Motorola on Thursday officially sent out invites for a press event that it’s hosting in Chicago on Sept. 4.
While Motorola has introduced several new phones since it launched the Moto X last year, we’re overdue for an upgrade. Most rumors have pointed toward a device dubbed the “Moto X+1,” which we expect to make its debut during the press event. We also think the company will use the time to discuss the Moto 360, including the smartwatch’s launch date and price, in addition to possibly the Moto G2, a successor to the popular and lower-cost Moto G.
The Moto X+1 will likely be the star of the show, however, so we decided to put some thoughts on paper that cover what we’re expecting Motorola to introduce. The Moto X was a fantastic handset, and actually won TechnoBuffalo’s phone of the year 2013, so the Moto X+1 certainly has some large boots to fill.
Here’s a look at what we’re expecting when Motorola lifts the curtain on the Moto X+1 – or whatever the final name is – in early September.
1. Highly Customizable Handset
Motorola may soon be in the hands of Lenovo, but we don’t expect that to change anything in regards to its decision to make its “Moto” phones highly customizable. As early as May, the phone was referenced on Motorola’s Moto Maker website, where you can customize its current crop of handsets. That suggests a number of things: first, that it will be sold direct to consumers and, second, that you’ll be able to customize it in the same fashion as the Moto X.
Another leak earlier this month showed photos of the alleged device with a metal border and a wooden back panel, again suggesting that you’ll be at least able to choose the color of the phone’s backside. We’re expecting at least black and white color options for the front face, too, and it seems likely that accent colors are also going to be among the choices available to consumers.
2. A Larger Display and More Powerful Hardware
The Moto X was a hit and felt like a super fast smartphone, largely because Motorola left Android relatively untouched and only added a few features that made the phone even more useful, like Active Display.
We aren’t expecting the latest and greatest Snapdragon 805 processor here and, instead, that Motorola follows suit with hardware that’s already on the market, but with software that’s designed to run smooth as butter on top. The most recent rumors suggest that will include a Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.46GHz and 2GB of RAM.
We’re also expecting a larger 5.1-inch screen with a 1080p display, which will be a nice upgrade form the 720p screen on the Moto X.
3. Great Off-Contract Pricing Options
One of the reasons we loved the Moto X so much was that, after an initial exclusive period with AT&T, it launched to everyone with an affordable off-contract price. Sure, it was available at a lower cost if you wanted to sign a new two-year contract, but $499 was fair enough considering the great user experience it offered. Also, the company frequently held sales dropping the up-front cost by as much as $150, bringing the cost down to $349.99 on Cyber Monday, for example. It later hit regional carriers for as low as $299.
We expect that trend to continue with the Moto X+1 this year, but we’re still in the dark on what kind of price it will come in with. Considering the bevvy of new smartphones offered for under $400, like the OnePlus One, for example, it’s possible Motorola will try to tackle those competitors with an even lower price tag. We’ll find out on September 4.
4. Possible Tie-in with the Moto 360 Smartwatch
The Moto 360 is probably the most anticipated Android Wear smartwatch, and we were certainly a bit disappointed that we didn’t learn more about the pricing or launch date during Google I/O in June. Those details should be made clear on September 4, and while the smartwatch will definitely support other Android phones, we also wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of tie-in with the Moto X+1.
Motorola could offer bundled incentives, for example, or maybe the ability to take advantage of specific Moto X+1 features right from your wrist. It could even be as simple as Moto X+1 back covers that match special colored watch bands for the Moto 360. Keep in mind: Google isn’t allowing any of its Android Wear partners to add custom skins to their devices, so we don’t expect anything out of the ordinary here – but maybe there’s something special we don’t know about yet.
5. Android L Support
During the TechnoBuffalo Show podcast earlier this week, we had a few questions in regards to whether or not the Moto X and other Moto handsets will support Android L when it launches this fall. Motorola has already confirmed support for the Moto X and Moto G, and we’ll probably hear that same sentiment offered to the Moto X+1.
We suspect Motorola will reveal the device running Android KitKat right now, since Android L isn’t finished yet, but we wonder if the company will discuss it launching with Android L pre-installed, depending on when it’s set to hit the market. Either way, expect a quick update to Android L if it ships with KitKat out of the box – Motorola was one of the first companies to deliver KitKat to the Moto X.
6. A Much Better Camera
The Moto X was (and is) a fantastic smartphone, but one of its shortcomings is the camera. While it’s quick to launch and snaps decent pictures, it’s still inferior to other smartphone cameras on the market. In fact, that’s probably one of the biggest complaints the phone has faced since its launch. We think Motorola will learn from those lessons, and rumor has it we’ll see a 12-megapixel camera. That’s a slight bump from the 10-megapixel camera on the Moto X, but if Motorola chooses a higher quality sensor and primes the software ahead of time, we could see pictures that are leagues better than the Moto X photos.
The Moto X+1 is a highly anticipated smartphone and we think there’s a lot to look forward to. Motorola may wow us with new software features, hardware advances and customization options. We’re still in the dark until September 4, though, when the company will likely reveal the smartphone. TechnoBuffalo will be attending the press conference in Chicago and will bring you every detail as soon as it hits.