For the Android user, value has always been defined by numbers and hard facts, like processor speed and screen size, but rarely on the less tangible aspects that make up the experience of actually using the phone. Apple have basically owned this strategy since day one and have been quite successful – specs are meaningless if you can deliver an elegant experience. For what I feel is the first time, an OEM has finally figured how to use Android as intended, and it shouldn’t be too shocking they happen to be owned by Google.
Android’s fatal flaw in the recent, more polished iterations of the OS has been the lack of understanding from OEMs about the value they can bring. From a strategic perspective, Motorola understood this shortcoming and built the Moto X to compete in another category altogether.
All-in-one design – just like the iphone, there is nothing to pull apart on this phone. No removable battery, no SD slot. Hardcore Android lovers would call this a con, not a pro, but the simplicity of the design will be appreciated by those that just want a no-hassle, solid phone.
Additions that compliment Android, not rewrite it – unlike Samsung’s S-EVERYTHING, the Moto X builds on Android to give a few extra features, like quick access to the camera and voice commands (okay Google Now).
Pulled back specs to save battery life – the screen resolution is not as big as some of its competitors, but the Moto X still delivers an above average visual experience without killing the battery in half a day.
The Moto X marks a fork in the road for the Android operating system. On one path you have Samsung and other OEM’s trying to recreate the wheel by heavily modifying the OS to their liking, and on the other you have the Moto X.
Interestingly, Motorola’s strategy isn’t targeting the ‘average Android user’, it’s an entirely different approach, and it makes business sense. The mobile phone market is heavily saturated, most customers will already have the competition’s products and an affiliation to another brand. Aligning a products vision and experience with something an Apple customer might resonate with, rather than playing the numbers game with Android fans opens up a new and largely unchallenged market.
All of this aside, it’s important to keep in mind that a strategy is only as good as its execution. iPhone fans still need to be exposed to the maturity of the OS and the capabilities of the Moto X, and Android fans need to see the value in a solid phone that may not have bleeding edge hardware but works amazingly well. It’s a tough sell, but this phone might stand a chance to act as a beacon for other manufacturers and the way forward for the Android ecosystem.