Keep the Moto X's price down, Motorola

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: December 3, 2013

Throughout the year, Motorola's executives weren't shy about teasing their "big" device for 2013. It was a smart move, obviously, considering there were big devices from other companies that had already launched, or were right around the corner. Trying to get some attention on their company, on the device that they'd be releasing sometime in the future, was a very important step. After all, this type of device, well after the purchase by Google, was a long time coming and a lot of people had demanding expectations.

Motorola's hero device didn't necessarily turn out the way a lot of people thought it would, simply because the company obviously wasn't aiming for the high-end market with their hero device. The Moto X was, and still is, firmly planted in the mid-range market. I'd imagine they made this move because the high-end race was already filled to the brim with some heavy hitters, like the HTC One and Samsung's Galaxy S 4 -- not to mention LG's G2, and Apple's iPhone 5s or Samsung's Galaxy Note 3.

Trying to take all those devices on, for the first device "on their own" and without the marketing brand from the Droid lineup or Verizon's Big Red network probably seemed daunting. So, instead of trying to fight that battle they went for the oft-ignored mid-range sector, and they did so with a great device.

The Moto X is a great phone. Not everything's perfect, but it's still a great device.

The one thing that held me back, personally, from picking up a Moto X was the price. And I know quite a few people who felt the same way. When it launched on AT&T's network earlier this year, that $199 price tag with a new, two-year contract was pretty ridiculous. Why? Because it put it at odds with those high-end devices Motorola was supposedly not trying to go up against. For a mid-range device, that just doesn't make any sense.

When rumors started swirling that Motorola was planning to drop the price of their hero device, I immediately got excited. The on-contract price was ridiculous, but so was the off-contract price tag. It would be good to see the device drop in price, hopefully rightfully where it needed to be, and then hopefully it would see more adoption across the board.

But that didn't happen, at least not in any kind of meaningful way. If you were to go to AT&T's website right now and pick up a Moto X, you'd either spend $49.99 for a new, two-year agreement, or drop $529.99 to get it without a monthly shackle. The on-contract price is right where it needs to be (finally), but that off-contract price is ridiculous. For $70 more you can pick up an HTC One.

In any event, that's why I could never pick up a Moto X for myself, and why I had trouble recommending it to anyone that was looking to get their hands on a new device. And then, over the holiday shopping period, Motorola announced that they'd be dropping the price of their Moto X by $150, but only for a certain period of time. That brought the total down to $350 for the 16GB version of the device, and $399 for the 32GB version. Both of those price tags just make so much more sense.

Indeed, a friend of mine tried desperately to pick up a Moto X yesterday after they announced that they'd offer up the deal for Cyber Monday, but was unable to get one. They are all excited to try again on Wednesday, and maybe even next Monday if they have to. They want the Moto X, but they don't want a contract and they aren't willing to drop upwards of $500 for the device without one. So this is apparently the only chance they have to get it.

This is why I'm practically pleading with Motorola in my head (and by extension, here) to not change the price after next week. There's a glaring sign that they will, though: the fact that if you go to buy a customized Moto X right now, you'll have to pay either $499 or $549. This could be just to make people wait for the sale that happens tomorrow and next Monday, or it could be an indicator that Motorola plans to go back to the way things were as soon as their sales end.

I honestly don't want that to happen. I think if Motorola keeps the price where it is during this sale, it will better serve those who want to buy the device. Especially through Motorola's own website. But if they do hike up the price again, I just imagine things will go back to the way they were for the Moto X and Motorola's hero device: tepid.

I guess we'll have to wait and see. I at least hope Motorola is considering keeping the price down, so that they can keep attention on their admittedly fantastic phone. But, who knows. What do you think Motorola should do? Do you believe they should keep the price low, or do you think the Moto X deserves its high price tag? Let me know!

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