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
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
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
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

    C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

    £45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

    Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

    £30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

    Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

    £45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

    SAP P2P Trainer

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently seeking an SAP P2P traine...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor