Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility has been underwhelming to say the least. The war chest of over 17,000 patents is apparently worth much less than initially expected, and besides not producing any meaningful devices since being absorbed, the unit reported a $270 million loss in the first quarter alone.
Now the company is looking to Motorola’s long-rumored "X Phone" to turn things around. Dennis Woodside, Motorola Mobility’s current CEO, finally confirmed the phone's existense at D11, and said it will be released in the US by October 2013. Dubbed Moto X, this is just one of several handsets that will be added to the product line. “We’ll launch a handful of smartphones that aren’t the end, but show where the company is headed,” he said.
Despite the project’s secrecy, Woodside shared a few tidbits that caught the attention of tech enthusiasts. According to the executive, Moto X will be aware of its nearby surroundings. For example, the new phone will be capable of monitoring the user’s heart rate, react to speed changes, and even detect its own location. According to Cnet, many of these characteristics were previously incorporated into Motorola’s Moto Actv smart watch, but have so far eluded the smartphone market. “What Motorola learned was how to manage very-low-power sensors. They took those learnings to the smartphone”, Woodside added.
The big question is how Google will impact Motorola’s business. At this point in time, it looks as though Motorola will receive financial and legal support from its parent company, but that’s about it. The Android team will remain a separate entity and Motorola will be treated as any other smartphone partner. The major advantage that Google can provide is the financial backing to pursue more ambitious projects. “We will take it back to the roots of innovation and build devices that have the potential to change people’s lives,” said Woodside.