Nexus X: what to expect
Will Motorola’s first Google-backed smartphone be a Nexus device?
Project X is said to be the first official co-op between Motorola and Google since the latter bought the former for the princely sum of $12.5 billion (£8 billion) in 2012.
At the time of writing, the big question on everybody's lips is what these devices will be called - will they take Google's Nexus branding or launch as Motorola products?
Initial reports said the smartphone would be called the Motorola X, labelling it as the handset tasked with bringing the Motorola brand back in line with Samsung and Sony. Others suggested it was the fifth Nexus handset - the Motorola Nexus X, perhaps. A device that would be launched at Google I/O 2013 in May.
Back in December, the Wall Street Journal reported the following, claiming to have spoken to sources close to Google. ‘Motorola is designing its marquee handset with cutting-edge features to stand apart from existing phones when it is released next year.'
It added: ‘the previously undisclosed development effort is a key facet of Google's strategy for boosting the minuscule market position of the cellphone pioneer, based partly on bolstering quality while reducing the quantity of Motorola products.'
What this means for Motorola, according to the WSJ's source, is simple: it will only produce two types of handsets from now on - DROID and X-brand devices. All other product lines will cease once Google's vision for Motorola's re-brand takes affect during the first half of 2013.
So who's building the next Nexus handset? Project X automatically makes us think of Google's Nexus logo whenever we read it, and Motorola is now part of Google. Viewed this way it makes perfect sense for Motorola to build the next Nexus handset.
Doing it this way would also keep the costs down. The Nexus 4 packed high-end hardware and spec and retailed direct from Google for just £279 (16GB), undercutting everything else in the market by a substantial amount. LG, the company that built the phone, advised EU retailers to sell it for 599 Euros offline.
‘Selling the Nexus 4 for so cheap means less profit on the hardware, but potentially more people defecting to Android and using Google's Play store,' said Quo Circa analyst Rob Bamforth. ‘It's also a kick in the teeth for OEMs as well,' Bamforth added, talking about the affect of the Nexus 4 on Google's long-standing hardware partners.
Google has a sprawling business and huge levels of capital at its disposal. It also controls the entire Android ecosystem, its associated services, and the Play store, taking a cut of all the content that's sold through it.