Everything we think we know about the Moto X


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Motorola’s plan to conquer the smartphone world doesn’t include high resolution screens, faster-than-light processors, or gimmicky “hand-waving” features like its competitors. Instead, the company hopes to grab your attention with a mid-tier (and presumably, reasonably-priced) phone that focuses on unique software features it thinks everyone will find useful. It’s so crazy, that it just might work.

Whether you’re a power user or a newcomer to the smartphone world, Motorola hopes the phone it will announce tomorrow will have something new for you. Let’s take a look at some of the rumors surrounding tomorrow’s big announcement.

The colors!

Motorola employees using a bright green Moto X.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Moto X will be its customizablility. The phones are said to be assembled in Texas in a factory formerly utilized by Nokia. Motorola’s Fourth of July campaign also hinted that the new phone would be “designed by you,” the user, which has lead many to believe that there will be some element of personalized customization available

There have been plenty of leaks over what the Moto X will look like. It’s cropped up in leaked photos on a plethora of foreign technology news sites, and Google’s Eric Schmidt even teased it by using it in front of of journalists at a recent event.

We’re aware the device will most likely be available in black and white, but another leaked image (like the one above) shows a bright green phone resembling the one Schmidt was holding earlier. The Moto X may come in a wide variety of colors, and include other customizable options (like wallpapers), shipping in just days from the U.S. assembly plant.

A “Clear Pixel” camera

The “Clear Pixel” lens may help take better photos in low-light situations.

No phone can make it on the market today without a good camera, and the Moto X’s take may be a 10.5 megapixel “Clear Pixel” camera with gesture controls similiar to the ones that we saw on the Droid phones debuted last week. The leak comes by way of Taylor Wimberly, formally of AndroidAndMe, who has been leaking minor tidbits about the handset on his Google Plus profile. Wimblerly’s explains the ClearPixel technology like so:

Today’s cameras detect light with an array of red, green, and blue pixels–which each see just one color. That means each pixel is ignoring two-thirds of the incoming light. The new sensor adds a panchromatic or “clear” pixel that detects all wavelengths of visible light, making it much more sensitive to the overall light level.

He goes on to add that, “by using a mix of clear and color pixels, the new sensor becomes two to four times as sensitive to low-light conditions,” which should make taking photos in dark situations—like at the pub with your friends—a more successful endeavor. The Moto X will also feature a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera for video chats and the like.

Puff, the Magic Glass

Taylor Wimberly
A look at the different layers in the Moto X’s “Magic Glass” construction.

Another leak from Wimberly suggests that the new Moto X will feature “magic glass,” which is essentially a fancy term for a strengthened sheet of glass molded to cover both the front and sides of the chassis. The”magic glass” may be specially coated for durability, and its design should help execute the same zero-gap construction featured on phones like the HTC One—though that also means you won’t get a removable battery.

Don’t expect the Moto X’s screen to be as gargantuan as some of the other handsets making headlines today, either. Rumors point to a 4.5-inch, 1184 x 720 resolution display, which is a bit smaller than the 5-inch honkers from the likes of phone manufacturers like Samsung, and not as pixel-y as phones with 1080p screens.

Wait, what about what’s inside?

The rumors surrounding Motorola’s “super phone” point to some very capable interals. It may have a 1.7GHz dual-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro with 2GB of RAM inside, in addition to 802.11ac support, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and 16GB of internal storage, though there may not be a MicroSD slot. Fueling all of this will be a 2,200 mAh battery pack, which should be substantial enough to last all day if it turns out that the Moto X doesn’t have a high resolution screen after all.

Since last week’s Droid lineup revealed Motorola’s own-branded X8 Mobile Computing System, we’re expecting that the processor inside will follow along the same lines, essentially enabling Motorola to continue advertising its “eight-core” chip.

Software with special goodies

Last week’s Droids also gave us a glimpse into what some of the Moto X’s new software features may be. We learned that the forthcoming handsets will come equipped with features like an always-on voice commands that allow you to control your phone without actually pressing a button to do so. It may also feature Motorola’s new notiifcation scheme that displays subtle icons before you even get to the lock screen, as well as the new Assist feature, which enables users to set different actions and modes for meetings, driving, and sleeping.

Because of its close partnership with Google, we also expect Motorola’s software won’t be as bogged down by bloatware as other phones, but that’s as much “wishful thinking” as “substantial rumor”—after all, there’s no telling what each carrier will do to put their own little flair on Motorola’s new Android devices. Whatever’s next on the roster, one thing is for sure: the new Moto X phone has its work cut out for it as it goes head-to-head with industry heavyweights Samsung and HTC.

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