Lenovorola TRIPLE-ola: New Moto G, Moto X and 360 wristputer UNZIPPED
Plus: Custom couture kit for Brits
Motorola hopes its Lazarus-like comeback*, backed by Lenovo’s wealth, continues with a new and much larger version of the Moto G smartphone, a new flagship X, its new 360 smartwatch, and the UK launch of its customisation service, Moto Maker.
Moto G update
The Moto G was well made and excellent value, and sparked Moto’s revival last December after two years in the Google-owned doldrums. Google had never wanted to buy a big phone manufacturer, but woke up one morning and found itself owning one after signing a patent deal.
The Moto G popped out at £120, was a pocket-friendly size, and head and shoulders above Landfill Android in the same price bracket.
The second generation G, revealed today, retains the same design, uncannily so, but it’s more expensive and also larger, with a 5-inch display (720 x 1280 pixels) rather than the 4.5-incher of the G, the E and the G LTE. Moto says the price before taxes and subsidies will be £144.99.
With EE’s 4G Kestrel priced at £99.99, and Lumia 520 rolling out at under £50, Moto is facing a challenge. But the display on the new G is far superior to either, and it retains the solid construction while adding a SD card slot supporting up to 32GB. However, it’s 3G only.
The new G will run Android KitKat 4.4, with a guaranteed upgrade to Android L when it's released, and uses a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 system-on-chip from Qualcomm in a 149g package.
Moto X update
Moto has also showed off a new flagship, the Moto X: an unremarkable rectangle with a 5.2-inch 1080p HD display. This actually looks better close up. It boasts dual speakers, and a beefy 2300mAh battery. However it will only be available with 16GB or 32GB of flash for internal storage, and neither take SD cards. It runs Android KitKat on a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801, and has a 13Mp camera, all in a 144g package.
Perhaps the main attraction for UK punters will be Motorola’s build-to-order customisation store, Moto Maker, which will be open for the X. This allows you to choose up to 2,000 permutations of back covers, and even the speaker gaskets. Leather and wood covers can be selected. It’s all a little moot if you add a cover to the phone, as most people do, to protect it from the impact with the ground after a clumsy slip.
The X is priced at £419.99, or £439.99 if you want to personalise it with Maker, for the 16GB model, rising to £459.99 or £479.99 for the 32GB model. It's just a shame the front of the phone can only be white or black.
The G is available today and the X from the end of the month – and both will be available through Amazon UK.
The 360 Watch
Motorola also showed off its 360 smartwatch, first teased six months ago, which will cost £199.99 in a month’s time. Motorola promises “all day battery life” for the chunky clock face that you can carry on your wrist.
The gadget runs Android Wear, is compatible with smartphones running at least Android 4.3, has a 1.5-inch (320 x 290 pixel) backlit LCD, a 320mAh battery, and 4GB of flash storage and 512M of RAM, all powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP 3 system-on-chip. It can survive going under about a metre of water, communicates over Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and has an "optical heart rate monitor" in case this sort of gadgetry gets your blood pumping. ®
* Comebacks have to be Lazarus-like. Just like book blurbs on humourless books must describe them as “painfully funny”. It’s the Law of the Cliché.