The X Factor – why you should be excited about the Moto X

We can't wait to wrap our hands around Moto's upcoming Google phone. Here's why

Moto X hype has reached fever pitch, with full page ads for the device appearing in major US papers.

The US-made handset is being touted as the first smartphone you can design yourself – which seems to be borne out by leaked custom colour backplates for the phone. So, is the X Phone set to herald a new age of customisable smartphones?

Customisation

Back in the 90s we were huge fans of handsets like the Nokia 5110, which could transform from business to pleasure with a quick cover change. Now Motorola is billing the X as "the first smartphone you can design yourself". The possibilities have made us giddy with excitement, and not just because of interchangeable covers.

According to Android and Me owner Taylor Wimberly's sources, you'll be able to choose the actual body material for the Moto X when you buy it, with options including plastic, metal, wood and carbon fibre.

We'd be very surprised if a plethora of colour options weren't available at launch, and we'd be giggling like school girls if we ever unboxed a sleek red carbon fibre smartphone. The iPhone 5 and HTC One have raised the bar in smartphone build quality and Motorola could crank up the heat with the Moto X.

Materials aren't the only thing you'll be able to choose beforehand either. It's expected that you'll also be able to pre-configure wallpapers, apps, ringtones and more online, before receiving your phone.

HTC is already doing something similar with its Get Started service, and switching on a phone set up just the way you want it with all of your contacts and apps pre-installed out of the box is something we could definitely get used to.

Sixth sense

The Moto X will also reportedly be contextually aware, using its array of sensors, software trickery and an always-on listening mode to know what you're going to do before you do it.

Imagine taking your phone out of your pocket, turning it sideways, and having the camera app launch automatically. Or having your phone learn that you always turn your phone on silent at work so that the following week it keeps quiet automatically when it detects your location. It's all about thinking less and letting technology do the work, leaving you more time to work. Or look at cat pictures.

Like the Xbox One's Kinect, the Moto X will also always be listening for your commands, Google Glass-style. A simple trigger phrase like "Moto call home" could initiate a phone call for example, without having to manually start Google's voice command service on the phone first. As for the impact on battery life? Well that brings us nicely on to...

More after the break...

Power

While there's no solid battery size information available, the X could produce the best battery life of any Android phone to date, thanks to its unique multi-core design.

According to Android and Me, the Moto X will arrive with a totally unique 8-core processor configuration which will let it work its magic without affecting battery life.

Qualcomm's 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor is expected to focus entirely on running apps smoothly, while four other processor cores are dedicated solely to graphics to ensure silky smooth gameplay. Those four graphics cores should also serve up the slickest, smoothest Android experience to date.

Another low-power language chip will be responsible for the Moto X's always-on listening mode, focusing on audio sensors, noise cancellation and speech recognition, meaning it's at your beck and call 24/7 without destroying its battery life.

Lastly, a final processor will look after all the contextual sensors that enable the X to predict what you're going to do ahead of time. One such sensor is rumoured to detect how fast you're travelling in your car and making changes (presumably in the UI) for safety reasons.

This multi-processor approach that dedicates cores to very specific tasks could change the central dogma of how we expect smartphones to behave and function. Could the Moto X be the beginning of a truly automated pocketable assistant? We certainly hope so.

Specs and price

The Motorola X's screen size is up for debate, with reports pointing to anything from 4.3in to 4.7in – whatever the case, it's certainly not going to be a plus-size phablet. Although it's expected to be 720p, that should contribute to a longer battery life and 2GB of RAM should be more than enough to keep Android 4.2.2 cruising along at speed. The X is also expected to feature a 10MP rear and 2MP front-facing rear camera.

The best part of all this is that the Motorola X is likely to land with a delicious Nexus 4-like price tag at around US$300 SIM-free when it lands in August.

A customisable phone with scary levels of automation, ground-breaking power and a great battery life for the price of a Nexus 4? It's almost too good to be true. Let's hope it isn't.

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