Motorola's handset division is rumored to be hard at work building not just the next big thing for the smartphone market, but Google's "X Phone," according to a post earlier this week in the Android Central forums. That post has grown some legs with a story today from the Wall Street Journal. The "X Phone," undoubtedly a code name (but that'd be a kick-ass retail name) is rumored to encompass everything from a bendable screen for durability to a ceramic unibody (though that might possibly be along the lines of that micro-arc oxidation treatment we've seen on the likes of the HTC One S), it is to be the phone to change the way we interact with our smartphones.

This might not be a Motorola Nexus, but something new and different. Running stock Android at its core, there will be a set of applications and a UI that is modular and runs on top of the OS -- meaning no extra time for updates, according to our tipster. These features are said to be things like new voice commands and gestures, and the "ultimate" camera software plus -- get this -- buttons on the back of the phone -- one for the camera, plus volume buttons.

Google and Motorola can freely play and innovate here, without having to modify the stock Android build underneath. This is huge, as current OEM layers are deeply built into the Android system and are not stand alone. This causes plenty of delay when it comes to software updates. 

From our rumored devices forum:

Apparently this phone is called the "X Phone" or something along those lines and has buttons on the back of the phone. He said that a camera button is in the middle of the phone with volume up and down buttons on both sides of it all on the back face of the phone. He said it is supposed to be more ergonomic while holding the phone.

He also talked a lot about the phone having a ton of new voice command features and swiping gestures to accomplish tasks. He said the idea of this phone is to completely change the way we ergonomically have to interact with our phones. I.e. that it would take less than two seconds from the phone being in the pocket to using the camera. These features would be built on top of android as a stand alone proprietary suite app so that moto can be dedicated to updating to all new google updates in 3 months or less.

The hardware is said to be no slouch either, with "every premium piece of technology that Moto has" being used. We can expect a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM minimum, a huge battery, and Motorola's legendary cellular radios. 

While this is still just a rumor, it makes sense for Google to use Motorola to finally take the reigns of Android and release a consumer oriented device that fills their vision of what that device should be. We see and hear about the benefits of controlling both the hardware and the software from Apple and Microsoft, and we think Google can do it better. If things turn out as rumored, expect a big push in mid-2013, and the device we've all dreamed about to follow soon after. Google I/O might be pretty interesting this year.

Source: Android Central forums. More: WSJ


Reader comments

Motorola said to be working on the 'X Phone' to bring the ultimate Android eXperience


Wat MotoNexus for the win!!!! Oh men, Moto is pulling the big guns. Might even put off buying the N4 (the reason I havent bought one is coz this damn things wont stay in stock!!) just for this
Droid DNA pshhh wat?
Galaxy s4 my ass
MotoNexus baby

Motorola needs to stop with these rumors it makes no sense and as usual they ain't going anywhere. Everyone knows Motorola is dull and useless. They do better of talking about a Motorola Nexus. Either way Samsung is android regardless of the fact that Google owns Motorola. We already know the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will pimp slap this Motorola X phone.

Motorola isn't the entity circulating the rumors, idiot. And for the most part, it makes a ton of sense. You just don't get any of it.
A year ago you were saying how crappy "Samsuck" was. Now you're singing their praises and "applauding" them all over the Internet. One and a half years ago, you were saying how great and "boss" HTC was, now you're saying how crappy their products are. What a hypocritical, bandwagon-jumping fanboy.
"Either way Samsung is android regardless of the fact that Google owns Motorola." That is the most erroneous statement you've ever made. Samsung is just *one* of the *many* companies that use Google's *free OS* for their own profit. Such a tool.
"We already know the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will pimp slap this Motorola X phone." And your proof of this is...? You're comparing two not-even-rumored phones to a phone that is just now having rumors thrown around. Rumors. That's all you know. Idiot.

You know, I want to say "Why even bother?," but I know that sometimes we can't help but turn on Super-Ultra-Mega-Death-Mode and punch the hell out of idiotic comments lol

You are an idiot, the only reason Samsung sells a lot it is because they are desperate for money and put all their Galaxy crappy plastic crap in all the carriers all over the world. I can just imaging putting all razr family in all the carriers and lets see who is android. Google and motorola for the win 2013 :) You are a turd.

Release it on all carriers and the s4 and m7 will really have some competition. This could be the phone Motorola and android need to kick start faster updates while still having a skin

I'll ask the inevitable questions...
Storage space?
SD Card?
Removable battery?

Even though I actually dont care about the last two.

Sounds like an interesting device, though the flex screen with a ceramic body? Ceramics don't flex all that well, not sure they'd work well together.

Give us maximum internal storage, skip the SD card, give us on screen buttons. Give us a battery like the Razzr Max, Give us a super lcd screen and I'm in.

The body can remain rigid if they give the screen room to flex. It's just a way to give it some impact resistance. It's a bend, don't break theology I'm guessing.

Buttons on the back eh? That seems like a great idea. The Moto Backflip, while not a huge seller, is rocking a second touch panel on the back of the primary display. It's convenient and natural to use the rear touch panel.

This isn’t a HTC or LG phone. The Maxx HD has 32gb internal and the 3300mah battery. No way it will come out with less than those specs and may even bump to 64 in addition to an SD card slot to beat out any next offerings of the iPhone.

This has all the ingredients of a dream phone for a lot of people. I'm looking forward to see what actually makes it to the phone.

No crying foul when Moto suddenly drops all updates for the 'X' phone b/c they're too busy working on the 'Y' phone...but don't worry, they won't leave owners of 'Y' phones way...until the super ultimate 'Z' phone.

Sound crazy? Look at every non-Droid Moto phone over the past few years.

Which would be completely valid if Motorola hadn't just changed hands to Google's ownership.
Part of the problem with updates is that the skins on top of Android go deep into the OS and need to be updated, an expensive process. If Moto's new skin runs on top of Android (ala ADW or GO Launchers) then that delay/cost is significantly mitigated. The other problem with updates is that the carriers have to be willing to spend the money/time to review the OS changes to the device for QA. That's something that won't change, but it's important to remember that the likes of VW, Sprint and ATT are just as responsible for dragging out (or even preventing) updates as the OEMs.

Google won't touch Verizon with a 39.5ft pole again. Not until they can release an unlocked LTE device compatible with their network - and that won't be possible until VoLTE launches.


1) It doesn't need an SD card if it has a lot of on-board storage. 8GB and 16GB is not going to cut it. Even 32GB in 2013 is PAULTRY (especially since it is never measured in real GB, and that is never the amount available). Spend the extra $5 and put 64GB in it and be DONE.

2) It doesn't need a quickswap battery if it has a lot of on-board battery. With these new processors in the Evo LTE/One X/GS3/etc, battery life has improved tremendously already.

Sure, I would love SD and quickswap battery, but it isn't an automatic NEVER BUY if it doesn't have them, it is a "how does the phone do without them?" consideration.

1). It does. I already separate my data onto multiple sd cards. The inability to switch out memory cards is really quite foolhardy and exemplary of the short sightedness of the designers. They seem to think they're only designing something "shiny" for the simple of mind to toy with, instead of a tool for people to use.

2). It does. I burn through several batteries a day. Tying me to a charger removes the "mobile" from mobile phone. Until induction charging is a practicality, removable batteries are a must.

2.n). It is. Unlike some, I don't date chicks with single or double digit IQ's and I don't buy business tools that can't do the job.

Why follow in apple's wake? Their ship is headed aground.

+9000 There's tons of them for sale on Amazon. They charge quickly; and some of them are so small they barely take up any pocket space.


I went from the Galaxy Nexus for a year, to the Galaxy Note II and can't imagine not having a MicroSD card again...

I figured after years of having them, the fact I ran with a Nexus for so long made it so I wouldn't care.

Couldn't have been more wrong. I've seriously got 100+ hours of HD movies in a small case with all my MicroSD cards. Never could have done that with internal storage.

Why the hell would you ever need to watch even 2 of your 100 movies on your phone? Seems extremely extravagant and unnecessary to me.

In case you have not noticed most OEM's are already headed in that direction. Sealed battery's and no SD cards. I would not be surprised if this becomes the norm in another couple of years. As the OEM's pack more and more into phones and try to keep them thin as possible.

+9000 I agree. However, for those people that do want SD cards and removable batteries, the phones that offer those features may be considered "mid-range" or "low-end" in the future. I believe HTC started that trend: high-end phones (One Series and DNA) with non-removable batteries and no SD cards, and low-end and budget phones (can't remember the names) with low on-board storage but with SD cards and removable batteries. Onboard storage "needs" to increase to at least 32GB.

Any rumor that includes bendable screen tech is immediately less credible in my eyes. While this all sounds interesting it also sounds like a bunch of malarkey. Surprised Phil let this one out the door.

sounds good, but Verizon does not like updates with out them, so they can blott ware, but hey I can dream. If screen bends and good phone build , perhaps I can go naked on my phone with out having to put a case on it . Love my SGIII but drop that bad boy on the screen and it is toast. Think Samsung is working on that bending screen as well, they have been dicking around with it for a wile perhaps that will be the next big thing.

'Motorola's legendary cellular radios' these days are actually Qualcomm's.

Moto gets better results from them because of the RF and antenna engineering they put in to the phones.

"He said the idea of this phone is to completely change the way we ergonomically have to interact with our phones. I.e. that it would take less than two seconds from the phone being in the pocket to using the camera."

Is this supposed to be impressive? My DNA can easily get to the camera in less than two seconds now. Power button, lockscreen camera shortcut, done.

I could see having the on/off wake button on the upper back left or right, that way when you hold the phone you use your index finger to reach the button near the top. It could work.

You mean to say that finally Google is going to stop cutting corners and build a complete beast with sdcard slot? i believe it when i see it.

so you like what they did with lg nexus then? ok i respect your opinion but i wasn't only talking about sdcard, sdcard was an example of Google cutting corner, i want Google to build the best phone on the market not just a sample of the latest os on a half decent hardware, i want the complete package.

How is it an instant fail and that Google is smarter than that??? I like having the option. So do countless others. Not to mention the option to store my vcards, music, backgrounds, files, and other various tidbits on local media inserted by me. Not all of us are content with the measly 16 to 32GB of on board storage for everything and not all of us are content with storing sensitive info to the cloud. I like being able to access my info locally without having to depend on coverage to retrieve stuff while on the go.

I for one think Google is drinking Koolaid from the same pitcher as apple and pushing us to conform to what they want us to have...or use. In my opinion, that would be the cloud...which costs more money out of our pockets to strengthen their bottom line. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Feel the need to respond to this.

1. I'm not convinced either way about it being about moving us to the cloud. Google doesn't necessarily make too much off of the cloud (with Google Music, even, they don't make anything off of me--all the music I have on their are uploaded from my collection that I got elsewhere), and might even lose some money off of some people (such as in my case). They aren't even getting ad money off of that, either (which would make marginally more sense). However, on the flip side, there probably are people that they *do* make money off of, possibly to the point that it's worth it. Hard to say, in my opinion.

2.Technical reasons exist:

a. <-- covers some of the more technical side, summarized by Jerry quite well.

b. <-- Covers more technical stuff, specifically digging into the issues that SD Cards don't have very good file permissions at all. FAT file permissions suck. Android generally uses ext3/4 on the internal memories, but FAT is the standard for SD Cards, thanks to Windows not supporting more than that for such things. If you could format your SD Card in a sane file format instead of FAT, it would probably be much more realistic for Google to actually think of putting SD Cards back in. But you can't, and that blame is mostly on Windows, with a tiny fraction on Mac.

Also, as mentioned in that second link, but is hit on in the first link a little bit, too:

App developers on Android are too much like app developers on Windows for years. They don't follow sane standards of what to do with things such as their configuration files, which creates issues when trying to do new things with the OS. Google is able to force their hand on the Nexus devices to some degree, so app developers are more likely to start doing things in sane ways instead of spraying their configurations all over the place, resulting in potential issues. This is more on the app developers, but Google is taking responsibility for it (like so many people think they should).

This is such a simple issue it's not funny. First off, I read both articles and to both there are things I agree with and disagree with wholeheartedly.

Second off, Android (google) has done this to themselves. They made this so much harder than it needs to be. Most format the SD card in phone to it's file structure and not with windows. With a file explorer app, one just needs to move files to internal storage, sync phone with PC, off load files to PC. OR, move files to (free) cloud storage and DL to PC.

Third, Google can designate internal as C: and SD card as D: making it...well...not confusing to anyone who uses a PC with multiple partitions. But they choose not to. Heck C: and D: are designations in Ubuntu for C's sake.

Fourth, why in the world do you need multiple user accounts on phones? Whomever allows this is begging to get into trouble. On tablets I can see the benefit but on a phone? Give me a break. But I digress....a little. If Google wants to play this route, then allow the main user to keep hold of SD card permissions and all other users get blocked from accessing it's contents. Simple. Because all contents from multiple users are going to get thrown onto internal storage anyways so what is the gripe?? There will be no WAY to stop that from happening with multiple users unless it gets blocked by the main user. This is a stupid decision by Google anywho...

Google has tried to cram so much code into it's OS that it prompted project butter to help clean it up. They keep adding new features(which is a good thing)but for all intents and purposes, it keeps bloating Android to the point that now they have to taketh away. This is the price you pay for open source code but Google never got a handle on it early. This wouldn't be an issue if they also didn't diminish internal Storage. 16GB is all you get with Nexus 4. 32GB on some S3 models. 64GB on some iphone models. 64GBon phones and tablets should be standard...period. But I think Google has an alterior motive behind this that we don't know about.

Hold up! Who are you to say its a fail? Maybe people want more options and more storage. I swear, lately you guys have become worse than isheep.

Jerry, I just hope Google/Motorola is smarter than you and does design in an external SD card. I'm carrying an Atrix with a 64GB SD card. A bit over half is music from my personal CD & record (as in those analog not so compact disks) collection, a quarter is images and the rest is TB data and unused space.

Why would you think it a good idea to be dependent on the cloud and rack up unnecessay data transmission fees to listen to my own damn music? For me, no SD card, no sale. Oh, and I want a replacable battery too. I can't see throwing away a $600 phone over a $50 battery. That's not very smart either.

I'm thinking you are getting too much stuff you don't have to pay for and lost your perspective.


I would buy this in a second, but it better have a 5"+ screen. After the Note 2 I could never go back to a tiny phone.

if they want it to be successful, 4.5 is as big is it can go- MAX. Id perfer a razr m sized phones but prettier and with better specs.

Deep down in your heart, you know that the screen is going to be bigger than that. What you prefer isn't necessarily what will make the phone successful: but you knew that already lol. It won't be the size of the Note 2, but it also won't be the size of the Razr M.

of course i could be wrong but i still believe i'm in the silent majority that thinks the 4.3 - 4.5 inch screen is the sweet spot for a phone..

if i want a 5", 6", 7" mobile device i will buy a tablet

No, he had it right lol. If they want the phone to sell like crazy, they have to make it the way he wants it so that only he buys it lmao. Let's just say he'd better buy a shit ton of them =P

I don't see what the excitement is. Motorola is a slaved to Verizon and every other carrier gets second thought phones. Until Google mandates that Moto distributes this device to all the carriers in the vein that Samsung did the GSlll. all we'll be seeing is Big red with another flagship phone.

One of the things that put android over the top was the fact that you can pop in an sdcard on top of what you already get from your phone, why will you want to give that up, because apple said so? why can you be happy with sdcard internal memory plus cloud storage? the best of all world.

Do you have any idea what you are saying? Are you typing this in the dark? Google stopped caring about SD cards when they released the Nexus S. The market is gradually moving away from SD cards: Apple has never used them, HTC's latest flagships (One series, Droid DNA) don't have them; and I'm positive that future Motorola phones will slowly start to phase them out as well. To be honest, it seems like SD cards are no longer an advantage: earlier iterations of Android needed some edge over iOS. However, as Android becomes more polish, the need is slowly diminishing. Just an opinion.

They all are moving away from local storage, internal and SD, to cut corners and costs. With that said, they are all trying to get you to sign up for cloud storage which costs more money for anything viable to use sufficiently. Sure, the free 5GB is awesome but nothing to go googly over. Also, since when is having an SD card slot no longer an advantage?? To me, it's still a selling point as a power user that slaps apple users in the face....and I use my SD card everyday.

How is the need for SD cards diminishing because android is becoming more polished? They have nothing to do with each other so that's a moot point. Google should be polishing regardless if it has a slot or not.

"How is the need for SD cards diminishing because android is becoming more polished?"

The point was that Android needed SD cards in the past because it needed more things to top iOS on. Back then many people were using iOS because it was more polished, smoother, and had a larger app store. Now that Android has topped iOS on those things, the need for SD cards — essentially things to simply use as "weapons" against iOS — is smaller.

+9000 Thanks. That was the point I was trying to make, but for some reason I couldn't connect the dots when I saw his reply.

So just because Androids market share has gotten better against apple, Google should start eliminating features?? I think not.

If you were to structure your sentence the correct way, I just might have to take you serious. Seriously funny that is.....

@Gator352 ... That half ass'd attempt at an insult about the structure of someone else's sentence could use some editing in itself. Nice try guy

That's actually my point you're validating right now ... who cares? Who cares if the guy messed up some grammar or sentence structure. Maybe he's foreign, ever consider that? So what, you're THAT guy that has to constantly get on other people when they screw up, all while screwing up yourself? God forbid anyone points out your faults in the process right? You say who cares, it's a comment section, yet you were initially the one to "care" and felt the need to try and be a clever dude and insult someone else's comment. You failed, and I felt justified in commenting towards that situation and indirectly calling you a dick. Nice Try Guy!!!!.....!!!..!!!! ...... see, I gave you both exclamation points AND periods this time!

Look. It really had nothing to do with his sentence structure. I simply downed him because of the "stop crying" comment. Most of us aren't crying. We are simply stating that Google gave now they are taking away. I have no heart-burn over this as I will simply buy a phone that has an SD slot (or 64GB internal). And when they totally taketh away I will simply move on to a different platform. That simple. But saying "stop crying" is in of itself childish just like my comment. Let's all have fun here.....

But instead of saying something about that, which I will agree is childish, you instead bashed his sentence structure specifically. Now you're saying it had nothing to do with sentence structure.... You are a confusing individual. Let's leave it at that and move on with our nerdy, phone tech loving lives shall we? Water under the proverbial bridge.

Btw, Gator352, I agree with your point of view on this issue with the sd cards and Google slowly doing away with them, I'm just tired of seeing people bash each other for stupid things like sentence structure and grammar and all that. It takes away from the discussion and just causes unnecessary drama. I realize I was no help attacking you, for the sake of the discussion, but it gets old after a while.

I agree and thank you. But you know as well as I do when someone says stuff like "stop crying"...someone is going to say something. It just happened to be me. I should have just moved on and let it be. But you're was stupid. But admit, drama sometimes can be fun!! :)Anyhow, yeah I think google has dropped the ball here. It just seems that they have realized that they made a mistake, with a hole list of stuff, and now trying to clean it all up. And we, the consumer, are going to pay for it with cheaper phones but with stripped down features. I wonder if there will be a "feature touchphone" in google's plans? Like one with no actual internal memory to a touch screen phone that can only call and text but everything is stored in the cloud?

Merry Christmas!

I do admit that drama can be entertaining, lol. If Google decides to make that their standard practice, I may consider a different platform. But, let's face it, there's nothing quite like android. I personally don't think I would be as happy with anything else. I believe Google knows that this may be the case for the majority of its users ... hopefully we aren't currently seeing the way of the future with what Google may do with this knowledge, but we shall just have to wait and see. I honestly hope that Google keeps "choice" for its consumers its #1 priority.

Sorry if this made zero sense. I'm half sleep, :)

Flexible display means nothing to me since all other components that make up the modern day smartphone are rigid as can be. CPU, GPU, RAM, camera and everything else has so far, to my knowledge, been hooked up to a PCB board. Those don't bend. And as far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong) that's the only way to do it.

"Hey look!" My phone has a flexible display! See?" *bends/twists phone slightly* SNAP! "Oh crap".

When people drop their phones they usually break the screen. If the screen was flexible you can create a thin frame that distorts on impact then returns to original shape.

What is your disdain for more storage and removable batteries? You might like the cloud. You might like non-removable batteries. That's ok! nothing wrong with that. But those of us that do see this as a step in the WRONG direction. Less storage = more cloud use. No removable batteries = more plug time....or purchase a portable batt pack which is something else to lose or get stolen. I know all this equals to cheaper phones and I'm all for that but some of us are willing to pony up a little more to get more. And the ones that don't, need to start looking at mid-range phones that have less.

While I agree with people having more buying options, I have yet to hear a valid argument for removable batteries and a sd cards. More battery capacity and internal storage im all for. But removable options for both? Haven't heard a good reason yet.

Definitely sounds promising. I've been saying for a while now that hardware makers need to starting shipping their phones with stock Android and have their UI sit on top of the OS, like a launcher. So that it won't affect updates. As long as the hardware is comparative to other top phones, it would be enough to get me to jump form HTC.

I wonder how much of this is complete and accurate. This article seems to reinforce and elaborate on the article featured on GIZMODO today. Exception being this article mentions none of the issues the development process has "allegedly" hit with disagreements and conflicts between to two companies.

This seems possible, but WSJ isn't exactly the most reliable source. Remember, it's the same site that came up with the article about 5 Nexus phones coming in November.

Was the WSJ where that rumor (5 Nexus phones) originated from? This X-phone story seems to be all over the net. It would be nice if Google/Motorola would come out and either confirm or deny this.

Google I know your watching the forums closely.....
Go above and beyond everyone else without skimping on ANYTHING..yes I do mean the camera and screen. Set the bar even higher please!

Just don't intentionally gimp it like you do the Nexus line. Either put in a SD card slot or give it significant storage. Some people are fine with the cloud but trying to force me into using it will only lose my sale.

as long it has a battery i can take out and 32gb in the phone plus just have a memeory card slot ill be good even within memory card slot

Hmm. My current Big Red phones are up for upgrade in March and the contract in June or so. Waiting to see what this might be.

This sounds really interesting. Not a big fan of Motorola's aesthetics though, el Goog should take the wheel on that part. All these features sound great, but I feel it'd kinda kill it if it came with Motorola's "Inspired by a brick" design...

Microsoft really missed the boat by not calling their platform X-Phone instead of Windows Phone. More closely tying it into their successful Xbox platform would only have helped them.

Though I'm pretty much certainly going for the Note III, here is what I think the X phone needs to have be absolutely compelling:
1. Ample internal storage. I mean 64gb and 128gb, enough of the paltry 8gb and 16gb nonsense. Even 32gb won't cut it
2. Make the battery big enough or efficient enough to last at least 24hours of continuous on screen time with full brightness and all the radios active
3.1080P screen with excellent sunlight legibility
4. Make it very thin, light, beautiful, and premium looking and feeling
5. Available on all carriers
6. 13MP camera with excellent sensor
7. Throw in something unexpected, like making it water proof
8. Quad core clocked at 2GHz with 2 or 3Gb of ram

Those features would make this phone a lot more compelling, however for me I'll be sticking with the note until someone can come up with a phone that has a stylus and is more functional than the Note. I just don't see how someone who has used the note can ever adjust to any other phone with less functionality

I dig all of the above except for #4. I think the emphasis on thin is silly and forces compromises on features, especially battery time. I come down hard on the function side, form to me is secondary.

I also think 8MP is plenty for the camera. There is much more to cameras than pixel count. I would be very happy with 8MP and 30 bit color with better dynamic range and no bleeding. Only people who know nothing about digital photography are impressed by pixel count.

The contract on my Atrix comes up at the end of Feb. I'm looking forward to the CES announcements. I am predisposed to select a newer phone from Motorola, but I will move to another brand if my requirements are not met.

Other then the Nexus, the razr maxx HD has the most pure Android feel out there right now. With the Nexus only 16g and no SD card and the Maxx 32g with a SD card it is a no brainer.