back to article Moto X: It's listening to you. But can voice control finally take off?

After much teasing, Motorola Mobility has finally unveiled the Moto X phone it's hoping will restore the company's fortunes - and help repay the $12.5bn Google splashed out on the troubled mobile phone vendor. Moto X The basic handset has a 4.7-inch, 1280-by-720 pixel AMOLED screen, 2GB of RAM, 802.11a/g/b/n/ac Wi-Fi, no …


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  1. h3

    That battery life is absolutely terrible.

    There again people care more these days about looks than whether they can actually use the thing so it might sell well. (Cannot imagine it is that personal anyway).

    1. vagabondo

      battery life

      Depends on what "of use" means. There is a difference between 24 hours streaming video, talk-time, or stand-bye.

      1. BigAndos

        Re: battery life

        I suspect the constant monitoring of orientation must take its toll. All to provide some only slightly useful features. Nothing battery draining with the "swipe up on the lock screen to open the camera" gesture on iOS for example.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: battery life

          This is a phone with mid-range components at a high-end price. However, the gist seems to be that the screen and processor have been chosen for better battery life. There are power-saving tricks: only part of the AMOLED screen is lit up to show notifications, for example.

          It's an attempt to make a 'one size fits all' Android phone, suitable for the sort of people whop wold have previously bought an iPhone.

          1. Mark .

            Re: battery life

            I think that's spot on - this may be nothing of interest compared to Nexuses or S4s, but I think this is much about marketing and reaching out to people not yet buying Android. Whilst Android has won everywhere else, iphone still has a sizable share in the US. Unlike Samsung, Motorola is well known as an American company, and the Nexus line doesn't yet have the same kind of brand awareness. On top of that you've got the "assembled in the US" (or whatever) advertising. Seems plain targetted at the people who don't look at specs, but want to by a brand they recognise...

        2. Syren Baran

          Finally someone gets it

          "Nothing battery draining with the "swipe up on the lock screen to open the camera" gesture on iOS for example."

          Naturally capacitive touchscreens are powered by fairy dust and not something mundane like electricity.

        3. csumpi

          Re: battery life

          > "swipe up on the lock screen to open the camera" gesture on iOS for example

          Another revolutionary feature Apple brought you after they saw it on Android.

        4. Ed Coyne

          Re: battery life

          It has a separate low power processor for monitoring the sensors. It has another for the NLP to be "always listening" for "OK google" without killing the battery. It is part of the X8 chip package. ( )

  2. Zola

    "OK Google Factory Reset"

    When said out loud on the morning commute might not win you too many friends...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "OK Google Factory Reset"

      Or as Dr Who once said "Robomen, attack the daleks, this order cannot be countermanded".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customisable back plates with different colours!? Awesome! Why hasn't anybody else thought of that!?

    1. Piro

      Except sadly customisation is fixed, the shell is fixed. Nokia's X-Press on covers come to mind. Except those were better. Since you could change them.

      Also, from launch, custom options are only on AT&T. Absolute fail.

      They needed to release this Nexus style, with 4.3, upgrades directly from Google as if it was Nexus, and available OFF CONTRACT for a Nexus 4 style price, with all custom options from day one.

      Then it would have a USP. As it stands, this is poor, poor value.

      There is of course the camp that is totally stupid and will be spouting (HURR NO 1080p AND QUAD CORE, this isn't 2011) - personally I think msm8960pro@1.7, 2GiB RAM, 720p is fine (although I hate OLED, but that's another story).

      The problem is not the SoC and screen res, but rather.. a lot of other things. Motorola knows how to make a slim phone with a mean battery (RAZR MAXX HD) so why didn't they do that here? They also dropped the microSD for no reason at all. On the MAXX HD it simply slides in alongside the SIM behind the side tray. There's no reason they couldn't have done the same. Google is poisoning their design decisions.

      - Of course, though, the real flies in the ointment are as I said first - customisation exclusive to AT&T, and on-contract prices being announced is a bad sign for a cheap, Nexus 4 style off-contract device. These things make it dead in the water.

      P.S. Motorola, Google, nobody really cares about voice control. Voice control that bypasses the lock screen is even worse.

      1. CASIOMS-8V

        Agreed - very underwhelmed.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          If you don't like your customisations, you can swap the phone back for a different combo in the first two weeks. However, making the customistaion carrier-exclusive does seem daft.

    2. tomban

      Apple have just 'invented' them with the iPad Mini 2 (rumour has it), lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...

  4. Chris Beach

    Is it 4.2.2 or 4.3?

    The Nexus 7 (2013) runs 4.3, not 4.2.2 thats old.

    So is the Moto X 4.2.2 or 4.3?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It runs Android 4.2.2, the latest build Google released last week"

    Nope. 4.3 was released last week, 4.2.2 has been around for a good while.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "OK Google"

    Is "Hello Moto" available as an option?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "OK Google"

      Only if you say it in the accent of a Euro house DJ.

      1. Law

        Re: "OK Google"

        I remember the leaked videos at one point had people saying "hello moto magic <command>".

        Thank Lucifer they changed it.

  7. envmod


    the specs are a bit shit aren't they?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: spex

      That's kind of the idea. Screen was chosen for better battery life (AMOLED can light up pixels selectively, so checking notifications uses less power), CPU ditto - but apparently is fast enough to let the phone run smoothly.

      I think the idea is that Moto are trying to tightly wed the hardware to their version of Android and sell it people who want things to 'just work', as opposed to the spec-hungry modding crowd.

    2. Piro

      Re: spex

      MSM8960Pro and 720p aren't the problems with this device. A handful of other things are, including the price.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: spex

        "I'll echo what we said in our hands-on with the Moto X: this is a fine phone, but we're ultimately left wondering what the fuss is about. It's plenty fast, if not exceptionally so. It has a few neat software tweaks, but nothing that would prompt us to throw our Galaxies or Nexuses in the trash. It starts at a same-old-same-old $199 on-contract price just like most flagship Android phones. Customizable backs are all well and good, but if that's your phone's killer feature, you might need to think of some more ideas."

  8. Timmay

    No expandable storage (MicroSD)

    Falls at the first hurdle for me. Shame, looked nice.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: No expandable storage (MicroSD)

      At the asking price of this handset, you can take your pick of higher-powered, better specced Android handsets... some of which will have microSD.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: No expandable storage (MicroSD)

      Give me 32GB internal over 16GB + slot any day. The size of the internal storage is crucial when the OS downloads to internal storage, if your internal memory is close to full then no amount of SD storage will let you download from the Play store.

      1. Piro

        Re: No expandable storage (MicroSD)

        My phone has 32GB internal and a 32GB SD card.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No expandable storage (MicroSD)


      Seperate storage options are a bad hack. I'm more than happy with my cloud powered Nexus4, 16GB for local storage is more than enough. I store my common stuff on my phone and everything in the cloud.

      How big an SD card do you need to store everything you own? How big will it need to be this time next year.

      Trying to store everything you may ever want to access "in case there is no network" is a sure fire train to fails-ville....

  9. M Gale

    The only time I have used Google Now:

    Accidentally, when a tap is misinterpreted as a swipe on the home icon. It usually gets turned right the fuck back off again, and I'd love to be able to permanently disable it but there appears to be no way to do so.

    And no SD card slot. Fail.

    Other than that, it looks okay I guess.

    1. Timmay
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The only time I have used Google Now:

      Conversely, I love Google Now, use it loads, and find it of great value.

      One man's meat is another man's poison. Paris, cos she likes chowing down on man meat.

    2. Ed Coyne

      Re: The only time I have used Google Now:

      Try NoAssist from the play store, it hijacks the intent and ignores it. I also hate the gesture as I always activate it while trying to go back in the camera roll.

      1. M Gale
        Thumb Up

        Re: The only time I have used Google Now:

        Well, on a trawl through my comment history and this crops up.

        Yep, Google Now Disabler/NoAssist seems to work. Feels awfully kludgey, but until Google actually let people disable that thing properly, it'll do.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    flick the phone over twice and the camera function automatically starts up

    Finally they've found a way to make camera functionality easy and intuitive to use. I'm sure Canon et al will be desperate to introduce this!

    Seriously that's a stupid idea. Maybe instead, some sort of button could be used. Or just say "Open Camera".

    The only neat thing I can think of is that you could flick the phone in the air, catch it and the camera is activated. A bit like twirling a 6-shooter on your finger... pointless but fun.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Re: flick the phone over twice and the camera function automatically starts up

      Have to agree. I get sick of "hold on, hold on, don't move" while someone fumbles with their phone to launch the camera app.

      It couldn't be too hard for them to just add a hard button and wake the phone into the camera app. (My wife's new Lumia 925 does this, and it's such a simple and brilliant feature)

      1. Law
        Thumb Up

        Re: flick the phone over twice and the camera function automatically starts up

        My Sony phone has this.

        If nothing else I will miss that button and the image quality when I trash the buggy P.O.S next month.

  11. Chika


    The recent furore over the XBox One comes to mind once again.

    Voice control? It's just another gimmick used to obtain sales from those addicted to such things. Either the gimmick will catch on and these feeble minded idiots will move on or it will die a death. I know which one I'm favouring.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2000 customization options.

    actually 2000 combinations. Eg

    10 back cover colours

    10 front trim colours

    10 earphone colours

    would give 1000 different combinations.

    but most of them wouldn't be popular unless you like the rainbow look.

    1. Andy Hards

      There were some accents too don't forget.

  13. Lord Snooty

    Puzzling launch?

    A puzzling product launch from many perspectives. Yes, it is an interesting handset but it seems a tad too expensive ($600+ for the 32G device) when compared to other handsets (the Nexus 4 being a case in point). And yes, I can select different colours for the device, but building an entire supply chain based on essentially secondary selection criteria is a curious thing to do. Also, as it stands, its a US only device, which cements a view that Moto is a US only company (Droids are Verizon exclusives, for example, and historically Moto customer support in Europe has been a complete joke). So I am quite puzzled as to what they think they can achieve with this launch? Certainly, there are some interesting features but the manner of the introduction merely gives Samsung / HTC / Sony / Huawei / ZTE some good ideas for where to pitch their next set of devices without really giving Moto a winning phone. So I'm left puzzled as to what Google / Moto thought they were doing...

  14. Kristian Walsh

    Frame buffer corruption?

    Dunno about you, but the first thing that that first press shot reminded me of was long nights years ago trying to track down a bug where a process would trample all over the display frame buffer.

    Kids today with their memory managers and access protection! ... don't know they're born.

  15. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Can voice control finally take off?

    "Open the battery door Hal?"

    "Pretty Please?"

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