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New school-themed smartphones aim to boost Motorola Mobility's sales

Motorola Mobility is one of the oldest surviving cell phone brands in the world.  But its tenure with Google Inc. (GOOG) over the last two years failed to stop its slide as it struggled to keep up with the ever-evolving smartphone.  Since then, it's been acquired in a pending deal with Lenovo Group, Ltd.'s (HKG: 0992) struck to the tune of $2.91B USD.
 
Thus far it appears that Lenovo is looking to step up the strategy Google had started to explore late last year amidst struggling sales of the flagship Moto X.  This dual strategy involves getting more aggressive on price and focus on building phones with unique and customizable looks.
 
The latest addition to the Moto X is a series of limited edition smartphones for basketball fans.

Moto X

Clearly some schools are missing from there... for example Duke fans were pretty irate.  To go out on a limb, that may be due to issues with some schools not wanting to license their logos and/or asking more for that branding.

While the Moto X is clearly a bit behind the curve in terms of screen resolution and processing/graphics power, it has excellent battery life.  Motorola has been gunning for stronger sales with aggressive price cuts.  Most recently it slashed the price of an off-contract Moto X down to $299 USD in a brief promotion last month.

Currently it's hovering around $330 off-contract:

... don't be surprised if that dips soon, though.

Sources: Motorola Mobility, Twitter (@Motorola)



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RE: Close, but no cigar
By Solandri on 3/8/2014 3:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
I was trying to figure out how to save my launcher desktop config on my Nexus 5 (I hate having to set everything up again if I wipe and reinstall or some weirdness happens and I have to reset). Turns out Google rolled the default launcher into the Google Search app - back it up and you have a backup of your launcher desktop. So I suspect they're trying to move Android in a direction where anyone can get the "stock" skin-less Android experience if they want.

That said, Motorola is pretty good about keeping up to date with Android releases. And on the Moto X in particular, their "skin" contains a lot of features which make the Moto X such a nice device. Active notifications, auto-unlock on bluetooth connection, etc. I'm pretty sure the always-on voice recognition is part of their launcher too. The spoken "OK Google" functionality on my Nexus 5 disappeared when I tried switching to a different launcher.


RE: Close, but no cigar
By bug77 on 3/8/2014 4:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/11/google-just...

It's just part of a larger move to gut Android and move as much as possible into Google Play Services. Which is good, because it lets Google update stuff instead of carriers, but it's also bad because Google Play Services are not open.


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