Reality check: Motorola won’t offer Moto X custom engraving at launch
Without doubt, one of the main selling points of the Moto X is the ability to customize the appearance of the device. Initially, AT&T customers will get to pick the main and accent colors of the Moto X, pick a custom wallpaper, as well as the color of the wall charger, using a web application called Moto Maker. The customization program will open to other carriers later in the year, with one report claiming that AT&T’s exclusivity on Moto Maker would extend until early November.
Another customization option that Motorola touted is custom engraving. Using Moto Maker, customers will be able to pick a custom text, like a name or an email address, to be printed on the rear of the Moto X.
Initially, Motorola had planned to offer the engraving option at launch on August 23, but it seems that technical problems delayed the availability of the feature. As first reported by Computer World’s JR Raphael and later confirmed to The Verge by a company spokesperson, Motorola found that the quality of the engravings wasn’t satisfactory and decided to temporarily pull the plug on the feature.
Motorola “hopes to be able to sort out the problem and offer the feature in the near future”, suggesting that the problem is relatively minor.
This snag serves to highlight the technical and logistical issues that can arise when mass manufacturing is combined with user generated customization. To keep delivery times under four days, Motorola has already hired thousands of people to assemble the Moto X at a Fort Worth, TX facility.
The complexity that customization injects in the manufacturing chain could explain why Motorola chose to offer the customizable Moto X only to AT&T customers on August 23. Customers of other carriers will only get to choose from two options – black and white.
The problem may be compounded even more when novel materials such as wood are introduced in the future. Motorola promised several types of wood, while previous rumors mentioned metal, ceramic, and other materials down the path.