Motorola X Phone customization will probably let us down.

by: Nate SwannerJuly 3, 2013

Sony Xperia Tablet Teardown

What we’ll get

A completely custom phone sounds amazing, and we still hope to see it. That’s a tall order, and we’ve not heard of any kind of manufacturing shakeup to allow for true customization. It wouldn’t take much, but we’re sure someone would have spilled the beans by now. Nike has a custom department, which is really a few experts patching together different materials and colors for shoes. The last on a shoe is a bit different than a smartphone, but the same concept applies: custom stuff needs a department dedicated to it.

We’ve heard about custom cases, in all kinds of materials, and that seems logical. A device with different cases can be easily “customized”, but that would be trite. Why mention customization in a print ad if all that can be accomplished is a special case? I can do that with any phone by adding an aftermarket case or skin. A wood case is a very different idea, but probably not one that is going to be well received or widely requested.

Is it worth it?

Some things may not be worth tinkering with, either. If we consider customization for hardware, all that is really needed is a bevy of parts, and a staff that can piece them together. That’s not hard, but it is time consuming. Those devices would need to be tested before leaving the factory, and that’s another step and more man hours dedicated to your device. This flies in the face of the price point we keep hearing the X Phone will arrive at, which is what really attracts us to it. For $299 or lower, customization can’t happen.

The carrot of a dream device dangling over your head is enticing, but would you pay a premium to have it?

That price point can be arrived at if there were devices ready to go, which may add another wrinkle to the program. Going back to ordering pizza, the more you add to it increases cost, and in the case of a phone, delivery time. I can order a ready-made device, and have it delivered in 2-5 days, or custom make one and wait a few weeks. Ready-to-go devices make it much more attractive for everyone, and could increase customization. We all have a wishlist for our devices, and if Motorola offers the option to get what we want via the same medium we’re ordering the device to begin with, we may just slap a few extras on.

Motorola X Phone Ad The Verge

Why you may not want customization

Let’s say, in one years’ time, you want a different device. Who knows, maybe Samsung just kills it with the Galaxy S5, and you just have to have it. You may want to sell your Motorola X Phone to help offset the cost, but nobody wants your used phone with the bamboo case. You’re stuck with a device you don’t want, and may not be able to unload.

Cost is another factor to consider. The carrot of a dream device dangling over your head is enticing, but would you pay a premium to have it? When you factor in just how much more work is involved with building and testing your device, and that Motorola may not be set up to do it yet, the cost for full customization may border on lunacy.

When this thing finally hits the Play Store (as expected), it will probably be a very glancing shot at customization. A custom case, maybe wallpaper and apps loaded on, but that’s about it. From what is being discussed right now, it sounds a lot like having a friend root and customize your phone for you. Quite frankly, that sounds a bit boring.

I’m going to order a Pizza instead.

  • impulse101

    I guess you didn’t hear. The “customization” is just colors, laser etching and uploading a photo for your wallpaper.

    • Mayoo

      Uploading a photo for your wallpaper? You mean like all android phones ever?

  • fenrig

    Choosing of the hardware will never happen. It’s really much too complicated, you need different rom’s (especially kernels allthough devicetree could change a bit in this) but you also need to be able to fit the hardware in the limited case and the baseboard will have to be adapted to suit the cpu. It isn’t worth the time.

    • David RT

      Yup. The writer of this article and phone goers are asking for too much IMO or are taking ” customizable” out of context hence why I hate predicting articles like this that put more expectations then what actually there calling it a “let down”. I think they means whether or not you can add 1-3gb of ram, which version of android (which would be funny), housing material, and color, and screen size( by model number XT105 “5 meaning 5 inch perhaps”) something along those lines. My two cent..the writer needs to go fap out some of his jitters and excpetations

    • MasterMuffin

      And if people are complaining about fragmentation now, think what would happen after hundreds of different models!

      • Diskus1

        Think what happens with hundreds of different customizations of the same model car… oh dear.

        • MasterMuffin

          If your car is running Android, then it’s a problem

  • chuck

    Well, obviously. you are expecting something that is damn near impossible. BAsing off the article posted recently, anyway.

  • dNj

    Was this article written by a 16 year with no idea how mass production works?There is only so much custimaztion a company can afford to keep costs low.

    • thartist

      this dude writes mostly this kind of articles.

  • Diskus1

    Anything Play Store is useless unless Google get their act together and start selling things outside the US… no music here, no movies, no magazines and definitely no phones yet…

  • Mike Bastable


    nice to see that you read MY post on your last Moto X phone posting, if you are gonna use the Custom sneaker analogy give me some credit, i am the author of that comparison (check the web if you want)…the rest of the article is a little fanciful…but if yoy are gonna steal things from comments please reference the poster in future, as is standard with all blogs / sites etc

  • Piyush

    another basless article by nate , when motorolo said they are going to bring hardware customization , i knew it was over hyped.

  • OMGgary

    If the pictures of the rear shell which have appeared on Slashgear are the real deal, then I already feel let down.
    Maybe it’s the $hitty pastel colours, but they look like something you’d buy on eBay for 10 cents. Also, the “M” dimple on the rear, which was rumoured to be touch-sensitive, appears to be just a dimple and nothing more. I’d rather they just made it in black and stuck with the kevlar material. Anyone who has spent more than five seconds playing with a phone can change the wallpaper.
    I sure hope Googorola are just yanking our crank with this stuff.

  • Ruzveh

    i can customize my phone for adding more RAM and support for SDXC cards, i can also customise to add NFC, GPS & IR Blaster, i can make the device as all in one

  • Rohit Naik

    whats Ur opinion about this phone
    will this phone get 4.3

  • harven

    not going to happen… a phone that have lets say X specs and is built to customize, wont be like a phone with X that comes closed , the one that is closed is going to be also its more simple and most customers arent geeks

  • jj

    An x phone with a slide out QWERTY and an unlockable bootloader would be a no brainer for buying. Sadly, even moto seems to be abandoning slide out qwerty devices :(