Moto X Android 4.3 update and handset performance explained by Dennis Woodside

August 5, 2013

Moto X hands on

In a recent interview, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside explained why the Moto X doesn’t run Google’s latest Android version, and said that the phone “has top performance where it matters.”

Android 4.3 and timely updates

According to Woodside, the Moto X is running Android 4.2.2 out of the box as Motorola apparently didn’t have access to Android 4.3 prior to its announcement.

Woodside told AllThingsD that the company only saw the code only “after the software was introduced alongside the new Nexus 7.”

That’s certainly surprising, considering that not only does Google own Motorola, but Android 4.3 has leaked quite a few times before its official launch. Not to mention that Google’s Android PDK should have provided Android device makers early access to an upcoming Android OS version such as Android 4.3.

Isn’t Google trying a bit too much to make it look like it’s not favoring Motorola in any way? We’ll probably see the Search giant keep doing this sort of thing until it’s finally comfortable to use Motorola as it should.

Furthermore, Woodside hinted that the Moto X’s Android 4.3 update could arrive in a timely fashion, saying that the company did not make a lot of changes to the OS, in order to ensure a quicker update process.

Android updates are apparently a priority for the company, with the CEO revealing that 85% of the Android devices Motorola released in the past two years are running the latest version of Android – well, not counting Android 4.3 that is.

Moto X

Moto X performance addressed

When talking about smartphone performance, Woodside likened the Moto X to Google’s driverless car – Motorola apparently wanted to build “the first self-driving phone,” just as Google built the first driverless car

Speaking about the phone’s processor he said that the X8 system should be considered as a whole, and people should not focus just on the dual-core processor: “the combination of processor, companion chips and software” allows the new Droids and the Moto X “to always be listening for voice input without sacrificing battery life.”

Motorola’s policy seems to be focusing on features instead of staying in the specs-only race. Woodside “takes issue with the notion that the Moto X is just a mid-range phone with a high-end price.”

The company has invested in certain features including the always-on voice recognition technology, the Active Display but also graphics performance:

Where we chose to optimize, we are getting what we want out of the device.

The Moto X is apparently a starting point for the company – and Woodside did say that other products part of the Moto X family will be launched in the future, including a cheaper model.

Interestingly, the CEO was rather coy about Motorola using Intel components in future devices. He said that Motorola “continues to look for ways to work with them,” without providing any specific details about future plans.

The company signed a partnership with Intel before being purchased by Google, but so far the only Intel-based Motorola device is last year’s Razr i.

Woodside also sort-of confirmed the company’s marketing budget for the Moto X, and while it didn’t explicitly mention the number he did indicate that the company has “plenty of money to do the job.”

Comments

  • chris125

    What moto phone is on android above 4.1? I can’t think of any unless they consider 4.1 jellybean, and being on “latest version”

    • angel reyes

      So android 4.1 4.2 and 4.3 are all jb so I guess he’s considering in a sort of package as jb is the latest version of android.

  • End in sight

    Well they are going to need their plenty of marketing money after their moronic announcement. I’ve moved on. Nexus 5 for me.

    • Luka Mlinar

      I’m counting on Google sabotaging the Nexus 5. Think about it.

      • Trueislander

        Funny, I thought they sabotaged the Galaxy Nexus when they allowed Verizon to do what they wanted to it.

  • Dna

    My Atrix is and will remain on Gingerbread. I am starting to hate Google in general. I hope Ubuntu phone becomes real, minus the user logging.

  • Grimmjow

    Why do tech blogs keep harping on that Moto does not get special treatment? Do you seriously not know that this was part of the acquisition deal with China that Google committed not to give Motorola special access/partial treament to Android ? They will face an anti trust action if they do.

    • ukjb

      the problem for google would be that its partners (samsung, htc, etc) won’t like moto getting special treatment and may abandon android for another OS. Anti-trust has nothing to do with it.

      • Marcus Harmon

        Possibly, Motorola did not want special treatment. People are recognizing this as Google’s phone when they should be recognizing both the software company and manufacturer. Perhaps Motorola did not want special treatment and the concept behind this phone was more from Motorola’s end than Google’s. Also, I doubt other smartphone manufacturers would be upset enough to leave the OS because there is hardly any other OS they can leave and go to that has a rep like Android.

  • K.

    Is it the same Woodside who said that the phone would be available at a lower price? D11 conference “4:15 pm: One of the areas we think is really open for
    Motorola is building a low-cost, high quality market. Feature phones
    sell for $30; high-end smartphones cost $650. That gap won’t persist,
    Woodside said.”

  • rk

    One possibility for the low cost moto x is using the tegra 4i. Nvidia indicated this was targeted at under $200 phones. It doesn’t support cdma so it would fit the USA prepaid and overseas market. I don’t think there would be much of a performance hit if any. The low power processors are likely very cheap. There were rumors earlier in the year regarding the tegra 4i and motorola.

    • Cao Meo

      The NLP and Contextual processors are built in to the chip itself so I don’t think Motorola can use different types of CPU. It needs to produce a lot of X8 to keep cost down.

      I think all Motorola will use X8 until next year.

      • chris pinkston

        Is the CPU cores in the moto x the krait 300 or 200.based on Clock speed I’m thinking krait 300. Much like the new nexus 7 even though both are being called s4 pro chip sets. Nexus is using cores from snapdragon 600.

        • Cao Meo

          I never found out about that anywhere even AnandTech or Wiki, I guess it’s something in between

          • chris pinkston

            Pretty sure I read somewhere that the nexus 7 CPU cores are same as those in sd600 also the ddr3 ram found on sd600. It was a tear down of nexus 7 maybe by anandtech.Not sure if this is the case with the moto x

          • chris pinkston

            Yep just checked anandtech. Moto x uses krait 300 cores. This is probably part of why it beats nexus 4 in benchmarks.

      • rk

        The motorola vp of engineering said the x8 architecture can be hooked to other processors and is not part of the SOC. I guess we’ll know in november or so. Also the moto x uses ddr3 memory which I believe is a krait 300 feature.

        • Cao Meo

          Structurally those processors are not part of CPU or SoC in traditional sense, but they are integrated with them in 1 system called X8 and not stand alone chips.

          If NLP and contextual processors were stand alone chips it would be flexible and Motorola can use them with any other SoC. But I think it would not be efficient both financially and technically.

  • liveTexas

    I’ve heard that the off contract price of the Moto X is +/- $300. That’s a price I like for a phone I Love (to be tested). In fact, several sources are mentioning this price although nothing official from Moto yet. Best Buy’s pricing is Not to be trusted at this time.

  • Marcus Harmon

    Since this was reveled, I kept listening to people compare this to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. After careful consideration, I do not think that this phone should be compared other Android phones because each of those phones have their customer user interface that differs like this one. From how I see this, the Moto X is another different approach to Android (even though it is near to pure stock Android). It does not have many features (like the Galaxy S4) and it does not have none (like the Nexus phones). You can compare the hardware and software to other devices, but the entire device is mean’t to have unique approach to what the company believes to be ‘the best smartphone experience’.