Google's Moto X launched at D11 conference: Motorola hopes smartphone with smart price can reclaim mobile market

The new device will 'anticipate' the needs of the user, reacting differently when it is taken out of someone’s pocket as to when it is at rest
  • @jjvincent

Google-owned Motorola is looking to launch itself back into the mainstream mobile market with a newly announced handset, the Moto X.

The new smartphone was announced at the D11 conference by Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola, who promised that the device would be “contextually aware” and would offer “experiences [that] are unlike other experiences out there.”

Speaking at the conference Woodside, who used to work for Google, promised that Motorola would “launch a handful of smartphones that aren't the end, but show where the company is heading.” He also promised that the new Moto X would be built in the US, in an ex-Nokia factory in Fort Worth, Texas.

The new device was described as “anticipating” the needs of the user, reacting differently when it is taken out of someone’s pocket as to when it is at rest.

Woodside also specified that the Moto X would be addressing the “low-cost, high quality market”, pitching the device between “feature phones [that] sell for $30” and “high-end smartphones [that] cost $650.”

Google bought Motorola’s handset division Motorola Mobility in May 2012 for $12.5 billion and the Moto X is undoubtedly part of plans to revamp the company.

The announcement came during a talk in which Woodside and Regina Dugan, head of R&D at Motorola, promised that the company would “bring back that audaciousness and that confidence” that previously defined the company. 

Motorola had massive success in the early mobile market with their popular flip phones in the mid-1990s, as well the hugely successful RAZR series in the early 2000s.

However, in the late 2000s the company failed to take advantage of the smartphone market and the phone-division was spun off from the company’s telecoms business. After Google’s acquisition Motorola Mobility lost their parent company $271 million in the first quarter of 2013.

Dugan and Woodside also revealed some experimental technology developed by Motorola, including an electronic tattoo and “vitamin authentication”, a swallowable pill that stays in your body and is powered by the acids in your stomach.

“This isn’t stuff that is going to ship any time soon”, said Woodside, “but it is a sign of the new boldness inside Motorola”.