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back to article Motorola to kick off comeback with US-made Moto X

Motorola is planning a new American-manufactured smartphone to launch its comeback, chief exec Dennis Woodside has said. Speaking at the All Things D Digital Conference, Woodside said the company was working on a new mobe called Moto X that would have "contextually aware" power-saving features. The phone is part of a handful of …

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Anonymous Coward

"Assembled", or assembled?

Will this be "assembled" (we put the battery in, put the battery cover on, and put the made-in-China "Made in the USA" sticker on), or really assembled (components come in, go into the pick-and-place machine, board goes through the reflow oven, etc.)?

And it's a shame they didn't source the CPU from TI - then they could have had even more of the parts actually fabbed in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Assembled", or assembled?

Won't matter in the slightest, it will still be a crap phone....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crap..

You obviously speak from a position of authority on this matter, your credentials speak for themselves and the wisdom shines through in your witty but direct put down.

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Gold badge

There was a piece on this I saw somewhere else, that suggested Motorola had been talking about the margins on smartphones being too high. And that they could be cheaper, while still being premium, and accept less than 50% margins.

If true, that might well really piss off Samsung. I'm sure they're delighted with the huge margins they undoubtedly make on the S4, and would be sad to see it stop. It's a problem for Google. If they go cheap with Motorola to try and build back market share, then the other hardware players will be annoyed. If they allow them special features, then the others will cry favouritism. And yet if they continue to do nothing, then the shareholders will become increasingly grumpy about the $11bn they just spent on Motorola.

Hey Google! You did have a plan when you bought them didn't you?

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Gold badge

Replying to myself. LG just came out and said that they wouldn't be doing another Nexus phone, because there was no advantage to them doing Android without their own skin/apps/crapware. And I just read that Motorola may be killing off Motoblur and going pure 'Droid, which makes sense given who owns them.

Maybe their way to get an advantage out of Google is to write special apps that only they get, but in reality they'll be Google apps. That might give their phones an advantage. But the downside of that is Google would want all their apps to be on as many devices as possible. Especially the clever ones that supposedly predict what settings you want on the phone, depending on where you are, time of day and whether you're working or not. Lots of lovely data to mine there.

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hmm

I too was skeptical of the purchase when it was announced a few years back-- how does google make its own phones without upsetting its partners? But I think there is an opportunity now for them to get away with it. Samsung are busy making ultra-premium devices, HTC are bleeding cash, and LG seem to be mainly taken with the Korean market.

There doesn't seem to be a good option right now for people who want a phone with solid build quality, reasonable pricing, stock android, and oh, wide availability in the US. Mot have the engineering chops and the history to deliver a robust platform, so this might just work. I'd certainly consider buying something from them in the ~400 price range, particularly if it was free of crapware and wasn't made in a sweatshop. I'll be interested to see exactly what they do.

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Silver badge

no advantage

Except the people who bought one to avoid the crap. Like me.

I will not by buying an LG with crapware. If Moto do go pure droid maybe they will get me next time.

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Devil

Re: no advantage

Tom 35,

The more cynical part of me suspects that LG see people like you as the problem. With your disgusting tendency to try and delete the 'wonderful' software they've so bounteously pre-installed onto your handset, your refusal to use the app store they've given you as an alternative to Google's nasty one (which is so overcrowded with software, and not an exclusive boutique like theirs). And finally your constant whining about how they only take a few extra quarters to get your Android updates to you, and just what is the fuss about all that anyway, when they're generously willing to sell you a new handset at any time, with all the latest shinies on it...

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Silver badge

They might be annoyed, but I don't think it's a problem, certainly not something to criticise Google with - a company can't expect to have massive margins forever. True, in oligopolies companies often don't start a price war because it just ends with them all losing. But if it happens, you have to live with it. There's a difference between reducing margins, and selling at a loss.

Samsung will still make money, even if it's less than before - and they're a massive company in plenty of other markets too.

This isn't going to stop Samsung making Android phones, so Google won't lose out there. Google also gives Android away for free, so they don't have that additional cost either. The problem is that the market isn't particularly healthy when you have one company eating up all the profits. The risk of upsetting partners is more of a risk for MS, since there are plenty of PC manufacturers. But Android has ended up with Motorola going under and bought out, HTC and LG going downhill, and Samsung claiming most the market.

"Hey Google! You did have a plan when you bought them didn't you?"

If nothing else, keeping them in business is a good plan for Google. And don't forget the patents.

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Anonymous Coward

Samsung will be p*ssed - wondered how long it would be before Google wanted to make a return on their investment?

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Anonymous Coward

Why should samsung be pissed? they have a massive cut of the market already, and just need to lower their profit margins to shift devices..

The one thing samsung needs to do is STOP trying to do things better than google.. such as promoting their S Translate, where google translate actually does what S Translate should but doesn't, i.e. saying it works offline was rubbish, you need to be online for s-translate to work! especially with chinese!

But other than the crapware samsung devices are pretty good

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Gold badge

In the same sentence you ask why should Samsung be pissed-off and that they just need to lower their profit margins. I think you'll find those two statements are in conflict.

Google are walking a tightrope. No one knows why they bought Motorola. If it was just for the patents, to help defend Android, then the OEMs will be very pleased that they 'took one for the team'. An $11 billion one at that! However that gratitude doesn't extend to wanting to lose any of their profits, so Google can make that cash back. So as soon as Google look to try and turn a profit from Motorola, and make it more competitive, the other Android OEMs are going to get grumpy. But if Google don't, their own shareholders will also get grumpy. Moto lose about $1bn a year, so this is quite an annoying problem.

Samsung are in a position to fork Android, they've certainly got the cash to do it. It would be a hassle, and surely part of the Android appeal is the integration with Google's services. But there are plenty of people out there like Amazon or Microsoft, with cloudy offerings, who'd be willing to buddy up with someone with as many customers as Samsung. Especially with all that lovely data that smartphones generate. The other OEMs aren't in as good a position, but if the Chinese market can be dominated by forked Android phones, with the Google stuff stripped out, there's no reason why others can't be. Samsung are responsible for something like 40% of Android sales, and over 90% of the profits. Google better not piss them off too much. Probably Samsung can't steal all that lot, but I strongly suspect they could trash the Android brand pretty effectively, and there's still Blackberry, WinPho or just forked Android as options (plus Tizen, Sailfish, Mozilla, even Symbian).

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Pint

Verizon Exclusives didn't help...

I think having the Razr line be a Verizon exclusive, didn't help. The exclusive carrier trick only worked for Apple for a time, until Android started catching up and Apple's only hope was to deploy the iPhone on other carriers. For some reason, Nokia thought it would work with AT&T and Moto thought it would work with Verizon, but it hasn't. Deploy to all carriers and surround the enemy.

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"Motorola likes being the challenger"

It's good that they're comfortable with being last, then.

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Bigger screen and more horses

I agree with another poster, if any company could come back it would be Motorola. They have had a few good devices in the past.

That said, in order to put a dent into Samsung, they need to bring out a few devices with HD screens, at least one with a 5" or so screen and perhaps one with a 4" screen or so. Quad core cpus, 2GB to 4GB ram (despite nobody really needing that much memory on a phone), removable battery, SD card slot, extra long battery, all the bells and whistels, at least a 10MP camera (but preferrably one with low light and better lens), and a solid build quality.

I don't mind the cheaper Samsung build quality as I, like pretty much everyone, puts a case around it which thickens it a bit and makes it less likely to get damaged anyway. But a metal case with good styling will be required for them to compete with the likes of Sammy and Crapple.

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Bronze badge

Re: Bigger screen and more horses

Or they may make a slightly better than good phone for $199 like the Nexus 4.

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I'll be watching this

Big fan of their "large ass battery" policy, have a Droid RAZR MAXX HD myself. Wouldn't want a handset with a significantly smaller battery.

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Anonymous Coward

'Contextually aware' power saving features?

Maybe if google fixed their own apps then they would't drain the power!

Maps is terrible at draining my battery, closely followed by other syncing I find, but the key thing is I need sync on for email but don't want it for other rubbish! its impossible to control exactly what you want to run in the background and what you dont!

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Bronze badge

Auto-bricking, Self-Reporting, Authentication Pill

A year or two ago, I was telling people that having a wrist or ingested token of sorts would be useful for auto-killing and auto-reporting one's phone as being lost or stolen. It would be really nice to have the ability to brick my phone should it be taken by force by assholes who don't care about the turmoil caused to victims.

One way it could work is by customizing the incremental and auto-reset, and auto reporting timing. Every few minutes, initiate a reset on a schedule or randomly in a number of clicks, taps, or screen sequence strokes. If the proximity of the device violates a preset value, have it screen-lock even if a conversation is in progress, then have it auto dial 911, broadcast it's last position, and try to snap a photo of the perp or surroundings.

If possible, and if legal, embed a self-immolation feature if such can be safely triggered based on certain handling features. Well, no, that could be dangerous. But, having an authentication, proximity, and telco-based solution means it should be possible for Motorola to PISS OFF ALL the other manufacturers, or, is that mfrs (if you know what I mean) by FORCING them to follow suit.

I declare my idea open source, and herewith prior art as of this writing, based on my prior disclosures in voice and now, by the time people read this, though it is a plan, it is free to be used by any and all. Just one condition: NOONE owns it with any right or power of depriving anyone else of using this. IOW: no asshole cockblockers, m-kay?

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Linux

"we have no access to Android code"

Why not?

Here's a hint:

repo init -u https://android.googlesource.com/platform/manifest

repo sync

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No access to Android code

Was just wondering about that myself. I can only assume he was talking about the Google apps - Now, Play, Maps, GMail etc which are not a part of the Open Source OS but are considered an important part of the Android Experience. If he DIDN'T mean that, then we have a pretty decent idea of why Motorola have been failing miserably of late.

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Pint

Re: No access to Android code

I assumed he meant privy to advanced updates or source prior to it going to AOSP. I may end up looking to fool for making assumptions though.

Personally I've stuck with Motorola phones. I like the build quality and their radios are usually top notch. Which is why the E815 is still my favourite phone. I'm hopeful that poor managment decisions don't overshadow the engineering as they've had some really great phones come out of the mobility division and I am ready for a new one.

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I think I heard that before somewhere...

Maybe it is just coincidence, but it does seem like every time Apple announces something, Google or Samsung pipe up a few months later to say they are doing exactly the same thing. First, MacBook’s are to be built in Texas and now Google announces that so are Motorola phones. Congrats to Texas, but what is going on here? If I was Tim Cook I would be announcing that Apple was building a rocket ship – just to see if the following month would herald the arrival of Google Space and the Samsung S Shuttle.

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Re: I think I heard that before somewhere...

AFAIK it is the iMac which is going to be made in U.S. ... So like 2% of there products.

Secondly... Really? Apple did it first. Your joking yeah? ;-) Cause no tech company has a factory in the U.S.

For example, Samsung certainly do not have a massive SoC factory in Austin.

fanbois.. I bet you invented factories too...

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