Moto X: Google's 'always on' phone that offers you Google Glass for cheap

The new handset is trained to recognise its owner's voice and answer queries, make calls and search the web

Google have unveiled an ‘always-on’ smartphone named the Moto X. The new handset is trained to recognise its owner's voice and respond to voice commands at any time.

The handset responds to the phrase ‘OK Google now’ which wakes the phone without the user having to touch the screen. From this point individuals can carry out a range of tasks including searching the web, making calls or finding driving directions.

Google say that this feature helps users “get everyday tasks done quickly and with less fuss,” with Motorola Chief Executive Dennis Woodside referring to the X as the world’s “first self-driving phone”.

“Moto X is ready when you are,” said Google.  “It responds to your voice - no touching necessary. With Touchless Control you can check the weather, get directions, or do just about anything without lifting a finger.”

Just like Google Glass, the Moto X will also be heavily tied to Google Now - the search giant's 'personal assistant' that offers reminders, information and insights based on a users' habits.

Google Now is a product that emobdies the company's core promise: let us know everything about you and we'll help you out. So if you use Google's calendar then Google Now will give you warnings of appointments; if you let Google know your location then it can give you traffic warnings when you're driving, and so on and so forth.

Broadly speaking, these services are how Google makes its money (its a 'horizontal' company, not a 'vertical' like Apple, who mainly make money on hardware) and the Moto X is designed to make it easier for users to rely on Google. It's a clever tactic that should find broad appeal amongst tech experts and new users alike.

In essence, the Moto X is offering Google Glass on the cheap - that seductive promise of an ever-present digital assistant who knows your life and is just always ready to help. It's the sort of concept that seems great in adverts and films but rarely stands up in real life.

The screen and icons are shown on the screen of Motorola's new Moto X phone as it rests on a table at a launch event in New York, August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Thankfully, this isn't all the Moto X has got going for it and Google are also hoping to sell the phone on its customizability. The handset will be offered in a wide range of colours with the option for personalized engravings with customers able design their phone via an online service named Moto Maker  before it gets shipped out in no more than 4 days.

Motorola also claim that the phone’s battery will last for twenty four hours and that the handset will “sip battery, not chug it”. The X features a 4.7-inch screen with 720 x 1080 resolution, a 10-megapixel camera, up to 32GB memory (with no removable storage) and 2GB of RAM.

For a 'processor' the Moto X uses an X8 - a chip only previously seen in Motorola's Droid line of handsets. The X8 is actually a combination of a 1.7GHz Snapdragon processor with customized firmware and pair of mysterious chips - a "contextual computing processor" and a "natural language processor."

Essentially this means that different parts of the Moto X are dedicated to running the OS, keeping track of the sensors, and getting ready to pick up on spoken instructions. Motorola have described this as "unique technology" and say it will mean a speedier handset.

Phones with wooden backs on them rest in a display at a launch event for Motorola's new Moto X phone in New York, August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

As well as the voice commands the Moto X also uses new gesture controls. Holding the phone in your hand and twisting your wrist twice will automatically bring up the phone’s camera, with pictures then taken by touching anywhere on the screen.

The Moto X is the first handset to be built by Motorola since Google bought the company’s hardware division last year for $12.5 billion. Both companies hope that the Moto X will spur the rejuvenation of Motorola’s fortunes, though the fact that the phone won't come with the latest version of the Android operating system suggests that there are still some kinks to work out between the two companies.

The Moto X does not currently have a UK launch scheduled but is available in the US for $199 with a two year contract. At this price Google isn't targetting the highest end of the market, but rather those that might be switching from feature phones for the first time, as well as current users bored with ever increasing sepcs and screen sizes.

Add to this the glossy promise of a Google Now-powered perfectly-busy/busily-perfect life and the Moto X seems does indeed seem as threatening as a self-driving car.

Travel
travel
Sport
football
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Sales Representative, Birmingham

    £25-£30k Plus Car: Charter Selection: Major well established nationwide market...

    Juniper Security Consultant

    £300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Juniper Security Consultant London (Greater)

    C# .NET Developer (SQL, ASP.NET, JS, MVC) London - Finance

    £50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...

    C# .NET Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript HTML, CSS) Finance

    £60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment