Moto X ‘Customization’: What to Really Expect

Moto X ‘Customization’: What to Really Expect


As you’ve probably already heard, a Motorola Moto X ad recently touched down, teasing us by suggesting that the handset will somehow be customizable. This is also not the first time we’ve heard such claims. You have to wonder though: are you setting yourself up for a major let-down? If you expect true customization, then yes, you probably are.

The Moto X is the first product from the “new Motorola”, in that it is created by the guiding hand of its parent company – Google. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be as revolutionary as we might imagine.

Let’s just be honest here, true customization doesn’t make sense. It might be easy in the PC world where many parts are standardized and the larger size means there is room to snap in and remove parts with ease, but designing a smartphone is much more complicated.

In a perfect scenario, Google and Motorola could have cracked the code needed to make customization a reality. That means tons of processor choices. Multiple RAM configurations. Lots of case and build material choices. It means your phone is TRULY unique.

But that’s not going to happen. So, what will we get instead?

What to expect from the Moto X

Thanks to  an unnamed source reporting to ABC News, we have word that the Moto X will in fact be customizable, but not in the way we had hoped and dreamed.

Instead, the Moto X will be ordered through the web (likely the Google Play Store) and will give you a few simple options, such as picking from a massive palette of different colors. You can even choose two different colors – one for the back of the phone and another for the trim of the phone.

Other basic customizations include the ability to engrave a name/message on the handset, and even upload a personal photo to be used as default wallpaper on the phone’s screen. From the sounds of it there might also be several storage options to choose from.

As for the OS, it will run on Android 4.2.2. No word on whether that’s stock Android or skinned, but here’s to hoping its more like a “Google Play Edition” device in that regard.

In short, the real magic of the phone won’t be customizations, but instead will be its hardware sensors.

These “contextual awareness” features will allow things like simply flicking your phone to launch the camera. Then there are added voice capabilities and even a way for the phone to ‘recognize’ when you are driving, so it will automatically launch the speakerphone for calls.

In other words, the Moto X is still cool. Just maybe not as exciting as we hyped it up to be.

Why build it in the USA?

Besides the marketing aspects of designing and building a product in the United States, there is a practical reason, too.

According to Motorola, the 500,000-square foot facility in Fort Worth, Texas will allow the company to ship these customized phones to users in the United States within just days of being ordered. Such a quick turn around wouldn’t be as easy to accomplish if the phones were made overseas.

Will all users and carriers have access to customization options?

That’s a real good question, with no official answer just yet. ABC does say the following, though:

People will be able to buy the mid-range phone via the web but also buy standard versions through carrier stores.

This could be taken to mean that ‘standard versions’ imply a non-customized Moto X with default color choices, possible carrier branding and a subsidized price. Or it’s possible it means nothing. If I had to take a guess, the color/engraving/photo options will probably end up being exclusive to Google Play Store orders.

It also wouldn’t surprise me if the Google Play web orders require you to buy the phone outright. Though it’s not totally impossible to think that Google and Motorola might have partnered with carriers to offer a customized, subsidized phone option that works with GSM and CDMA carriers.

There are also questions on whether the customized options will be available to non-U.S. buyers. If Motorola is building the phones in the United States in order to speed delivery to U.S. customers, it wouldn’t be too shocking (though very unfair) if the customized choices are only made available to North American buyers.

Keep in mind that these last few paragraphs have pretty much been nothing but speculation and semi-educated guessing at best, so take all this in with a grain of salt.

There are still plenty of unknowns about the Moto X, though it is shaping up to be an interesting handset, if not revolutionary. What do you think of the Moto X based on this alleged information? Disappointed, excited or indifferent?

Source: ABC News