Motorola isn't exactly the hottest name in smartphones these days, but it has been planning its comeback for quite some time. Back in December, we covered the company's so-called "X phone," which was supposed to contain some fancy new features, including (potentially) a new camera and a ceramic body. Now, based on some comments by Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, The "X phone" has a name: the Moto X.
More than a name, it also has a tentative release date and a birthplace. The smartphone will be coming this summer, according to a Motorola spokesperson, and will be built in a new facility outside of Fort Worth, Texas.
The manufacturing facility building these phones is one that was designed and built by Nokia in the 1990s for manufacturing feature phones, and it was constructed with mobile device assembly in mind—in an interview with a Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate, Motorola Vice President Mark Randall said that the building's "docks, floor design, and mezzanine" are all laid out with an eye toward phone manufacturing. The plant is about 500,000 square feet and will employ about 2,000 people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It will be owned and operated by Singapore-based Flextronics International Ltd.
The Moto X will be the first smartphone to be "made in the USA," although "made" here refers primarily to assembly, since the internal components will still be sourced from suppliers all over the globe. Still, the move to emphasize domestic assembly is a big selling point in Motorola's favor and one that we expect will resonate strongly with consumers; public awareness about the conditions of workers in Chinese factories is widespread, and past stories we've run about Apple's new push for domestic manufacturing have drawn no small number of positive comments.
"It's obviously our major market so, for us, having manufacturing here gets us much closer to our key customers and partners as well as our end users," said Motorola spokesperson Will Moss, speaking to the AP. "It makes for much leaner, more efficient operations."
Details on the subject of that operation, the Moto X, are so far pretty slim. Motorola CEO Woodside mentioned that the device will be adept at conserving energy and sipping power, and it will include the ability to figure out where it is and what it's being used for. It will be also able to de-power parts of itself in response to different usage scenarios. The phone will feature "processors that will help save power," but no useful details were provided on what SoC we might actually find inside. ABC News says that the Moto X will feature an OLED screen, though there isn't any word yet on what type.
Motorola is owned by Google, so expect the Moto X to be running Android Jelly Bean when it appears—with luck, the latest available version, though that's sadly not a sure bet. No price or firm release date other than "this summer" have yet been announced.