The phone was officially “released” on August 1st to all major carriers. What this meant was that the phone would start seeing availability around the end of August/beginning of September. We were told that the 16 GB model would be $199 on-contract, and that the 32 GB model would be $249 on-contract. However, the kicker is that the 32 GB model will only be available on AT&T at first, and the customizable colors for the phone would initially only be available for AT&T customers. While we didn’t immediately know what the off-contract pricing for the phone would be, one thing was clear: it would be expensive. This meant Google + Motorola expected the Moto X would compete as a high end phone. Our fears were confirmed when AT&T stated the off-contract price for the Moto X would be $575 for the 16 GB version, and $630 for the 32 GB version. To put this in perspective, the Google Edition HTC One is currently available in the Google Play store for $600. The HTC One has the same sized screen as the Moto X with a better resolution, a better CPU, a slightly larger battery, and comes standard with 32 GB of storage space.
It was bad enough that Google and Motorola thought they could sell this mid-range device at a high-end price, as well as snubbing anyone not on AT&T, but what was bad soon became worse. We found out that the Moto X would come with carrier bloatware and a locked bootloader
. Motorola has been releasing phones with locked bootloaders for a long time, but we expected that Google’s influence would prevent them from doing something so blatantly restrictive. We have since discovered that the Moto X sold for Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Rogers networks would come with the bootloader locked, but would have an unlocker tool provided by Motorola for the customer to use. Obviously missing from that list are Verizon, and Google + Motorola’s preferred carrier: AT&T. This is because Verizon and AT&T will only sell Moto X phones with locked bootloaders that cannot be unlocked until they release the “Developer Edition” of the phone. As we know, “Developer Editions” are never available at an on-contract price, so expect to pay $575+ for a Moto X with an unlocked bootloader.
To sum up the current situation, what you’re looking at is a phone with mediocre specifications, a locked bootloader, carrier bloatware included, with no expandable storage, and no sufficient storage option on any carrier except AT&T, at the highest possible price point for a phone: $200-$250 on-contract, $575-$700 off-contract (Best Buy will be selling the Moto X at $700 off-contract). This is especially ludicrous when considering that this month, LG will be releasing the G2 that comes packed with a Snapdragon 800 quad core processor that exists in an entirely different league of performance from the Snapdragon S4. What makes this situation even more laughable is that the G2 will be priced similarly to the Moto X. Why anyone would even consider the Moto X as an option at that point is beyond my comprehension.
Soon afterwards, Google announced they would be releasing a Google Play Edition of the phone which comes with stock Android. This raises the obvious question of why Google needs to release a Google Play Edition of a phone they created. The Moto X should have provided a Google experience to begin with; they shouldn’t have to release a Google edition of a Google phone. The one shred of hope that exists in this news is the very slim chance that the Google Play Edition will release at a reasonable price point (around $300). If that’s the case, it will be the only chance the Moto X has at achieving any sort of success. However, I seriously doubt Google will do something that intelligent given how completely disastrous the Moto X has been thus far.
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