The next Moto X needs to up the specs, drop the price

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| April 25, 2014


It’s nearing the end of April, and we already have an impressive line-up of phones on shelves: the HTC One (M8), the Samsung Galaxy S5, the LG G Flex, and even the new OnePlus One handset on the market. Still, it’s considerably early on in the year, so we still have much more to look forward to as the year progresses. I’m always interested in seeing what new phones hit the market, but there’s on in particular right now that I’m particularly interested in: the Moto X+1.


I’m happy to say that I’m actually excited for the Moto X+1, because when it came to the Moto X last year I was pretty much all but thrilled to hear about the device in the first place. Not only was it being overhyped (it was previously being called simply the “X Phone”, and was rumored to be crazy cheap but crazy good - and it was neither) but it was also one of the first phones to really press on “touchless controls”, which scared the butter right off my biscuit. Touchless controls, at the time, sounded like something I didn’t want in my life. Something was always listening to what you were saying, always knowing what you’re doing? If I wanted to purchase somebody to spy on my life I would have already done so.


And, well, I kind of did. But it’s worked out a lot better than I initially expected it to, which just goes to show that yes, assuming really does make an... well, you know the rest of the saying. The point is, the Moto X’s touchless controls actually do work rather well for a lot of things. It is pretty nice to just be able to ask your phone questions about the weather or the score to the game last night without having to actually touch your phone. It’s the perfect lazy person’s phone, which I just so happen to be.


Aside from that, another nice thing about Moto X is that the skin is pretty close to stock Android, which tickles a lot of people’s fancy. I’ve also found that the Moto X’s bloatware is actually useful, which apparently can’t be said for Samsung. I use both Motorola Assist and Moto Connect on a regular basis. It’s nice to be able to text from my computer when my phone charges in another room, or even if my son wants to play games on my phone and I’m still carrying on a conversation with somebody. I’m typically not a big fan of bloatware, but I have to give a hand to Motorola for actually making theirs useful.


Of course, we can’t forget about the fact that Moto Maker lets you design your phone more than any other phone on the market currently does. That’s pretty cool.


But the Moto X is aged a bit at this point, and it’s time for its yearly refresh. Things are a little different this year; last year, Motorola was a Google-owned company. Just recently, however, Google handed Motorola off to Lenovo. This has been cause for some concern regarding just what changes the Moto X+1 will bring. Will it have more bloatware? Will Lenovo want the skin to be more unique than just “nearly stock”? And what about Moto Maker, and everything that made Motorola finally get back on track?


For the most part, it seems that Lenovo has no intention on changing the best aspects of the Moto X+1. Moto Maker will still be kicking, and it has been said that the “nearly stock” aspect of the device will still be around. However, a couple of things that have yet to be talked about are still a very important part (in my opinion) of how Moto X+1’s success will play out: the price and the specs.


The Moto X honestly didn’t sell that well at first. Remember when I said the device was overhyped? It really was, and when the $579, dual-core processor phone was released on the market in the midst of a sea of quad-core phones with similar pricing, things turned ugly. The mythic “X Phone” that was supposed to be the phone to end all phones was nothing but a huge disappointment. Did we bring it upon ourselves? For the most part, yes. But the price of the phone was still way over what anybody probably should have been paying for it, which was why the price was knocked down not too long after its initial release.


The problem with the Moto X is easy to see: the specs were too low, the price was too high. At this point, another release like that probably shouldn’t be happening, especially when you have phones like the Nexus 5 and the OnePlus One on the market, both of which have pretty nice specs at a surprisingly low price point. This means that the Moto X+1 could, and probably needs to, pull off something similar.


It would seem like Motola (and Google) learned from their mistake eventually. The price of the Moto X was changed after hearing that customers are now looking for premium smartphones are more modest pricing (who isn’t?) and at the point where it was being sold anywhere from $300-$400 really helped boost the device into people’s good graces, it seems. Heck, even I bought one. I still think it’s a nice little phone.


I don’t, however, think it could pull off using last year’s specs again. I really do think that the OnePlus One and the Nexus, not to mention Motorola’s own Moto G, has people starting to think about phone prices with a different mindset. Good smartphones can be purchased without breaking the bank. Especially with the Moto G’s success, I think that the Moto X+1 needs to bring a little more of that same affordable oomph that the Moto G received in order to make it successful. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway.


What are your thoughts so far on the Moto X+1? Are you hoping to see something more affordable from the Moto X line this year? Let us know your thoughts!