Thursday, January 24, 2013

Will the Motorola X Phone superdevice be unveiled at Google I/O?

Reports on Tuesday pointed to Google possibly unveiling the rumored Motorola X Phone at Google I/O in May. Google I/O is an annual developer-focused conference held by Google in San Francisco, Calif. , similar to Apple's June Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

The Motorola X Phone was first rumored in December, as a superphone that is supposedly designed to be a single handset that can immediately compete with and rival Apple's iPhone and Samsung's flagship Galaxy handsets. Motorola would, the rumor said, follow up that phone with a similar X Tablet. The big question, though, was when.

Although the X Phone, as it's currently known, may be renamed before its release. Although its formal debut may be in mid-May at Google I/O, the handset isn't expected to arrive until July 8. However, Google frequently hands out early access devices to attendees at Google I/O, so the X might end up in the hands of those who opt in to the conference, which begins on May 15.

The Motorola X Phone will be reportedly offered on "all carriers," though it isn't clear if this simply means the Big Four (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in order of size), or other, smaller carriers as well. It could even turn out to be a world phone; that is unclear.

The Verizon version of the handset is expected to fetch $299 on contract, but might versions could be sold unsubsidized, with prices similar to the no-contract Nexus 4 phones, which at $299 and $349 for the 8GB and 16GB models unlocked, are very attractive.

The X Phone is not expected to be a "Nexus" type of handset, meaning sans carrier loads and apps. It will, however, sport the newest version of Android, Android 5.0 or Key Lime Pie.

In addition, rumors indicate that customers who purchase the device through Google's Play Store will have unlocked bootloaders and can subsequently uninstall the extra software, assuming the rumors are true.

Those who buy through Verizon won't be so lucky, although they will be able to unlock the bootloader, but with significant expense: the report said Big Red would charge a $15 fee. The report said it would be a monthly fee, but it's hard to understand how that would work.

Although Motorola has released a number of devices since Google acquired it for $12.5 billion, an X Phone would be the first really significant and perhaps game-changing device since that deal.

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