What to expect with the Motorola X Phone, and is it a real game-changer?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
What to expect with the Motorola X Phone, and is it a real game-changer?
Earlier today, there was a report that the Motorola X Phone, which is expected to be the flagship announcement at Google I/O this year, would be a "game-changer", but as expected, there really wasn't any information on exactly how the X Phone would go about changing the game. So, we strapped on our thinking caps and tried to come up with some possibilities for what Motorola/Google could unveil that would really change the game.

First, we have to make it clear that we are trying to imagine what the X Phone could offer that would be a true game-changer, and not merely just an evolution of current technology. Because of that (not to mention that the software was mentioned specifically in the earlier rumor), it seems pretty safe to say that the hardware will not be anything game-changing, so let's get that out of the way now. 

The Hardware

This is a Motorola phone, so we fully expect it to look the part. Based on educated guesses and previous rumors, it seems reasonable to assume that the X Phone will have a 5" 1080p display with an extremely small bezel, a quad-core processor, and a much better camera than we currently see on Google's Nexus line. There will likely be a pretty beefy battery and Motorola's traditional Kevlar backing. Because Google is involved, there will definitely be NFC built-in, and we think it's likely that the X Phone will have induction charging and may even be compatible with the newly released Wireless Charging Orb

There are rumors that the storage options will go as high as 128GB, which is possible, but we wouldn't put it as likely. There are also rumors that unlike Google's Nexus devices, the X Phone will offer an SD card slot, but again, we wouldn't hold our breath on that one. 

Larry Page made a point to mention flexible/unbreakable displays recently when talking about Motorola, but he also said that sort of evolution in smartphones would be happening in "5 to 10 years". Given that we're expecting devices this year with flexible/unbreakable glass, the argument could be made that the first device on the market with such a display would be a "game-changer", but we're not sold on that. 

Ultimately, none of these rumors, or potential hardware specs for the X Phone can be considered "game-changers". All of this is just the standard evolution of hardware. The real potential for changing the game comes on the software side. 

The (usual) Software

The assumption is that the Motorola X Phone will be the flagship device launching with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. We already know a bit of what to expect from KLP, like the addition of support for Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy in stock Android, but otherwise, it's unclear. We would like to see the People app finally work like it is supposed to (read: like the WP People Hub, or the BlackBerry 10 Hub), or a unified messaging app, but those wouldn't be game-changers, just a useful updates. 

Similarly, there is expected to be an update to the Android UI with KLP, just like we saw with Android 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, but it's hard to imagine how a UI change could be a bigger "game-changer" than we saw when Google released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich back in December of 2011. The jump from Gingerbread to ICS was huge, and while Google and Matias Duarte likely have more in store (Matias famously said that the Android UI is only a third of the way along), it's hard to imagine a jump that big with KLP. That said, we could see a different UI change, like the addition of a desktop UI. Many of you would love to see it, but we're skeptical, because Google wouldn't want to kill off Chromebook support by bringing in Android to the same market. 

There have also been rumors that Google is focusing a lot of energy on making the camera app in KLP much better than what we've seen. Combine that with the rumor of a Sony lens in the X Phone and that would be quite an improvement, and certainly a "game-changer" for Google, but maybe not for the smartphone ecosystem as a whole.

The same would go for the potential that Google could add a profile changer to KLP. This is another feature that users have been asking for, and since Google has already added multiple user support on tablets in Android 4.2, there's no reason we couldn't see the addition of a profile manager allowing for separate setups for work, home, traveling, etc. 

But, again, these are expected updates, and really nothing game-changing, so let's jump into the more radical possibilities. 

The (dream) Software

The key quote from the earlier story is one that talked about the software of the X Phone, and is a somewhat troubling one, because a Motorola source supposedly said:
The concern we have here is that while this could just be talking about Key Lime Pie, it could also be referring to a Motorola UI layer, which would mean that the X Phone might not feature stock Android like Google Nexus devices. This is a big concern because we don't know if this device is intended to be a Motorola Nexus, or simply the next Motorola flagship, and Google isn't as involved in the process. The way the quote is phrased distances Motorola from Google, which is expected since the two are "separate" companies, but we're wondering if that will lead to the same troubles that other manufacturers hit. 

However, one software change with Key Lime Pie that could be a "game-changer" would help to bridge the gap between these two possibilities. It's a feature that many have been calling for Google to add to Android for years, and picked up some steam last October as one of the fake potential features of Android 4.2: the Customization Center. The idea would be that manufacturer UIs would work just like any theme that you can add to Go Launcher or ADW Launcher. Not only would it make it easier for users to customize their devices, but it should make it far faster for manufacturers to update software on devices because things like TouchWiz, Sense, or the potential Motorola UI would be separated from the base system. 

Of course, regardless of if the change is in stock Android or a Motorola addition, the quote does say that the software "pulls together Google services" like we haven't seen before. Google is already deeply integrated into Android, so we're wondering if this points to a boost in Google+ in Android. We've seen Samsung introduce features that automatically tag your friends in photos and allow for easier sharing, and this seems like a feature that Google+ could do far better (not to mention it would be a feature to encourage more people to actively participate in the network.) If there is more Google+ integration, it could mean better group messaging via Google+ Circles. The Google+ Messenger app is already pretty good, but if it were pulled out of Google+ and merged into Android more, that could make for a better experience. The same could be said of Hangouts becoming the default video chat app. 

The trouble with all of that is that Google can't integrate Google+ too much, because Google services are still just a layer on top of Android. This is the reason why there is no unified messaging app. Gmail needs to be separate from base Android, as does Google Talk, Drive, and other Google Apps. But, that doesn't mean that the Google layer can't become more unified. There's no reason why Google Talk, Hangouts, and Google+ Messenger need to be separate apps. 


You could make the case that seeing all of the improvements that we've talked about in one package would be a game-changing device, especially if it comes in at a price similar to the Nexus 4, and launches on multiple major carriers, but we think it would still need to have at least one new killer feature to really claim the title. And, that's where we have trouble, because there are a lot of great updates to existing features that we can imagine being part of the X Phone or Key Lime Pie, but given all of the amazing features already available in Android, it's hard to imagine something completely new. 

What do you guys think? What would be a real game-changing feature for the X Phone or Key Lime Pie?



1. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

If it has a landscape slider keyboard and 32GB of storage, I'd dump my SGS3 for it ASAP.

23. nexus718

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 07, 2012

I'm surprised no said anything about an increase in integration with Google Now, as Motorola has been talking about it in almost all of its most recent ads.

40. jinxed

Posts: 107; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

True. And maybe this is the phone that integrates with the google glasses. Now that wud be game changing

2. CivicSi89

Posts: 349; Member since: Jul 23, 2011

Just hoping its no DROID X. haha.

13. JulianGT

Posts: 89; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

Droid Razzr Maxx Super X*

24. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

The original Droid X was a great device in it's day. It was the X2 that disappointed.

3. yougotkilled1

Posts: 167; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

Key Lime pie will be the game changer. If the specs that are rumored are true, then expect software to be the game changer for this year. May needs to get here already!

4. HDShatter

Posts: 1021; Member since: Jan 17, 2013

I think this will be the first phone to get an a15 processor. If it does I would bet on it being a Tegra 4. $350 direct from google unlocked for 32gb storage please :)

11. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

Cmon If $350 is the price they are aiming for, i bet the next X phone will absolutely be a crap

18. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Actually think about the fact that a nexus 7 is 200 dolars why are phones so much money. The price of 200 dollars of contract for a awesome phone like a nexus 7 but 5 inches would be a sure true game changer and profitable let google and motorola make money on content

22. HDShatter

Posts: 1021; Member since: Jan 17, 2013

The nexus 4 cost $350 and its one of the best phones.

17. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Well maybe you hit on somthing in a way and maybe it has sompthing to do with a new intel chip thats unanounced but thats. Doubtfull. Its not gonna be 3d I guess it could be ddr3 memmory but I doubt that plus not a game changer. I think artical is right and anything hardware wont be a game changer. I also can see it meening just a hyped up layor by motorola that is just a hollow clam as a gam changer like what samsung or any company says about new phones at launch

5. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Stock JB is already the greatest OS outhere with most of the other features in android skins being either gimmicky or available in the playstore. So i am pretty sure KLP is going to be great as long as Moto X runs the stock version of it. Motorola just needs to equip this phone with a great chipset, one of them big batteries and a nice Sony lens and i will be throwing my money on it in no time.

6. Fallin

Posts: 70; Member since: Oct 10, 2011

What about implementing Project Roadrunner?

7. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

It will be a game changer as long the greedy big red verizon wont keep this sweet for exclusive for themselves & not letting everyone enjoy the pure goodness of motorola/google x phone

43. maxican16

Posts: 364; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

There's NO WAY big red would get an exclusive on this phone. Google already learned it's lesson from the Galaxy Nexus debacle.

8. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Definitely the Customization Center would be a game changing feature. You could have the option between having a pure stock experience with little to no delay in updates, or a manufacturer skin with more features than stock but delayed updates. Snapdragon 600, Tegra 4, or Snapdragon 800 w/ 2 GB RAM 4.7-5" 1080 S-LCD3 or Colorboost display, covered with Gorilla Glass 3 Kevlar body with a steel frame for more durability and splash resistance 3,500 mAh battery All in a sub-9mm package would be absolutely fantastic. As for software; Option between stock KLP or KLP with Motorola's custom UI via Customization Center. It brings everything together; build quality, performance, battery life, durability, and enhanced customization with better software updates. If Motorola and Google release this on the Play Store for >$500 off contract it would be a steal. Also, make it available on all major carriers, with LTE compatibility. Would be perfect :)

9. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I can see something happening with Google+, I didnt think of that before. Like how that made it needed to rate apps in the Play Store. To me...the Customization Center would be bigger than Google+ features being more intergrated. Thats if all this is even true....

10. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 2009

Motorola built a solid phone and Google backer it will be a great phone.

12. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

I thank an FHD screen, quad core processor, mill spec ruggedness, 32/64 GB on board + sd card slot and the biggest battery (3300 mAh +) Moto can find all fit into the smallest frame/ body possable and Moto would have a winner.

14. sbmhome

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

None of you guys are mentioning anything game changing. Those are all evolutions of current hardware and software. Sure 1080p, 8 core, 4 Gb ram, terabyte storage will all be in our pockets someday, but there isn't anything those specs will allow you to do that you can't today. I've said this to a friend of mine recently, I think we may have hit a wall for anything game changing coming out within the next few years. Almost everything that can be done with this current generation (last 5 years) of smartphones are already done or in the process. (NFC) of brewing done. One thing that would be a game changer, is if the phones became so powerful that they put home consoles out of business. Think about it, carrying around your console in your pocket. Put it down on the coffee table, pick up a real controller and start playing COD or battlefield on your tv with you phone. That's game changing!

33. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Game changers don't necessarily have to bring something "new", it could just combine many top tier things into one stellar package and at a great price and that would change the game easily. No more over priced phones with missing features and gimped abilities. No I wouldn't give a rats ass about carrying around a phone powerful enough to put my console out of sorts because I have zero urge to play the types of games on my phone as I do on my console. Wasted things like that need to kept to a minimum. Heck my girl uses her SGS3 to control her Samsung Smart TV, that is nice feature but wouldn't replace the smart tv remote with her cellphone though. No who the hell would want to use their phone to play BF3? How would you do anything aside from move the character around? Too many missing functions that you'd have to map to the touch screen and touchscreen gaming is bunk.

15. MistB

Posts: 581; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

True about customization center, that would be a groundbreaking feature that would finally bring all Android handsets from the past two years up to date. Laptop dock with ability to boot into Google Chrome maybe, I'm thinking the revolutionary technology will be a totally bezel free screen that extends to both sides and the ability to feel physical feedback on what you see on the screen, Senseg technology, so what you see as water on the screen translates to feeling a surface that feels like water. This technology was shown way back in 2011 and was rumoured for the IPad last year. As always, could very well be wrong here!

21. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

When the original Motorola Droid came out, it was the most amazing phone I ever had. I replaced my iPhone 3G with it and never looked back. I loved the display, I loved android, and I loved having a slide out keyboard. The design was awesome and solid and I miss it like crazy.

41. jinxed

Posts: 107; Member since: Jan 10, 2013

now don make me cry

19. becauseiamawsome

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 13, 2013

should i expect pie?

20. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

I loving everything that's being mentioned in the article despite that none of it was truly gamechanging. One thing I'll like to see soon.... holograms... we've been dreaming about technology like that for the longest time. Google could make it happen.

25. BadAssAbe

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

I cant belive noone is commentaing about about the manufacturer UI being a skin and thus allowing all phones faster updates or better, removing the carriers form updates in general and having a PC style of updates.

26. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I am at a complete loss as to why some company that is in need of sales doesn't just kick it's UI to the curb and just release a range of devices that have top end hardware for its individual price point and release them with stock Android. Who says only the Nexus line is allowed to run pure Green Robot? I love me some Live Tiles, but I really am not married to WP. So here is my shortlist for future devices: 1) Nokia running the next major update of WP. If that disappoints, then: 2) Motorola running as close to pure Android as they can get. 3) The next Nexus, depending on specs. 4) Samsung. 5) Sony. Put this bad, bad Motorola on the market with pure Android?? Will be very, very hard not to walk away from WP. MS and Nokia would have to truly wow me.

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