Mar 28 AT 10:16 AM Taylor Wimberly 55 Comments

Rumor: New details leak on Motorola’s X Phone and their upcoming Nexus phone


WARNING: If you are allergic to rumors, speculation, or leaked phones, then do not click on this story. We just received another hot tip about the upcoming Motorola X Phone, and several other devices that are in the pipeline. Read on for the latest gossip.


An early prototype of the first Motorola X Phone.

There has been a steady stream of Motorola X Phone rumors since last year, but we received our first real details of the secret project earlier this month. Our sources told us Motorola would offer some type of “user customizable” phone and also mentioned that Google was working on a smartwatch.

Motorola’s Guy Kawasaki confirmed the X Phone customizations rumor and the Financial Times confirmed the Google Watch rumor, so we are starting to believe that our sources can be trusted. This week we went back to the well and returned with a bucket of new Motorola rumors.

Rumor: The target launch date for the first Motorola X Phone is July. It was slated for June, but manufacturing issues caused the launch to slip.

Response: Several sources had told us to look for a June release, so a one month shift doesn’t come as a surprise. Last year the Wall St. Journal reported that Motorola was facing issues with “manufacturing and supply-chain management,” and I guess we should expect that with a project that is so ambitious.

We were also told there will be some kind of “exclusive” launch in July followed by a broader launch around Thanksgiving. I don’t know what this means, but I speculate we could see the first X Phone become an online exclusive and then appear at carrier stores several months later. This could explain the rumor from Phone Arena that suggested a November launch.

If the device really is launching in July, then we should fully expect to see Google unveil it in May at Google IO.

Rumor: The X Phone will be user customizable, but the options will not be as broad as was originally reported. Customers will mostly be able to customize the design of the phone, along with internal storage and some personalized software settings. Users will be able to order their device in an endless choice of color combinations, and they can select the material of the outer casing. Choices for materials will include plastic, metal, and carbon fiber.

Response: This is almost identical to what another source told us, but it does not appear that the amount of RAM can be changed. Being able to select the outer case materials is a new piece of information, so that’s a nice bonus we were not expecting.

Some people scoffed at the initial report of custom software settings, but this sounds like an exact clone of HTC Get Started. Users will be able to login to an online dashboard with their Google account before their device arrives and customize things like wallpapers, ringtones, preinstalled apps, etc. This means that when your custom phone arrives, it should be all set up out of the box.

Our source goes on to say that it is Motorola’s intention to let users further customize some of the hardware specs, but that is not going to happen with this first X Phone release. It sounds like Motorola is waiting for the concept to gain some traction before they go all out with the “build-to-order” idea.

Rumor: The specs of the first Motorola X Phone will be comparable to the HTC One, but they will not be a Galaxy S 4 or iPhone 6 killer.

Response: This news might disappoint some Motorola fan boys, but it lines up with earlier information. We were told that the X Phone brand of devices would largely be marketed as customizable phones that are the able to connect to companion accessories from Google, like Glass and their upcoming smartwatch.

Hardware OEMs are already telling us that specs are irrelevant, and the focus is now on app, services, and experiences that their devices can deliver. We were previously told that Google will heavily subsidize the retail price of this device, so it makes sense that the specs might not be bleeding edge in order to keep costs down.


The first X Phone will feature a soft touch button that doubles as a Motorola logo.

Rumor: The X Phone will feature a Motorola logo on the back of the device that acts as touch sensitive button that allows you to launch commands.

Response: This just confirms information that we already reported. We are told this feature might not be as cool as we made it sound, but hopefully Motorola allows users to customize what actions the rear button can control.

Rumor: Motorola will still release several more Droid phones this year.

Response: Google has been telling us they inherited an 18 month pipeline of products, so it makes sense that we should see several more Droid devices on Verizon.

Rumor: Motorola will release a Nexus phone at the end of the year. This device is not part of the “X Phone” brand.

Response: Recent rumors have suggested that LG will produce another Nexus phone, but that doesn’t mean that Motorola won’t. Last year we saw Nexus tablets from both ASUS and Samsung, so it’s totally plausible that we could see multiple Nexus phones from different manufacturers.

It’s a little confusing that Motorola would support both their X Phone brand and the Nexus brand, so I’m really interested to see how this turns out. We were under the impression that X Phones would be sold online and shipped unlocked, but that’s exactly how Nexus phones are sold. This could indicate that Motorola will include some additional services and software tweaks on top of Android with the X Phone brand, while the Nexus brand remains stock Android.

Evidence of both a Motorola X Phone and a Motorola Nexus phone could also explain why we have seen rumored specs that are all over the map.

Rumor: Google Watch will be announced and sold at around the same time as the Motorola X Phone.

Response: Another source told us the rumored Google smartwatch would launch this summer, and this information just backs that up. We have repeatedly seen the phrase “Google Watch” tossed around, but we do not know what the final product name is. For all we know, this device could end up under the Motorola brand if it’s going to be sold as a companion accessory for the X Phone.


Part of my job is hypebeasting new products, but I’m genuinely excited to see what Motorola has in store. I have been writing about Android for nearly five years, but I have never carried a Motorola phone as my daily device. That could finally change and I’m fired up to customize my own Android phone.

Be sure to read up on rumor dump one and two if you missed our previous X Phone reports. Only the customizable RAM option has been debunked, so there’s a good chance that most of the other details could turn out to be true.

This is a lot of information to take in, so we are going to let it marinate for a few days and see what the response is. Experience tells us that one big leak encourages another, so hopefully more information will be coming soon. Google IO takes place on May 15-17, so we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for the official details.

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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  • Alan Reboli

    The rumor about the customizable hardware makes much more sense. Choosing how the outside looks rather than selecting the amount of RAM you want. Having the choice of hardware was too good to be true. We can only hope.. :)

    • thekaz

      yeah, being able to customize the RAM would have given me hope of a phone which would allow for upgradable RAM in the future. That would have been sweet as it would help future-proof your phone a little more.

      Of course, I am sure that is exactly what the phone manufacturers don’t want…

      • DroidSamurai

        You probably can kiss this thought goodbye. I think in the the foreseeable future, we will still not be able to upgrade our phone by ourselves. For one, given the size of a phone and how tight hardware integration is, the skill requires by such upgrade is an open invitation to support nightmare — put it bluntly, there are always people overestimate their skills, and underestimate the complexity of certain tasks. And, when they, may I say “make a boo boo”, they won’t blame themselves, but to blame on someone else …

        • thekaz

          I guess my (perhaps foolish) dream was that they came up with a way to make it easily insertable and therefore easily swappable so that a common user could change it out. Perhaps like an SD card, but for RAM not storage…

          But yeah, the way it stands now, I wouldn’t want users attempting to upgrade memory…

    • Nick Gray

      This approach makes a lot more sense. If internal components are customized, Motorola would need to create custom software builds for each individual device, jeopardizing the feasibility of software updates in the future.

      Changing the shell of the phone is fairly easy and we’ve seen it done with the HTC Tattoo and a handful of Nokia devices over the years.

      Personally, I’ve go for a two-tone metal and leather finish.

      • pekosROB

        +1 to leather and metal!!!

  • pekosROB

    If you can customize it to the point of what material it’s made out of…. looks like I will need to find a good excuse to leave my unlimited Verizon LTE for this phone!! I doubt it would come to Verizon, and if it did it wouldn’t be the same (see: Galaxy Nexus).

  • Nate B.

    Exactly what I said about the hardware customizations. It was just silly at first but makes sense now. The potential of this type of marketing is great but I personally don’t think this particular will sale well for some reason. But we will have to see once released.

    The part that says the specs match or will be similar to the HTC One but no S4 or iPhone 6 killer (iPhone not even out and we all can just expect a S version of that as well) annoys me and bothers me. The HTC One’s specs are in pare with the S4. I personally would choose the S4 but they compete very well. Only thing HTC Ine has better is the build. So it sounds like they’re saying the HTC One isn’t all of that?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I think part of the initial appeal of Android was the ability to customize the software to your liking. If someone duplicates that same experience with the physical device, I think they will find success.

      • Brandon

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been torn between two device because both have specs that I like. The last time this happened was between the HTC Rezound and the VZW Galaxy Nexus. I wanted the Rezound because it was rumored that it had better hardware but would be locked down, the Nexus had slightly worse hardware but was unlocked from the get go and would be the first to receive upgrades. I ended up getting the Rezound on launch day because I didn’t want to keep waiting for the Nexus. I had the Rezound for a year and then bought a used Gnex. Customizable hardware would put an end to this dilemma.

  • Sarah

    Oh I’d love to have a Moto Nexus! I’ve always loved my phones from them: from the dumb flip phones to the DroidR2D2. The outside hardware always felt good in my hands. I enjoy my current Samsung Galaxy Nexus and would get another phone from them, but I’m rooting for Motorola!

  • Vance

    This concept is, no question, revolutionary in the mobile hardware space, yet is a proven model for success in the personal PC space which makes it an “oh my God why didn’t I think of that?!” idea for me. I also think it pairs beautifully with the new mobile service provider model my boys at t-mobile just announced… It’s a great day to be an android my friends.

  • redraider133

    Well since there most likely won’t be another nexus lets hope one of the x devices comes to Verizon and through the play store for cheap

    • epps720

      Really hope this will happen but knowing Verizon, can’t imagine they would allow this without them fully testing the device first.

      • redraider133

        Well they could also offer it in store like was rumored awhile back. Let’s just hope verizon gets something like this and not just another moto droid.

        • epps720

          I agree but it sounds like that option won’t happen until possibly November, and my upgrade is coming in July. Waiting that long for a new phone…. might as well waterboard me!

          • redraider133

            I am in the same position, i am due for an upgrade in June and was hoping there would be a x device from moto so I could keep my unlimited data. If nothing else, by then I am sure the s4 will be much lower full retail so I may just pick one up that way to keep unlimited data

  • drejohnson

    I really don’t care that it won’t have the best specs as long as the user experience is top notch!

  • CaptainDoug

    Called the non customizable ram. I was voting for storage, color and software stuff. Being able to pick the outside of you phone is pretty cool. If it’s that interchangeable, hopefully you could get multiple and either switch out or replace it if it got scratched or something.

  • steve

    How could the Xphone be comparable to the HTC One but not the S4? In the US the guts of both phones are identical and you can argue that the One bests the S4 in 2 key areas, camera and build quality.

    Also, the iPhone 6 will have specs that are probably on par with the S4. The iPhone doesn’t compete with raw power, they compete with marketing BS and made up words (see:retina display)

    • CaptainDoug

      Comparable=/=killer. It will definitely be comparable to both of those phones but it will not kill them as it will be the same internals in a different (amazingly well-built)chassis.

    • Astar

      What is it with these HTC blind fan boys. The HTC One has a failure of a camera. All that marketing bullshit has been debunked given how the camera sucks at low light compared to its peers. In good light, all pics are soft due to the lack of resolution. U end up getting neither of both worlds.

      Build quality again – that Neanderthal attitude about “my wooden club heavier than yours, mine better”. Look at all the reports of gaps in the casings by users despite the “gapless construction” feature!

      For this shitty unibody-heavy-metal-crap, u get a weight penalty, no build quality and the biggest consumer con job of all – no replaceable battery and micro-SD!

      Again, HTC users fail to get any of the promised worlds. wAKE UP! I ditched HTC after my Windows Mobile days! They are bleeding money cos they suck, numbers dun lie!

  • Motorola X-Men

    Lets hope this atrocious phone gets aXed

  • Nick Erickson

    I would be very encouraged to buy one if I would be able to customize my own hardware. It almost like customizing a computer, considering that is what a smartphone is now days lol. I’m excited to see this, could be extremely revolutionary for the mobile world.

  • shadhussain

    as an average consumer it’s tough to justify 2 smartphone purchases in 1 year. ii fulfilled my one-in-two-years quota with the N4 and will undoubtedly love it for the months to come. therefore, my wife must upgrade her HTC G2 with this moto X!

    it’s likely that google will continue on with its nexus program to keep other OEMs happy and android ‘open’ and accessible. but android has now matured and is looking to diversify. given these rumors, i’d place a heavy bet on moto carrying and integrating all of google’s future mobile vision (e.g., wearable computing).

    if you want a front seat to google’s next gen hardware, moto would seem the best route to take — the same argument as we’ve had for grabbing nexus device all these years (made by google to show off the way their tech was designed to be).

  • Nicholas Vettese

    Motorola may be doing the follow up Nexus after the Nexus5, but I can’t belive that Google would put out two Nexus phones in the same time frame. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

    On the Motorola X front, I feel that the “X” will be a system, rather than a device. What I mean by that, is you will have a phone, watch, Moto X Glass (Google glass), and other products to bring together a better ecosystem for Non-Nexus devices. This may hopefully begin to streamline the many devices to begin building products that interact with accessories. Something along the lines of MicroUSB placement on the hone and more. Something I feel that Android as a whole is lacking severely.

    these are what I am hoping to see.

  • geeza

    It would be nice if the option to customise the software also included the option of choosing a Nexus build ie. vanilla android. I’ve wished for a long time that manufacturers would offer this option. Having the ability to customise the hardware and still have vanilla android (without having to root and rom) would have me very interested

  • Andy_jr

    It’s hard to wait, but I’m definitely going to wait for the official announcement before deciding on this one vs. the HTC One vs. the Galaxy S4. (And if another Nexus phone gets thrown in the mix, it’ll be that much harder to decide.)

  • Max.Steel

    Yeah….just going to wait till Google I/O for any announcement. Taylor Wimberly has a track record of over hyping things for page clicks. Remember the one about there being several Nexus phones being released from different OEMs or the one about Gingerbread requiring a dual core processor? Yeah, the last place you want to get rumors from are this guy.

  • bertberlic1

    Improve the camera compared to the Nexus line, keep the great battery life of Razr, and sell on the Play Store at Nexus 4 prices…that will do it for me!

  • Richard Yarrell

    Motorola Xphone what a waste.

    • Co1e

      your account is a waste

    • squiddy20

      Typical Richard, believing every single rumor and taking it as 100% fact, or dismissing it as “a waste”. Didn’t you “know” the Galaxy Nexus was to be released in early November, then mid November, then late November, then finally in early December, simply because the *rumors* were saying so? Didn’t you “know” the S4 would have a flexible display, 128 GB of storage, and “a pad” on the device that could measure blood pressure and blood sugar levels? Didn’t you “know” that rooting was for “2plus year old devices”? Wow. Seems like you’ve been wrong a lot for someone who “knows” so much.

    • Tico4674

      Be careful trashing Motorola, eventually you’re going to jump ship and proclaim Motorola as Android. Where are you going next, is cricket going to be the best mobile provider ever. You’re a waste, but a least you serve as good comic relief.

  • txbluesman

    I am due for a new phone and finally at the end of my contract in early May. I can’t wait to see what is announced at Google I/O. That will lead me to my decision on my next phone. I am definitely not going on contract anymore.

  • Pravas

    Would like to hear more on Nexus5+Nikon.

  • Co1e

    All these rumors have me super excited for this phone. I’ve been holding off on the nexus 4 waiting for this. Lets hope the july release date is correct because i cant wait until the end of the year. Only a couple more weeks till I/O!

    • Arthur

      The N4 is no slouch in the hardware department whatsoever, it is only bested by its CPU successors which is the S600 and S800 (not available yet) so it is still one of the most capable Android devices on the market and the only phone you should buy if pure stock Android is a big benefit to you.

      Since you have waited this long, I would wait and see what Google will have in store at I/O but my guess is, hardware wise, if the Motorola “X” phone rumors all turn out to be true and the phone is set to be released in July, that at most, it will have the same CPU as the N4 instead of a S600 if Google intends to sell this phone through the Play Store for less than the N4 unlocked. Probably will have a Gorilla Glass 2 covered display not 3 and I am really hoping the fact that the exterior body can be customized won’t be in the form of interchangeable covers and will be a once you order it a certain way you are stock with type of deal as I feel chassis rigidity on devices with interchangeable covers are not at the same level as one with a sealed body like a iPhone, N4, or HTC One.

      • Co1e

        I agree with a lot of what you said. I’m sure I would be happy with the N4 and if the X phone doesn’t turn out to be what I’m expecting then nexus it is.

  • aranea

    I think X-phone will be an experiment for the upcoming nexus phone, whoever makes it. Given glass being customizable in color, probably google watch will have similar customization options too, it’s not surprising that google is going forward for letting phones to be personalized. This will let users own a series of products that not only connect to each other hardware wise but also color wise.

    In short, I’m excited on x-phone because it’s a glimpse in things to come on nexus line, which is my main focus.

  • jamal adam

    Being able to customize the material of the phone would be a big plus. I think that Motorola is moving a good direction in terms of how to make phones even more personal by letting us customize it. If this gets traction with customers, it could be big and Motorola will be in a good position when it happens. I can’t wait for Google I/O, so much to get excited for.

  • Kaote

    I’d be ok with multiple device in the NEXUS lineup, anything for more choices and stock android.

  • Derek Zientara

    I want to buy a Nexus 4 for my birthday in mid June, will the x phone come out by mid June? I would really hope so so I may purchase one.

  • Paul Atreides

    These rumors are more in line with how I imagined Google would handle this project. Hoping that ring on the back will glow different colors that can be customized as well. Screen definitely needs to be a customizable option, also software or hardware keys. Hoping Google has added some nice software enhancements with Key Lime Pie, game-changing enhancements like Project Butter and Multi-User. Photo-sphere still has some serious potential as well.

  • Nathan D.

    I am honestly waiting how this will all come together, hopefully Google I/O will have the answers we seek.

  • Broseph Stalin

    I hope it’ll be possible to customizethe softkeys out of the box!

  • Dannyhyu

    I would be pretty happy with the material customization, that sexy aluminum would definitely be amazing like it is on the HTC One.

  • Slith

    I just really hope it pisses off Verizon & AT&T

  • donger

    Please make it up-gradable in the next year as well. Like more ram, new processor that will be replaced next year, etc.

  • terrylee sheppard

    Don’t trust Moto…. I bought the Photon 4G, ICS will ugrade Q4, 2012…. 3/29/13, still Gingerbread, upgrade cancelled…. LOVE my S3, come on S4…..

  • cb2000a

    It would be nice to see Moto get back in the game. They made the phone that made Android (still have my OG). Looking for good things from them in the future!

  • SmithDroid

    It seems counter productive to keep older, outdated, and lower performance phones in the pipeline. Google/Motorola should cut-bait and start fresh with superior quality phones with top of the line hardware. Even carriers won’t be interested in selling/supporting phones that don’t rock. Why continue to do what made Motorola unsuccessful (allowing them to be bought out in the first place)?

  • jillxz

    Well , I am only an average female who is no geek . I really don’t like all these choice in the materials or some of the other things one can change. Motorola has been around a long time and was a good dependable and reliable brand. But I am so afraid that Google is going to destroy Moto.

  • Anekait

    This is just what a android lover ever would want to see a customizable device .
    Thank You ANDROID AND ME for this news. AND, Yes, this has pumped me up for this release ; I am really VERY VERY EXCITED.

  • Nathaniel

    Motorola DROID 5: Verizon’s Next Flagship Slider?
    6/21/13 5 mins ago by Anna Aoki

    Motorola have more than proved that they are able to party with the best for specs as they offered the Motorola Droid Razr HD along with the Motorola Maxx HD. The Moto X is coming out later on this month and it should come with Jelly Bean 4.3. But what we want to know is what happened to phones with keyboards?
    In the past Motorola has brought out some high end QWERTY phones which have the base of handsets which are touch-screen. The Motorola Droid 5 could arrive towards the end of the year and it is thought that the device could have the same specs of the Motorola Droid Razr HD or the Moto X.
    So what specs could the Motorola Droid 5 possess when it arrives? There has been a lot of talk in forums, with some of the most common being that it would come with a 4.5 inch HD display, the Tegra 4, a battery of 2800 mAh, a camera of 8MP, which can record video at 1080p and a front camera of 2MP. The handset might look similar to the Motorola Droid Razr HD and it will be slim.
    At the moment these are nothing but rumours of course. But if we were to bet on it then we believe that the Motorola Droid 4 may not be the last device with a physical keyboard, if you take a look at how successful it was last year.