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The Friday Debate: The X Phone and what we expect from Motorola

In this week's Friday Debate, we discuss Motorola, Google, and all the crazy rumors we've heard about the X Phone. Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.
May 3, 2013

We are all mobile geeks, here at Android Authority. We love everything with a power button. We like to comment the latest news and endlessly argue over which phone is better. On the Friday Debate, we pick a hot issue and proceed to discuss it. Join us!

The so called X Phone has been rumored so many times that it’s hard to keep tabs on. We all think that it has to be real, because Google does awesome things, and the X Phone sounds like something that Google would do. But let’s step back a little, and ask ourselves – what can Google and Motorola realistically deliver?

In this week’s Friday Debate, we discuss Motorola, Google, and all the crazy rumors we’ve heard about the X Phone. Join us in the comments and vote in our poll.

Derek Ross

I believe the X Phone is real. We’ve seen far too many leaks and tidbits of information for it not to be real. We’ve seen leaks out of Vietnam that shows a Nexus 4 with Motorola accents running stock Android. We’ve seen LinkedIn job postings for an X Phone and X Tablet director from Motorola. We haven’t seen a device release from Motorola since last November. They have to be working on something to stay relevant.

Larry Page and Eric Schmidt have both said they’re excited about the upcoming products from Motorola. Larry Page has said during two different earnings calls that phones shouldn’t go splat when you drop them and that batteries should last easily through the day. These are subtle hints or at least goals where they feel the bar should be set.

I expect to see what Motorola is known for. I expect to see a well built, high quality device. I expect to see a Motorola phone with impeccable battery life (RAZR MAXX style). I’m hopeful that the X Phone is on every carrier, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S4. I’m hopeful for a smartphone that truly matters from Motorola. I’m hopeful that Motorola will regain their once high reign on the smartphone industry.

Purported Google X Phone prototype.
Purported Google X Phone prototype.

Simon Hill

When Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion a year ago it raised a lot of eyebrows. Google was at pains to reassure the other Android hardware partners that Motorola wouldn’t be getting any competitive advantage. Lots of people expected a Google phone manufactured by Motorola, but as the months have rolled by, it simply hasn’t materialized. There was major speculation that the portfolio of 17,000 patents was the real reason behind the purchase, but you can count the number of court victories it has won for Google on one hand (though it may have been very useful from a defensive point of view, as a kind of deterrent).

In any case Google has spent the last few months hacking away the dead wood from Motorola. The company has been punching below its weight for years. There have been closures and lay-offs, because Motorola Mobility was making a loss. Now it is lean and ready to step back into the ring. A big release like the Google branded X Phone could return this one-time heavyweight contender, original innovator of the mobile world, back to profitability and provide some real competition at the top. If it proves to be as awesome as expected, it will be my next phone.

David Gonzales

Despite all the leaks and whatnot, the Motorola-led Google has just been so inactive for so long that I honestly don’t know what to think. Is it working on something, anything? It has to. But is it really? We can never really say for sure.

Motorola used to be a powerhouse, though some might call it a one-hit wonder. It was able to release a bunch of decent and outright impressive Android handsets in the past, so it should be able to do those things again. With Google behind it, that should be almost foolproof.

Personally, I expect many things from the Motorola/Google X phone or whatever it ends up being called. It will probably be great, revolutionary, magical, and all that, but it will still fail to live up to my own absurdly high expectations. Whatever happens, I’ll be watching.

Is this an X Phone?
Is this an X Phone?

Brad Ward

Like Derek Ross mentioned, we haven’t seen a Motorola device since last November, and because of that, there’s no doubt the company has something up their sleeves.It probably is the X Phone too. The LinkedIn job listing gave that way a while back.

Aside from a high quality device, I’m not sure what to expect from Motorola. There’s been so many rumors, leaks, purported images and statements that’s hard to know what to expect.

Yes, Motorola is making an X Phone, but I’m going to keep my expectations low until we hear something more official than what we’ve been seeing lately.

Nate Swanner

Google’s purchase of Motorola will take time before we see true greatness. They knew, before buying them, that there were some major problems. It’s nice to see Google is serious about making Motorola a contender, rather than the patent grab many speculated the acquisition was about.

I hope the X phone is coming soon, so we have an answer rather than more questions. The rumor milling is fun, but there comes a time for answers. I really hope I/O provides that, but I quietly doubt it.

If I had one wish for this “X” thing, it would be that it not be a phone, but a program. Consider how sublime it would be to have the ability to log onto the Play Store, and design your own device.

If you wanted a 5″ screen with a Snapdragon 800 processor, and 64GB of memory… you could have that. It would cost you, but you designed it yourself!

Conversely, If I didn’t want that much muscle, or had less to spend, I could get a 4.3″ screen and less memory, even a more civilian processor. We both have an X phone, running stock Android, and paid a different price… but got exactly what we wanted.

X Phone concept
X Phone concept

Joshua Vergara

I think a Motorola phone by Google would be great. ‘X’ is a nice name and already generates buzz because of how mysterious and cool it sounds. Motorola might not be the first company that sprouts to mind when mentioning top current smartphone manufacturers, but before its acquisition by Google, it had quite a few fans with its revamped RAZR line.

I would love to see the best of the RAZR line brought into the Google fold – the great battery life of the RAZR MAXX and the sleek design that will likely be streamlined by Google’s architects. Whereas Motorola had its own UI that suffered from the typical late updates, Google will likely make the X update on a schedule more like the Nexus line.

What I DON’T want to see, since we’re talking about a Google phone, is for it to be too much like a Nexus. At first glance, you’d look at the Galaxy Nexus or the Nexus 4 and think, “That makes sense, it works for Samsung and LG.” But it’s not Motorola’s style. The RAZR was able to somewhat keep up with other top smartphones partially because it looked and seemed so different right off the bat. To me, that has always been the company’s appeal and their line of phones before the touchscreen era is a testament to this. I still think the original RAZR flip phone (in black) is one of the best designed devices ever.

While I’m talking about flip phones, what if Google and Motorola found a way to bring back that form factor? I think that should be our next revolution – flip smartphones. That’s just wishful thinking though. Anyway, as long as Google allows the X to remain unique as per Motorola’s original philosophies, I think it’ll turn out really well.

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