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Moto X Demo Video Reveals Google's Android Superphone

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the when-leaked-means-broadcast dept.

Google 151

MojoKid writes with word that "A tech demo posted to YouTube shows off Motorola's upcoming Moto X smartphone, a seemingly high-end device that is sure to win over a few fans with its wealth of new tricks and features. The Moto X handset, which is launching exclusive to Rogers in Canada (no mention of U.S. market carriers) this August, will be available in black and white, but a key selling point of the device comes from its voice activated features. The tech demo heavily emphasizes Google Now, which Moto X users can engage without touching the device. In the demo, a woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer, never having to reach down to tap the handset. It was also previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean." With a marketing budget said to include up to half a billion (!) dollars from Google, it's hard to imagine that any leaks are actually unintentional.

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151 comments

So it listens all the time... (5, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#44278419)

I can't see anything bad coming of this...

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#44278437)

In all seriousness, the level of trust people have for phone companies is at an all time low, and now you have this "handy assistant" with you all the time. While it sounds like cool technology, I don't trust ANY of the players involved, and I doubt I am the only one.

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278535)

Nobody cares. Microsoft is pulling this same record-everything crap with the Xbox One, it'll sell like hotcakes anyway.

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278777)

I'm getting a GSM jammer. I don't care if it's illegal.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 months ago | (#44280935)

Or just maybe this "Google Now" might be an app you can run when you want to be able to interact with your phone hands-free, and leave off when you don't?

Ok, I get the outrage now that we all know just how pervasive the TLA spying really is, but the ability to listen in using cell phone microphones is nothing new. It's been part of the surveillance landscape for decades, well before smartphones were common.

Schneier on Security, 2006:

The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone.
Kaplan's opinion said that the eavesdropping technique "functioned whether the phone was powered on or off." Some handsets can't be fully powered down without removing the battery; for instance, some Nokia models will wake up when turned off if an alarm is set.

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/12/remotely_eavesd_1.html [schneier.com]

So fine, your phone can listen to you, just like it always could. If you don't want that, then you don't want a mobile phone, but that's nothing to do with a (possibly) handy voice activation app.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#44278881)

My point is that with the new admission that all cell phone carriers are plugged directly into the NSA, a hell of a lot of people suddenly do care!

Wishful thinking :-( (1)

q.kontinuum (676242) | about 9 months ago | (#44279813)

To be honest, as much as I wish you were right, I doubt it. There are still plenty of people out there who didn't even hear the name "Snowden", much less understand what it means to them. Even those few who read the news and understand it, many still think they are not really affected since they don't do anything illegal, and Government says this data is only used to capture terrorists, right?

Re:So it listens all the time... (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 9 months ago | (#44278565)

Not just your person but do you want to be around someone who's permanently recording everything in their area?

Re:So it listens all the time... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278817)

Permanently recording everything in their area? With 16 GB of storage (about 12 GB which is usable)? Right. And no, it isn't sending it to Google or anyone else - can you imagine the bandwidth charges for that? This works pretty simply - when the phone hears the keyword it wakes up and starts listening for a query. It works just like the earlier implementation of Google Now on Nexus phones except that on those phones you have to turn on the screen and open Google Now first. Then, you can say "Google" and it will start listening for a query. Not saving and permanently recording. It is all fine to be paranoid - but let's think about it a bit first.

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278917)

Maybe it'll wake up and take notice with other words too.. (you know the list of them).
Outside of /. however the Facebook generation are posting their dick sizes and pictures of their breakfast online, they are not privacy conscientious and wont give a shit about any of this.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#44279205)

This works pretty simply - when the phone hears the keyword it wakes up and starts listening for a query.

What if anybody says "NSA" or "Taliban" near it?

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280685)

of cause it will also wake up the phone and starting to send the query to Google/NSA.
So it doesn't need to record everything. It only wakes up to a certain set of keywords. And it also sends text or just keep the recording and wait for a wifi connection.
Perfectly doable. :)

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280243)

Permanently recording everything in their area? With 16 GB of storage (about 12 GB which is usable)? Right. And no, it isn't sending it to Google or anyone else - can you imagine the bandwidth charges for that? This works pretty simply - when the phone hears the keyword it wakes up and starts listening for a query. It works just like the earlier implementation of Google Now on Nexus phones except that on those phones you have to turn on the screen and open Google Now first. Then, you can say "Google" and it will start listening for a query. Not saving and permanently recording. It is all fine to be paranoid - but let's think about it a bit first.

Which is exactly like the XBox one, but the most vocal anti-ms slashdotters will tell you google is good and microsoft is evil therefore this product is fine but the xbox one isn't.

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278875)

.. undusted the old trusty Nokia 7110, cut a new double layer tin foil hat.

Re:So it listens all the time... (3, Insightful)

aminorex (141494) | about 9 months ago | (#44280135)

Everyone knows it's bad. But the candy is too sweet, the heroin too lush. It is certainly possible to secure a phone, and I think there is a market for it. Meanwhile it is doable, if you have time to hack. Install AOSP. Disable E911 in hardware. The layered services which create the most vulnerabilities are generally not engineered to be resistant to use by a clean phone.

Re:So it listens all the time... (3, Insightful)

phizi0n (1237812) | about 9 months ago | (#44278669)

The video only shows it doing hands free voice search when you're already in Google Now which is already possible with any Android 4.2 rom (probably anything >4.0). The voice search only activates when you say the "google" keyword which she says "okay google now..."

The specs look pretty lackluster so I'm confused why they are calling it a "superphone."

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44279049)

The specs look pretty lackluster so I'm confused why they are calling it a "superphone."

Agreed. Some Galaxy S4 models have an eight-core processor, but this phone with an 18-month-old dual-core Snapdragon and 16GB of storage is a "superphone"?

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

anethema (99553) | about 9 months ago | (#44280007)

Actually its not REALLY an 8 core, but four high speed high power cores, and four low speed low power cores. It dynamically switches between them based on your processing needs. It presents as a four core CPU to the OS.

Agreed on the specs though, very lackluster.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 9 months ago | (#44280707)

No. It presents itself as 8 cores, OS decides what to do with them. AFAIK currently Linux migrates threads using cpufreq clues.
Nothing stops you from using all 8 cores at the same time.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

anethema (99553) | about 9 months ago | (#44281659)

Really? Because the ARM white paper seems to indicate otherwise.

http://www.arm.com/files/downloads/big_LITTLE_Final_Final.pdf [arm.com]

"In the big.LITTLE task migration use model the OS and applications only ever execute on Cortex-A15 or Cortex-A7 and never both processors at the same time."

Says it takes about 20 microseconds to switch at 1GHz operating frequency.

It is invoked by setting a power state level and only 4 cores are ever presented to the OS.

There is a type called big.LITTLE MP which presents all 8, but I've found numerous sources(http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/03/samsungs-exynos-5-octa-checking-out-the-chip-inside-the-galaxy-s-4/ to start) saying the S4 does not use this at all. Maybe with a kernel recompile it could be done, but isn't currently.

Re:So it listens all the time... (0)

citizenr (871508) | about 9 months ago | (#44281889)

Yes, like I said OS sees 8 cores, but it partitions load using only 4 cores at a time.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#44279273)

The video only shows it doing hands free voice search when you're already in Google Now

I'm wondering if when you curse at it enough, it'll offer to file a bug report.

Re:So it listens all the time... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#44281257)

Yes, actually the specs look only very slightly better than the current RAZR HD... VERY slightly when you count that the screen size is only 4.4" compared to the HD's 4.7" (but same resolution).

The HD also runs Jelly Bean 4.1.2. So I don't get it either.

Speak no evil. Hear no evil. See no evil. (4, Funny)

theodp (442580) | about 9 months ago | (#44278679)

Hey, what are you worrying about? If you speak no evil, it'll hear no evil. And if a future upgrade leaves the camera on all the time, just make sure it sees no evil! :-)

In Soviet America, the phone listens to you. (1)

vinn (4370) | about 9 months ago | (#44278739)

"...it tells you what you need to know even when you're not touching the screen..." And it tells the NSA everything else?

Re:In Soviet America, the phone listens to you. (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about 9 months ago | (#44278913)

In the 1930s, a famous comedian/pundit (Will Rogers) said that one should "always speak in such a way that you would not be afraid to give your pet parrot to the town gossip." Maybe this is the parrot.

It worked out well for Microsoft and the XBox One (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44280577)

Oh wait, I didn't mean well. I meant the other thing. What was that? Oh yeah, "poorly"

Re: So it listens all the time... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44281791)

Why the hell did they choose a mongoloid looking fat chick to promote phone? The phone is utter crap.

Battery Drain (5, Interesting)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about 9 months ago | (#44278427)

"a woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer, never having to reach down to tap the handset."

That is the type of "feature" I immediately deactivate to conserve battery. Most features added by manufacturers these days seem like gimmicks where the drawbacks are greater than the benefits.

Re:Battery Drain (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 9 months ago | (#44278519)

Cue the "They're listening to everything you do in your home!" hate that enveloped the XBox One in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Battery Drain (0, Troll)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44278583)

DO you honestly think these things are coincidence? The US government is HEAVILY involved in current telecomm design. They are no longer suggesting, they are ORDERING networks to be built in specific ways to be easily tapped.

Re:Battery Drain (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#44279231)

You all really should loosen the Velcro on your shiny caps. It's cutting off circulation.

Re:Battery Drain (2)

russotto (537200) | about 9 months ago | (#44280637)

You all really should loosen the Velcro on your shiny caps. It's cutting off circulation.

Anyone still sneering at tinfoil hatters in this day and age has been living in cave.

Re:Battery Drain (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 9 months ago | (#44278657)

When I'm working on my computer, my phone is usually plugged in, so that's not an issue. My guess is you can configure it to turn on and off under certain conditions (on while charging, on and off on a schedule, always off until you turn it on, etc.) My question is this: If she's sitting at a computer, why is she asking her phone what the weather will be like? Not that it doesn't demonstrate ease of use. It does that. But how about a demo where she's putting groceries in the car or doing something else that's keeping her hands buys working something other than an information device and asks what time she needs to be at that meeting?

Overall, those features sound pretty good. I might actually put off buying a new Samsung phone until I see this one out in the States and have a chance to see how it compares.

Re:Battery Drain (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#44279381)

My question is this: If she's sitting at a computer, why is she asking her phone what the weather will be like?

This is basically the "problem" I have with Google Now - it seems like you're giving them carte blanche access to all your information basically for a gimmick. I hear tech pundits rave about it - but I don't really see an advantage to having it volunteer weather info, sports scores, and the like. When I want to know those things, it's already trivial to check them. I don't want to be interrupted with unimportant factoids most of the time. With regards to appointments, the already-existing reminder systems on my computer and phone work just fine. And I really don't care about nearby businesses or restaurants unless I'm hungry... in which case it's trivial to find out about them.

It seems like it mainly exists for people who are not very bright (which, in fairness, does include almost all tech pundits).

Re:Battery Drain (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 9 months ago | (#44279625)

I've had a few really neat moments thanks to Now. Besides the obvious birthday reminders, flight updates, etc. (which are great), it's told me a couple times about new albums releasing that day (which I didn't know about but was very interested in), and even that a new episode of Top Gear was scheduled for that night.

This is a very promising area of technology - knowing about things you want to know without you having to ask - and I'm glad to see Google pursuing it.

Re:Battery Drain (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#44279691)

It also watches traffic conditions and notifies you if you should leave early for appointments, which is a pretty useful feature as well.

Re:Battery Drain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280287)

This is a very promising area of technology - knowing about things you want to know without you having to ask - and I'm glad to see Google pursuing it.

Change 'Google' to 'Microsoft' and put that sentence in a Windows Phone thread, I would genuinely love to see the responses.

Re:Battery Drain (1)

Nukky Cisbu (1738668) | about 9 months ago | (#44278837)

So the woman in the example is paying Canada's outrageous data plan fees for the privilege of doing something she could do on, you know, that computer-thingamabob in front of her.

Advertising Budget (3, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 9 months ago | (#44278433)

With a marketing budget said to include up to half a billion (!) dollars from Google, it's hard to imagine that any leaks are actually unintentional.

Or this advertisement.

Re:Advertising Budget (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 9 months ago | (#44278567)

You'd think with all those advertising dollars, they'd hire somebody not related to Aunt Bunny (Goony Goo Hoo) to promote the product. Those arms were hairier than mine!

Also rumored to have 2x new audio DSP algorithms (0)

axonis (640949) | about 9 months ago | (#44278465)

One that detects when a Persian cat is purring, the other can distinguish a little finger picking teeth

Nice but nothing special (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about 9 months ago | (#44278469)

These all seem like minor software updates for the next version of android.

Where are the flexible screens, extended battery life and more internal storage?

Re:Nice but nothing special (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 9 months ago | (#44278581)

You're complaining about minor upgrades and then mention more internal storage (which is about as minor as they come, its just dropping in a new part and testing). Extended battery life is really a matter of people choosing to prefer thin to life- increase the thickness 50% and devote it to a battery and you'd see a much better life. People don't tend to care (unfortunately).

Re:Nice but nothing special (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about 9 months ago | (#44278715)

I specifically said minor software updates, not just minor updates. There have been advances in battery design that allow a same size battery with a much increased capacity, adopting something like that in turn with the flexible screens would be a big improvement.

Yes, increasing internal storage is minor, but it is a change people would appreciate more, especially since you can't use sd cards.

Re:Nice but nothing special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280635)

I agree this isn't anything that the little iphone can't do. Hardly worth half a billion dollars in advertising.

Another US device with an always on mike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278503)

Do Not Want.

/vertisment (2)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 9 months ago | (#44278515)

All I can see is yet another smartphone. Nothing in that video made me want to run out and buy one of these things. These smartphones are way more powerful than I need them to be which has resulted in ridiculous prices.

Re:/vertisment (2, Insightful)

isopropanol (1936936) | about 9 months ago | (#44278579)

Seems an aweful lot like the exact specs of the Nexus 4, but with a slightly higher resolution camera on both sides. But Locked to a carrier. DO NOT WANT.

Re:/vertisment (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 9 months ago | (#44280727)

All I can see is yet another smartphone. Nothing in that video made me want to run out and buy one of these things. These smartphones are way more powerful than I need them to be which has resulted in ridiculous prices.

I'll wait for the price announcement but I'll be up for a new phone soon.

I passed on the Nexus 4 because I had a Galaxy Nexus, the Moto "X" might be a decent upgrade if it:
1) is competitively priced.
2) has an unlocked bootloader.
3) free of moto-blurgh.

LTE would be nice, but not a deal breaker.

Great a new phone (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 months ago | (#44278541)

Exclusive to Roger's (and of course any spy agency that feels like listening to your calls).

Avoid google (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278559)

Avoid google, avoid android, avoid microsoft windows phones. Both of these companies (Google and Microsoft) are the worst when it comes to sharing your data with the 3 letter agencies.

Buy the Jolla phone when it becomes available or get yourself a Firefox OS phone. Yes, you may need to wait a little while, and yes, you may not get all the features you want, but it is about time we consider our rights and privacy above the next shiny thing.

Vote with your dollars or else forego your right to speak about privacy and rights.

Re:Avoid google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278929)

Jolla is a company too.

I rather run Android with open source rom like Cyanogenmod (in which, I have digged into the actual sources).

Doesn't send anything anywhere unless I ask it to.

Re:Avoid google (4, Interesting)

jkflying (2190798) | about 9 months ago | (#44279093)

Get a Nexus. Flash it with Cyanogenmod. Be free with all the features you need. Unless, you know, they decide to tap your line at the cell tower.

Re:Avoid google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280285)

Unless, you know, they decide to tap your line at the cell tower.

In that case, make sure you use a red phone [whispersystems.org] to encrypt your call, just in case.

Re:Avoid google (2)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 9 months ago | (#44281763)

What's the alternative, Apple? Unfortunately, they're probably the most monitored phone in the world when it comes to intelligence agencies given so many of iPhone are out there....

Re:Avoid google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44281907)

jolla might be alright if their hardware wasn't so bad. put it in a nokia 920 or something and i'll take one, but what they came up with looks like crap.

The response she gets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278675)

"woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer,"

The Response she gets are advertisements for condoms (Rain coats) and Tostitos.

same camera design flaw as in iPhone (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 9 months ago | (#44278705)

It's a design flaw using the touch screen as shuttle button, rather than a dedicated button on the edge of the phone. It means you can't take pictures one handed. Also, pushing the screen causes the camera to move slightly giving blurry photos.

Re:same camera design flaw as in iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44278747)

It's a design flaw using the touch screen as shuttle button, rather than a dedicated button on the edge of the phone. It means you can't take pictures one handed. Also, pushing the screen causes the camera to move slightly giving blurry photos.

Apple has listened to you and has provided this.

As of iOS 6 you can use the volume up (+) button to take a photo in the camera app.

Re:same camera design flaw as in iPhone (2)

quacking duck (607555) | about 9 months ago | (#44279335)

Funny thing, I came to the exact opposite conclusion you did... maybe it's because you're "pushing" the screen? If you're using the same amount of force on the virtual button as you do on a physical one, you're using too much (unless your phone has a poor-quality touch sensor).

On my iPhone 5 I don't need to firmly tap the virtual button, the barest touch will trigger it, meaning no additional motion gets added. Meanwhile, pressing a physical button can't help but introduce a lateral motion as it clicks, making it more likely to make photos blurry.

Anyway it's rather moot, the volume-up button on iPhones now acts as a camera trigger so you have both options. I don't remember the last time I used it, though.

It is also dead-simple to take photos one-handed on an iPhone, and that's what I do most of the time. In portrait mode it should be a no-brainer: index to pinkie fingers on one side, other side rests on palm, thumb free to move around. For landscape mode, extend fingers, then bring index and pinkie closer to you. These go on bottom side edges of the phone, and fingers 3 and 4 support the back to hold it in place, leaving the thumb free to press the virtual button.

You can also start by holding it like you would taking one-handed portrait photos, then turn it 90 degrees clockwise (counter-clockwise for lefties) and slide grip down a bit so pinkie is now on the bottom edge. The thumb then automatically hovers right above the trigger button.

Re:same camera design flaw as in iPhone (0)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#44279703)

So, you're saying he's probably holding it wrong?

Re:same camera design flaw as in iPhone (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 9 months ago | (#44280153)

More likely he's suffering from whatever illness those infomercial actors are suffering from. You know, the ones that can't seem to pour themselves a glass of water without spilling it all over their shirt.

They were never design flaws (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44280613)

It means you can't take pictures one handed

I can easily activate the lockscreen camera and take a picture one handed. I do that all the time. How does having a physical button help that in any way? That aspect is all about where controls are located.

Also, pushing the screen causes the camera to move slightly giving blurry photos.

Which is why the camera app takes a picture on release, so you can press the "shutter", wait until you are stable as required, and then takes the picture...

Or in OS7 the picture taking is so rapid you don't really jostle the screen before the picture is taken.

I'm done with smart phones (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 9 months ago | (#44278741)

No battery longevity and really for daily use wtf do I need a powerfull computer in my hand for. Yes internet seach i handy but the only other thing I need is a calculator.

The last decent cellphone made by Motorola (1)

fred911 (83970) | about 9 months ago | (#44278785)

Was a team Startac. They haven't been a player since then.

Re:The last decent cellphone made by Motorola (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 9 months ago | (#44280339)

I still have one of those but the battery doesn't work. I always got a little squee moment when I remembered it was the same model Mulder used.

Superphone? (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about 9 months ago | (#44278859)

>"Moto X Demo Video Reveals Google's Android Superphone"

Superphone? Hardly. Compare to the HTC One/OneX/EvoLTE or the Samsung Galaxy S4/S3 or several other high-end models from other companies (LG, Sony) and it loses in most categories we know about so far.

*Smaller display.
*Lower resolution
*Slower processor
*Less storage (and I am assuming no SD slot either)
*Few special features
*No front speakers

So it is a somewhat midrange phone by the already set high-end standards. And even LESS attractive if you find Google Now" creepy, and REALLY less attractive if you find a phone listening to you all the time and linked into Google, Google Now, and probably Google+ even more creepy. And what does listening all the time and using the main screen for notifications do to the battery life?

It is nice to see Motorola getting back into the game, but let's not go ga-ga over the presented leaks because so far, they just don't look all THAT impressive. I am sure there is a market for a non BEASTLY phone, but this is not the "ultimate" phone, nor the solution for everyone (of course, no one phone is).

Re:Superphone? (2)

Daetrin (576516) | about 9 months ago | (#44281627)

Please do not conflate screen size with "superphone" status.

If you want to count screen resolution, fine, though DPI would be an even better measurement. But not size.

I've tried the Galaxy S4. It's too big for my hands. It's too big for my pocket. It was too big even to fit in the cup-holder in my car where i currently put my Nexus One.

I was excited about the rumors i heard a few days ago that the Moto X was going to be a superphone in a smaller package. But now i am not only disappointed by the less powerful processor and the smaller storage space (presuming there is no microSD slot) but also by the screen size, because it's so large! 4.4" may be smaller than the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, but i was really hoping for something around 4".

For every other spec bigger is undoubtedly better, as long as you're willing to pay the price for it, both in terms of cash and (possibly, depending on the feature) battery life. However screen size, and thus the size of the entire phone, is very much a matter of preference, depending on both the size of the hands of the consumer and how they like to use it. A person with tiny hands who's okay with using their phone two handed and carrying it in a purse, bag, or holster might be fine with a 5" or larger "phablet," while an average person who wants to use their phone mostly one-handed and stick it in their pocket along with some other junk might want a much smaller phone.

If there was a Galaxy S4 Mini or an HTC One Mini that reduced the display size (and possibly the resolution, as long as they kept the DPI) but kept all the other specs the same (same battery life, not necessarily the same mAh) then i would be all over that. But since there's not i was hoping the Moto X would demonstrate that a superphone in a small package could sell well. But instead it's (what has become) a mid-size phone with good but not outstanding specs.

Battery. Feature market division. (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about 9 months ago | (#44278949)

I really don't like the tying of software features to specific phones. Phone manufacturers really try to push it as they know it stratified the market whereas if all the software is the same standard Android platform you can compare phones easily. This is why Android is better value than iphone - it puts phone makers into competition and they don't like it.
I take this even further by wanting Cyanogenmod on every phone I buy so it's familiar.

As great as this software is I'm not going to buy into something that makes phones massively more expensive by dividing the market and also giving me less choice.

It's also probably a battery drain so I think have to anticipate automating turning it off when bluetooth pairs with a vehicle handsfree kit.

Re:Battery. Feature market division. (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 9 months ago | (#44280495)

I really don't like the tying of software features to specific phones. Phone manufacturers really try to push it as they know it stratified the market whereas if all the software is the same standard Android platform you can compare phones easily. This is why Android is better value than iphone - it puts phone makers into competition and they don't like it.

I don't understand, Android pushing phone manufacturers to compete is exactly what drives the "feature market division" you're complaining about.

As great as this software is I'm not going to buy into something that makes phones massively more expensive by dividing the market and also giving me less choice.

That's the whole point of Android, to have the OEMs differentiate by adding exclusive features, alternatively Google could just make it closed source and give it away for free.

Meh (1)

anethema (99553) | about 9 months ago | (#44278993)

"The device boasts active updates, which translates into display notifications on the screen rather than a vague flashing LED that doesn't really tell you anything."

Awesome. So instead of blinking a little LED to tell me the phone has gotten a message or something else of note, it leaves the screen lit up, wasting my VERY valuable battery life on these phones?

"Moto X owners can activate the built-in camera with two quick flicks of the wrist."

The phone getting jostled in my pocket activating the camera sounds awesome. Bye battery, hello pocket pictures!

"Once it's launched, you can snap photos by pressing anywhere on the touchscreen rather than hunting for a dedicated shutter button"

And how is focusing accomplished?

"It was previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean."

Lower res screen, slower cpu, same ram, lower MP camera, and same OS as a Galaxy S IV. Unless it is like a Maxx type with super battery life, I can't imagine it being any kind of contender for a "Superphone"

What problem does always on solve? (3, Interesting)

faffod (905810) | about 9 months ago | (#44279157)

Being able to respond to voice commands requires the CPU to always be parsing audio input. That will have a noticeable, and negative, impact on battery life. When I want to look something up I am in a context switch already, pushing a button on my phone is not an inconvenience. What problem are they trying to solve?

Re:What problem does always on solve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44279249)

Making it easier to send your audio to the NSA.

Re:What problem does always on solve? (1)

faffod (905810) | about 9 months ago | (#44279781)

This has been a recurring theme (not just with cell phones, lots of Xbox Juan comments cover this topic also). The Feds have been able to remotely turn on your cell phone mic for a long time - long before iPhones or Androids. This feature is not needed for improved government snooping.
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1029-6140191.html

Re:What problem does always on solve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44281197)

Being able to respond to voice commands requires the CPU to always be parsing audio input.

Not if you have a dedicated ultra-low-power DSP [electronicsweekly.com] on a chip which is pre-programmed to listen for specific trigger words.

What problem are they trying to solve?

  • Getting directions while driving.
  • Getting unit conversions while cooking and hands are covered in crap.
  • Getting weather forecast while dressing for work.
  • Finding your phone in the house by yelling for it.

LoL, You're missing the point ENTIRELY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44281331)

The purpose of this is certainly not to solve any problem of inconvenience, although you are forgiven for thinking this since that is the marketing angle this feature will certainly be promoted under. The purpose of always parsing audio input is to ---wait for it--- collect a sh%tload of data on it users.

Re:What problem does always on solve? (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | about 9 months ago | (#44281471)

Well, obviously the problem is that people using their smartphones are too quiet and unobtrusive. We need to fix it so that smartphone users are much more annoying and distracting for everyone around them.

Rumor has it they were originally going to make it gesture-based and instead of saying "Google" you'd jump up and do the "Macarena" for the phone's camera, but there was some kind of "Kinect"-related patent on "System and method for inducing users to make an ass of themselves in view of a camera to avoid using a keyboard or touchscreen" that was in play, so they reverted back to making the users talk incessantly to the phone instead.

Seems more like an averagephone to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44279831)

Outdated components and mostly lower or only equivalent specs compared to other phones. What makes this a superphone exactly other than the marketing claiming it is such?

About that half a billion $... (1)

Demoknight (66150) | about 9 months ago | (#44280053)

Really wish they would have upped the specs on this phone's hardware and took a hit on profit like Google does with the Nexus line. We all know (as it's well publicized) that Google makes hardly any direct profit off of the sales of any Android phones let alone Nexus phones. I can't expect a company with hardware as it's focus being able to do the same... but I really don't think that they will make as big of a splash with software alone.

I'm personally not super-obsessed with screen size on phones - I can handle 720p as long as it's high quality at that. I can deal with the shell of the phone being of mediocre materials as well - I'm gonna case it out no matter what it's made out of to protect potential resale.

    I do however believe that stereo with amplification is not too much to ask (I'm a fan of the HTC One because of this). I also think cancelling out sound while using the phone (again, referencing the HTC One here) with dual mics is a great idea and not too much to ask. Both of these features are relatively low cost and just make a whole lot of sense - so I hope this becomes standard. Sensors galore come at a price (battery) too - but I'd prefer that they all be included standard with the option to shut them off if you're going with a single unifying flagship product.

Again, small hardware improvements that I really think should just be standard by now.

The moto-x looks kinda "thick" and unless they're doing that to compensate for a freaking huge battery that will make this thing last 2-3 days I'd rather forgo the girth of the phone and have an external standby battery.

Just my 2 cents.

Re:About that half a billion $... (2)

Demoknight (66150) | about 9 months ago | (#44280069)

Sorry I really should add - I'm 99% sure I'm buying this phone on launch despite the tone of my previous post. I'm a grandfathered in Verizon customer and this will fit the bill nicely at it's rumored price.

Not a superphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44280609)

"It was also previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean."

Certainly not a superphone. More like a 2 year old phone, or next year's iPhone.

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