The Tech News Blog

January 29, 2014

Google to Sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91B

Moto X (c)

In a surprise announcement, Google today said it will sell the Motorola Mobility smartphone business to Lenovo for approximately $2.91 billion.

The move is intended to strengthen Lenovo's position in the smartphone market, particularly North America, Latin America, and Western Europe. The deal includes the Motorola brand and Motorola Mobility's smartphone portfolio, like the Moto X (pictured), Moto G, and Droid Ultra series. Lenovo will take ownership of the future Motorola Mobility product roadmap.

Google, however, will hold on to the "vast majority" of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, including current patent applications and invention disclosures. Google will license this technology to Lenovo, but Lenovo will get more than 2,000 patent assets.

The deal includes $660 million in cash and $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares; the remaining $1.5 billion will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note.

"The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones. We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space," Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said in a statement. "We are confident that we can bring together the best of both companies to deliver products customers will love and a strong, growing business.

October 26, 2013

Motorola Drops Moto X Price to $99

Moto X Press ShotsMotorola is giving its flagship Moto X smartphone a price cut, offering the gadget for $99.

Orders must be placed through Motorola's Moto Maker website, and buyers need to commit to a two-year contract.

The Motorola website also says existing Moto X owners might be eligible for a $100 rebate, which will be distributed via a Verizon Wireless gift card, Motorola Visa Prepaid card, carrier credit, or other equivalent at Motorola's discretion.

The smartphone is available from all major U.S. carriers and US Cellular, but only AT&T customers can customize their Moto X with different colors and accents via Moto Maker. That option is supposed to open to Verizon customers later this year, but an exact date has not been announced.

Motorola unveiled the Moto X on Aug. 1, and it arrived later that month for $199.99. The Moto X sports a 4.7-inch, 1,280-by-720 display with 316 pixels per inch, and runs Android 4.2.2. On the inside, the Moto X sports the new Motorola X8 mobile computing system that includes several chips: a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, as well as a natural language processor and a contextual computing processor that handles the sensors, both developed by Motorola.

August 16, 2013

Motorola Moto X Arrives on AT&T Aug. 23

Moto X (c)

The Motorola Moto X will hit AT&T on Aug. 23, at which point smartphone buyers can opt to color customize their gadget via Moto Maker.

The black, white, and customizable Moto X will be in stores next Friday. But starting Aug. 19, AT&T will pick a few people who pre-register to design and receive their Moto X before its general release.

The 16GB Moto X will be $199.99 while the 32GB will set you back $249.99, both with a two-year contract.

Initially, AT&T will be the only carrier offering the Moto Maker experience with the Moto X. The service lets buyers choose from various color customizations, as well as engravings and home-screen greetings. Eventually, it will be available on other carriers, but AT&T is the launch partner.

For a limited time, meanwhile, AT&T customers can also get a free Motorola Skip, a wearable accessory that lets Moto X users more easily unlock their device.

August 1, 2013

Motorola Unveils 4.7-Inch Moto X Smartphone

Moto X (c)

After months of rumors, Motorola on Thursday officially unveiled the Moto X, its newest flagship smartphone.

Though Motorola unveiled a new Droid lineup just last week, the Moto X is the next big thing for the company. It is "the first device that was built from scratch after the Google acquisition," Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside told reporters today, and is effectively the "relaunch of Motorola."

The Moto X sports a 4.7-inch, 1,280-by-720 display with 316 pixels per inch. Rick Osterloh, Motorola's senior vice present of product management, said the company spent time "studying peoples' hands" to see which size feels most comfortable in the hand.

"Our primary goal was comfort," Osterloh said, and the resulting Moto X screen "was the one the majority of smartphone users wanted to carry." Motorola tried to get as much screen "as humanly possible" on the device and finished with a display that covers over 70 percent of the surface of the phone, he said.

The Moto X features a curved back, which Motorola selected because "your palm is not flat," Osterloh said.

The device will run Android 4.2.2 at launch; spokespeople did not have any timetables on a possible bump to Android 4.3, which launched last month on the new Nexus 7.

July 21, 2013

Motorola Sends Invites for Aug. 1 Moto X Launch

Motorola X InviteMotorola will unveil its next flagship smartphone, the Moto X, at an event in New York City on Aug. 1.

The invite, featuring a group of 20-somethings holding black and white Moto X's, says simply "Moto X, August 1, New York."

Google-owned Motorola Mobility has been teasing the Moto X for several months, though rumors about a mysterious Google "X Phone" started late last year. It will be the first major release for Motorola since the Google acquisition closed in May 2012, and all eyes are on the company to see if its Android-based smartphone can truly do battle with Samsung's Galaxy lineup.

During May's All Things D conference, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside confirmed the Moto X name and said the device would arrive by October.

Earlier this month, Motorola took out a full-page ad in several newspapers to tease the Moto X. The company said it is the "first smartphone that you can design yourself," which reportedly relates to color options and engravings. Shutterbugs at the Allen and Co media conference also managed to capture photos of Eric Schmidt using what appeared to be the Moto X.

July 3, 2013

Moto X Ad Tips Phone ‘You Can Design Yourself’

Moto X Ad

Motorola has revealed a few more details about its upcoming Moto X smartphone, which users can apparently design themselves.

In a full-page ad revealed this week in AdAge, Motorola says the Moto X is the "first smartphone that you can design yourself."

The phone maker doesn't go into further detail, except to say that "you should have the freedom to design the things in your life to be as unique as you are." The ad doesn't actually show the phone, opting instead for two people jumping off a dock into a lake.

This could mean some sort of customization option, perhaps like the color options for Nokia's Lumia lineup, or it could just mean that Motorola took user requests into consideration when designing the Moto X. We'll have to wait until its official release to find out, which Motorola says will be "soon."

In the ad, the Google-owned company also stresses that the Moto X will be "designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA," which Motorola said is only just the beginning.

May 30, 2013

Report: Google to Release Motorola’s Moto X Smartphone by Fall

Motorola Dennis WoodsideGoogle's promised Moto X smartphone didn't turn up at the Google I/O developer conference earlier this month but it will arrive by October, according to Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside.

Woodside, speaking Wednesday evening at All Thing D's D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., "confirmed the Moto X name, said the phone would be made in the U.S., and indicated that a variety of always-on sensors would help define the product," the tech site's Ina Fried reported.

Motorola Mobility, acquired by Google for $12.5 billion last August, is planning to release "several new phones" in the fall, All Things D quoted Woodside, pictured above, as saying after speaking on the main stage at D11. The Moto X, formerly known as Google's "X Phone," uses "battery-friendly sensor technology" similar to that found in Motorola Mobility's MotoActv smart watch.

"What Motorola learned was how to manage very-low-power sensors. They took those learnings to the smartphone," Woodside told All Things D, hinting that the MotoActv's constant monitoring of a wearer's location and heart rate would be incorporated in the coming Moto X smartphone.

During his talk at D11, Woodside said Motorola's entire smartphone product line "will be revamped," according to CNET's Dan Farber, who was in attendance.

"We'll launch a handful of smartphones that aren't the end, but show where the company is heading," the tech site quoted him as saying.

Google is believed to have gobbled up the consumer electronics arm of Motorola last year as much for its impressive array of patents as for its actual product portfolio. But Farber noted that Motorola Mobility's performance outside of the courtrooms where it's battled the likes of Microsoft and Apple in recent months has been distressing, even for an asset acquired mainly for its IP.

May 28, 2013

Verizon Launches Motorola Droid Razr M, Razr HD in Blue

Blue Droid Razr M

If you're interested in either the Motorola Droid Razr M, or the higher-end Razr HD but not exactly digging the current black and white color options, then we have some potentially good news.

Verizon just launched the Razr M and Razr HD smartphones in a cobalt blue color, both of which are now available for purchase on Verizon's website.

The blue paint job doesn't exactly cover either phone entirely, however. On the Razr M (left), the blue color covers the metal case surrounding the screen and sides of the device, while the screen bezel and back plate are still black for a two-tone look. The same is true for the Razr HD (below right), which has an even smaller strip of blue along the rim of the phone.

March 8, 2013

Google Cutting 1,200 More Motorola Mobility Jobs

Google Motorola Deal

Google is cutting about 1,200 more jobs in its Motorola Mobility unit, according to a new report.

The downsizing comes just seven months after Google announced about 4,000 Motorola Mobility job cuts, closed about one-third of its production facilities, and streamlined its mobile lineup. The latest round of cuts will reduce the Motorola Mobility workforce by more than 10 percent to just fewer than 10,000 employees, according to a Friday report from The Wall Street Journal.

"These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer," a Google spokesman said in a statement to "It's obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition."

In an email to Motorola staff obtained by the Journal, Google said that "while we're very optimistic about the new products in our pipeline, we still face challenges. Our costs are too high, we're operating in markets where we're not competitive and we're losing money."

The layoffs will affect Motorola employees in the U.S., China, and India, with most of the cuts reportedly occurring outside of the U.S.

February 22, 2013

Sorry Motorola, Samsung and Apple Phones Top Reliability Survey

Apple vs. Samsung vs. Nokia vs. Motorola

Every smartphone has it flaws, but according to FixYa, Apple's iPhone has less than others.

Cupertino's popular device beat out Samsung, Nokia, and Motorola in terms of reliability, based on FixYa's analysis of troubleshooting requests.

According to the FixYa Smartphone Reliability Report, Apple dominated the test with the fewest number of problems relative to market share. Despite complaints about the smartphone's battery life, FixYa said, users love the simple, if less customizable, user interface.

The Motorola Droid lineup, meanwhile, earned the lowest reliability score, as well as the least market share. Customers "have constantly been let down by an overwhelming number of problems," according to FixYa, which describes itself as a community based trouble-shooting resource. Motorola garnered a total 136,436 problem impressions on FixYa, including notes about touch-screen issues, speaker and camera quality, and pre-installed bloatware.

"Smartphones are consistently being compared on a case-by-case basis, but no one has looked at the overall trends across the manufacturers' entire smartphone line," FixYa CEO Yaniv Bensadon said in a statement.

The site's newest report compared the iPhone, Galaxy, Lumia, and Droid lines, comparing reported issues with market share, and releasing a final reliability score. The result, Bensadon said, is a scaled approach "to truly see who is the most reliable, and who is barely even comparing."