Motorola releases the Moto X and It’s Pretty Cool

A few weeks ago, Guy Kawasaki invited me and a whole cast of interesting characters out to Google headquarters to meet the new Moto X phone. Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 6.50.56 PM

Being that I don’t tend to write posts with any great detail about the tech guts and stuff (you’ll have to read Robert Scoble’s piece or wait for Leo Laporte or any host of really smart people who care about megapixels and stuff. But what I really loved about the phone bears talking about, for sure.

Awesome Battery Life

If you’re a smart phone user, you know one thing: battery renders all of us fierce wall-scanners, seeking out the power outlets in any public place and asking several strangers (poor restaurant and bar staff) to plug in our phones at the drop of a hat. Motorola’s X8 chipset (read nerdy things about that here) has super low battery drainage, and they’re gently saying that you can charge the phone overnight, use it moderately all day, and not have to recharge. Battery life = pretty much all day.

This gets interesting because Motorola found a few things: 1.) we drain our phones faster by pressing the power button frequently throughout the day. We do that, it turns out, to check the time, and check why our phone just vibrated. Moto X does two things with this information: uses the X8 chip to give us this information (far less battery use) and once we even vaguely move the phone from our pocket, shows us the time and what just buzzed without us having to press a button. That’s cool. It’s thinking about what we’re trying to do and it’s meeting us there. (That’s the kind of thing that I find interesting in a story about a phone.) I guess it’s called Active Display (just read that in a press release).

Quick Draw Camera

I think it’s called something else, but Moto X also knows that if you wiggle your phone a certain way, it means “hurry up and get me that camera fast!” How many times have you missed a camera phone shot? Oh, lots. I forget the numbers, but it’s crazy. Like, from-wiggle-to-snap in under 2 seconds. Test that with your phone right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Touchless Control

Talking to our devices is all the rage. Right now, if I press down hard on my iPhone button, wait a few seconds, listen for a ding sound, I can talk to a robot woman who will sometimes understand what I’m asking her and more often than not try to send me to Google to look up something.

With the Moto X, you don’t touch the phone or tell it to listen. It’s listening all the time (cue NSA joke here). That tricky X8 chip again. It doesn’t eat up battery (hey, that’s what they’re telling me) and it’s ready for you to ask it for things. We tried all kinds of tests at the live event (you can see some pictures here – I’m hiding behind Ben Parr’s noggin in picture #9). It’s pretty cool.

Custom Colors and Stuff

I’m writing this to be dutiful, but some of you care. There are tons of all kinds of custom colors for this thing. Like…16 or so. And Motorola teamed up with case designers and headphone makers and all those kinds of people so that your carpets will match your drapes. Kinda cool. Of course, being an idiot, I want the color they don’t have (orange). Being that they don’t care that I want orange and that most people would find an orange phone ugly, I’m okay with this truth.

Made in the USA

I’m not exactly a pickup truck driving flag-buying patriot, but all my cars have been from Chevy and GM, and I do feel a little spark of pride when hearing that something great can still be designed and built here on this soil. (Apple’s recently spent a lot of time reminding us that all those products being built in China are designed in California, and that’s fine. I’m not thrashing anyone for where they build. Instead, I’m saying – hey neato, THIS phone is designed and assembled in the USA.) I think that’s a neat part of the story to tell.

Android Vs iPhone Vs Windows

I have had plus and minus experiences with Android devices in the past. I like them. I also like that there are lots more apps on Android than before. iPhones work so super slick that most apps just don’t feel as slick on Android in lots of cases. But there’s a lot to be said about the ground that’s been gained of late, and I have no problem chucking my iPhone 4S and jumping onto this Moto X device. I’ll say this because I love saying it and you love disbelieving: I really like the Windows Phone OS as well, except that there just aren’t enough apps. Okay, I’d cave if you just put fricken Instagram on there. But I digress.

What renders this less of an issue, though, is that I love whatever Moto X calls their “talk to your phone” feature. It was just super slick and worked really well, and I’m sold.

So yeah. There’s my story about the phone.

The Other Story

The other cool thing about the night was talking to people like Dan Lyons (Fake Steve Jobs back in the day, and a Hubspot guy), Laura Fitton, Robert Cialdini (yes, THAT Robert Cialdini), Elisa Camahort Page (BlogHer), Bruce Sallan (of DadChat fame), Jonathan Littman (wrote a bunch of books I love), Ben Parr, long time friend Neenz, Scoble, Leo Laporte, Mike Elgan, and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of people. It was really a crazy mix of people that Guy Kawasaki put together to see these phones, and I’m glad I was included. Believe me when I tell you that we all had our own reasons for finding the phones kind of interesting.

Will you? Who knows? I’m totally down. Can’t wait to order up my not-orange Moto X (that I wish were orange). : )

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  • http://philgerbyshak.com Phil Gerbyshak

    Looks like a very sexy device. Maybe I’ll get this in the fall instead of waiting for the iPhone 6…

  • Guest

    That sounds like the device I need in order to replace my LG Intuition with it’s incredible short battery life, based on the way I use it. It’s about time.

  • Stephen Brogan

    That sounds like the device I need in order to replace my LG Intuition with it’s incredible short battery life, based on the way I use it. It’s about time.

  • http://flippa.com/blog Ophelie Lechat

    It’s been years since I’ve had a non-Apple phone, but I’m starting to consider it.
    Truth is, though, my phone is rarely charged as it is. I have a small tablet I use for 90% of my work and web browsing, and a laptop for spreadsheet wrangling and other things my tablet can’t really handle.
    The only major draw to using a phone is the camera, and this one looks seeeeeexy. It takes about 10 seconds for my not-that-old iPhone to load the camera.

  • Steven Buehler

    Motorola actually took over an old Nokia plant in Texas to assemble the new device. The main reason being that they’ve committed to shipping custom phones in four days, and you can’t do that if you’re building them in China.

  • http://www.toddejones.net/ tejones

    ABC World News Tonight featured this last night. As Steven said, it is made in Texas, Fort Worth actually, my former town. I know the plant he is talking about and it is a boost in the arm to the good folks in Cowtown!

  • Michael Lawson

    Glad to see Motorola bounce back with a killer phone like this. Waiting to see what Apple has in store with its latest iPhone before making a decision to switch, though. Biggest question is: What is Guy Kawasaki, Mr. Apple Evangelist, doing hosting a Google event promoting a non-Apple device?

  • http://gplusid.com/shiraz Shiraz Siddiqui

    100% agree with your final point. where is the orange!!! haha the ONE color you think should’ve been an option isn’t, gahhh dangit!

  • Pingback: Moto X - Why Is Everyone Writing About the Moto X

  • activesuccess

    Really enjoyed the overview. Like the quick camera function idea. Probably looking at a new toy– I mean phone– towards the end of the year and because of your review, will give this little gem a close look :-)

  • n g parker

    Anyone believe my 4G LTE Android can handle streaming. Via Chromecast or better off w/ this new phone?
    Poppielass

  • John

    Hey Chris,

    You and Shiraz should head over to Facebook and go to the Motorola page and vote for orange!!!

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    Man you add me DWL @ the robot woman who will sometime understand me and what I am saying…. Just discovered your blog, great read. There is so much to look forward to in the Motorola X and the features you touch on are so revolutionary- cannot count the number of times I have missed a shot because it took me 2 minutes to take out my phone and another three to unlock and point and shoot. Again great article, glad I found you on Blog catalog.

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