In Short

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The Moto X was the launch device for the so-called "new Motorola" that came about following its acquisition by Google, hoping to change its image from the company that made over-the-top "Droid" phones for Verizon to a company that makes great, affordable phones that everyone can enjoy.

Announced in August 2013, the Moto X took a different approach than phones earlier in the year, focusing on experience and user-facing features rather than raw specs and bundles of bells and whistles. The Moto X had a relatively small (by 2013 standards) 4.7-inch display with an unspectacular 1280x720 resolution, powered by a custom Motorola "X8" processor and a simple 10MP "ClearPixel" camera. The screen and processor set up the Moto X to do some things that other phones couldn't, including its stand-out features of Active Display and Touchless Control.

Motorola also scrapped its long-lamented software customization for something nearly identical to what you'd find on a Nexus device from Google, focusing instead on small customizations and apps that added to the experience rather than distracted. This not only enabled Motorola to get fantastic performance out of so-so hardware, but it also enabled fast updates, with new software versions coming to the Moto X dramatically faster than other phones.

The Moto X offered a very interesting personal customization option called Moto Maker, which let you customize the look of your phone with different combinations of colors for the back, front and accent pieces. At the end of 2013 Motorola even introduced wood back options (for a $100 premium) for those who were feeling a bit more eclectic. The Moto Maker process started out as an AT&T exclusive, eventually opening up to the other U.S. carriers and then to other countries, though the Fort Worth, TX factory run by Motorola for the Moto Maker production was eventually shut down in favor of Chinese factories.

Though the Moto X was universally enjoyed by those who used it, it experienced relatively lackluster sales and was rumored to be one of the big reasons why Google eventually sold Motorola to Lenovo in early 2014 after continued losses for the company. The Moto X only remained at its full retail price for a short time, as Motorola started steeply discounting it through various promotions and permanent price drops only months after launching the device.