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What kind of crazy scheme is Motorola hatching?

Mike Elgan | July 8, 2013
Motorola and Google say in a new ad their upcoming Moto X phone will be designed by users. Here's what I think they're planning.

The good thing about Apple's one-phone model is that there's no "choice paralysis" or "buyer's remorse." The bad thing is that if you want something else, they don't sell it. For example, if you want a big-screen iPhone, well, there's no such thing.

Google's design-your-own strategy may be the best of both worlds. You can just get that one phone, but then get the options you want.

With a high-quality screen and a blisteringly fast processor forming the basis of the phone, the Moto X done right could commoditize smartphone hardware. Most of the major features that other companies are trying to promote as selling points are just check-boxes on the Moto X shopping cart page.

Motorola's Googlish message to the world is: These features are no big deal. You want 'em? We got 'em.

What matters is not speeds, feeds, colors and hardware options. What matters is Google services, which will no doubt be central to the Moto X.

I predict that there will, in fact, be de-commoditizing hardware differentiators in the Moto X, but mostly those that favor Google services. For example, I believe they're going to make it super easy to use Google Now without pressing buttons.

This is my prediction, speculation and analysis. But we won't have to wait long to find out what Google is really up to here. The company has invited a few dozen journalists to come to the Google campus next week and see the new phone. (I'm one of those journalists.)

So if you're planning on buying a phone this month, you might want to hold off until you see what kind of crazy scheme Motorola and Google are really hatching here. It could be crazy good.


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