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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
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

    Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

    £18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices