It was going to show up at CES. It was going to show up at Mobile World Congress. It was definitely, definitely going to show up at Google I/O and be the hardware announcement that the rumor mill delved so deeply to find, and that wound up never materializing.
Finally, however, the word went forth at the Wall Street Journal’s D executive conference: The Motorola X phone, long the topic of speculation and rumor-mongering, is an actual device called the Moto X, and it will hit the market by October of this year. O frabjous day! Callou! Callay! He chortled in his joy.
[MEANWHILE, IN IOS LAND: iPad 5 rumor rollup for the week ending May 29]
While this particular Jabberwocky of uncertainty has now been slain, we still only know conclusively what Motorola boss Dennis Woodside said from the stage on Tuesday. Emphasizing the company’s expertise in energy efficiency, Woodside told the audience that one of the Moto X’s key features will be an integrated system of always-on sensors that will make the device more aware of its surroundings. So it’ll know when you’re taking it out of your pocket, for example, or if you’re driving a car.
Credit: WSJ/All Things Digital
Woodside also said that most of the manufacturing for the Moto X will take place at a facility in Texas, which he says will make it the first smartphone made in the U.S.
Obviously, it’s tough to draw too many conclusions about the Moto X based only on Woodside’s revelations at the conference, but it’s at least good to know that there’s going to be another major flagship Android phone on the way within a few months. My first Android device was the original Moto Droid, which served me well for a very long time, and it’ll be interesting to see if Motorola can make a splash with the X.
The Droid RAZR phones were solid devices, but unexceptional in most areas beyond battery life, and they didn’t really excite the Android punditry the way that, for example, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One have done. I’m curious to see whether Motorola can top those devices – or whatever else Samsung, HTC and others have come up with by then – or not.
Speaking of those companies, it’s now been revealed that there are new versions of both the Galaxy S4 and HTC One on the way. that a version of the One running stock Android – instead of HTC’s own Sense overlay – will go on sale in the Google Play store on June 26, and will be compatible with GSM networks. (Meaning AT&T and T-Mobile, for those keeping track at home.) The price will be $600.
Given that serious Android fans are forever clamoring for stock Android UIs, this will likely be a popular move among that demographic. I personally am less than thrilled now that there’s essentially a One Nexus in HTC’s lineup to go with 2010’s Nexus One, but if you’ve read more than a couple of these roundups, you already know my thoughts on HTC’s ability to name its products.
Rumor has it that the One is also on its way to Verizon – the only major U.S. carrier left out of the initial release. Android Community has analyst Laura Chen singing this particular tune to a Taiwanese publication, adding verses about the rumored HTC M4 being a mini-One and a (sigh) phablet also in the works.
Samsung, meanwhile, has announced a mini-version of the Galaxy S4, which a Reuters report notes is still bigger than the iPhone 5. It’ll likely be the usual mini-Galaxy tradeoff of downgraded hardware for smaller size and a lower sticker price, though exact pricing and availability weren’t provided right away by Samsung.
According to Engadget, the little phone will be joined soon by a ruggedized variant of the Galaxy S4 designed for outdoor use, but they don’t seem to know much beyond the fact that it exists and that it’s just won FCC approval. “We’re bracing ourselves for a midrange handset that doesn’t sport quite the same oomph as its original namesake,” they said, heaving a dart at the calendar and hitting June 20 for a possible launch date.
Google Apps administrators can now administrate wherever they are, thanks to a new Android app that the company announced on Wednesday.
Google said that the new app “makes it easy for admins to use their Android phone or tablet to accomplish the most common tasks – such as quickly adding or suspending users, resetting passwords, managing group memberships, and directly calling or emailing specific users.”
This seems very handy indeed, though it could also give a nefarious person access to your company’s apps if they get ahold of your phone – a potential problem that Google seems well aware of, given the prominent notice on the app’s Play Store page urging users to set a strong lockscreen password before use.
Email Jon Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.