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Motorola announces the 4.7-inch Nexus-like Moto X smartphone

It was beginning to feel as though there was nothing left to learn about the Moto X, but its official unveiling finally came around last night and plenty of new details were spilled.

The device is the work of the Motorola and Google partnership and is very similar to Google’s own Nexus devices. Google in fact calls it a bridge between its own Nexus devices and the branded Android phones that most other manufacturers launch. On first impressions it seems very well built, close to stock Android but yet with a flurry of very cool features.

The Specs

Compared to its rivals, the Moto X doesn’t win the race in the specification department. That said, it has everything it needs to be fast and very capable. The display is a 4.7-inch 720p OLED display, the processor is a dual-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon, the cameras are 10 megapixel and 2.1 megapixel back and front, there’s 2GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of internal storage, plus it runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean in a very stock-like form. Support for 4G LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi ac are all on board and the X is only the third phone to adopt the Nano SIM standard.

The Design

Motorola has of course continued its love of using Kevlar in phones, with the dimpled back being woven from the ultra-tough material. Gorilla Glass wraps around the front of the phone to protect the screen and give a seamless feel and the curves continue across the back. Whilst we’ve not yet gotten our hands on one, we’re told the phone is a joy to hold – very ergonomically pleasing.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Moto X is how customisable it is. Black and white are the base colours but Motorola will allow you to change the colour of the back plate and the accent (camera surround, volume keys etc), have your name inscribed on it, choose the wallpaper and welcome message when you turn it on and even pick a case. All of this is done online with the Motomaker website and then Moto sends you your customised phone. We’re told there are over 2,000 different combinations and there’s even wood versions coming which look awesome.

The Software

Android 4.2.2 in almost its purest form is the OS here – there’s no sign of MotoBlur, which is excellent. Moto has come up with a number of interesting software functions, with the main theme being hands-free. For example, the phone will always be listening, allowing you to search the web, make a call or find out the weather for tomorrow without actually touching the phone. This technology uses Google Now with commands like “OK, Google, what’s the weather like today?” and, like Siri, will require a data connection to work.

In addition to the whole touch-less theme, users will be able to view the time and notifications by simply turning the phone to be face up on a surface. This triggers the phone to enter something Moto calls “breathing mode” whereby only a small portion of the OLED display is illuminated, showing you the important info without draining the phone’s battery.

Availability

Unfortunately the Moto X won’t be launching anywhere outside the US. The phone is the first in a new family of devices from Motorola and the company says there will be other cool phones coming to Europe and other regions. For now, the Moto X will be available on all four major US networks for $199 on a two year contract.

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