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Thursday
Aug012013

Moto X: Motorola's Made in America Smartphone

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of Android devices have been made by consumer electronics manufacturers. Maybe you know the Samsung Galaxy S4 or a Verizon Droid, but the rest of them can easily blend together.

But, after a year in the works, Motorola is hoping that the Moto X will be the Android phone you know and want. On the back of the colorful phones reads "Designed and Assembled in the USA;" the phone is the first device built from scratch since Google acquired the company and is being built in the U.S. so it can quickly ship to American buyers.

"We started to think about smartphones, and the main thing we realized was they weren't very smart," Motorola Senior Vice President of Product Management Rick Osterloh said at the phone's unveiling. "We see a lack of innovation because we think there is a lack of imagination."

Motorola has put its imagination into making the Moto X a highly customizable phone with a few unique software tricks.

Colorful and Customizable Hardware

The 4.7-inch, 1280x720-resolution Moto X is a big-screened smartphone like many other Android phones, but the hardware differences are in the shape of the device and in the colors you can get it in. The phone has a curved back with a small dimple in the center of the back to rest your finger in.

But if you order your Moto X through Motorola's Moto Maker website you can customize the color of the back of the phone, the edges and even the color of the volume and power buttons and the ring around the camera. There 2,000 color combinations to choose from and the company is even working on a back made of wood.

In addition you can engrave a message or name on back of the phone. You can upload your contacts and a photo for the wallpaper before the phone ships out of the Fort Worth facility within four days of placing the order. However, to start the color-customized AT&T versions of the phone will be available through the Moto Maker site. The other carriers, including Verizon and Sprint, will have black and white versions of the phone in store.

The phone is powered by 2GB of RAM and Motorola's Moto X Mobile Computing system, which the company says includes a series of chips. (A Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, a contexual computing processor and a natural language processor.)

Smarter Software

That power is important though for the new Android software tricks. Similar to some of the features available in Motorola's new Droid phones for Verizon, the Moto X has what the company calls "Touchless Controls" and an "Active Display" features. The touchless control works similarly to Google Glass, without having to touch the phone your phone can listen to you. After training it, you should be able to say "OK Google Now call mom" and the phone should dial up mom.

The Active Display feature aims to solve checking your lockscreen for the time or new messages. You don't have to wake the screen, instead, periodically the phone will flash the time and if you have any new messages. Even with those notifications, the company promises up to 24 hours of battery life.

Motorola also doesn't want you to spend too long trying to get at your camera. The phone has a 10-megapixel camera that you can get to by just shaking the phone, launching the viewfinder in under three seconds. You can take a photo by just tapping on the screen; the phone will auto focus for you. You can customize all the camera settings, however, if you'd prefer to manually turn on the camera and take the photo. The phone will ship with Android 4.2.2 and will be updated to Android 4.3 soon.

Availability and Pricing

The Moto X will be available at the end of this month or at the beginning of September, through AT&T, T-Mobile Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular and Best Buy. The 16GB model will cost $199 and the 32GB version $249. The company says it might eventually offer a version directly through the Google Play Store.

If you order one through the Moto Maker in different colors and don't like it, you can redesign or return it within 14 days of purchase.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio