Google's Moto X announced, gives us our second look at next generation iPhone 5S competitor

Google's Motorola subsidiary has just announced the brand-new Moto X, which they somehow let Verizon spoil last week with their incredibly similar new Droid announcement, but which is interesting enough that it certainly deserved the second, more encompassing look. Phil Nickinson of Android Central has already gotten a Moto X hands-on and here are his first impressions:

The Moto X is the first phone designed and built from scratch since Google acquired Motorola. And the end result is a phone that's as simple as it is complex. Its design is as understated as it is attractive. There have been so many assumptions about what the first Googlerola phone should be. It should be "Pure Google." It should have NASA-level hardware. It should have at least as many features as the droid line.

What Motorola's done is taken solid hardware and attractive design and married it to a fairly stock version of Android — with some interesting features thrown in, as well as a number of customization options. It's coming to five U.S. carriers in a few weeks and worldwide later, retailing for $199 on contract.

It's not yet the Google+ Now phone of my dreams, the natural-language-first interface that brings the Iron Man movie's Jarvis one step closer to life, but it's certainly a great sounding phone. The customization options are interesting, if a little cheesy - it looks like you can get it in wood veneer! That's never worked for anyone before, not Dell, and not case makers, but Motorola seems to have a solid enough device here that the gimmick shouldn't matter. It's not lipstick on a pig, it's frosting on a cake.

Google will likely have a new Nexus (4?) later this year as well, and perhaps Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie (seriously?) to go with it. Combined, it'll be an interesting new generation of competition for Apple. We've already seen iOS 7, which really is revolutionary in its take on dynamic, gameified interface, but if Apple holds to pattern, they're in a "tock" cycle for hardware this year. Will an iPhone 5s be perceptively different enough to excite consumers, even with fingerprint scanners, better cameras, and other, less obvious enhancements?

Check out Android Central's full Moto X coverage and then you tell me.

Source: Android Central

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google's Moto X announced, gives us our second look at next generation iPhone 5S competitor


Really, the 5S won't impress anyone except iTards. Most will find it quite boring compared to what has been coming out this year.

how do you know what the next iPhone will have? plus you come here to I more to insult Apple users? fucking get a life man.

Rene seems to know. He's already declared the Retina iPad Mini and iPhone 5S as better than the 2013 Nexus 7 and the Moto X.

which post said that? the Moto X and current Nexus 7 blow away anything in the market, how can he say that the next iPhone and iPad will be better?

How is it not spectacular? It's much more impressive than the iPhone already and I can't even imagine the 5S bringing too much new to the table.

Because it's not even close to being the best Android phone, it's not even the best Motorola phone. It's a mid range phone. They allowed the service companies to load it with bloatware, took away replaceable battieries and sim cards. It's not that good.

It's not that the SIM isn't replaceable; it's just a nano-SIM, so it's not easily swappable with other Android phones, all but one or two of which use micro-SIM.

It's a pain in the ass, but like when Apple went from the 30-pin connector to the Lightning plug, it was going to have to happen at some point, so we may as well just suck it up and deal.

interesting hearing spec talk come from an iphone person because you guys all tout how specs hasn't had anything to do with apple products since android has had a quad core...

Did you just write the Moto X is not Motorola's new flagship phone. Do me a favor. Go to and type in "Motorolas new flagship phone" and let me know which phone shows up.

I thought Apple's always saying "it's all about the software" when then not saying how beautiful something is. The specs don't matter as much when your running Android without any skins. I have a 1 1/2 year old phone that is running 4.2.2 and its fast. That processor with 2 gb of ram will be just fine. The question is how does the software addons and new sensors make that experience better.

Well it's software is loaded with bloatware, it's not a Nexus. Google did not fight to make sure if was completely vanilla. Just root and rom the good phones to get a good vanilla 4.3 experience instead of this underwhelming phone.

What bloatware? Are you talking about the carrier stuff? The Motorola stuff is stock Android with the added camera app and one or two more things. If it's the carrier stuff just wait a bit and and they'll sell this on the Google Play store without any carrier bloatware and most likely Android 4.3. If you into Roms and stuff then maybe you don't want this phone. This is targeted at the general consumer that is buying iPhones. These buyers what something that works. They don't know about specs. If it looks good, built good, and does what they except and in this case some cool stuff they don't they'll buy it. People like us just buy the most popular Android phone with the best specs because we put Cyanogenmod on it.

From the very beginning you can see the sluggish swipe-down to unlock. It's just simply not buttery smooth like ios, and that's what makes ios spectacular. I used several androids before my iPhones, and Motorola just can't seem to make their software smooth. It's quite upsetting. Ever typed on an HTC one with two quick thumbs? The split second lag is quite noticeable. Idk about Samsung though, never had one.

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re: " It's not lipstick on a pig, it's frosting on a cake."

It's going to take more than lipstick on a pig plus frosting on a cake to dig Google out of their $12.5 billion Moto-Hole. The Moto X isn't going to do it.

Sure, it will ding Samsung a little. How much depends on whether cell carriers hype Galaxy or Moto. But all speculation about Moto X vs. iPhone "5S" is just hot air until the "5S" is released.

And yes, there's an Apple News Lull now. So I understand the need for an article about Moto X vs. iPhone "5S." It's sure to bait plenty of Android Apologists over to iMore. Page hits are page hits. Thanks for the traffic.

After selling off the set top business and the tax breaks Google will get until 2019, Motorola only cost Google $1.5b. Not a deep hole to get out of.

btw. Nice slam of Rene. I'm sure he appreciates your opinion.

Because all iMore can do now is compare innovative and quality Android devices to hypothetical Apple devices which are somehow better even though they haven't been announced or released. Apple can no longer claim automatic superiority in design, in feature set, in stability or quality of its devices over all Android options. The same arguments that have been used against Android in the past are no longer true.
largely irrelevant.

I'd like to actually see Apple do something innovative to show that it still has the ability to do so without Steve Jobs. An iPhone 5S with a slight spec bump isnt going to cut it. No one is saying that Apple devices arent high quality and well designed, and it will without question sell millions. But there's nothing new or particularly innovating coming out of Apple and it needs to step up its game or risk stagnant growth or worse.

Moto X is innovative. It's the first smartphone built in the US. There are hundreds of customization options available, it has dedicated cores for natural language processing and sensor monitoring that enable it to be always on and waiting for user input and to be used in ways never before possible with mobile devices. It has amazing battery life, and Google Now puts Siri to shame in terms of utility and it keeps getting better. Moto X takes it to the next level.

If all Apple can bring is a slightly larger screen, slightly faster response, and the mix and match UI design of iOS 7, then it will seriously put Apple's image as one of the leading vehicles of innovation in technology into question. The next iPhone and iPad need to be game changing, or its just going to accelerate Apple's slow decline.

I'm a fan of Google and I prefer Android, but I've owned all versions of iPhone and iPad with the exception of the Mini. I'm not bashing Apple, and not trying to turn this into a fanboy argument. I just want to see Apple do something new and different and am seriously questioning whether it can do so. If the best that can be done is to compare the Nexus 7 and Moto X to hypothetical Apple products with imaginary specs, then Apple is in danger of stagnating at best and declining at worst.

siri can toggle on and off cellular/WiFi/Bluetooth etc.Now doesnt do that. furthermore iOS 7 has a lot of stuff that will really boost Apple back up there.

Because native Android allows that to occur quicker than you can get the words out. I can literally do that in half a second. It would take longer to say it than to actually do it through quick settings.

you are not understanding. in certain situations I wanna turn those things off without looking at my phone. I have a Nexus 4 with 4.3 so don't tell me anything about Android because I know how capable and aware it is.

Another Apple needs to do x,y,z or its doomed post. Yawn. Sorry I don't want my phone always listening to me.

I'm fine with the always-on voice activation if and only if it is an opt-in feature and can be deactivated any time.

Google Now does have you opt in to its features when you first activate it and can be turned off later if you want, so I assume this will be how it works with the X.

I never said it was doomed. I said they would become stagnant and will lead to a slow decline. Apple has enough cash to give everyone a 5 year vacation and still have more cash than most S&P companies. But that doesn't mean they'll grow. If you want an example, look at Microsoft. At one time, it had over $642 billion in market cap at its peak. Today, maybe a quarter/third of that. An entire Apple's worth of value was eradicated.

I don't have an irrational hate of Apple. I'm a shareholder. I want them to succeed, I just want them to show me they can do it.

I sold a lot of my position though and bought into Google, because far from being a one trick pony, they are investing into building the future and with the way they operate they just might be able to. A minor spec bump for the iPhone and iPad isn't innovation. Flat icons and colorful backgrounds aren't innovative.

But a head mounted display that can free your hands from always needing a smartphone? Self driving cars? Fiber Internet? Balloon powered Internet service to remote areas of the world? A phone that can always listen and understand me with that knows what I want before I give it any input? These are all things that can shape the future, and definitely can invest in.

There was a time when Apple was capable of similar innovation, and created products which upended entire industries and changed the face of human interaction. That's the Apple I'm afraid is doomed, and that I want to see succeed.

The commenters at Android Central ravaged it (especially the screen). Note also that this is "assembled" in USA, but not manufactured there.

The screen is what I have the least problem with. I really don't think that 1080p is necessary, or even all that desirable on a phone. It's a totally different story with regard to tablets, but on a device with a 4.7" screen, the practical difference is negligible.

Moto X is not really impressive in my view of point. It has just average android specs. The two things that stands out to me, is "Made by Google" and "Assembled in US."

Ignore the specs. Look at the features. It offload a lot of the language processing and the sensor monitoring to dedicated cores. The battery life is stellar. They nailed the experience of using it, and didn't need to go all out on specs because it has dedicated cores for the always on functions.