Moto X 2nd generation VS Moto X 1st generation: What’s new in the new Moto X (Moto X 2014) ?

Moto X 2nd generation vs Moto X 1st generationThe new Moto X, a successor for Moto X 2013   was announced early this month. You can pre-order this new Moto X (aka Moto X 2nd generation) from today..

Some Moto X owners are curious about what’s new in the new Moto X (Moto X 2nd generation).  This post will give you the answer.

First, the official name of the new Moto X is Moto X 2nd generation (Moto X 2nd Gen), not Moto X+1 as rumored. Of course, many may just call it Moto X 2014.

Let’s check the comparison of Moto X 2nd generation vs Moto X 1st generation.

1. Cheaper: Moto X 2nd generation vs Moto X 1st generation

One of the biggest mistake preventing Moto X (1st Gen.) to get the deserved  popularity is the stupid pricing strategy  for the old Moto X in last year.

Although almost all potential buyers are excited with the unique features in Moto X 1st generation:  touchless control (now it is re-branded as Moto Voice), Motorola Assist, Active Display and possible customization (through Moto Maker), they did not become a Moto X owner due to the wrong pricing strategy as analysed in this post: Why Moto X failed to save Motorola?

Moto X 1st generation was  packed with middle-range hardware (with best software). The pricing Motorola asked is that for the smartphones with top-notch hardware.

For the new Moto X (Moto X 2nd generation), Motorola apparently corrects this mistake. The most advanced  and high quality hardware, with the best (arguable) Android experience, is asking for a cheaper price!

The contract-free, unlocked  2nd generation Moto X (Moto X Pure edition) starts from $499. This is one of the most affordable flagship phones in 2014.

2. Faster: Moto X 2nd generation vs Moto X 1st generation

The new Moto X (Moto X 2nd generation) got a big update in processor and graphics. It is at least  3 times faster than 1st generation Moto X.

The second generation of Moto X is  equipped with Quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (which has 3 times raw processing  power than Snapdragon … Continue to read....

What’s new in Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update?

moto_x_kitkat_4_4_3_updateKitKat 4.4.3 is coming to Moto X!

T-Mobile and Sprint customers should get the Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update already. Others will get it soon.

Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update is mainly on  bug fixes and framework update. So, you probably will not notice any difference after the update.

Actually, there are few notable features or improvement you should try in this Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update.

Motorola Alert

Motorola Alert is an extremely useful emergency alert app that lets you quickly alert people important to you when you need them.  It was initially released as an exclusive app for Moto E. Now it works with Moot X and Moto G as well.

Motorola Alert is also an location reminding app. The Follow Me and Meet Me modes are useful in notifying your whereabouts to your loved ones.

For more detail on the usage of Motorola Alert, please read this detailed guide: http://motoeguide.com/motorola-alert-guide/

Pause the video recording

One feature missed in Moot X camera app is the pause button. When recording a video with Moto X, you had no way to pause the recording. You had to stop it and started a new video if you actually just wanted to pause the recording for  a few seconds.  This made the user interface of the camera app very simple and clean.

But omitting the pause button irritated some Moto X owners. A lot of users are not sure how to combine a few videos into one, although it is trivial for nerds.

In this Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update, Motorola brings back this pause button for video recording.

Improved camera

Moto X has a quite fast camera. Although the image quality is not outstanding, the photos are usually acceptable with all default settings. In other words, you get decent pictures without fiddling around the camera settings and options.

In this Moto X KitKat 4.4.3 update, Motorola mainly addressed 3 reported issues:

  • Unrealistic color when flash is used. Sometimes, the photos was taken as if some filters were applied on the lens. In this update, you will get more realistic colors
Continue to read....

Why Moto X failed to save Motorola?

motox-motorola-lenovoLenovo’s $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola  will be approved soon. Motorola Mobility, a Google company, will soon become a Lenovo company.

Moto X, the last bet of Motorola, failed to rescue Motorola from being sold. Bye bye Motorola!

It is a tragedy for all our Moto X fans. 

After 6 months, Moto X is still unique and attractive, compared to recently announced Samsung Galaxy S5 and SonyXperia Z2.

But why did Moto X fail to fly? I believe you may have the same question.

USA is not the whole world

The tagline of Moto X is “The only smartphone assembled in the U.S.A”  or “The first smartphone designed, engineered and assembled in the USA”.

It is a smart marketing strategy for US market.

But it is not a good sales strategy if you make it “the only smartphone that are exclusive to USA (and Canada)“.

After Motorola was bought by Google, most international operations stopped. This may save cost, but reducing sales and marketing power in such regions also means giving up such markets.

Moto X got excellent reviews from most technical media and geeks. But the reception of US consumers is another story. The sales of Moto X in US is far below the expectations from the launch day.

At the same time,  a lot of international consumers are excited about this phone,but it is not available for them. Technical difficulties in touchless control for non-English languages are just an excuse. Please remember voice command with non-English languages had been used in many old smartphones.

Even for British English, it tooks Motorola 3-4 months  to figure out.

Putting all eggs in one basket! Even your grandma knows this is not a good idea. But these well-paid MBAs ignore this simple principle.

After more than 6 months, Moto X finally will go to more non-USA regions. But who cares about a 6-month-old smartphone when the life cycle of the smartphone is just about 12 months?

Stupid pricing strategy

The hardware specs put Moto X among the middle range smartphones.

Of course, the software puts Moto X in … Continue to read....

How to add Flash Player support on Moto X (especially after KitKat update)?

moto-x-flash-playerFlash (flash player) is NOT supported on Moto X, by default.  This is not a decision of Motorola. It is actually a decision of Google and Adobe two years ago.  Adobe withdrew the flash player app from Google Play store in August 15 2012.

Essentially, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich, ICS) is the last version of Android with official flash player support.

Of course, if you need flash player for Moto X, this post will guide you to enable the flash support on Moto X.

If you think your Chrome browser in Moto X  supports flash natively as the Chrome browser in desktop, you are wrong. Chrome for Android (the default browser in Moto X) never supports Flash.

When you received your Moto X, you probably already realized you cannot open any sites that require flash player.

The flash player solution for Galaxy S4 was valid for Moto X before the KitKat (Android 4.4) update for Moto X arrived last November.  You can still use the solution if your Moto X has not updated to KitKat. But I would recommend you to update to Kitkat, because of the new features and improvements for your Moto X after the KitKat update.

Once you update your Moto X to KitKat, you will find the flash does not work again.

In KitKat, Google finally cut the cord for flash. The old flash player plugins in some third-party browsers  do not work any more. This is the reason why the flash player solution for Galaxy S4 was not working for Moto X after the KitKat update.

Luckily, the new workaround is very simple. Most of the browsers are not working. The recommended (and working) browser with flash player support in Moto X is Dolphin browser.

Steps of adding flash support to Moto X (before or after KitKat update)

To add flash support to Moto X (install flash player on Moto X), you can follow the following steps.

Step 1: Install ES File Explorer from Google Play Store

Open Google Play store on Moto X and search for ES File Explorer. Alternatively, you can … Continue to read....

How to solve battery life problem of Moto X after KitKat (Android 4.4) update

moto x battery life after KitKat updateAndroid  4.4 (KitKat) update for Moto X is really a sweet treat  for all Moto X owners. Most of us are enjoying the new and improved features in our Moto X after the KitKat update.

However, some users reported  battery drain problems (i.e., shorter battery life) after the Android 4.4 update. They noticed the battery percentage drops faster than that before the update.  For example, after 8 hours normal usage,  your Moto X now reports  less than 15% juice left.  But you remeber before the KitKat update, you used to get about 30% left when reaching home. It seems your Moto X drains battery faster after the Android 4.4 update.

The most likely cause of the battery life issue in Moto X: battery calibration

Why does the battery life of Moto X become shorter after the KitKat update? Is something  wrong with the Android 4.4? or is something  wrong with the Moto X battery?

The answer is:  there is nothing wrong with the Android 4.4 (KitKat) or Moto X.  Most of the time,  it is just battery calibration issue. Of course, it occasionally  may be caused by some crappy apps.

So if you are facing this battery life issue  or you feel the Moto X drains battery faster now, you may just follow the following 4 steps top solve the battery life issues for your Moto X.

5-step solution for battery life problem in Moto X

  • Step 1:  Use your Moto X as normal

  • Step 2:  When battery percentage is lower than 5%, watch videos, surf the web, and do whatever that drains battery faster

  • Step 3:  Continue to use  your Moto X until it shuts down itself (no more juice)

  • Step 4: Charge your Moto X for 3-4 hours without powering it on.

  • Step 5: Power on your Moto X, and use it as normal.

Why need I drain the battery completely?

It sounds stupid that your Moto X has to “guess”, not  measure, the juice left. But this is the reality for all smartphones today.

Moto X gives you the percentage of battery juice left based … Continue to read....

Top 10 improvements in Android KitKat update for your Moto X

Moto X  with Android 4.4 kitkat Motorola beats all Android smartphone makers again with the Android 4.4 (KitKat) update!

When Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG are still struggling to push Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean 4.3) update for their flagship phones, Motorola gives us the KitKat treat. We got this Android 4.4 update even a few days earlier than the owners of pure Android Nexus 4.

And it seems the update works very smoothly. Most Moto X owners are enjoying the updated phone. As a contrast, a lot of Samsung Galaxy S4 owners are grumbling about the latest Android 4.3 update.

There are quite a lot of improvements in the Android 4.4 (KitKat) update for Moto X. In this post, you will learn the top 10 improvements or new features you may enjoy everyday.

1. Unified messaging  with Hangouts

If you have  mixed contacts on phone and Google, you know all the contacts are combined in your phone.  The new Hangouts app now moves a step further: it can (optional) combine your messages (SMS, MMS) with all other conversations in Hangouts. With the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same app, alongside your other conversations and video calls.

The new Hangouts app also allows  you  to share your location and send animated GIFs. This makes it better than the most popular SMS app: WhatsApp.

Essentially, the new Hangouts app eliminates the need of a separate messaging app. Of course, if you are not ready for this change, you can still use messaging and Hangouts individually (although they share the same contact list).

2. Drag to focus and expose

You can focus on any location on the viewfinder by just dragging the crosshair to the desired objects or location. Moto X will automatically adjust the expose and lighting conditions for the photo.  The result is better image quality.

This is actually a nice enhancement of  the old  “touch to focus”.  You now get the option with a new circular, on screen control that can be dragged by your finger around the viewfinder to adjust a photo’s focus and exposure.… Continue to read....

Moto X Price Halved (including Moto Maker)

motox_moto-makerIt seems Motorola (Google) finally realized the initial price of Moto X was not accepted well by consumers, even among long-term Motorola enthusiasts.

After 2 months of  launching the handset,  Motorola halved the price of Moto X  to $99.99 (with 2 year contract) quietly.  No public announcement. This includes Moto Maker, which allows you to customize your Moto X. Very likely, the contract-free Moto X price will drop within next a few weeks.

So, if price pushed you away from getting a Moto X, now it is probably the good time to get your hands on a new Moto X. It is unlikely to see a further price cut for this handset in next a few months.

$99.99 is actually the most reasonable price for this handset.  Consumers still cares about specs, although user experiences are getting important day by day.

No one denies the unparalleled software innovation in Moto X (e.g., touchless control, Motorola Assistant), and most users enjoy them. The recent software update fixed most camera issues. Moto X is arguably the most attractive phone in the market.

Technically, the hardware in Moto X  is more than sufficient  thanks to the optimization of the code and close-to-vanilla-Android implementation. Moto X is actually more snappy than Galaxy S4 and HTC One. However, consumers are still thinking about hardware specs when touching the wallet. They are still unwilling to pay too much premium for optimized software.  The mid-range hardware specs spoil the perfect image of Moto X. Most consumers and reviewers were surprised when the price of Moto X was announced in August.

This is a lesson Motorola should learn.  Consumers are not ready to ignore hardware specs.

The price reduction is a correct step to educate consumers what a smartphone should be.  Without reaching the hands of consumers, all innovations are wasted, and competitors will close the gap soon.  Very likely, Moto Maker will not be exclusive to AT & T after middle or  late November.  This  will remove another barrier between Moto X and its potential buyers.

Another reason of … Continue to read....

First major software update for Moto X

moto-x-t-mobileMotorola rolled out the first major software update for Moto X (139.12.57.ghost_row.Retail.en.US).  Significant improvements are expected. So, it is recommended to apply  this update.

Although this update is for T-Mobile Moto X users, users in other networks will receive similar update in a few days (up to a few weeks).

According to the release note, this update boosts the following improvements:

  1. Improved Voice Quality:  Fixed an issue that could sometimes result in choppy audio being heard by the person you’re talking with on your Moto X
  2. Improved Photo Quality:  Improved capture of natural light (auto-white balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes
  3. Improved Focus: Faster touch to focus time and reduced unnecessary refocusing in low light conditions and scenes with continuous motion
  4. Faster Switching:  Shortened the time it takes to switch between rear and front-facing cameras, as well as transition between the viewfinder and the Gallery app
  5. Enhanced Touchless Control: Increased accuracy and responsiveness when using Touchless Control, and added easier training of the “OK Google Now” trigger
  6. Improved Motorola Migrate Experience:  Improved transfer of content from an old Android phone to a new Motorola phone
  7. Google Drive – 50GB Promotion:  Added a promotion expiration date – customers have 30 days from phone activation or installation of this update to redeem the 50GB offer
  8. Lost Device Finder:  Fixed an issue that could sometimes prevent a lost phone from reporting its location to the Moto Care Lost Device Finder service
  9. Driving Detection: Fixed an issue that could sometimes cause the phone to read out text messages and announce calls when not in Drive mode

The update is delivered through OTA. If you did not receive the update notification, you can go to Settings–About Phone–Software updates.

Before downloading and installing, you should backup any important info/files.

Hope you enjoy the update.… Continue to read....

Moto X or HTC One?

htc-one-vs-moto-xWhen I was asked about the “alternatives”  for Moto X, the firs one popping out  is HTC One. Not just because of the similar screen size.

But yes, Moto X and HTC One both have small display (compared with other flagship Android phones from Samsung,  Sony and LG). It is 4.7″. Actually the display is not small. Both of them use very thin bezel and therefore, they looks even smaller than their actual size. Just for your information, Moto X has similar front surface area with iPhone 5, but with 20% more display space.

Unlike Asian users, most American users still prefer one-handed smartphone, i.e, the phone can be easily operated with one hand. Moto X apparently caters such demand. It is not a coincidence that both Moto X and HTC One are in the same size range of iPhone 5.  Of course, Android users are spoiled  with large display, so 4.7″ screen is a reasonable compromise.

Design and build quality

Among today’s Android manufactures, HTC is still a  leader in hardware design. I’m not talking about market share, for which HTC is plummeting. Maybe HTC will have to leave US market just in 2 to 3 years if the trend cannot be reversed.

The design of HTC One seems better than Moto X. The metal body will strengthen your impression when you compare Moto X and HTC One side by side.

Moto X actually deviates from Motorola’s old design,  especially the robotic Droid design. The exterior design of Moto X is very similar to HTC One: simple and elegant. What drags Moto X down is the plastic feeling.  Because Moto X wants to offer customization on the back plate, metal or tempered glass is out of the options.

So, from the view point of design and build quality, HTC One is surely better.

BTW, “designed, engineered and assembled in the USA” does not help much on design and build quality for Moto X.

Software

Both Moto X and HTC One run Android Jelly Bean 4.2. Both will be upgraded to 4.3 in a couple of months.

Moto X … Continue to read....

Top 5 Unique Features of Moto X

Moto-X-official-photoMoto X is finally announced on August 1.  By the end of this month, you may have the chance to get one in your pocket from the major carriers in US or BestBuy.

The biggest surprise of Moto X is not the phone, is its  price. Motorola asks for similar price as  that for Galaxy S4 and HTC One, although the hardware specifications are obviously inferior (arguable).

Motorola is confident consumers will like their unique features and fork money for features rather than hardware specs. They may be correct. Most flagship Android phones are obsessed with hardware specs, and therefore are overpowered (i.e., wasted).

The problem is what these features are and why people are willing to pay for them instead of better specs.

In this post, I will share with you the top 5 unique features of Mot X.

Touchless control

Touchless control is the killer feature of Moto X.  You can control and operate the phone without touching it. It is also dam smart as well: it knows what to do and when.

Essentially, it is a combination of voice control and Google Now. What makes Moto X stand out of the crowd of Siri, S Voice and other similar apps  is  that you can use voice control  even the phone is locked. “OK Google Now” is the hot words (Moto magic) to wake up the phone.  You probably can configure this to something else like “Oh, Moto Magic” if you want.

More interestingly, Moto X only responds to your command, not others’. If 10 other people around you shout “OK Google Now” , your Moto X will not respond to them, because it knows your voice and knows you are the master. It is more loyal  than you secretary.

Google Now is one of the best innovations from Google. It  was officially unveiled in Google I/O 2012. Its predictive, not responsive, thinking make the smartphone smarter.  By combining voice control and  Google Now, Moto X  now is No.1 in intelligence and voice control among smartphones. There are no comparable products in the market yet. Of … Continue to read....

What is Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System?

x8-mobile-computing-system-300On July 23, Motorola Mobility (a subsidy of Google) unveiled  the new generation of Verizon Droid phones (Droid Ultra, Droid Mini and Droid Maxx). The most interesting info from the event is that all these 3 phones are powered by custom-made system-on-a-chip (SoC) (based on Snapdragon S4 Pro), not the stock Snapdragon chip.

Motorola named it as the X8 mobile  computing system.  The coming Moto X phone will surely be powered by this mobile computing system.

What makes this X8 mobile computing system unique?  Will it be  a game changer for mobile phones? Why it it named as a “computing system”?

The uniqueness of X8 is its two additional cores. There are totally 8 cores in X8 (this probably explains why it is named as X8). Among them,  two CPU cores, four GPU cores, one natural language processor/core, and one contextual  computing processor/core.

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S4, you probably already have a Exynos Octa 5, which has 8 cores. But all of them are CPU cores.   The 4 A15 cores at 1.8GHz  are for CPU intensive jobs, and another 4 A7 cores at 1.2GHz are for less intensive jobs to save power.

So,  8-core (actually 4 CPU cores) itself has nothing to boost. Most 2012/2013 flagship smartphones already have quad-core inside: Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S4, HTC One, HTC Butterfly, Sony Xperia Z…

We are excited about Motorola’s X8 because of their two non-conventional cores.

With the Motorola X8’s natural language processor,  Moto X is  ready to respond any voice commands without touching your phone.  It should work even when  the display is off. If Motorola can (why not?) combine this capability with Google Now, the Moto X will definitely give owner an exceptional experience. You can instantly get the  traffic info, reminders, news, calling and texting information. This is clearly demoed in the Rogers’s video.

The  contextual computing processor is even more useful.  It simply makes Moto X  smarter. The phone  always knows whether your Moto X is in your pocket, in your hand or in  your … Continue to read....

Moto X will be officially announced on August 1: will it be a game changer?

moto-x-eventFinally, the birthday of the Moto X was confirmed. It will be on August 1, 2013.

According to Business Insider, Motorola is sending out invitations for the Moto X event in New York on August 1. Obviously, Moto X will be announced in this event.

We will see this long -awaited smartphone on the stage in New York.  The rumors will stop then.

It is the last chance for Motorola Mobility  in the fast-growing mobile phone industry. This is the sad fact for the past market leader in this industry.  We are interested in this Moto X phone based on rumors; but we are more eager to know whether the 12.5 billion Google acquisition will save Motorola or will accelerate the death of Motorola.

Moto X  is the first smartphone project in Motorola with Google’s leadership.  Will it be a game changer?

The rumored specs ( 2GB RAM, 16GB/32GB storage, 10MP  clear pixel camera, 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 720p HD display) indicate Moto X is targeting the middle range market. This market is volatile because major players just provide a strip-down version of the high-end flagship models. Potential users are driven away to either high-end or budget end, because there are no exciting offers in this category.

So, aiming at mid-range market is a smart move, if Motorola prices the Moto X wisely.

Currently,  most high-end smartphones are overpowered, for example, a full HD display on a 4-5″ screen does not make sense, but all manufactures are in the race of hardware, because this is the easiest way to “differentiate” to competitors. Eventually, consumers are over-paying.

What was overlooked is the day-to-day user experience.  Based on the leaked (official) Roger video, Moto X does a quite good job in this aspect. For example, the always-on voice activation (OK Moto Magic), notification screen when screen is off, double twist (although  a bit awkward, maybe customizable) to launch camera.

Moto X will very likely come with Android 4.3 with very minor customization. It is not Nexus, but user experience will be very similar. Although it is arguable whether the … Continue to read....