Motorola confirms new flagship, the Moto X

Alex Walls
May 30, 2013

Motorola has announced a new flagship, the Moto X.

The now Google-owned company has had rumours swirling about a supposed Google X phone, a device said to be the work of Google and Motorola and set to rival the likes of the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3.

Meanwhile, at the All Things D conference in the United States, Motorola chief executive Dennis Woodside confirmed Motorola would launch a ‘hero’ or flagship device called the Moto X, which would be “broadly distributed” and which he couldn’t show to the conference.

The Moto X running Android was designed to compete with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4, he said. Motorola would re-launch Motorola’s entire product portfolio by October; so sounds like Moto X might be out by the end of the year.

“Two years ago Motorola launched 40 smartphones  and we’re launching a handful of srmatphones in the next six months that aren’t the end but certainly show the story of where we’re going to take the company.”

Motorola had been good at managing power and managing low power sensors such as the accelerometer, so the device could sense actions such as removing it from a pocket or launching the camera when it ‘senses’ the user wants to use it, in a way different to other flagships, he said.

“It anticipates my needs…it’s more contextually aware of what’s going on around it.  It allows you to interact with it in very different ways than you can today with other devices.”

Seventy per cent of the manufacturing process would occur in the United States, in Texas, Woodside said, with components coming from all over the world, including processors built in Taiwan, OLED screens from Korea.  Woodside said the facility would hire 2000 people before August.

The phone would feature two processors which would be able to handle continually-on sensors while preserving battery life, Woodside said.

Carriers had provided “fantastic” support, Woodside said, but more information would have to wait.

Authentication in pill form

The All Things D panel also debuted technology which Google senior executive, Motorola  advanced research lead  and former Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) head Regina Dugan said was being worked on currently, including authentication via wearable tattoos, and in pill form.

Dugan said despite advances in computing, people were still authenticating in the same way, entering passwords or PINs, which took a few seconds each time and were performed just under 40 times a day for an average user.

An electronic tattoo was a different option, to be worn for a week at a time, which would be highly flexible and able to unlock your smartphone; possibly with different designs, Dugan said.

“It may be true that 10 to 20 year olds don’t want to wear a watch on their wrist but you can be sure that they’ll be far more interested in wearing an electronic tattoo if only to piss off their parents.”

Another idea which Dugan showed on stage (made by a company for medical purposes and cleared by the FDA) was to incorporate authentication into daily patterns, such as making authentication available in pill form.  Such pills would include a chip, switch and a sort-of battery which used stomach acid as an electrolyte to turn the switch on and off, creating a signal in your body.

“Essentially your entire body becomes your authentication token.”

Woodside added that Motorola “wasn’t shipping that right away…”

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