According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is about to take control of its own branded phones with a hush, hush project dubbed – the “X Phone” (yeah, it’s a jab at iPhone). Well after the Motorola acquisition, it’s about time they put Motorola to good use.
Google product manager Lior Ron is believed to be heading up the X Phone project which is said will “rival anything coming from mobile giants Samsung and Apple”. Engineers at Motorola told the Wall Street Journal, “Motorola is designing its marquee handset with cutting-edge features to stand apart from existing phones when it is released next year”. The sources also noted that a “X Tablet” would follow soon thereafter. There are not a lot of details yet but phrases like “marquee handset”, “high-quality camera”, “bendable screen”, and “ceramic materials” (for durability and moldable shapes) are being tossed around. WSJ did note that “Motorola plans to enhance the X Phone with its recent acquisition of Viewdle, an imaging and gesture-recognition software developer.” Of course, it’s all just speculation right now.
This move is to be expected of course – they didn’t pour out all that money ($12.5 billion) for Motorola back in May (2012) just for bragging rights. How they accomplish this, without distancing themselves from their Android OEM partners, is going to be a tricky bridge to cross.
UPDATE 1/21/13: According to Droid Life, the Motorola X Phone will be announced at Google I/O this May and all carriers will sell the device. An early July release date is said to be targeted, but things could obviously change between now and then. The rumors state you will have to pay Verizon $15 per month if you buy the device and get it unlocked through them, but if you buy it through the Play Store you’ll get it unlocked with no fee to speak of.
UPDATE 1/23/13: Google again teased us with hints that a Google X phone is in the making which means anything from dual, bendable screens to indestructible ceramic casing could be possible. During their earnings call this morning, Google executives emphasized that when the company bought Motorola, Motorola already had a 12 to 18 month “product pipeline” in the works, which Google is still “working through.” This means that all of the devices that Motorola has released since it was acquired by Google were already in the works, and the same is likely to be true until at least spring of this year. Google CEO Larry Page also said that “In today’s multi screen world, the opportunities are endless… battery life is a huge issue… when you drop your phone it shouldn’t go splat. There’s a real potential to invent new and better experiences.” This all hints at goals for improved battery life, better smartphone casing, and possible Android UI changes.