google inherited an 18-month pipeline of products, such that Motorola won’t be producing really “innovative, transformative” Google-level phones until towards the end of the year?

  • rashad360

    +1 for the “Take my money” camp!

    The ability to select colors and components has basically sold me. Hopefully this rumor turns out to be true!

  • rpras

    “Outside of the Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One, the rumored Motorola X Phone is the only other smartphone that matters this year.”

    I’d disagree – a Nexus phone matters every year. I’m waiting for the next Nexus phone at the end of the year.

    That said, if the X phone is going to have stock Android, would be available on the Play store, and maybe even subsidized by Google, is this the new “Nexus?”

    The report of only one full version upgrade is a little disappointing and may indicate that the X phone would be different than future Nexuses.

  • Rabid Rotty

    Customers can pre-load their own wallpapers, ringtones, apps, contacts, etc. before the device arrives. Nexus devices have been doing this for awhile now. Nothing new

    • Taylor Wimberly

      No, they have not.

  • ari-free

    You know what customization I really want to see? Lots of people want a phone with high end specs but without a giant screen. That’s more important than what color it is.

    • Doug

      Something with a 4.5-4.7″ screen with onscreen keys is my wish. Throw some razr m bezels on there and I’m sold.

  • donger

    If Motorola do this, it’ll make the build/customize/delivery time longer. Cool for lazy users who don’t want to do everything when they get their phone like download all their apps.

  • CTown

    If these rumors are true I’ll have to update my AndroidAndMe to reflect that Motorola is my new favorite OEM!

  • olen

    am i the only one who still wants a big screen (4.5-5″) and a physical keyboard?

    • olen

      a nice slider would be fun

  • MD

    Motorola is terrible on releasing Androind updates. I have Motorola’s phone now and this is the last one I’ll have.

  • buckeyedroid

    Sounds almost to good to be true. I just hope Motorola throws a strong marketing campaign behind it. Hate to say it, but Samsung has proven that it works.

  • tempdomain

    Customizable hardware? Like Alienware business model? That would be nice but would it be practical and efficient?

  • Alec Waddelow

    June can’t come soon enough!

  • james peter

    then it will take google to the top over samsung

  • jacob

    Okay so when Google bought Motorola last year they said there was 18 months of Motorola product that needed to be flushed out, the may date actually coincides very well with that as may is almost exactly 18 months.

  • Nathan D.

    Aaa hello, please take my money if all this is true. This sounds to awesome to be true.

  • Keith

    User customizable hardware is like communism. Sounds great in theory. How many people do you know would have a clue about what hardware they need on their phones? And how many people do you think would shop online to order a smartphone like ordering a PC from Dell?

    Smartphones sales require service. People shop for them at stores. Their carrier stores or the Apple store for iPhones. Sure, it’s a geeks dream to order a phone online and customize it to your needs and wants. I won’t lie. I am excited about this. But I have my doubts about this helping Motorola sell phones to the average smartphone buyer. That’s a recipe for market failure.

  • dan

    Sounds way too good to be true. If by some miracle it is, they will have my money. Samsung needs a serious competitor, and HTC doesn’t look to be stepping up to the plate.

  • Yawn