[Opinion] The hype, leaks, and teasers ruined the Moto X

by: Derek RossAugust 1, 2013

moto x motorola broll (6)

Motorola’s coveted Moto X is no secret having been leaked five months ago in Vietnam. Since then, the Moto X has continually leaked over and over again. While some inside tips have been small, others have been extremely large and revealing. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of official news announced today had already been leaked or speculated in one way or another. Is this a good thing? At the time, I thought it was.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve contributed to the hype and the rumor mongering. I love leaks. I love hypebeasting Android phones. It’s what I do. However, this time around I think the massive amounts of hype from Android news websites, including this one you’re reading right now, have played a part in ruining the Moto X for me. If enthusiastic tech blogs partially ruined the Moto X for me, the remaining part is surely to be Motorola themselves with their marketing plan.

Hypebeasting: Could the Moto X live up to the hype we created for it?

Almost two years ago, Google let the world know that they planned to purchase Motorola Mobility. This would be Google’s largest accquisition to date, bigger than YouTube’s $1.7 billion and bigger than DoubleClick’s $3.7 billion purchases. Motorola’s price would come in at a cool $12.5 billion. At the time, it was speculated that Google was interested in Motorola for their large patent portfolio seeing as Motorola invented the first commercially available cell phone. These patents were speculated to arm Google with enough legal might, if el Goog should need it, to take on Android legal battles that loomed off in the distance. And so, a new Motorola began.

Last fall, under new ownership, Motorola launched 3 new “DROID’s” on Verizon Wireless. The RAZR M, RAZR HD, and RAZR HD MAXX were the first three Android phones to come out of Google’s Motorola. It was quickly made clear to all of us that these three phones were not of Google’s doing. We were told that Motorola had a device roadmap in place and that these devices were long planned before Google came into the picture.

Droid Razr HD

So we waited. We waited for for the old Motorola to dwindle away and for Google’s Motorola to finally arrive. The tech news industry doesn’t wait though. Leaks started to emerge from far away lands. Immediately, this sparked a flame across the Android community, we knew something different was going on at Motorola and we liked it. We saw leaks of a stock-looking, Nexus 4-ish device. This device had Google’s influence written all over it. Finally, our time of a Google influenced smartphone was on the horizon.

Moto X Prototype

Over the next few months the Moto X slowly leaked cross the Internet. We saw FCC documents, press renders, official commercials, APKs, and reports from sources with inside information. There’s way to many to list here. Seriously, this phone was the worst kept secret of all time. Anyways, all of these juicy tidbits kept the Moto X out of the back of our minds and onto the tips of our tongues. And, why wouldn’t we talk about it? We love Google, we love new devices , and we love innovative technology.

We, the media built the Moto X up over the past 5 months into something massive. I’ll even argue that the Moto X had more hype than the HTC One and similar hype to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Why? Motorola is now a Google owned company. The Moto X was going to be big news.

Could Motorola live up to their teasers and subtle advertisements?

Android blogs and tech news websites aren’t the only ones to blame for the insane amount of hype following this device. During the last month, Motorola has done their share of official hypbeasting as well from full page ads in prominent locations, to blanketing social media sites, to teasing announcements at tech conferences.

Motorola X Phone Ad

Motorola officially teased the Moto X back at All Things D when CEO Dennis Woodside confirmed that his company was working on the Moto X. A press statement shortly followed announcing that the Moto X was “designed, engineered, and assembled” right here in the United States of America.

Motorola continued with their teasers, the biggest being a full page ad in well subscribed newspapers around the country. Motorola officially let the world know a few things with that advertisement. First, they let the world know that the Moto X is coming. Second, they let the world know that Motorola is a Google company, if you don’t happen to follow tech news. And lastly, they teased one of the most important features surrounding the Moto X. Freedom. Choice. You. The Moto X was going to give you, the consumer, freedom to make your own choices.


The 4th of July ad wasn’t the only time Motorola talked about choice, touting the upcoming Moto X customization features. Motorola took to their social channels to let the world know that getting your morning cup of Joe shouldn’t be the only choice in your life. What a novel idea indeed, to customize your mobile phone just the way you like it. Heck, they even teased about matching your shoe laces to the chair they are propped up on. But they didn’t stop there. Guy Kawasaki, a Motorola employee teased the Moto X customization features, comparing them to ordering a luxury car online. The Moto X was to bring customization to smartphones like something we have never seen, a truly unique experience. This was exciting.


The Moto X becomes official, did it meet expectations?

Did the Moto X live up to the hype that we and Motorola created for it? I’ll say partially. Nearly every feature that was announced today we already knew about. We knew about the hardware specs. We knew about the software features. That leaves two things left for us to get excited about 1) customization and 2) pricing.

The customization for the Moto X, dubbed Moto Maker, was even better than I had anticipated. You can customize the hell out of your Moto X. In fact there’s over 2,00 combinations of colored back covers, the front, button and camera accents, and storage. THIS is what we want. This is the truly unique idea that Motorola teased as about all this time. …If you’re an AT&T customer. That’s right. AT&T has an exclusive on the Moto Maker. It’s said to be coming to other carriers in the future, but no one knows at this time when the AT&T exclusive feature ends.


How in the actual hell can Motorola put out advertisements about freedom and choice if they aren’t offering those capabilities? Having an exclusive launch to one of the most advertised features is anything but freedom and certain isn’t choice.

Don’t worry, Moto Maker is coming to other carriers some day. Verizon Wireless has already said it’s coming eventually and the wording surrounding AT&T’s exclusivity definitely points towards it ending at some point. Will it be 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? Ugh. No one is saying at this point.

Pricing was the other aspect of the Moto X that we needed to wait for today’s announcement officially get. We had assumed that pricing would be much lower than normal due to Motorola using an “older” Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and a 720p screen. The other big players in the smartphone market are putting out 1080p smartphones with quad-core processors. Motorola choosing to put out a ‘mid-range’ phone with optimized hardware and software led us to believe that this phone was going to be for everyone in terms of pricing. Remember, Google debuted the Nexus 4 at $299 last fall. Many people, including myself, speculated that the Moto X would be available for similar pricing off-contract with the on-contract pricing being much lower.

Boy were we wrong. Carriers that have announced pricing have stated that they’ll be selling the Moto X at $199 on-contract and at $575 off-contract. That’s not what we were expecting for a phone with this hardware, or from a Google owned company.

While the hardware specs and software features might be on part with my expectations, the customization features and pricing are truly saddening.

Is the Moto X still for me?

If you’re on AT&T, then you’re in the clear if you wanted to get the Moto X. And, you should want it. It’s a great little phone with some pretty innovative and unique features. Not everyone is on AT&T though. If you’re fine with getting a black or white version of the Moto X and don’t need custom colors or engraving, then by all means, go and get it. Even without the freedom to customize your phone as you see fit, the Moto X is still a great phone.

If you’re like me, you were hoping for the Moto X to be your savior. As a Verizon Wireless customer whom missed out on the Nexus 4, I was hoping this would fill a void that I’ve had for the better part of a year. I love stock Android. I need stock Android. Verizon Wireless has not been able to fill that void for me since the Galaxy Nexus launched in December 2011. I don’t want a TouchWiz phone. I don’t want a Sense phone. I don’t want one of Verizon’s upcoming DROIDs with hardware keys, even though they have similar specs. I want Google’s clean, simple version of Android. The Motorola X offers this with minimal Verizon “bloatware”. This is something that no other Verizon phone can do.

Moto x motorola broll (15)

Is the Moto X still for me? I’ll say yes even though the announcements today left me quite pissed off. For what I’m looking for in an Android smartphone, the Moto X is still the best choice for me. The big elephant in the room is when do I buy one? I want the full Moto Maker experience. I know as a Verizon customer, I can’t have that. Do I go with a white or black? Or do I play the waiting game. The problem with the waiting game is there’s always another phone on the horizon. Especially when Google likes to launch Nexus phones in the fall, though I doubt Verizon Wireless will ever see one again.

Wrap up

I say the Moto X was ruined for me because nothing excited me today. Today only brought resentment. If I lived in a cave for the past 5 months or even the past month, then today would have been very exciting. I would have been like a child in a candy story, giddy and grinning from ear to ear. I wish I felt that excitement. Right now, I don’t. Still, I’ll most likely end up getting the Moto X. I won’t be getting it for the wow factor though. I’ll be getting it because it’s the only choice that I really have.

Let me know in the comments: Is the Moto X for you? If you’re not on AT&T are you going to hold out for t heir exclusive customization to end or are you going to go with boring black or white? Me, I have no clue.

  • cabbiebot

    It was always about the price point, and they dropped the ball. The AT&T exclusivity, no matter how temporary, was twisting the knife. It’s disappointing. I just can’t find a compelling reason to recommend this to my friends and family.

    • End in sight

      Totally agree.

    • failuretolaunch

      Nailed it… I would wave paid up to $450 off contract, even without customization… but $575 is a total ripoff when you can get a one or gs4 GE for just a few dollars more. I’ll be hanging onto my nexus 4, until the 5 arrives.

    • rabidhunter

      Totally agree with you there. The customizations were cool, but not necessary. I would have been happy with the white phone. If the price were around $299 off contract, it could have been $49 on contract. The smartest strategy would have been to sell the black/white models for much cheaper and selling the customized options for a premium.

    • Tom Pajak

      i’d recommend a Droid Ultra instead

  • Jacob

    Definitely a let down

  • RRam

    Phone of the year, too much hype! hahaha.

  • Jason Charles

    This should hopefull pull away a lot of iSheep. The offerings are pretty similar to whats on the iFarm

    • Antony Greenman

      I think it’s too similar. If you follow the herd, you’re going to need a lot greener grass, not the same grass that’s more work to get to.

    • rabidhunter

      With the iPhone 5s (6) looming and potentially iPhone lite just around the corner, I don’t see it happen. The only thing that could have done it would have been a price shocker.

  • Antony Greenman

    I’m in the same ballpark on a lot of levels. I’ve been with Verizon for a long time, and I missed out on the Galaxy Nexus by probably a month or two, bought my phone just before they announced it. I have coveted Nexus phones since I first learned about them, and I, too, have been waiting to see what happens with this phone.

    The thing is, my two-year contract with Verizon is up in September, which I am hoping will be perfect for making a fully informed decision on where to go from there. I’m holding out hope of a new Nexus phone by then (at least some kind of announcement or substantial leak), in which case I will ditch Verizon and go to whatever carrier I prefer that carries the new Nexus. Otherwise, at the very least, maybe Moto-maker will be available by then huh?

  • Jocko

    Opens the door for big iPhone 6 announcement. Bigger screen, fingerprint scanner, better camera, iOS 7. Buy AAPL now.

    • joser116

      Sad but true

    • kimLJT

      this news will likely be an hurray for next iPhone gen. oh wait did I mention note 3? what about the sony honami? there is also likely from lg. hmmmm…… this moto x will maybe forgotten soon ;-)

    • WestIndiesKING

      you think they will make the screen bigger?

      • Bryan Z

        I think they might

  • aaron

    They had me as soon as I knew it was going to be made here in the US. I was let down a little too, probably has to do with that I already knew everything about the phone, and that I am looking for an unlocked, off contract, customized version. I did have some hope that they were going to surprise us with customizable specs, obviously that’s not happening. My only hope now is that the actual unlocked price is Nexus-y.

  • srinath

    an epic failure!!

  • Emil Sánchez

    i dont think just for customization i will choose this over a nexus 4, i can put a vynil on my nexus 4 so nice try motorola xD, is a good phone but i think 575 off contract is too much when you have another flagships at the same price or close to that price

  • n900mixalot

    I love my Galaxy Nexus on Verizon but Nexus doesn’t do it for me anymore. Pure Android has its place but I’ve moved beyond its boring, barely inspired features to something much more productive and useful.

    I have always loved what others have done with Android, and built onto it. And sometimes a clean slate is a great way to go. Nexus is a great palette cleanser but Android was made to be modded, and now we have HTC and LG and Samsung and Sony all busting their asses to make Android even better. Yet, here comes Motorola with this boring shade of a Nexus phone.

    Google is alienating manufacturers now, and this uninspired hack job of a Nexus 4 is destined to suffer being left behind in the dust.

    The hype was fine, it wasn’t anything unexpected. But people should know by now that Google and especially Motorola aren’t quite the “savior[s]” they’ve been made out to be by fans.

    I will give it to them, this phone is a great choice for many people but it never should have been expected to save anyone from anything. You can’t save Android from Android.

    • Dalian barons

      I have had nexus s galaxy nexus and now nexus 4 and I’m not sick of stock yet :)

      • Ivan Myring

        Yes let’s stick up for the nexuses (nexii)

  • jay flores

    Moto X is a game-changer in the android community. They were smart by not playing the numbers game. The screen is at a perfect size, and their system will be optimized. Competitors have to step their game up, cause their flagships will not be as fluid as the X

    • andyp

      Moto X is no game-changer. It is about the price…and Google drop the ball on this big time. I was so looking forward to get this phone and I am so disappointed. I can get a HTC One, BB Z10 or Q10, Iphone 5 for less than the price of Moto X and with better spec, not to mention higher resolution screen. No go for me!!

      • jay flores

        Google didn’t drop the ball…people are forgetting what Google continues to remind us, they aren’t giving Motorola any special priviledge’s. Everyone assumed that the X would be priced low just because Google owns Motorola. I too was expecting a lower price, maybe something like $99 on contract…but I’ll get that price when I trade in my backup phone. Specs isn’t everything, and the only phone you mentioned that has “better” specs is the HTC One. Having a 720 or 1080 on a 4.7 screen does not matter to the average person.

        • briankariu

          I see Motorola marketing is hard at work.

        • Ryan Gehret

          Um….but none of us here are average people. It all matters to us.

          If you’re on this website, you’re a geek.

    • rabidhunter

      It would have been a huge game changer if the price had been lower. Heck, it wouldn’t have just changed the game, it would have created a brand new game.
      They should have followed this price model assuming 16GB
      Black/White Model: $49.99 on-contract/$299 off
      Custom color: $74.99 on/$325 off
      Custom 2-tone color: $99 on/$350 off
      Custom wood (e.g. bamboo): $149.99 on/$499 off
      Premium wood (e.g. ebony): $199 on/$549 off
      That would have brought on a new game.

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      Que? You believe that this will stand against the G2, Note 3, Nexus 5, Apple 5(x)/6, HTC One.2, Galaxy 5, or any of the wp8/8.1 devices? Really? When it could only narrowly best (on paper) the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5(both almost a year out, ancient by tech standards)? You believe the s4 pro dual core will hold its own against the Exynos Octa, Snapdragon S800, and the Tegra 4 devices that are on the horizon? You have a lot of faith in a yet to be released phone…

  • David Rutla

    This made me sad. I would’ve gotten it if it were 400.00 and I got to customize it on launch or a few weeks later. I always thought the whole exclusive rights thing was unconstitutional being as we deserve a freedom of choice and obviously we are not equal to those on AT&T according to Google……smfh is Apple all over a again. I bet we won’t get to customize until November

    • dogulas

      Seriously, I cant think of a single reason why Motorola would give AT&T that deal. Companies only do that sort of thing for a financial incentive. And I would think having the deep pockets Google has, why would they drool over petty amounts of cash offered by AT&T? So weird.

  • Balraj

    Lol…I don’t think you really want one
    You just want to try moto maker n see what’s it’s like
    Overall spending so much for color is ……..
    Moto x is epic hyped phone that failed to meet minimum expectations

  • Greg Cardall

    I’ll never understand why the google-backed phones don’t “flagship” themselves more with better hardware. While I do think software definitely plays a huge role in how smooth the OS works, in this market staying current with cutting edge is almost a must.

    I don’t think the phone is inherently bad in any way. Sometimes simple is better, but I’d love to see Google, just once, come out with a phone that’s rivals the top-notch competitor’s phones (S4, One, etc). I think if they did, that alone would tip quite a lot of people in favor of the Vanilla experience over other manufacturers and at least give us all something to seriously consider.

    If I were you, Derek, I would NOT settle just because “there is nothing else”. I remember when I first came to Android from the iPhone…I wanted an Android SOOOO bad…and I think I waited over 9 months for something (Galaxy Note) to show up and really catch my attention. Don’t waste your time and money on something you’re obviously unsatisfied with prior to even purchasing it.

    ..there’s my bit of wisdom for the day. Time for bed. I’m all tapped out.

    • Ivan Myring

      Well the nexus 4 did beat almost every thing when it was released.
      But the moto x is a disappointment

  • MasterMuffin

    No poll? Anyways I think that people who have read these articles and comments already may know my opinion :)

    • You like wood, right?

      • MasterMuffin

        Yes :DDD

    • OMGgary

      Yes, and you were actually ahead of the curve because you said you were sick of Moto X before the official unveiling. Now that the final bits of info are known most of the rest of us are sickened by it as well.

      • MasterMuffin

        Me hipster?

    • Luka Mlinar

      The gang is all here :D
      Here’s looking forward to the Nexus 5 peeps ;)

  • Tom Pajak

    Somewhat disappointed…the features on the phone are very good and the 720p display will ensure a much better battery life than the 1080p panels it COULD have opted to use….but I question the price point..$199 on ATT is a flagship price but on verizon its a mid range price..if you want the masses to flock and come running then the price should have been $149 across the board..Motorola is hoping that the tweeners will ask their parents for this phone before going back to school so they made it very customizable..this phone was NEVER intended for the masses of 20-30 somethings…this was geared to the new wave of smartphone users…what I have to question is the fact that they are going to cannibalize the Droid phones..why invest so much in bringing back the Droid line if you are just going to undercut it?…I have a feeling that Motorola will see the backlash and maybe ..just maybe see the light and drop the cost to $99 by the end of the year

    • briankariu

      The $200 on contract is for the base phone, black or white. Add customizations and the price goes up. Now, would you buy your teenager a $300 phone on contract? This is a teenager we are talking about, who lose and break things a lot

      • Tom Pajak

        i can’t find crap on cost on customizing it..got a link?

  • Luka Mlinar

    Don’t get me wrong. It lives to all the expectations i had. The price killed it pure and simple.

  • Sky Baun

    Being a Canadian customer on bell; they have left me no choice but to buy a different brand.

  • Paul K Deuster

    I think without seeing the running device, it’s too early to make a final decision. I am disappointed that it’s US only and that its price is so high, but I will stay tuned.
    I wont stop believing until it’s finally out ;)

  • End in sight

    Well if I were you, based on what you have said, I would drop Verizon as soon as it makes sense and I would also not get this phone.

    For me, I was going to get it, but I am not switching to att for colors, and I am not going to swallow those prices. I know what I want and I am sticking to my guns: stock Android, decent camera, 4.5-4.7 screen, $200-$300 off contact.

  • TheP

    no no no… it was not the hype and leaks… its the price what killed this phone

  • Jivester

    I think people on here are entitled and a little ridiculous. I get the op ‘s point in that most of the great stuff was leaked and today was mostly a let down for folks not on AT&T but I still think this is one of the nicest phones ever announced. I prefer stock Android and vowed to never buy a non nexus but this phone has me considering otherwise. Sweet hardware, no bezels, nice colors. I love the claimed battery life, always listening and contextual awareness! Before I buy though I want to know two things : how is the camera really? And how quickly will it get os updates? (4.3 should be a good test for the latter) If the camera is great and the updates are fast then I am all over it!

    P. S. for all you dupes who bought in to the whole Verizon is the cool network over the past few years… I hope you are learning otherwise… They are the apple of networks… Hyped and locked down… Get out while you have a choice and get on universal wireless radios…

    • I’m with vz because of service coverage. Vz has never been the “cool” network, just the most reliable. They have always been behind everyone else when it comes to devices(except the original Droid). I’ve been a customer for 13 years and will still be for at least a few more because coverage is spotty with all the other carriers in my area.

  • Yoni Infante

    Note 3 here i come :P

  • dogulas

    If Google had made the decision to actually go ahead and act like they own Motorola, and gone ahead and told all the carriers to release the phone exactly the way Google made it, and not given AT&T an unnecessary exclusive deal, this would have been good. But this was anything but a Google phone. I say screw the promise to not give Motorola special treatment, and go ahead and use their hardware arm to the full extent, and put some of the $500 Million they say they are going to spend on marketing the Moto X toward NOT bending to whatever deal AT&T wanted. I guarantee AT&T didn’t offer all that much money for the deal. So dumb.

  • Palmiero

    Well what a huge let down the moto x is! Way over priced for older hardware compared to HTC or Samsungs best offering why would you get this thing? Other then the customize-able aspect which is not even available to everyone anyways? Hey have fun in your selection of black or white everyone other then At&T. And really the customize thing is pretty much a gimmick since most people are going to want their phone in a protective case anyways. But hey who cares about dropping their phone and shattering it, just buy another right? This phone should in no way be over $300 to purchase outright and customize direct from motorola or google, that’s what should have be done also for true freedom of choice. Oh well, here’s to looking forward to the next Nexus 4 or 5 or whatever they will call it.

  • dogulas

    I would prefer to never root my phone again in order to be with Verizon with a phone experience I like. But if this silliness continues, I guess Cyanogenmod will forever be my smartphone savior. This makes them continue to be super relevant.

  • Josh York

    Sounds like somebody needs to cut ties with Big Red.

  • doode

    I was never going to get this phone but reading about ANOTHER carrier exclusive feature on launch (Moto Maker) just makes me sick. So tired of this carrier exclusivity crap.

  • sourabh

    Nexus 4 FTW

  • George Av


  • Stefan

    :) candy story…

  • JB

    Why is everyone blaming Motorola for the AT&T exclusive? It seems much more likely that this was Verizon’s doing – outrageously slow and cautious (for example, they still don’t have the One!). Verizon has shown me that they can’t keep up with the others, so I’m betting they had a big hand in this. Not sure why Motorola would keep MotoMaker from all the other carriers when they could have made more cash right away

  • Rauel Crespo

    Had this offered 64GB and 128GB(as opposed to 16GB and 32GB) as the two storage options at those prices…It would have been MINDBLOWING…as it stands…this is basically Galaxy S3 hardware, being sold at Galaxy S4 prices…One might as well just buy an HTC One.

  • skaterjosh98

    With all the hype and teasing you would have thought this phone would have been a top of the line phone. The best specs etc. But middle of the road type specs and a premuim price doesnt make too much sense to me. I would have trouble with paying a little less for this than I did with my factory unlocked One from htc.com. The color choice is a nice touch but if you want a top of the line phone that wouldnt matter to you.

  • APai

    Moto X is actually a pretty cool device by itself. But All the hype of jesus phone brought it down. if the moto X has great battery life, why not go for it ? I wouldn’t care how many cores it runs or other sundry details – AS LONG AS – motorola gives timely updates, the device has long battery life, and it offers a compelling experience over similar class device. It’s another phone fighting for my $ – it has to fight as a value offering like other phones. my 2c.

  • Shawn

    I agree that it was overly hyped but I must admit I do like some of the features and would really appreciate them. For one the quick camera is nice. Also the always on mode would be good for when I can’t find my phone which is quite often for me lol but some other features I really love also.

  • _C4__

    Moto X became a victim of the phone specification race that other smartphone makers started. It is like a spec race, feel and usability of phone are given a back seat. Even though the phone is excellent but it is bad that android house has become like PC. number of cores, amount of ram, screen resolution….typical how we buy a PC.

  • Bryan Z

    no thank you I will stick to my nexus 4 for now….

  • John

    Verizon gets the droid line so shut up