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Hey, so, this is crazy, but Google bought a smartphone company (Motorola), and now they're working on a smartphone together. Shocker. Snarkiness aside, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to its sources, Motorola and Google are working on making a flagship phone specifically to compete with the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line. It is internally known as the 'X Phone,' and will allegedly be released in 2013.

At this point, if Motorola and Google weren't working on a high-end phone for 2013, I'd be worried. I'd be surprised, actually. And that makes this rumor sort of the opposite of surprising, even if it does get my nerdy-parts excited.

The premise of the 'X Phone,' according to WSJ's source, is to stand apart from existing smartphones on the market. Motorola will continue working on its DROID lineup of devices - its more reliable moneymakers - but will pursue more experimental and radical designs as part of the X project. This includes making an X tablet at some point, as well.


The X phone project is being led by former Google product manager Lior Ron. Ron publicly announced on Google+ back in May - literally a week after the finalization of the Google-Moto merger - that he was joining the Motorola team in order to "reinvent the smart phone." Which sort of implies that the whole 'X phone' project has probably been going since at least that point in time. Ron previously worked with the Google Maps team.

The WSJ rumor also discusses some of the issues Motorola's run into while designing the phone, such as attempting to use exotic construction materials like ceramics and flexible displays. One of the team's goals is to implement 'top-notch features for the... camera and photo software,' allowing panoramic shots (uh, Photo Sphere anyone?) and improving saturation. Because saturation is definitely a 'top-notch feature' (to be fair, Moto camera saturation has always sucked). Then the source says they were having difficulties with these things because they drained the battery too quickly. What? I don't even know how to respond to that, because it doesn't make any sense.

Motorola's acquisition of gesture and facial recognition firm Viewdle will apparently play a role in the new phone's software as well. So, you can already guess this probably won't be a strictly stock Android endeavor. Which actually makes sense, because the Android team probably doesn't have time to spend developing yet more software features that may or may not end up panning out - they're plenty busy as is. Giving Moto the reins on some of the particularly weird and experimental ideas is a way to still do the kind of crazy cool things we expect from Google, without turning Android into a half-assed TouchWizzy mess.

Interestingly enough, a similar device (with the same name) was described on the Android Central forums just yesterday.

So, short version? You can expect a pretty different sort of Motorola phone (and maybe tablet) to be released some time next year. One with a lot more Google influence baked in. It could be weird. It could be great. It could be awful. But based on all the information above, it'll definitely be interesting.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Justin Bowers

    Awh sick, can't wait! Hopefully it will have tegra 4 inside

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Tegra X running at X.XX petagigs with X geebs of RAM and internal storage full of XXX-rated movies.

      • yarrellray

        Motorola needs to stop the madness. Samsung rules this space totally. Samsung is android plain and simple. Motorola needs to stick to something more practical like a Motorola Nexus for 2013. Don't get to complicated in trying to reinvent something that won't compare to the upcoming Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. Give it up Moto.

        • squiddy20

          "Samsung is android plain and simple." Possibly THE most wrong statement you've ever made, and that's saying something considering you told me rooting was for "2plus year old devices" but then a few months later were "looking into" rooting your Galaxy Nexus for a whole 2 months.

          • cwilson617

            They're gonna mess it up. Someone commented that Nexus is bleeding edge? No expandable memory? No LTE? That glass exercise on the front and back of the Nexus 4 isn't cutting edge.(It is if you drop it) And then the launch was a disaster. These guys do software really good. But Samsung is leading the pack for a reason. A simultaneous launch across the big 4 here in USA with the same great phone (S3). Motorola couldn't pull that off before Google took over. Do I need to point to the Nexus 4 launch again? I vote no confidence in Google leadership. At the end of the day Google gives us what they think we should have, not what we want to buy. Google doesn't know how to play well with the carriers. I don't want a concept phone with a little battery, 1080p, a blazing CPU, with no LTE, and no expandable memory. That's going backwards, and I don't care if they put a Nexus logo on it. Samsung gets my $.

          • yarrellray

            Same old same old with you. Your like broken record that's stuck on the same side. People grow and make changes in life . When will squiddy20 do some changing and growing. Your so far behind in the tech game they shouldn't even allow you to post here. Guess they let anybody in the door. How's Sprint and it's lousy 3g service doing?? Actually it's 2g.

          • Robert White

            You could be the biggest nut hugger in the history of Android. Everything is always about 'pimp slapping this' or 'whatever carrier/phone combo you say is the boss' of Android. You have jumped from the Evo 3D/Sprint (whoops couldn't afford em) to the Galaxy Nexus/Verizon (whoops couldn't afford em) & now your on 'CheapMo/Samsung' & still screaming from the street corner.

            Why don't you pay your rent with all this money you claim to have so you don't get kicked into the street again.

          • yarrellray

            You make me laugh here BALDIE. Seems like you have a pretty pathetic life since you claim to know so much of me. You sound like that other BOZO Squiddy20 standing on the sidelines as each device launches and your not purchasing. Don't worry about me tubby I am doing perfectly fine. At least I get what I want when I want it. I control the flow what are you doing or what do you have beside 4 chins and one big ass bald spot and elephant belly.

          • Robert White

            Oh the irony of a pathetic, homeless, loser who is also a chrome dome with a pot belly calling someone else out hahahahahahaha. You're nothing more than a worthless troll who probably uses an obamaphone (intentional lowercase of the name, because you both are small simpletons). I could carry on a back & forth with you but what's the point. It would be a waste of my time. In real life you are a coward hiding on internet message boards & 'pimp slapping' with a smartphone you don't even have.

            The article Squiddy20 posted about you was dead on accurate as we all can see for sure now. Enjoy your homeless shelter & Merry Christmas junior. And I'll keep laughing at the occasion to see your rants & troll posts here & elsewhere.

          • squiddy20

            "Seems like you have a pretty pathetic life since you claim to know so much of me." That's what happens when you piss off a boatload of people, say some pretty ignorant and retarded crap, and use your real name as your screen name. Idiot. Who'da thunk?

            "what do you have beside 4 chins and one big ass bald spot and elephant belly" Says the idiot who has exactly those same features... https://plus.google.com/105044072747555715339/posts What a childish f*cking hypocrite.

            "Squiddy20 standing on the sidelines as each device launches and your not purchasing." Yep. Because unlike your moronic ass, I have priorities, and a smartphone isn't even close to the top. Things like food, water, shelter, clothing, car, gas, insurance, and other items that make my life more enjoyable/comfortable are at the top. How sad and pitiful that you value your smartphone above all else. No wonder you were broke and living on the streets 5 years ago.

          • squiddy20

            "How's Sprint and it's lousy 3g service doing?? Actually it's 2g" Actually, you wouldn't know since you ditched Sprint over a year ago. Additionally, as I've pointed out many times to your ignorant ass, you have no clue where I live and therefore don't know if I have "2G", 3G, or LTE. And it's hilarious that you think you do. You talk of broken records, and yet you've been saying the exact same thing for the past 2 years. Hypocrite.

            "People grow and make changes in life" And yet here you are singing the same song to a different tune. A year ago you were "pushing up on" your "legendary" Evo 3D. Then the "boss" Galaxy Nexus. Then the "pimp slapping" SGSIII. Now the "bitch slapping" Note 2. Again I say, hypocrite much?

            "Your so far behind in the tech game they shouldn't even allow you to post here." Says the idiot who thought *low* frequencies don't penetrate buildings well and who thought the processor in the Evo 3D was better than the processor in the Sensation, despite them being the same chip with the exception of wireless connectivity (CDMA vs GSM). Yeah, like you know soooo much.

        • Stylus_XL

          So your advice to Motorola is that they should severely lower their ambitions to solely focus on pushing a low selling niche product? Nice. How are you not the CEO of a multi-national consumer electronics company with such fascinating insight?

          • yarrellray

            They do the same crap anyway. How many CEO'S have they been through?? Google is using all they can get from moto. Motorola has been useless for years they will always be useless

          • squiddy20

            In the past 3 years? 2. Sanjay Jha (pre-Google acquisition) and Dennis Woodside (post Google acquisition). How stupid are you?

            "Motorola has been useless for years they will always be useless" Says the moron who was saying the same thing of "Samsuck" a little over a year ago with their "cheap, crappy, plastic phones".

        • alexxx

          Wthell, don't tell me you buy into the Samsung cheese marketing. Samsung is shit

          • yarrellray

            Bought into it with the Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, and now Galaxy Note 2. So yes proudly i have brought into the best. And guess what I will have the Galaxy Note 3 in November 2013 you can mark that on your calender. Samsung owns android Google is just the fiqure head.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joe.saxon.376 Joe Saxon

            Google is still head of the Android Army. Samsung is just a General. Samsung can't really do anything too tricky without Google's permission. Plus Android is what Samsung is riding off, so if Google said Samsung couldn't use it anymore, there would be a massive problem. Samsung just knows how to use Android and implement it correctly.

          • alexxx

            Well you do got a point about Sammy. They do tend to leave some of the sweetest features then add some more sugar, I'm talkin bout micro sd, removable battery, as well as popup video and multi window, andiI love the stylus. But, the only really sexy device was the GS2 white, then they deluged the Galaxy brand by shitting on it with a billion cheap iterations of it, it seems like they're ripping themselves off in oppose to sticking to familiar design. Design design design. That's why I cannot unstick from HTC. Its just mature and sexy look for them, software wise too, vs cartoony Samsung. They are not pure bred smartphone dudes like HTC. Sam seems to just slap plastic together just to sell sell sell as fast as possible. But, check out the software support, hands down only second to Nexus and iKrap. Above all, sadly, all amoled screens from Samsung are absolute shit. Nothing whatsoever to do with realism. One X makes it look awful. Its just not there yet, color representation is atrocious, I cannot get used to it. That's the one thing you loose on with them, and design. Those are two #1s for me, its a deal breaker.

          • squiddy20

            You idiot. Samsung uses the FREE OS Google GIVES them. Samsung owns nothing of "Android" except their proprietary crap (Touchwiz). Without Android, there never would have been the Galaxy S, SII, SIII, Note, Note 2, and the myriad of other phones. Good god you are delusional.

  • fixxmyhead

    its motorola so its a pass for me. no good phones come out of garbagerola

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      I suspect you're being at bit hasty there.

    • Mo Yang

      Disagree. They are just like any product manufacturer. They have their flops and their golden eggs. (i.e. Original Moto Razr was a tank of a phone! I can't even count how many times I had dropped it or ran over it with my car. Lol.)

    • ddpacino

      Lmao...people said that about an LG Nexus. Now, how did that turn out?!

      • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

        Awesome device.

    • jamaall

      my "mid-range" razr m is working out very well for me. bought it for only $50 and dropped it a few times, but not a scratch or dent. opposite of garbage if you ask me.

  • ddpacino

    Wasn't the consensus was that they only bought Motorola for patents, though? And Larry said not too long ago that they just haven't owned the company long enough. Also, wouldn't their Nexus line be a phone that competes against the Galaxy Ses and the iPhone??

    Anyways, they're probably the next Nexus devices, all in-house. I hope they continue to make yearly releases of the 7 and 10in tablet form factors as well. Just PLEASE don't use pentile screens!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It seems pretty unlikely these will be Nexus devices.

    • iboalali

      I would love to see a 7 or 8 inch NEXUS tablet with Full HD displays

    • Asphyx

      But remember there is more to the patent purchase than just the existing patents. If you are going to stay relevant and keep apple from getting a patent jump on you, then you have to continue to innovate and creat NEW patents that Apple can't duplicate or violate.

      This is kind of what I expected from the Google purchase and lets hope the same OUT OF BOX thinking that got us google glass is incorporated. Now that they have the hardware design resources of Moto they can start moving the hardware instead of waiting on Samsung and others to put it into a unit. Now they have a manufacturer they can build experimental units they can play thier new ideas on.

  • http://twitter.com/wwjoshdew Josh McAllister

    2.0ghz quad core, 3GB ram, 1080p screen, and usb 3.0... DONE!

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      That's just iteration, not 'reinventing the smartphone'. This needs to be something completely new and different.

    • alexxx

      And bring back the Mass Storage ability for Gods sake!

  • Richtech

    Moto had the Droid X and X2, this can be called the Droid X cubed (X3).

  • nukeblitz

    So, google's using motorola as a field test for radical features. Makes sense - turn moto into a guinea pig, throw things at the wall, see if they stick, and in the process make moto profits.

    Personally, I'd just like AOSP devices which fill all the nexus holes, without confusing the nexus brands.

    Also, there was a post on android central forums about this yesterday with a few more details.

    Also, we now proof that WSJ has good sources (they've been right plenty before) but have absolutely no clue what they're doing when it comes to tech reporting...

  • TechGuy21

    nexus 5 from MOTO. im so down. i'd sell my S3 in a hard heart beat, i know it wont be on VZ :D

  • Mike Loomis

    There is a very fine line between "experimental" and "gimmicky" and I have a feeling this phone is going to leap across it.

  • tomcat84

    remembers me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0RqPhr-hdA

    I hope the real x phone will be even better :D

  • nukeblitz


    here we go, someone got this info before WSJ, and there are differences in the story...

    PS - this isn't against the rules, is it?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Totally fine.

    • John O’Connor

      all redacted now

  • Derik Taylor

    I like this approach. Let Motorola be the arm of experimentation while the reliable and semi-profitable Nexus devices run the reliable stock Android experience. I would say that is an effective approach, if you ask me.

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      Huh. That actually makes absolutely no sense. Motorola is the name for reliable phones -- but they are boring. The RAZR line is, sorry to say, boring, but tough, and last longer than almost everyone else in terms of battery life (which is never the most sexy feature to talk about.) The Nexus, everybody knows, is the bleeding edge, but often comes with rough edges (Google is well-known for its beta everything mindset.) Why would Google/Moto reverse their roles? Or, put it this way. I don't think Google can reverse its image of being a bleeding edge pusher, and now they want to make Motorola an experiment taker also? If so, I don't think Motorola is needed. Google should just absorb Motorola and call it the day.

      • alexxx

        Nonono, you are not making any sense. You just flipped everything on its back and fooked it up.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Just being reasonable about it, you've both got parts of what could be a bigger and more likely vision. The presumed point of the Nexus program was to release a canonical Android phone for development. It's really not about being bleeding edge so much as it's about being a reliable stream of Android releases. The Nexus phones have never been, and likely won't be, big profit makers. The current Nexus line-up is making just barely better than razor-thin margins.

          Motorola is a subsidiary of Google, and as such, it's expected to make money. If they are going to build smartphones with Motorola, they are going to need to make them profitable. Motorola can't be just about building experimental loss-leaders. Besides destroying a valuable brand and customer trust, it could be very damaging to Android if it appears that even Google doesn't follow their own lead.

          I would envision Google remaining exclusively about Nexus devices while Motorola produces the Droid line and also builds a couple of special experiments that will eventually make their way back to the Nexus devices. I would expect to see a lot of first-time technology making it's way onto Motorola devices first, then to Nexus devices shortly.

  • http://twitter.com/RicoWorldPeace Rico World Peace

    Droid Nexus. After the mess LG has caused by not making enough LG Nexus's and the popularity of the Galaxy line, this is a no brainier for Google.

    If done right, this can be a game changer.

    • Bojan Gutic

      Droid is a line of VERIZON phones. Droid =/= Android

  • benegessrit

    I thought they were already competing with their Nexus line (if they can make enough of it). The only was to re-invent the phone at this time is to integrate it into the brain, the hardest part would be the neural interface.

  • chris125

    Let's hope it comes to all carriers otherwise it has no chance competing with Samsung and apple


    Hi it seems that somehow the original Android Central Article and the posts made by the Original Poster Giving the leaks, has been and I quote:

    "Redacted for privacy concerns."

    Can someone please show me the original posts, pretty please???

  • Julio M

    Please no chin, please!

  • Sam Lee

    I wish it comes with a huge battery. At least 3000mAh.

  • JG

    Could this be the infamous Occam Nexus Razr Maxx HD??? Especially considering the Nexus logo is an X type shape... hmmm....

    To get into the wish list game.... Awhile back on Gizmodo I read some articles about a group in Menlo Park working on a new camera sensor design that would allow cell phones to snap professional wedding pic quality pictures (for both the front & back facing cameras)... And there was a new battery design (at the time still 5+ years out in R&D land) that could power a smartphone for a week on a single charge... And a GPS replacing gyroscope the size of a grain of rice; accurate to like 2 feet & worked everywhere even where traditional GPS won't (indoors, underground, etc). And Popular Science had a little blurb about a couple new companies water proofing electronics by spraying a nano-coating on either the finished product, or all of its components.

    Plus, let's say.... A T4 processor with 2GB of RAM. 16, 32, AND 64GB internal storage, all with an SDXC microSD card (for 64+GB additional storage). 4.75" (7 and 10 for tablets) 16:9 near brazel-less 1080p screen (got to leave some to hold the phone & for the speaker/camera/LED). Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 3.0, NFC. WiFi calling for all carriers. WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct & mircast certified. Stock Android 4.2.x (or 4.3.x if it gets released before this). Blur as an optional widget package in the Play Store. Updateable via Motorola.com/phone-x to side step carrier delays (& bloat) in updates to keep it on/much closer to a Nexus update schedule.... Easily rooted, updates NEVER de-root nor block rooting abilities. And Ubuntu for Android, so when I drop it into its media dock, it'll switch to a full functioning Ubuntu desktop (while still allowing access to all the various Android apps - and if possible, access to ubuntu apps while in Android mode).

    Maybe a pico-projector on the top by the power button, and side projected LED keyboard like the Firefox phone mockup (also from Gizmodo I believe).

    All that rolled into a Razr Maxx HD shell, using the new Nexus price point (say 400-450-500 for the 3 different storage options)...

    • Markster

      Not only a "GPS replacing gyroscope", but any gyroscope would be welcome on a motorola phone!!!

    • Nicholas Polydor

      Also offer a 128GB model using the new Samsung NAND. XENON FLASH with dedicated camera shutter button, PureView v1-style pixel oversampling and rich recording (and associated Nokia sound/speaker quality) and PureView v2 Optical Image Stabilisation. Wrist strap, protective case with integrated kickstand. Wireless Qi charging with replaceable battery of at least 3500mAh, preferably 5000 mAh capacity (don't worry about the thickness), NFC chip (the forthcoming Broadcom model that integrates Wi-Fi and GPS and GLONASS) mounted on the top of the phone.

      Full world LTE support across all bands - ideally TD-LTE as well as FD-LTE.

      And a model that also offers a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

      • JG

        "(don't worry about the thickness)" YES! I HATE when OEMs sacrifice useful items just to trim the phone down so they can claim to have the thinnest phone... I'm sorry, but if I'm going to pay $600+ I want to get as much use out of it as possible, NOT paper cuts every time I get it out of my pocket....

        • Nicholas Polydor

          Yes, @JG42:disqus, the boasts of "thinnest phone" are so cringeworthy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

    So... How long until I/O?

  • alexxx

    This is IT bro, is best! Is Europe is best bro! Motorola - is best! .....HTC all the way

  • yarrellray

    All manufacturers can learn from Samsung and stop ripping off android and it's customers. Samsung is all about storage, Sdcards, and battery life they stand by that. In 2013 Samsung device will have the opportunity for 128gb of storage 64 internal and 64gb sd card. Matter of fact Samsung is working on a new sd card that will be shown at CES that has 128gb of storage alone. Plus 4100mAh batteries will be in Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as well as 3500 mAh battery in the Galaxy S4. Htc and Motorola copy eachother with LOW STORAGE OPTIONS, Batteries that are not removable and NO SDCARD OPTIONS. Motorola, Htc, Lg, and Sony have a VERY LONG WAY to go before they will ever be on the level of Samsung. Read it and weep. If you're not rolling in this manner then your device is ''SOFT'' and so is your manufacturer. Enjoy these results.

  • FreedomCostsPlenty

    I'm not so sure this is stating the obvious. This is an American company, Google. Such companies would rather play shell games for the purpose of creating revenue than actually "make things". Much less messy. And what has google made? Plane trips to India to meet with its farm team?

  • spunker88

    They could call it the Droid X, oh wait that name is already taken. How about the Droid Razr X Maxx?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tarek.elghazaly Tarek El-Ghazaly

    The only positive thing about this is the possibility of having a Nexus-esque phone with decent battery life and a more durable exterior...

  • John O’Connor

    I don't know if I should even ask where your nerdy parts are David.... but yes I can't wait until there is some more RUMINT on the horizon giving us a better idea of what's up and coming. it's like nerd viagra