I'm losing interest in Motorola's rumored X Phone

Published: March 25, 2013

More often than not, I’m a lot more interested in rumors and speculation than I probably should be. I’ve grown to learn the hard way over the years that setting my expectations based on rumors is sometimes a fool’s errand, but I still eat up all the “leaked” images of unannounced phones, or compare how speculated specifications might compare to devices officially announced by the main competitors in the market.

I also love to go over those old rumors after a phone’s announcement, too, to see how they stacked up to the real thing. The trend seems to be that most of the earliest rumors, the ones that start to really pick up awareness for an upcoming device, are the most off-base. As we get closer to the launch, we start to see the rumors and speculation start to make more sense. They all start to add up to something that we will actually get to buy one day.

One of the most anticipated devices this year is a handset that hasn’t been announced quite yet, but that hasn’t stopped the mill from churning out a variety of new reports. In fact, the first real report about this device dates back to December 21, 2012, when a report from The Wall Street Journal first dropped the “X Phone” bomb.

According to that report, based on information provided to the outlet from unnamed sources, Motorola and Google are hard at work on something called the X Phone. This device, which has seen a ridiculous amount of rumored specifications “leaked” over the course of just a few months, is apparently geared towards competing against the likes of Apple’s iPhone, or Samsung’s Galaxy series. That initial report actually named former Google product head Lior Ron as being head of the X Phone project, and specifically points out that top-tier features are being aimed at this device’s camera, and its photo software.

I remember wondering, back when that report initially surfaced, if that meant the rest of the phone was taking somewhat of a backseat to the camera. It’s no secret that a lot of people use their smartphone for taking photos, and obviously HTC thinks the camera on your phone should be one of the best parts to using your device, but I’m not sure that Motorola (or Google, for that matter) should be sacrificing specifications to put more attention on the camera.

After all, look at HTC. They’ve got a device that doesn’t skimp on features, but they still managed to make a lot of the conversation be about their camera.

Moving away from hardware or software rumors, just for a moment, I want to talk about the rumors regarding the way the X Phone would be sold, after its eventual announcement. Rumors had it that it would be sold in the Google Play Store, much like the Nexus 4, and see a cheap off-contract price tag. However, Verizon would apparently be selling it for over $200 on contract, and you’d have to pay $15 a month to get the bootloader unlocked, if that’s something you like to have on your phone. It’s also supposed to launch either at the end of June, or early July.

Now, hardware. According to the most repeated reports, the X Phone is supposed to feature either a 4.7- or a 4.8-inch display, and is probably not going to be a 1080p panel. (Most reports have it at 720p.) It's up in the air whether or not the display uses Gorilla Glass 3 or sapphire glass. Inside, it’s supposedly featuring a dual-core processor of some kind, while a few more recent reports have a quad-core processor from Qualcomm tucked away inside. The camera on the back is said to be 10MP, and it will apparently be running a stock version of Android. (It would make sense that Google and Motorola unveil the X Phone with a brand new version of Android at Google I/O.)

At the beginning of the year, I asked all of you if you think the X Phone rumors are too good to be true. Now, just a couple of months later, I don’t think that’s the case at all. In fact, the more I hear about the X Phone in hushed tones, the more I realize that I’m actually losing interest in the device. I feel like the rumors are just so scattered that I can’t really get a feel for what Google and Motorola are working on. I have no idea what I should be getting excited about, basically.

If not the display, the camera? If not the camera, maybe the fact it’s a Nexus-like device from Motorola? If not that, then what?

Ah, how about the battery? The more recent rumors suggest that Motorola is keeping with their “huge” battery strategy that they introduced with the DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX. Some reports have the X Phone with a battery measured in at over 4,000mAh. Others, though, suggest that it could feature a battery closer to the DROID RAZR MAXX, and be measured at 3,300mAh. That would be a big departure from previous Nexus devices, and something that I think could make this new stock Android device stand out amidst the competition.

If that particular rumor pans out, then that’s awesome. Bigger batteries, at this stage in the game, means a little extra life for our smartphones so I’ll take it when I can get it.

I can’t get overly excited about a phone that’s only defining feature may be its battery. And then there’s the fact that Google itself doesn’t seem to be all that enthusiastic by what Motorola is working on. How on earth am I supposed to get excited about it, then? I sure hope Motorola isn’t positioning a phone with “mediocre” specifications as their flagship device for 2013, because I don’t see it even picking a fight with HTC’s One, and especially not Samsung’s Galaxy S 4.

But in any event, what do you think of the rumored X Phone? Has it piqued your interest at all? If so, has it managed to keep it, and are you still looking forward to the rumored phone’s announcement? Or have you begun to lose interest in the mythical device? Let me know where you stand.

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