Google and Motorola reportedly cooking up flagship 'X phone'

Google and Motorola reportedly cooking up flagship 'X phone'Motorola may be owned by Google these days, but far from being the catalyst for a revival in Moto's fortunes, if anything the deal has seen it slip further from the front of the smartphone pack than it was before.

But be patient, long-suffering Motorola fans, as the latest rumour swirling around the mobile scene is that Google and Motorola are hard at work on a new high-end product line that will supposedly blow the competition out of the water when it lands next year.

The Wall Street Journal says the “X phone”, as it's known internally, will be a new flagship Android device that will stand apart from Moto's existing product line, but its development has been hit by a variety of obstacles related to its high-end specification.

It was reportedly set to feature bendable screen technology, similar to what we've been hearing a bit about lately from Samsung, but that has now been rethought due to manufacturing and supply-chain issues.

The class-leading camera hardware and software are also said to be causing headaches, specifically when it comes to battery life, and the combination of these various issues have set the project behind schedule.

Aside from the claim that the handset will be cutting-edge and “something quite different than the current approach”, we're not given a whole lot else to go on. But the WSJ's sources mention that the X phone will be followed by an X tablet, presumably built along the same lines.

As for a specific launch timeframe, your guess is as good as ours – 2013 is a long year, after all. But it will interesting seeing how Google differentiates the X phone concept from its own-brand Nexus line, and whether the mystery device truly is as special as these rumours are making it out to be.

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17 comments

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 23, 2012 at 14:08

Saw a few articles that claim it's Google's attempt to stop the runaway train that is Samsung.
Not implausible. Once Android becomes synonymous with Samsung, the other players in the G-alliance may start to look at other OSs. Or Samsung could put the familiar TW UI on other OSs... Ahem, cough Bada part 2.5 or Tizen...

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 23, 2012 at 14:09

Personally, I reckon the N4 was already a way to show the world. Android isn't just Galaxy! And it can be cheaper.

SpeedyG  Dec. 23, 2012 at 16:15

I read that title differently when I first saw it, lol,

Hope it isn't a 5 incher...

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 23, 2012 at 16:39

Yeah... Give us a topnotch 4-incher!!!!

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 23, 2012 at 20:11

I think all the N4 showed the world is how incompetent Google is as a retailer. They're great with digital products, not so great with physical ones. That's now the N7 and N4 which have suffered botched launches.

This X Phone does sound interesting though, kind of like a super high-end Nexus device...sounds expensive to me. Maybe cheap Nexus devices for normal people and X devices for hardcore techies?

Oh, and after spending a few days with the Note 2, I can honestly say that 4" is way too small for a high end device. There's just not enough space to make use of the features and power in a modern smartphone. Once you go Note, you don't go back...unless you're Jan.

judgey  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:10

Used to love samsung now keep away from them as they turning into apple (i hate apple and there style) Just got padfone 2 kills the sg3 4g but lacks so bad in build quality so its going back. Will keep an eye out for this tho.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:16

as they turning into apple
Do you mean Samsung as a business, or that Samsung's products are becoming like Apple's?

If you mean Samsung as a business, you may have a point. If you mean their products, Samsung make some of the most open and easily customisable Android devices available (removable battery, expandable memory, unlocked bootloaders etc), which is a pretty un-Apple-ish thing to do. Also, for an Android manufacturer, Samsung do a pretty good job of keeping their better selling products updated.

judgey  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:18

Samsung as a business

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:20

Samsung as a business
Ahh, yes. You do have a fair point there, especially with all the litigation which is flying around these days.

judgey  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:22

Its just like they grabbing the money now and doing an apple with the SG3 then the SG3 4g was a **** take.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:26

Its just like they grabbing the money now and doing an apple with the SG3 then the SG3 4g was a **** take.
The other side of the argument is that there's little point charging people who won't be using their S3 on 4G for an LTE capable model. I've just bought a Note 2 and I'm glad the 3G version is cheaper than the LTE version as I have no intention of upgrading to LTE in the near future (I'll wait for more operators to be offering it and price to fall).

I do see your point though, I guess you had a 3G S3 and then wanted to use LTE when was activated and had to get a new phone?

judgey  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:37

For sure and the point it had 2 gig mem even tho people say you don't notice it having two gig you defo do. Also samsung gave no indication about the 4g model as i would of waited if they had.

Sorry to go on but i did used to love them but like i say i dont like how they doing things right now.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 00:46

You're right, you do notice the extra gig, my S2 had 1GB and the Note 2 (even the 3G version) has 2GB, it can hold many more apps open at once.

Honestly, I don't think Samsung knew about the 4G model until EE got the go ahead to launch their 4G network months before the other networks. It was a bit touch and go whether or not they'd be allowed to.

If I was in your position, I'd probably dislike them too. On the other hand, even if I did dislike them, no other manufacturer comes close to making products that are as well-rounded.

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 06:59

Matt, I do not understand why you would need more than 4 or 4.3 inches for a high-end device... It's like saying why have more than 200 bhp without 4 doors and a towbar. Different uses...
Why should a 4-incher not have a great camera? Great sound? Great materials, a fast processor?
Etc? Why compromise? Yes, nobody will enjoy editing a spreadsheet on a Lumia 800 or iPhone, but there is no need for 5 inches to run the musicplayer a webbrowser, ereading app etc etc simultaneously without getting an error when you then try to open the camera.

There is no reason why people who like a smaller device have little choice when they want great build...

As you know, I had the Note 2, and I'd agree: it is a great device. Certainly one of the best gadgets ever. But just as there are apps that scream, 'gimme 5 inches or more', there are reasons for wanting a smaller device. The uses for a phone aren't limited to editing docs, watching po*n and playing GTA. And multitasking is also important for apps that can be conveniently used on 4 inches.

You used to be anti- Note because of size. Now that you have one, you love it. That's cool. But I'm not buying your argument re high-end specs for smaller devices. Why did you root and overclock your S2? Hey, why did you even keep your S2?

And why would you decree what people would want? The 3.5 inch iPhones still outsell the huge majority of all bigger phone models. Don't give me the Apple sheep nonsense. A LOT of people want smaller phones. So what, it's iPhone or G300? Nah, not in a world that has a market for chocolate covered cockroaches.

matt101101 / MOD  Dec. 24, 2012 at 14:20

Bear in mind, I just love a good discussion (as I'm sure you know), I don't necessarily agree with all the points I'm making:

What's the main use for all the power in a high end phone? Gaming, fast browsing and (if such things bother you) higher benchmark scores. A larger display makes the most common two of those three things a much, much nicer experience. You can read web pages without zooming in and out all the time and you can game without your thumbs getting in the way of the action. I'm willing to assume that the average consumer doesn't even know about benchmarking software, never mind care about it.

I'm not saying 4" devices should be slow, badly built or have terrible cameras; I'm saying they simply don't need a 1.6Ghz quad-core CPU (using the Note's chip as an example), as the applications which best make use of such a chip simply don't work well on a smaller display.

It's true, I was anti-Note, I thought it was a niche product for people with hands like a coal shovel. As it turns out, I was wrong. It's a great device which even someone with average sized hands can use with relative ease. Unless your wardrobe consists of solely skin-tight jeans, I don't see why the N2's size would be a genuine (as in, not perceived by it looking big) problem for any normal sized adult (male or female).

The iPhone does outsell many other models, that's true (side-note, the S3 did actually outsell the iPhone according to Q3 figures). It's true that a lot of people do want smaller phones, but judging by sales of the, hardly petite, SGS3, it's also evident that many millions of people are willing to use a far larger device.

You discard the "iSheep" argument as if it holds no water, I think lots of iPhones are purchased on the basis that they're an Apple product, they're famous or just that people's friends and family have them and they all bang on about how they're good phones. I'm not saying that's the reason the iPhone does so well, I'm just saying it must be a contributing factor to the ridiculously high sales figures.

In summary, I agree there should be choice, but I don't agree that making super-powerful 4" devices is worth the effort. The applications which demand such power simply don't work well enough on a smaller display to warrant the manufacture of such a product.

judgey  Dec. 27, 2012 at 01:55

think its more of devil's advocate

JanSt / MOD  Dec. 27, 2012 at 12:16

Bear in mind, I just love a good discussion (as I'm sure you know), I don't necessarily agree with all the points I'm making:

What's the main use for all the power in a high end phone? Gaming, fast browsing and (if such things bother you) higher benchmark scores. A larger display makes the most common two of those three things a much, much nicer experience. You can read web pages without zooming in and out all the time and you can game without your thumbs getting in the way of the action. I'm willing to assume that the average consumer doesn't even know about benchmarking software, never mind care about it.

I'm not saying 4" devices should be slow, badly built or have terrible cameras; I'm saying they simply don't need a 1.6Ghz quad-core CPU (using the Note's chip as an example), as the applications which best make use of such a chip simply don't work well on a smaller display.

It's true, I was anti-Note, I thought it was a niche product for people with hands like a coal shovel. As it turns out, I was wrong. It's a great device which even someone with average sized hands can use with relative ease. Unless your wardrobe consists of solely skin-tight jeans, I don't see why the N2's size would be a genuine (as in, not perceived by it looking big) problem for any normal sized adult (male or female).

The iPhone does outsell many other models, that's true (side-note, the S3 did actually outsell the iPhone according to Q3 figures). It's true that a lot of people do want smaller phones, but judging by sales of the, hardly petite, SGS3, it's also evident that many millions of people are willing to use a far larger device.

You discard the "iSheep" argument as if it holds no water, I think lots of iPhones are purchased on the basis that they're an Apple product, they're famous or just that people's friends and family have them and they all bang on about how they're good phones. I'm not saying that's the reason the iPhone does so well, I'm just saying it must be a contributing factor to the ridiculously high sales figures.

In summary, I agree there should be choice, but I don't agree that making super-powerful 4" devices is worth the effort. The applications which demand such power simply don't work well enough on a smaller display to warrant the manufacture of such a product.


I discard the iSheep argument because it IS irrelevant in this context. Because: for the exact same reason the vast majority of people buy Galaxy devices. Neither of those 2 majorities know what a MacHead. What open source or freeware means, etc etc...

You seem to imply iPhone buyers fall for advertising while the hundred of millions of Android buyers are just well-informed citizens.
Most iPhone owners (just like SGS3 owners) don't have the faintest clue how much a sim-free iPhone or Note 2 costs... And YOU know they don't know.

I have sold 2nd-hand Android phones to self-proclaimed Android fans. I advertised the devices with all relevant info - such as "rooted, flashed with ROM so-and-so...." They'd agree and then come to collect it - turned out they had no clue as to what rooting it, what a ROM is how to unroot etc etc.... Yes, this is anecdotal, but c'mon - you know it's trrue.
Android is popular with nerds and tech-fans because of its inherent possibilities, but for the vast majority it's like the Brew devices of old or like Windows PCs or, indeed, like the iPhone - mass products that one buys....

So there - lets say "iSheep" every time we mention Apple, and also say AndroidSheep every time we mention Samsung... or lets be realistic and mature.

As to 4-inchers. A while ago you dismissed the Note and Note 2 as "great but unusable due to size". Now that you used one and own one, you changed your mind. Good. However, I suspect your stance regarding 4-inchers not deserving top hardware is based on the same
philosophy - lets call it "if I don't have time to like it, I don't" ;)
I suspect it's been a while that you used an iPhone 5 for more than 30 minutes; I suspect you haven't used an N9 for longer than, well... never. I suspect an app like Thumbjam means nothing to you, so, hey, why have the hardware to play it?:p

This is all fine.
We all do it.
A tunneling microscope couldn't help me find my interest in XBox Live or whatever else WP8 has going for it, and so I happily focus on my general Microsoft hatred. Boom.
But I don't tell consumers a Lumia 610 will do, because hey, WP8 doesn't need a big screen or great cam or dual-cores or or or... I don't like MS, and I can freely let that bleed into my worldview. But I can't ask everyone else to take that view as gospel - or worse, as a law of physics. NONSENSE.

As to "ridiculously high sales figures" of the iPhones... Ahem, 10 million N97s sold in 3 months. That WAS ridiculous. It was objectively flawed in outstanding ways. Who knows how many Galaxy Aces sold. That is ridiculous. It's a bad phone. There's nothing inherently bad about iPhones except for issues such as closedness etc... things a lot of people don't care about. Else they wouldn't vote for idiotic attention-seekers. Advertising coma or not: if you step back, the iPhone or SGS x/y/z isn't a 'bad' choice. They are in every store; accessories for them are everywhere; they sell well 2nd-hand; other people have them; apps you like are aplenty etc etc... It IS what people do. It's our social animal psyche. Else, more people would be vegans or not drink, or not do drugs or not wear shoes you can't walk in....

Life. We suck at it.

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