Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Moto X leaves four carriers in the cold as AT&T gets launch exclusives

As promised, Motorola unveiled the Moto X smartphone on Aug. 1. Among the tidbits of information about the new device: Despite its long association with Verizon, Motorola is giving AT&T some prime exclusives.

While more of a mid-range than a high-end phone, the Moto X is likely to be a huge hit. It comes with the previously disclosed Motorola X8 processor, dubbed the X8 Mobile Computing System. More than just a system-on-a-chip (an SOC like an Apple A6), it includes a Snapdragon S4 Pro, with a 1.7GHz dual-core Krait CPU and a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, alongside two Motorola processors, one for language interpretation and one for managing the smartphone's sensors (Motorola calls it a contextual computing core).

The Moto X sports a (nowadays) mid-sized 4.7-inch 720p (316 ppi) AMODEL display, 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a 2,200mAh battery for up to 24 hours of "mixed" (whatever that means) use, and the standard set of 4G radios appropriate for each carrier.

Camera-wise, it comes with a 10-megapixel Clear Pixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, both of which are capable of 1080p video capture.

It also supports Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac, GPS and GLONASS, NFC, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, Miracast Wireless Display, NFC and a nano-SIM.

Carriers will announce the phone's exact availability, but it will reach retail at the end of August or early September, on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. Pricing will be $199 on-contract.

AT&T gets some exclusives, though. AT&T will sell a 32GB variant for $249. In addition -- at least at launch -- only AT&T customers will have access to additional color options and customizations that Motorola proudly cited during earlier hyping of the device. In a way, that is sad, as those customizations -- up to 2,000 unique combinations, Motorola claims -- were part of the device's allure.

Of course, it takes time to build those custom phones -- even though they will be assembled in Texas.  Don't worry. If you wish, you can go into an AT&T store and get a standard black or white model to use until your custom phone arrives.

Motorola's past may hamper sales, though. Some may wonder if -- like the original Razr -- Motorola will ship a Moto X Maxx in a few months. We'll see.

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