The Moto X will be arriving on all carriers at the same time, which is proof that Google’s hand in the matter involves more than just the Android OS.
According to Adage, the Moto X will be available on all four major US carriers starting August 23, with the exception being that AT&T will be the first to have the customization package for the phones. The exclusive personalization deal, however, will last only through early November as T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint will join the back plate-switching and laser-engraving conga line.
The Moto X’s success relies heavily on how well Motorola and Google can promote the handset. Everyone knows, by now, that the Moto X doesn’t boast much in terms of raw processing powers like other high-end handsets from the likes of Samsung and HTC, but Motorola has made it clear that they don’t intend to command attention based on how many cores or how great of a display the Moto X possesses.
Rather, Google will ignite consumer interests through customization and usability. Motorola’s 8X computing system will purportedly make using the Moto X’s speech and user interface feel much more ‘natural’. How well Google and Motorola have implemented this is still up for debate, and when the user reviews roll in we will have a clearer perspective.
The working smartphone strategy over the past couple years revolve mainly around the devices’ processing power as well as the quality of the display, but the Moto X is aiming to change all that and divert people’s interest to another core aspect—individuality. For a subsidized price of $199, people can walk away with the 16GB Moto X, and the price alone may beg people to ask the question: “Why should I pay for this handset if I can get a ‘better’ one for the same price?”
Design and functionality-wise, the Moto X isn’t revolutionary, and we’ll have to see if Google’s marketing dollar will do the handset any good. Samsung and Apple spent somewhere in the realm of $750 million, combined, to promote their respective handsets last year according to media research Kantar. Brian Wallace, Motorola’s VP of global brand and marketing, specifically confirmed that Google won’t spend nearly as much as Apple or Samsung, only that they are willing to spend to build a presence in the highly contested smartphone market.
“We’re not going to be outspending Apple and Samsung, not by a long shot. And honestly, that’s okay. This isn’t about money, it’s not about budgets. This is about trying to outsmart and have a unique value proposition that will resonate with consumers,” said Wallace.
We’ve all seen this type of product development and deployment strategies in various other sectors. For instance, in the automotive industry, manufacturers can have the same engines running in different models, but at the end of the day one will be more popular than the other despite the fact that they have basically the same gut.