Get ready for the 4th: here's what Motorola is about to announce

Editor's note: this article was updated where noted on the evening of September 3rd to reflect a few bits of new information, but the majority has been left as it was for the original publication on August 28th. 

As you've all noticed, there has been a ton of Motorola news recently. We were expecting the leaks to start coming through as we got closer to Motorola's scheduled September 4th event, and we haven't been disappointed. While much of the most recent news has been about the Motorola-built Nexus X, we want to take some time to run through everything Motorola is going to announce in one short week.

There are three things that we know for sure will be announced at the even in Chicago, because Motorola basically laid out the plans for the major announcements in the event announcement. The teaser image blatantly lists the Moto X+1, the next generation Moto G, the Moto 360 smartwatch, and apparently some sort of Bluetooth headset which we have not gotten any info about. 

We do know that Motorola has about 8 smartphones in its plans for the end of this year, and we know that not all of those devices will be announced on the 4th. The Nexus won't be announced next week, both because this is a Motorola event not Googla, and we've been told that the Nexus will have a quiet release around Halloween again. The two Moto S handsets likely won't be announced either, because we have heard that the Moto S launch depends on how people take to the Moto X+1. How people react to the size of the X+1 will determine if Motorola releases the Moto S as a 5.9-inch device or as the 5.2-inch Moto X Play. And beyond that, if the Moto S ends up as a 5.9-inch device, Google could take the 5.2-inch units and repurpose them as a second Nexus device alongside the 5.9-inch Nexus X. 

To recap: we will see the Moto X+1 and Moto G on the 4th, but probably won't see the Moto S or Moto X Play, and almost definitely won't see the Nexus X. That just leaves the three new DROID handsets - the DROID, DROID Maxx, and DROID Turbo. There have been very few leaks about the new DROID devices, but we know the Turbo has top-of-the-line specs, and we can assume the Maxx has a giant battery. It is unclear though if these devices will be announced next week. According to our source, it is "possible, but not confirmed" that the DROIDs will be announced. 

That brings us to the main items that we know will be on the docket, and what we know about each, starting with:

The Moto X (aka X+1)

Last year's Moto X was critically acclaimed by tech reviewers and most users who bought it, but the device never caught on with the public, likely due to a severe lack of marketing (despite a reportedly huge marketing budget from Google), and the AT&T exclusivity of Moto Maker. Motorola is scheduled to shut down its assembly plant in Texas by the end of the year, but Moto Maker should still be in full swing given it is now offered in Mexico, and Germany. We also just heard about changes to Moto Maker; there are rumors that in addition to the usual wood and plastic, there will also be leather and maybe even a denim backing materials. 

**Update** In terms of the Moto Maker, we have been hearing that because of the Texas plant shutdown, it will take quite a bit longer for custom orders to come through. Moto Maker orders will have to come from an assembly plant in Mexico, and could take upwards of 14 days to be delivered, because of that. There has also been speculation about AT&T possibly getting another exclusive on Moto Maker, but that could be as little as a 3-day exclusive and be tied to a possible promotion that has been considered to take place September 6th

Before diving into the specs expected in the X+1, we wanted to quickly note something about the naming. Our source indicated that the names will actually be the same as last year. This means they won't be the X+1 and G2, but will remain the Moto X, and the Moto G. However, to reduce confusion in this piece, we'll continue to refer to the device as the X+1.

Physically, as you can see in the leaked renders above, there will be a some changes to the X+1 compared to last year's Moto X. The X+1 will feature a 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED display, rather than the 4.7-inch 720p display of last year. The X+1 also has front stereo speakers, a new logo on the back, and dual mini flashes for the camera rather than one large flash. The last thing to note are the grey dots you can see on the front of the white device above. Those are related to the 3D effects that Motorola experimented with for the X+1, but it is unclear if that will actually make it into the final product. Also, in that same report about the 3D, it was rumored that the X+1 would feature optical zoom, but our source is saying that optical zoom has been tested for the Moto S and Nexus X, but not the X+1. 

**Update** The latest we've learned is that the extra cameras/sensors which have been rumored to be related to 3D effects are most likely related to Moto Aware. It is still unclear what Moto Aware will actually do, because it has been seen on the Motorola Luge, a device that doesn't include these extra sensors. Speculation has been that Aware will dynamically change settings and items on your device based on your location/context, so it could be that these extra sensors will simply enable additional features. 

Internally, there are the standard set of upgrades that you might expect. As rumored, the X+1 will be powered by a customized Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.2GHz, and once again featuring co-processors for voice and motion. It will also have 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, and options for 16 and 32GB of storage with an unconfirmed possibility of a 64GB variant. 

It will ship with Android 4.4.4 and likely get the update to Android L pretty soon after the software is available, given Motorola's track record with speedy updates. Otherwise, we don't know much about the software on the X+1. We did learn that there will be some carrier modifications (you can see the Verizon Messages app in the renders above), but we have been told that those apps will be removable. There was also supposed to be a new service called Moto Aware, but those plans have been scrapped in the wake of filings from Apple to block the app. Motorola has squashed Apple's filings, so Aware should be back in play. 

We also don't know how much the X+1 will cost, but we do know that the device will be released on all four major carriers in the U.S., and the planned launch date for Verizon is September 17th, but that date could be moved up. **Update** It looks like bamboo devices may be available in stores as well, though that has only been connected to Verizon at this point. 

The Moto G

The other smartphone guaranteed to be part of the festivities on September 4th is the new Moto G. This is Motorola's device aimed at the upper low-end market (whereas the Moto E is for the low-end), and as such, the device doesn't pack the most impressive specs, but they are pretty solid considering the phone is expected to sell for somewhere in the $175-200 range. Although, the internals aren't expected to get much of an upgrade with the Moto G. 

The new Moto G has been rumored to include the same Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2GHz as in last year's model, 1GB of RAM, 8/16GB of storage, dual-SIM support, a microSD card slot, and the same swappable Motorola Shell back plates. The phone isn't totally the same though. Its screen is bigger at 5-inches, rather than 4.5-inches, but is still 720p. The rear camera has been upgraded from 5-megapixels to 8. And physically, the bezels have been made smaller, and the device will have the same front stereo speakers as all of the new Motorola devices. 

We don't know specifics on the release date or price for the Moto G, but as mentioned before, it will likely be under the $200 mark. 

The Moto 360

Until yesterday, the Moto 360 was undisputedly most demanded Android Wear smartwatch that we knew about. Then, LG announced the G Watch R with its perfectly round display (the 360 has a piece cut out of the bottom), and steel design. The Moto 360 is still a great-looking watch, but it is no longer the sole entrant with a metal design and round face, and according to our recent poll, the Moto 360 is no longer on top of your wish lists (though it is close). We knew the competition was coming, but we at least thought the 360 would be the first device to get an official announcement. Of course, we have had hands-on time with the Moto 360, and we don't yet know the LG G Watch R release date, so the 360 could still be the first round watch on store shelves. 

From what we know, the Moto 360 is made of steel and will launch with customization options in Moto Maker. This will let you choose between the black or silver watch face, and have a choice of watch bands. At launch, there will almost certainly be a leather watch band, and a rubber option, but the last we heard (which was two months ago) it was unclear if the metal band option would be ready for the release. From the leaks we've seen, the leather bands will come in a few different colors, like gray, tan, blue, and black. We would assume different color choices for the sporty rubber watch band, but can't confirm that. 

The Moto 360 also has some impressive hardware packed into its small frame. It will be the first Android Wear device to feature an ambient light sensor, which will allow it to dynamically change the screen brightness and save your battery. And, speaking about the battery, the rumor is that the Moto 360 will feature over two days of battery life, which is well more than other Android Wear offerings. When you do need to charge the device, it has a very cool looking wireless charging dock to take care of your power needs. In those same pics of the wireless charger, it was revealed that the Moto 360 features a pedometer (expected), and an optical heart rate monitor, which we didn't expect. To top it off, the device is rated at IP67 waterproof certification, meaning that you can dunk it in three feet of water for half an hour without any troubles. 

The display of the 360 is 1.5-inches with a reported resolution of 320 x 290, with the vertical a bit shorter because of the black bar at the bottom that hides the ambient light sensor and display drivers. The entire watch is 1.8-inches in diameter and is said to be 0.4-inches (10mm) thick and weigh 2.1oz (59.5g), which makes it similar in thickness and weight to the LG G Watch. There is a microphone, and a plunger on the side which is expected to be the screen on/off switch. 

The internal specs of the device are still a bit of a mystery. There was a Best Buy posting that appeared to leak the specs, but there were a few parts of that listing that made us wary of the information, not the least of which was that it claimed the 360 had a Texas Instruments processor, even though TI got out of the mobile device market two years ago. Most rumors say the 360 has a Snapdragon 400, like all of the other Android Wear devices that exist right now. The Best Buy listing claims 512MB of storage, but doesn't mention RAM, and we would have expected that to be the other way around. Lastly, it lists Wireless N support, which would be a very big deal if it happens, because it would give the device a modicum of independence from a tethered smartphone by connecting to Wi-Fi instead. But, we'll believe that when we see it. 

The release date is unknown for the 360, but it will likely be around the same time as the X+1, which would mean around the third week of September. The price is expected to be $249 as mentioned in a number of leaks. 


That's everything we know about what is on the way from Motorola exactly one week from today on September 4th at the event in Chicago. We'll keep monitoring the situation and try to get you the most up-to-date information as it comes, but overall we have a pretty solid idea of what to expect from next week's announcement. What do you guys think of Motorola's plans?



1. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Ok, Ok... This has my attention also!


Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Doesn't moto have to announce something to compete with the Note 4 before the Note 4 swallows up a ton of sales? And this event would be the time to do so, no?

30. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

it's called appealing to a different market since moto is owned by Lenovo now they'll probably combine divisions so that moto works on smartwatches etc... while the make affordable moto phones and high end Lenovo !

2. aranauser

Posts: 58; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

the thumbnail says it all

3. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

For som reason the screen size on the G seems too big (5") to me for its classification (mid-range). I know it's splitting hairs, but 4.7" seems more appropriate (to me).

4. S.M.Talha

Posts: 70; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

I think mid range is used for the price not for the size of smartphones.

7. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

5" isn't actually too big for anyone. I understand your personal dislike for 5" phones, but I'm saying it actually isn't too big physically that you can't use it. You just need to get adjusted then you'll never go back to something smaller. My 5'5" wife has small hands and loves her Note 3 and Note 2 before it. I learned to use my Note 3 fully one handed, I just adjust my hold on it by shifting it onto my fingers and my thumb reaches all the way to the top corner. There'll be plenty of other phones for you to buy. Most likely they're catering to the masses who want bigger phones, especially low cost buyers who the Moto G is aimed at. Plus think of the fact that developing market buyers probably don't have money to buy a phone and a tablet/laptop. They like having larger screens because that's their only access. Manufacturers tend to plan for larger sales than the handful of people who hate large screens.

8. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

True, but Samsung's Galaxy Mega 2 and LG's G3 Stylus are essentially midrange devices. And there are others besides them that have large screens while having midrange specs. The size of the screen is no longer a metric to determine a phone's place in the hierarchy.

5. Jurdiales

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

So.. this year Motorola has prepared a bunch of killer phones? Wow... maybe this is going to be extraordinary, I want a Nexus! Or a bootloader unlocked phone with more than 4000 mAh battery...

13. LoveHater

Posts: 235; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

No killer phones ,, Only x+! and s,, Moto g is just CHINESE influence,, nothing special and Lenovo 8 mp camera for Gimmick,,,

6. salaal

Posts: 109; Member since: Dec 08, 2013

The moto g needs at least a snapdragon 410 or 1.5GB ram to be named as the moto G2.

12. LoveHater

Posts: 235; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

That's what I also wished for ,, but they hve disappointed ,,, only focus to flagship

20. antmiu2

Posts: 552; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

I understand your view but the key factor here is the price!

9. mike523

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 18, 2013

I'm interested in the G. And the listed upgrades are ok. But it must also have "LTE" connectivity and AT LEAST a 2500+ mAh battery. If it's 3000, it'll be a HOME RUN. I'll buy it as soon as available.

11. LoveHater

Posts: 235; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

Moto G will be Fail

14. datphone

Posts: 7; Member since: Aug 28, 2014

2 Questions: 1. What time does the event start BST 2. Will there be a live link? And if so could someone please tell me so I can watch it. Can't wait for the release of the 360. All I need now is an android phone...

16. hmd74

Posts: 546; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Time in GMT PLZ

17. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

I can't seem to find the time for the event anywhere, PhoneArena's website doesn't have a countdown like it did for Sony and Samsung either.

26. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

According to Phil Nickinson this is not going to be a normal public event, there may not be a livestream.

15. S.M.Talha

Posts: 70; Member since: Aug 27, 2014

Moto g wont be fail unless it is priced higher than the previous one.In simple words it must have to be priced less or equal.

18. jphillips63

Posts: 253; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Snapdragon 800 with 2.2 ghz and 2 gig ram isn't a killer phone. It's midrange specs to today's standards. And already outdated in a few more months the killer phones will hit the market. 64 bit processors and so forth.

19. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I'm excited, and tomorrow is my day off, so I'm definitely going to pay attention to the announcement. :) I'm glad that whatever Moto Aware is, they'll be able to continue offering it.

21. antmiu2

Posts: 552; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

I'm off tomorrow too!! Is there a link where I can see the event live?

22. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Holy crap, optical zoom?

23. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

you guys forgot to mention one very important detail... what time is the keynote? xD

24. nathan.carter

Posts: 416; Member since: Aug 11, 2014

Im sorry to burst everyones bubble. The eighth device no one can figure out is a headset. a friggin headset. there no nexus for motorola the nexus is being made by htc. google chooses the best. and since were moving towards 64bit architecture, HTC's 820 seems like the prime nexus. we dont even know the specs for this thing. I dont even know who this upleaks guy is to believe him. we will find out tomorrow with HTC and Motorola in the same venue.

25. nathan.carter

Posts: 416; Member since: Aug 11, 2014

heres the recap of the keynote. motorola reveals X+1, and the new moto G while wearing the moto360 and the headset which is what moto aware is for. Motorola spaeks about design and the new tablets Motorola mobility has in store for 2015. no signs of the moto S no signs of the Nexus X. HTC keynote: HTC reveals the new desire 820, and has a speech about HTC design. then music starts up from the ground comes the HTC Nexus, along side it the google gem watch designed by HTC. one circle and the other rectangular oval. then Google talks about media consumption in the us and some statistics we dont care about, and boom HTC Nexus 8 and 9 lets see if I'm as good as I think I am.

27. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Considering Google does the Nexus announcements, and not the OEMS, and also considering Nexus phones are announced in the Fall, I'd be surprised if you are.

28. nathan.carter

Posts: 416; Member since: Aug 11, 2014

I'd be surprised my damn self. lol. but hey the nexus is apon us. we will know more today.

29. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Spoiler alert: you're not. Motorola not announcing a Nexus tomorrow would not indicate that Motorola won't make the Nexus. Your speculation is based on less than no evidence.

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