Last week, Motorola introduced its first smartphone since it joined the Google empire over a year ago. OK, so you may yawn at the launch of yet another smartphone in an already crowded market. But, in my mind, this one matters and is different. First, it will be the first smartphone assembled in the US. Motorola has geared up its facility in Texas to assemble the phones on demand, meaning, you can have a fully customized phone within four days of your order. Customized? What does this mean? Well, Motorola has gone a step farther knowing that today people like to buy different color cases, wraps, and other accessories to personalize their phones. With a new website, Motorola allows you to customize the back color, front frame color, and button colors to your liking, resulting in 256 different phone combinations that will be assembled for you and shipped off quickly. A small point, but they are the first to allow this degree of customization.
The most interesting aspect involved the integration of Google’s native applications into the phone. How many of you use Google search, Google Voice Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Voice, and Google Now on a daily basis? Well, what if these were much more integrated into your phone and not just add-on apps? The Moto X takes this to what appears to be the next level using a high degree of predictive analytics to do things and serve up content before you actually know that you want it. Did you do a recent search on a restaurant downtown? Well, Google thinks you may want to make a reservation, see a menu, and get directions with traffic conditions and will serve this up automatically using Google Now. Yes, it’s all Android based, so some may be familiar to most Android users, but it’s a bit more seamless with the Moto X. There is another aspect that bears watching as well. This is voice recognition that keeps listening even when the phone is locked (touchless voice control). Get an e-mail? It will read it to you. Want to respond? Simply voice it back into the phone. The same goes for directions searches and more, all without touching anything on the phone. Think of it as Siri that actually works and does so without you needing to take your eyes off of the phone.
We see a bit of what the Moto X represents parlaying into the digital space. Personalization, customization, predictive analytics, and ease of use features always top the E-Business list of initiatives and functionality that users expect. Little did we know that a smartphone could be this “smart,” but the Motorola/Google combination seems to be bringing the collective knowledge of Google to the hardware market. It will certainly be interesting to see how other smartphone manufacturers may follow suit or try to catch up.