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Moto X: everything we know before launch

Here's everything we know about the Moto X ahead of its launch. We look at design, specs, smart features and availability.
July 30, 2013
Rogers Moto X video leak

Motorola’s Moto X flagship smartphone will be unveiled in just a couple of days, and launched at some point in the following weeks, but the device is hardly a secret anymore.

From design to specs and smart features, we’ve seen them all in an impressive campaign of rumors, leaks and teasers. We have already covered in great details available Moto X rumors, but since then we have received more details about the device. In what follows we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the handset before it launches.


The Moto X starred in a variety of leaks before Google’s Eric Schmidt decided to actually use in in front of journalists at a special event. The exec has basically confirmed that the leaks were accurate.

Eric Schmidt talking on Moto X

Furthermore, we’ve seen other Motorola execs using what looked like the Moto X, at a closed-doors media event that Leo Laporte can’t yet talk about, and soon after a couple of sets of rumored press photos for the Moto X have also been leaked, showing the device in black and white (front, back and profile.)

To have a complete picture, .

” href=””>someone at Rogers has conveniently leaked a video showing the Moto X in action. In addition to showing the device and mentioning some of its smart features, the video also revealed that the handset will hit the carrier in black and white – these appear to be standard carrier versions. Customizable Moto X will supposedly be purchased directly from Google.

After we’ve seen the Moto X in all these instances, and various others, we can safely say that the handset will pack an edge-to-edge display, with no physical buttons. The back is curved, with the back camera being placed in the center of the topside, above the flash and Motorola logo. Such a device has been spotted in a leaked video dating back to mid-March, when a Vietnamese publication managed to get its hands on an purported Moto X prototype. The device is also fairly slim as you can see, and will pack a 2200mAh battery according to FCC documentation.

Moto X
Moto X “final” press images | Image credit: @evleaks

According to Taylor Wimberly, who happens to know a lot of things about the Moto X despite not being launched, the handset will feature a Moto Magic Glass display, or a Gorilla Glass sheet molded to a “special polymer,” resulting in a gap-free surface that wraps around the edges of the phone. Furthermore, he added that the device will pack a “laminated aluminum structure for a light weight and high strength design.”

Wimberly also revealed in the past that users will be able to choose between a variety of materials for the Moto X including plastic, metal, wood and carbon fiber, with a variety of colors being available to them as well. Supposedly, plastic and wood cases will be available at launch, while metal, ceramics and fabrics could be available later on.

However, despite the handset being “customizable” in such a manner, the device is said not to sport a user-replaceable battery.

moto x motorola exec Rick Osterloh
Moto exec Rick Osterloch apparently uses the Moto X to take a picture at the event attended by Leo Laporte.


There has been much talk about the hardware of the Moto X, but almost all rumors suggested that the phone will pack mid-range specs by 2013 standards. The most complete set of specs has been provided so far by Android Police, as the publication was able to get its hands on an AT&T Moto X unit. Here’s what the device is expected to offer:

  • dual-core Qualcomm S4 Pro MSM8960DT 1.7GHz CPU, Adreno 320 GPU. [Android Police] is still not sure what the “d” stands for in the processor model number, but it’s likely the same as MSM8960T – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • 2GB of RAM – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • 720×1184 4.7″ (about 4.5″ without on-screen buttons) display – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • 2.1MP front-facing camera / 10.5MP rear camera with flash – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (ac made it in, nice!) – confirmed by FCC docs
  • Android 4.2.2 on the unit being tested – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • 16GB internal memory, 12GB of which is user-accessible (on the unit being tested) – confirmed by [AnTuTu benchmark]
  • NFC – confirmed by [images]
  • 2,200 mAh non-removable battery – confirmed by FCC docs and first tipped off by @evleaks
  • 128.5mm x 65mm – confirmed by FCC docs
  • no microSD support

However, we will notice that the processor of the Moto X may be a special Motorola creation, based on Qualcomm’s processor mentioned above. At the Droid event last week, Motorola unveiled the X8 Mobile Computing System, which will power the Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini, and which is expected to be found inside the new Moto X.

Motorola’s X8 Mobile Computing System
Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System | Image credit: The Verge

The X8 offers eight cores, without being an Exynos 5 Octa-like SoC. The X8 packs a dual-core processor, a quad-core GPU and two cores that have special functions including contextual computing (one core) and natural language processing (one core).

As for the camera, which is rumored to be a special ClearPixel camera, here’s what the same Wimberly had to say about it the other day:

[quote qtext=”As previously reported, the Moto X features a 10MP Clear Pixel camera, for enhanced low light performance. The pixel size is 1.4 microns, which is smaller than the HTC One (2.0), but larger than the GS4 (1.1). This special camera module also has x4HD Video capture, which bins 4 pixels together to create one perfect pixel. Video can be recorded in 1080p HD at 60 FPS and played back in slow motion at 30 FPS. Three microphones also enable 3D audio recording.” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

Smart features

As you can see in the specs lists above, the test units are apparently running Android 4.2.2 out of the box with little customization. We would expect to see the device launch with Android 4.3 on board, considering that Google has just made it official, but that’s just speculation from our part at this time.

Moto X Active Display and Notifications
Moto X: Active Display and Active Notifications | Image Credit: Android Police

However, we will note that the AT&T Moto X test unit with Android 4.2.2 on board performed great in benchmarks for a “mid-range” device, scoring 18753 in AnTuTu and over 7100 in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme.

In addition to this apparent software optimization, the Moto X also packs some interesting smart features that will only be available on the new Motorola Droids: always-on voice support and contextual awareness.

Users will be able to activate the Moto X by simply talking to it – and the phone will apparently recognize the user’s voice apparently, unlike Google Glass whose voice-based features can be activated by anyone in its vicinity, not just the user. By using the “Ok Google Now” hotword, Moto X users will be able to perform a variety of actions and searches without turning on the display.

Moto X Motorola Migrate
Moto X: Motorola Migrate | Image Credit: Android Police

To further help save battery life, the device will also offer Active Display and Active Notifications features. That means that notifications will discretely appear on the screen, with the user able to act on them with certain gestures. While this happens, only certain pixels of the display light up, to show the notification and available actions.

Other smart features include Motorola Connect, a feature that will let users send and receive messages on a desktop with a Chrome browser, and a Motorola Migrate tool that will let users migrate information from their older smartphone to the Moto X.

Motorola will also assist with phone tracking in case the handset is lost or stolen.

Moto X Phone tracking
Moto X: Phone tracking | Image Credit: Android Police

The camera of the device will offer a minimal interface (the camera’s APK has actually been leaked). Accessing settings and gallery can be done by swiping from the left and right edges, while zooming is done by swiping vertically on the screen. Users will be able to take pictures by simply tapping on the screen and holding for multiple shots.

There are also context-aware features on the Moto X. To rapidly turn on the camera users will be able to just flick their wrists twice. Moreover, the phone will know not to show any notifications when it’s in the pocket, during a call, or when it’s placed face down on a surface. A Motorola Assist feature will replace the Smart Actions found on other Motorola devices, to help users automatically set certain parameters for the Moto X during certain instances like driving detection or silent mode for meetings or during the night.

Finally, we’ll add that users will be able to reportedly customize the appearance of their phone before purchase – assuming they don’t get the standard carrier versions – including wallpaper and other apps. Interestingly, .

” href=””>an out-of-the-box boot animation for the Moto X has also been leaked – it’s probably one of the nicest boot animations to date.

Moto X Motorola Assist
Moto X: Motorola Assist | Image Credit: Android Police

Leo Laporte said that there’s at least a feature of this phone that hasn’t been leaked yet, but that was before the new Droids were announced hinting at Moto X hardware and software, so we’re certainly curious to see whether there’s anything new to discover.


There has been a lot of talk about the Moto X launch in the U.S., especially considering that the handset will be made in America. One of the benefits of being built at home by Motorola is that the company will be able to ship custom orders in a timely manner, although we still don’t have clear release dates for the handset.

Recent reports have suggested that carriers will get Moto X starting with July 29 and that Google may be interested in launching the phone as soon as possible after the August 1 announcement event in New York.

Other reports have suggested that the Moto X will be launched almost simultaneously with the new Verizon Droids – the Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx will be released on August 20, while the Droid Mini will hit stores on August 29.

Moto X dual LTE antenna

Actual rumored release dates are available only for two carriers, Verizon (August 23) and U.S. Cellular (August 26).

But at least five U.S. mobile operators are expected to launch the device later this year, considering that five different Moto X filings have been found with the FCC: XT1056 (Sprint), XT1058 (AT&T), XT1055 (U.S. Cellular), XT1060 (Verizon) and XT1053 (T-Mobile).

In Canada, Rogers appears to be the exclusive carrier of the handset, while AT&T is also rumored to get some kind of exclusivity deal in the U.S.

Pricing details for the Moto X aren’t available at this time, although word on the street is that the handset will cost $299 without a contract.

We have no idea when the Moto X will launch in international markets (excluding Canada), as we haven’t had any reports on the matter yet.


In two days we’ll bring you more Moto X coverage during and following the August 1 media event, at which point it’s likely that most of the information mentioned above will be confirmed.

Rogers Moto X video leak

That said, let’s hear your thoughts on the handset. Are you buying this particular Android device, a mid-range handset by this year’s standards, but certainly an interesting creation intended to challenge the iPhone, the high-end Galaxy handsets, the One, the Xperia Z, and every other flagship device out there?