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MotoX and Google Now

Ajit Deshpande - - 0 Comments

Last week, Google announced its latest smartphone, the MotoX. The device, which was developed by the Google’s Motorola Mobility unit over the past year, offers a number of enhanced features, yet has generally been reviewed as more of an incremental step up than as a revolutionary new smartphone. Two key new features for the MotoX include the ability to customize its look-and-feel (available for the near term only to AT&T subscribers), and the tight integration of the device with Google Now.

For Google, as the central node in the Android ecosystem, any in-house smartphone development presents the risk of ruining the company’s relationships with a number of key device manufacturers like Samsung, LG and HTC. At the same time, it is becoming clearer that the next frontier in mobile technology is around contextually intelligent apps (the likes of Siri and Google Now). Given these, the MotoX in its design phase would have had two alternative paths – the first being to become the sleekest, most powerful, cutting-edge device possible, and the second being an example of the kind of user experience that Google Now and other Google services could represent. Google has chosen this latter, Apple-esque path both in word and in deed, while other Android devices continue to push the limits of performance. Given this chosen path, the MotoX now goes into the marketplace with its Motorola brand (which might be weak on the high-end but stronger in the low-end segment), its customizability (an unknown feature), its ‘Made in the USA’ sticker, and its incrementally better features. Not helping at all in this journey is the $199 price tag which pits it against dominant models like the iPhone and the Galaxy.

All in all, it is quite likely that the MotoX won’t make much of a dent in the market in the near term. But like numerous other Google products that seemed intriguing but not clear winners when launched (Chrome, Google Docs, Google+ and so on), the success of MotoX might still just be a matter of time, even if that takes a year (or a few) and a generation of devices (or a few)…

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