When Google acquired Motorola Mobility, everyone expected that the two to team up and release the ultimate smartphone to compete with Apple’s and Samsung’s most popular devices, but to date we’ve yet to see anything the two have collaborated on.
Until last May, Motorola’s policy was to keep schtumm about what it and Google were working on. This changed at D11 however, when Motorola executive Dennis Woodside freely discussed the manufacturer’s upcoming flagship device, the Moto X, which will have all the essential features of a smartphone, plus an array of sensors that will provoke the phone to act differently depending on various contextual factors.
The Moto X’s sensors are the key differentiator of the phone, and will be able to tell what the user is doing at any given time, for example if he or she is driving or walking, and act accordingly. It can also tell when it is being taken out of the user’s bag or pocket and consequently knows when to ‘wake up’ or ‘sleep’. The device is expected to come out this October, and will be available on all networks, putting an end to Motorola’s long standing exclusivity with Verizon.
Cutting its exclusive bond with Verizon is only the first step in delivering a phone that will appeal to more consumers. The second step is a new ad from the company that leaves us somewhat intrigued as to what the device really has to offer:
Image source: Adage.com
“The first smartphone that you can design yourself. Because today you should have the freedom to design the things in your life to be as unique as you are,” the Moto X ad read.
Plus, the MotoX boasts that it will be the first smartphone that’s fully made in the US, so if nothing else it’s sure to appeal to those patriots out there who’ve been waiting for the day they can get their mitts on a device that’s been, “designed, engineered assembled in the USA.”
The ad will run as a full-page spread in today’s editions of the The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post – timed perfectly for tomorrow’s Independence Day celebrations.
But one question begs to be asked, namely when Motorola speaks of a “smartphone you can design yourself,” are they talking about UI customization or the whole package, as in custom-made smartphones for each individual? If that’s the case, we should expect the Moto X to be priced higher than the typical mass produced smartphone that’s available today.
Is Motorola Spying?
One factor that we haven’t really spoken about yet but could have a big impact on the Moto X’s fortunes is trust. Up until a few weeks ago this wouldn’t have been a concern, but what a difference a few leaks can make.
Lest we forget, Motorola is now owned by Google, so would anyone really be that surprised if it turned out MoMo is spying on its users? Nope. Ever since the NSAgate scandal broke, a growing segment of people have become increasingly paranoid about using Google’s products and services, fearing the company spies on everything they do. None of this is proven of course, but it’s worth remembering when you hear Motorola boasting of a phone that ‘sets consumers free’.
We don’t have irrefutable proof of Google or Motorloa’s spying, but according to engineering expert Ben Lincoln, MoMo has indeed been collecting email addresses, usernames, passwords, GPS coordinates from pictures taken, and other information from users of Motorola devices for some time now. Though Lincoln has no proof yet as to the extent of MoMo’s spying, since he was only able to monitor his Droid X2 smartphone’s activities, he believes that other Motorola smartphones are also being spied on.
The worst part about MoMo collecting data is that the information obtained is not encrypted, and so the data is available for anyone to collect, putting users and their accounts at risk.
So is Motorola really offering a device that will set people free from the constraints of using a boring smartphone? Or is it just a ploy to entice more people to use their next flagship smartphone, and help feed the growing appetite of the NSA?
Food for thought if nothing else.