Following close behind the arrival of KitKat for the Moto X on both Verizon and T-Mobile, AT&T has now announced that it, too, is pushing out an OTA. Between Verizon's version of the handset getting the update before anyone else and the Moto X getting Android 4.4 pushed out before the Nexus 4 and both Google Play Edition devices, there is a lot to be surprised about here. Surprised, and impressed.
Quick reminder: the modular smartphone is a real thing that's really happening. Motorola blew our minds with the announcement of a plan to create modular phones not totally unlike the Phonebloks concept, and now the manufacturer is one step closer to making some real hardware. 3D Systems, makers of the Cube 3D printer and similar equipment, is Motorola's first partner on the Project Ara.
So what does that mean? Motorola needs some way of adding flexibility to a traditionally rigid manufacturing process, and 3D printing would seem to be a natural solution.
They've done it with the camera. They've done it with Touchless Control and Migrate. They've even done it with the FM Radio from the brand new Moto G. Now Motorola is moving even more of its proprietary phone apps into Google Play Land, presumably to allow for more frequent and reliable updates. Today Motorola Assist and Motorola Connect, both exclusive to the Moto X and Verizon's new Motorola DROID phones, are available on the Play Store.
It's a good time to own a Moto X. Hell already froze over earlier this week when the Verizon version of the handset was the first to receive an OTA to Android 4.4, beating the Nexus 4 and both Google Play Edition devices. Now the update is rolling out to phones running on T-Mobile.
As you're probably well-aware, the only way you're going to get your hands on an easily-unlockable Motorola phone is going the Developer Edition route, as Moto has locked down the bootloaders of all its other handsets. And until now, even if you purchased a developer edition phone that Motorola explicitly advertises as having the benefit of an unlockable bootloader, Motorola would still void your warranty if you requested an unlock code.
Hey! Remember they Droid Xyboards? No? Well, surprisingly, Verizon does. In fact, both the 8.2- and 10.1-inch versions are getting an OTA update that brings Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.2) right now. Fantastic.
So what does this mean for Xyboard owners? Some new stuff, pretty much. Like Google Now! And Chrome. And Movie Studio, according to Verizon's changelog.
See? Look at all that new stuff. Really, there aren't a lot of tangible differences between 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 aside from just knowing that you're a few versions behind.
Got your eye on a Moto X or Moto G, but just don't have the scratch right this minute? Motorola still wants your business, so it's offering to finance phone purchases interest-free for up to 18 months, provided you're credit-worthy. Sorry, we cannot vouch for you.
If you're willing to spend $549 or more, you can get no interest for 18 months with nothing down. That's more than the full cost of the regular Moto X, so you'd have to buy the Developer Edition (or the Droid Maxx) to take advantage of this with a single device.
Motorola is having a 30% off sale on many smartphone accessories, and if you want in on this action, you might want to move quickly. Many of the options are already out of stock, but some of what remains is available for less than you would have to pay for the same product elsewhere (but double-check beforehand, because not all of it is). What doesn't sell will remain discounted until November 27th.
There are a number of themes in Android news so common that we can almost pre-write the posts. One of the near certainties has always been that Verizon is going to take forever to update its phones. Well, that's why this news is so surprising. KitKat is coming to the Moto X on Verizon first, and it's happening today.