Friday, July 12, 2013

Google plans to spend $500 million or more marketing the 'Moto X'

Although it's rival Android manufacturer Samsung that holds sway atop global cell phone shipments, Motorola Mobility is looking to make moves in the market in a big way. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google has plans to spend as much as $500 million or more to market the much-hyped -- though still unintroduced -- Moto X smartphone.

Unlike a number of flagship Motorola devices, the X is not expected to carrier Droid branding or be exclusive to Verizon Wireless. In fact, all of the Big Four carriers are expected to sell the device, although detailed specs and an exact release date are still unknown.

For now, the device is expected to ship in the vague "fall" timeframe. Other rumored specs include a 4.3- to 4.7-inch screen with 720p, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Motorola's statements point to the Moto X running a stock version of Android, possibly 4.2.2 at launch, with a minimal amount of carrier bloatware and no add-on UI layer. That would make the device close to a Nexus phone, although it has not -- to this date -- been billed as such.

The device is reportedly being marketed as a low-priced mid-range phone. At D11, Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside noted that off-contract smartphone prices have pretty much stagnated since birth of the original iPhone, and the company hopes to make a niche for itself of "high-quality, low cost" devices that sit between $30 feature phones and $650 smartphones.

That is a rather large window, but it's rumored that the Moto X could sell for as little as $199 off-contract, meaning full-price and sans carrier subsidy. Typically, new smartphones run upwards of $450 without a carrier subsidy, and new top-of-the-line smartphones run around $599 or $649.

Part of the Moto X tagline is "Designed by you." That means, it's been reported, that customers will be able to use a website to customize things like the colors on the front and back of the phone, engrave it, and even upload an image to be used as default wallpaper.

In a slap made at other device manufacturers -- including Apple -- the device will also be assembled in the U.S. Motorola will build the devices in Texas, in a former Nokia plant.

The Moto X will also be the first device that the company has worked on -- from start to finish -- since being acquired by Google in August of 2011.

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