December 22, 2012
X Marks The Spot For Rumored Google Phone: WSJ
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While Google´s Android is the most popular smartphone operating system in the world, the most popular handsets for it are from Samsung. Likewise Apple still has the single most popular handset in its iPhone. Now it looks like Google could be looking to take on friend and foe alike with a device known internally as the “X phone.”The Wall Street Journal reported this device could be coming from Motorola, which Google acquired earlier this year for $12.5 billion. Following the purchase, it was widely reported Google had looked to acquire Motorola´s plethora of patents as well as its engineering expertise.
Now it appears Google did have something besides patents in mind when it purchased Motorola Mobility, as it is working on a new handset. Due out next year, it is not likely that it will replace the work Motorola may continue to pursue with the Droid line of handsets, but rather could be a new product altogether.
And Google could be looking to do something similar to what it´s done with the Nexus, as in create a line of products. Rumors have circulated in addition to an X Phone there could be an X Tablet somewhere in the pipeline, but whether that is just vaporware at this point isn´t known.
The Verge noted on Friday this new handset could be looking to fill the void Apple has opened with debacles such as mapping software. But the handset could also offer a high-quality camera and photo software, something the Nexus has failed to deliver — and thus would compete with the iPhone on its home turf.
Beyond that, the rest is just rumor and speculation. Engadget noted Google has reportedly researched the possibilities of creating a bendable display, but such a phone is unlikely to come out anytime soon. It could also include image and gesture-recognition technology from Viewdle, which Motorola Mobility under Google acquired back in October — and barely raised interest at the time.
What is known is the project is being led by Lior Ron, a former Google product manager and the handset will support those aforementioned photo capabilities along with improved color saturation. Adding those features isn´t a problem and Motorola does have some experience with such functionality but the bigger problem is providing it along with a battery that can go the distance.
It is also expected Motorola will continue to produce devices for carrier partner Verizon, so it isn´t clear if the X Phone or any subsequent X Tablet would be Verizon exclusives as well. Nor is it likely Samsung will move away from its Android-based handsets.
Instead it seems likely Google and Samsung will be Android partners but handset rivals. Politics may make for strange bedfellows, but in the mobile space, friends and enemies blur so much it is hard to keep track which is which.