Moto X: Motorola just went full hipster


Today Google/Motorola announced the Moto X, their long-rumoured and oft-leaked device:

People are skydiving out of space ships. But you can’t design your own phone? Not anymore. Now Moto X lets you choose the front, the back, the accents, the wallpaper, the memory, and even a short message. It’s all your call.

In 2013 Motorola is a company with two faces; the softer more Googley-side, and the harsh, killer-robot-will-murder-you-in-your-sleep Droid side. Last week Motorola was all-Droids, but today? All Google.

The Moto X is a 4.7 inch Android handset I’d describe as subtly mid-range, which a few neat original features:

  • colour customisation options, including 18 on the back, 2 on the front & 7 for the accents. You can also have it engraved.
  • an always-listening Google Now, trained to respond to your voice only
  • a screen that selectively lights up to provide notification info
  • a motion-activated camera launcher that doesn’t look very good

Two things I think are notable:

  • It’s assembled in Fort Worth, Texas. This is a big deal for Motorola’s US market, but it probably means that the Moto X will be in limited supply here, or not able to be customised to nearly the same degree.
  • It’s not running the latest version of Android. This again highlights the odd relationship Google has with Motorola—and consequently, their Android handset partners—since Motorola was acquired.

Also, I find the marketing material very… executive hipstery?


Far be it from me to throw hipster stones, but…Bike chains? Shaving brush & old-style razor? Palomino Blackwing pencils? Saying kemosabe?

Come on man.

I don’t know the right word for what I’m trying to express here; it just has that vaguely sickening oh-this-is-how-the-kids-live-now sheen on it. I don’t like it.

Anyway, if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of the Moto X, here are the two best articles on the subject.

This is the Moto X. Can it save Motorola?

“But when my host spun the combination lock and unlatched the case, I realized that Motorola still had a few surprises. There wasn’t one Moto X to play with — there were 18, at once all the same and each very different. Every color of the Google rainbow, and many more besides.

18 phones, face-down in rectangles of gray foam. I flipped one over — white front, royal blue back, white buttons — and turned it on.”

– David Pierce, The Verge

The Inside Story of the Moto X

“The Moto X is the first in a series of hardware products that Google hopes will supercharge the mother company’s software and services. A svelte slab with smooth curves at its edge, purpose-built to fit in the palm of your hand. It is designed for mass appeal, not just a slice of the population like Star Wars fans. It has its share of features that distinguish it from the pack, particularly in a period where some of the market leaders are reloading their innovation guns.”

– Stephen Levy,

Both are fantastic reads, and well worth the time.