In September of 2012, Motorola announced the DROID RAZR MAXX HD. It was their next flagship device, with a huge focus on the battery. For all intents and purposes it was a minor, incremental update to the previously released DROID RAZR MAXX, but Motorola obviously still pushed it as their next best thing. There’s no doubt that the DROID RAZR MAXX HD definitely improved on areas that its predecessor could have seen improvements, so for anyone in the market for a new phone in November, when the phone became available, it could have been a safe bet.
The issue that Motorola ran into during the announcement of the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, was the fact that it came out too soon after the launch of the device before it. The predecessor was released into the wild in January of the same year, so for anyone who signed a new, two-year contract to get that particular handset, the updated version was just out of reach. This is one reason why carrier exclusives are a bad thing, but we’ve already covered that at length.
We’re now five months after the launch of the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, which leads me to believe that Motorola is getting closer to making an announcement for whatever it is they are working on, be it an “X Phone” or something else. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Motorola is definitely being named dropped in the news more often these days, especially by Google-related individuals.
I find it very interesting that we haven’t seen any legitimate leaks of whatever it is Motorola is working on yet. That’s really the only reason I believe we could still be months away from whatever it is Motorola wants to unveil. Either that, or both Motorola and Google have stepped up security for their new handset in big ways, hoping to keep the mystery alive for as long as possible.
That mystery, though, is starting to see some instability in its base.
The X Phone, for example. We first heard about this device at the end of December, thanks to anonymous sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Details about the device were few and far between back then, but that’s what you’d expect about an unconfirmed device, I imagine. One thing that stood out, though, was that this new device was meant to put a bigger focus on the camera, along with the camera software. It was –or is—being developed by a dedicated team of Motorola engineers, while the rest of the company kept their focus on carrier-branded devices, like the DROID lineup for Verizon.
Since that initial report, we’ve heard different rumors, different claims. We’ve heard that Google and Motorola would be selling the device online in the Google Play Store like we’ve seen the Nexus devices sold. We’ve heard it will be a stock Android experience, but not part of the Nexus lineage. We’ve heard all sorts of things, but nothing that seems all that concrete. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you have begun to lose interest in the X Phone, much like I have as of late.
It doesn’t help that in February, Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said he wasn’t all that impressed with Motorola’s upcoming lineup of devices. They “aren’t ‘wow’ by Google standards.” If that is something you heard about a product lineup, of which could conceivably include the X Phone, you wouldn’t be faulted for being wary. You’d expect that if the phone was worth your attention as a consumer, then an executive for a company tied to that particular device would be excited about it, too.
After all, if they can’t get behind it, why should you? Especially when it means you’ve got to spend your hard earned money to obtain it?
However, it’s not all bad. Earlier today, speaking to Ina Fried and Liz Gannes at D: Dive into Mobile, Google chairman Eric Schmidt had this to say about Motorola’s upcoming devices:
“They have a new set of products, which are phenomenal. Very, very impressive.”
He went on, though, in “describing” what these new things are. Schmidt said we should consider them “phones-plus.” Whatever that means. Are we looking forward to devices that somehow squash our superphones? Have we reached that point? Are we ready for that point?
In all seriousness, there’s a pretty big gap between devices that apparently “aren’t ‘wow’ by Google standards,” to “…a new set of products, which are phenomenal.” If you are someone who is looking forward to see what Motorola has coming down the pipe, I’d understand if you were a little wary. But, I can admit right now that there’s a small part of my brain that’s still curious. I may be losing interest in the X Phone, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still interested to see what Motorola is working on.
I imagine that their next phone, their next flagship, will feature a similar battery as the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, but if they managed to figure out how to do that in a phone with a quad-core processor, a true high definition display, and a thin frame, I’d be impressed. And I think it should at least come close to the build quality of HTC’s One, to really make an impact. Fingers crossed and all that.
But I’ll try to keep my expectations in check. Schmidt also said that we’d see these new devices sooner, rather than later, so let’s hope that here in the next few weeks we get a taste of what Motorola has coming. It's worth noting that Jim Wicks, Motorola design head, spoke with PCMag and confirmed that his company is indeed working with Google now, and that "better is better" is the mantra going around behind closed doors. So, Motorola looks to be making everything they can better, and hopefully that equates to something we all think is better.
Are you excited to see what Motorola has to announce this year? Do you think their next flagship device will have a focus on the battery, like we saw with the DROID RAZR MAXX? What would you need to see change from previous Motorola-branded devices to consider buying one this year? Let me know!