Months ago, Motorola, with the backing of Google, dropped a bit of a bombshell on the Android space. A phone that is smaller than the “standard” 5-inch size, but with a host of very practical and useful new features, along with a staggering level of customization, and completely made in the USA. After being relatively quiet following the acquisition by Google, Motorola was finally staging a comeback of sorts, and the company’s trajectory looked better than ever, with it’s latest flagship leading the movement.
But that was then. And this is the Moto X… Now.
To say that I was excited about all that the Moto X had to offer would be an understatement. After all, it’s the phone that made me sign a two-year contract with AT&T, even without the opportunity to design a custom device. Even if I really wanted the phone with a wood backing, having the black on black color option was good enough for me.
Even months after picking it up, the Moto X is still holding up really well, and even though I do throw it around quite a bit, I’ve only experienced minimal wear and tear. The curve on the back, and its smaller form factor, makes for the best handling device that I’ve ever used. Even with norm for high-end flagships of 2013 being 1080p displays, the smaller 720p display never gave me any display envy when compared to the bigger offerings, and I’m able to still enjoy whatever I’m doing on this phone.
I’ve been very vocal about getting wooden backs for my Moto X, but disappointingly, the launch didn’t go the way we’d expected. This would prove to be one of Moto’s many troubles, as its promises weren’t completely kept – delivery times weren’t as advertised, and the highly-touted customization options weren’t available right away. The wooden backs are finally available, but I don’t really want it as much now.
With the Moto X, Motorola made the case that smartphones don’t have to be super powerful to be enjoyable. Performance is still as smooth as ever, and I love the Moto X for continuing to prove itself reliable.
Of course, I still use the various features all the time. Voice commands are still fun to use, and they do help in overall multitasking. Active Display is one of the best ways to get your notifications easily. I’ll admit I don’t use them as much anymore, but that’s not because of any shortcoming of the feature itself, but because I use a Pebble smartwatch.
Another aspect of the Moto X is the fact that these new features are added on top of what is otherwise a stock-like Android experience. Even if your start using custom launchers and replacement apps, the features that the Moto X brings to the table remain.
Reliable performance packed in a svelte form factor and the backing of Google is what made the Moto X appealing. Android 4.4 Kitkat didn’t take long to arrive to the Moto X, and this only served to make the phone better, as it was also one of the most current.
Implications of the sale
And that’s what makes Google’s latest move so unsettling. Taking a step that seemingly came out of the blue, Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, after acquiring the company just a few years ago.
Why? Motorola had proved to be a tough cookie to crack financially. Despite good intentions, good implementation, albeit with a rocky start, and a rekindled respect among people in the industry and consumers alike, the return on Google’s investment just wasn’t coming in. Don’t forget to check out a fantastic piece written by Andrew Grush, further exploring the reasons behind the sale of Motorola.
Regardless of the reason, the end result is that now, one of the world’s giants in computing has acquired one of the most recognizable names in mobile. So, what does that mean for the flagship Moto X that we’ll only just started to get acquainted with? That’s the thing – we don’t know.
Skeptics will point to Lenovo’s own mobile division as the main detractor. If that’s what it is going to be like, goodbye stock-like Android experience, and goodbye timely updates. In essence, goodbye the Motorola we were just starting to fall in love with again. On the other hand, those who know Lenovo well can see how the company has a good track record of revitalizing old names in tech, like the IBM Thinkpad, and this is certainly a possibility with Motorola, if they let the company be what it is.
I’m somewhere in the middle. While I am a fan of Lenovo and want to see what they have planned for Motorola, my biggest hope is that they will keep the same general idea of Motorola’s trajectory as much as possible. Even then, this positivity is definitely outweighed by the loss of Google as a parent company. I can only hope that the foundation set in place by Motorola with Google will be appealing enough for Lenovo to continue to cultivate.
And the Moto X is a great example of that foundation. For now, I can tell you that the Moto X continues to be a daily driver for me, and remains one of my favorites. For what it is right now, I would still wholeheartedly recommend the Moto X to anyone, as it is still a great entry point into the Android space, and is also appreciated by Android veterans.
We don’t know what the new Lenovo-driven Motorola device will look like, but until then, you can still enjoy the one that Google helped make a reality.