What to expect from Motorola on September 4th (rumor roundup)

August 21, 2014
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Motorola sure chose an interesting time to schedule an event in Chicago, with September 4th being smack-dab in the middle of IFA Berlin festivities. With IFA expected to be the launching ground for the Sony Xperia Z3, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and likely several other goodies, can Motorola’s special event steal some of the thunder away from the competition?

While Motorola has yet to formally announce what it plans to show at the event, it’s original event teaser makes it pretty obvious that we’ll see the Moto X+1, the Moto G2, the Moto 360 and what appears to be some sort of Bluetooth headset.

So what do we actually know about each of these devices? Let’s jump in and take a look.

Moto X+1

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Often referred to as the X+1, it is also possible that the Moto X’s successor could arrive as the X2 or an entirely different name altogether. As for what the phone looks like? While the overall form factor of the X+1 is similar to its predecessor, the size of the device is noticeably bigger. Another major design change can be found on the front of the device, where Motorola has apparently added large front-facing speakers giving the device an aesthetic that is somewhat similar to the Moto E, albeit much more refined looking.

Bottom-line, the Moto X+1 is an evolution of the X’s design as opposed to a major revolution. This is good news for those that enjoyed the feel and fit of the Moto X in their hand.

Display: Motorola finally playing the big-screen game

While most OEMs have been playing the big screen game for a while now, Motorola was one of the few manufacturers that didn’t jump on the bandwagon. The Moto X comes equipped with a 4.7-inch display that is not only smaller than most other 2013 flagships, it also has just a 720p resolution versus the now-standard 1080p.

The Moto X+1 is an evolution of the X’s design as opposed to a major revolution

For the Moto X+1, Motorola seems to be taking things up a notch, packing in a 5.2-inch display with a 1080p resolution. This means the display isn’t just bigger, it also jumps from a 316ppi to a 424ppi, which means it should offer sharper text and less blur when compared to its predecessor. We don’t officially know if the X+1 has an LCD or AMOLED display, but if they want to keep pushing things like active display tech, the latter is likely.

Many specs-hounds will probably be thrilled to see the Moto X+1 jumping to 1080p and getting a bigger screen size, but those that prefer smaller devices might find this change a bit of a disappointment. On the bright side, the Moto X+1 doesn’t seem that much bigger than its predecessor, so Motorola has very likely relied on slimmer bezels to fit the big screen into as little space as possible.

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Specs and Features: a beefier Moto X all around

Just like its refusal to play the screen game, Motorola’s original Moto X relied less on bleeding-edge specs and more on the user experience, introducing Touchless Control, Active Display and other unique features. This time around, Motorola seems to be getting a bit more aggressive with the specs, though it still isn’t exactly bleeding-edge either.

This time around, Motorola seems to be getting a bit more aggressive with the specs

Early rumors claimed the device would be powered by the slightly older but still very capable Snapdragon 800, but more recent benchmarks suggest the X+1 will offer a 2.46GHz Snapdragon 801. This isn’t as new of a chip as the Snapdragon 805, but it is exactly what you’ll find in early 2014 flagships. While unconfirmed, it’s also likely that the Moto X+1 will feature the Snapdragon 801 as just one of its chips in a X8 configuration that includes processors for language and voice.

Other rumored specs for the Moto X+1 include the following:

  • 5.2-inch 1080p display (likely AMOLED)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16 or 32GB storage with microSD
  • 12MP rear cam
  • 2.1MP front cam
  • 2900 mAh battery
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Android 4.4.4 KitKat (upgrade to L soon after release)

As for software features? We haven’t heard much on this front, though we imagine Motorola will continue with its extremely minimalist UI that is nearly identical to stock Android. We also would image we’ll see improvements to Touchless Control and likely a few other unique user-oriented features as well.

Release Date: when can we expect it?

While it’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll see the Moto X+1 on September 4th, it’s less clear when the handset will actually start shipping. Generally this time frame can be as little as a day or as long as several months. While we can’t say how long Motorola will take, a previous rumor does claim the X+1 will show up to Verizon’s network on September 25th. If this rumor proves correct, that means we should see the device arrive to all four major U.S. carriers sometime in September, which falls just a little short of their original summer release promise.

Motorola’s international plans are less clear at the moment, though here’s to hoping they are a bit more aggressive than they were with the Moto X, which took forever before it finally launched in Europe and other markets outside of North America.

Moto 360

moto 360 first look (10 of 12)

Ever since Android Wear was first introduced by Google we’ve known about the Moto 360, Motorola’s circular smartwatch. Many months later, the 360 has still yet to hit the market, though we are finally drawing close to the big day.

We already know a good deal about the Moto 360, especially when it comes to design. The body of the watch is stainless steel, and it is accompanied by a steel band as well. The rounded look is very unique and the closest to what you’d expect from a ‘real’ watch, though our early hands-on time with the watch makes it clear that the Moto 360 is actually pretty large, which might be a deal breaker for those interested in something a bit more petite.

Display

Early rumors claimed Motorola’s watch would offer an AMOLED display. As it turns out, the 1.5-inch backlit display is actually of the LCD variety, complete with Gorilla Glass 3 protection — at least if an accidental leak from Best Buy proves correct.

As for the resolution, the 360 packs a 320×290 resolution with 205 ppi, which is actually a little better than devices like the G Watch.

Specs and battery

Specs aren’t nearly as important for watches as they are for other types of mobile devices, as its really about the user experience more than anything. That said, it’s still nice to know a bit more about what a potential purchase is packing.

Outside of display resolution, we really don’t know much about the 360’s specs, other than recent rumors claim it will offer a Texas Instruments processor and 512MB RAM.

moto 360 first look (11 of 12)

As for the battery? Again, not much is known here, though Motorola had previously complained about its competitions’ smartwatch battery life long before it formally outed the Moto 360. With this in mind, it’s very possible that Motorola will try to one-up devices like the Gear Live and G Watch, both of which last about a day and half at most.

The Moto 360 will reportedly offer a Texas Instruments processor and 512MB RAM

There have been claims that the Moto 360 will offer up battery life that will get you through two and a half day’s use, but really we don’t know for sure at this point. We do know, however, that Motorola plans to ditch the USB charging cable in favor of QI wireless charging technology. This should make charging the device a bit more handy than other Android Wear devices.

Release date and pricing

Like the Moto X+1, we don’t have any concrete details on when we’ll see the Moto 360, though we’d imagine the company will choose to ship the device right around the same time-frame as the Moto X+1. Either way, we’d expect to see the watch arrive by the end of September at the latest.

We might not know much about when it will arrive, but Best Buy’s leak has revealed the watch will be priced at $249. This is only slightly more expensive than the square Android Wear products on the market right now, which is awesome news for those that want a round form factor but don’t want to have to pay a large premium to get it.

Moto G2

The Moto X+1 appears to be a massive leap ahead from its predecessor, making it a great upgrade for Moto X owners and for those simply looking for a new phone. The Moto G’s successor on the other hand, appears to be a great device for those looking for their first smartphone or an upgrade from an older budget device, but it’s not necessarily a major leap from the original Moto G.

Known as the Moto G2, this upcoming handset is said to feature specs very close to its predecessor with most of its changes centering around improving the camera, enlarging the screen and introducing dual front-facing speakers to the mix. Like the Moto X+1, the G2 appears to follow an aesthetic that is more refined but somewhat inspired by the extremely low-end Moto E.

Specs

As previously alluded to, the Moto G2 doesn’t offer that much of spec upgrade when compared to the original. The handset is reportedly powered by the same Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, an 8MP rear cam, a 2MP front cam, and a larger 5-inch display with the same 1280×20 resolution.

The Moto G2 looks to be a solid device, but not necessarily a major leap from the original

Aside from offering a bigger display and improved cameras, the Moto G2 is also reportedly packing LTE and microSD, two features that were introduced with the more recent (and slightly higher priced) Moto G 4G. It’s also possible that Motorola could have a few other surprises thrown in like a better battery, NFC support and perhaps a few other sensor changes. Who knows, maybe Motorola will end up throwing in an AMOLED display and give us active display technology — one can dream at least.

Release date and specs

At least according to one report, the Moto G2 will touch down on September 10th, not long after its unveiling. The handset will also allegedly be priced at €250, which is a good deal more than both the original Moto G (€157) and the Moto G 4G (€199).

If this pricing is correct, we can expect the Moto G2 to cost more in all markets than the original. Perhaps a $250 price tag for those in the states? Again, that’s really just speculation at this point. Here’s to hoping that the information is incorrect and that the Moto G2 will be just as aggressively priced as the original.

If the pricing is more expensive, we imagine that Motorola will at least bring in a few more premium features that didn’t exist with the original Moto G.

Mysterious Bluetooth headset

motorola logo TechCocktail/Flickr

The last item hinted at in Motorola’s teaser is a Bluetooth headset. Now, we know what you are thinking, why would Motorola bother adding a Bluetooth headset to its teaser? More than likely, one of the two scenarios will prove correct: the headset symbol means we’ll see several new Motorola accessories announced. Two, there is a Bluetooth headset planned, but it does more than meets the eye.

Perhaps Motorola is planning to add ‘smart’ features like Touchless Control that plays nicely with the Moto X+1, Moto G2 and maybe even its last-gen Motorola handsets? Really all we can do is speculate for now, but don’t be surprised if Motorola has at least one or two surprises up their sleeves.

What do you think, excited for Motorola’s press event? What device are you most curious about?

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