“The time has come for Google, the king of online search, to show whether it has any business selling hardware,” Brian X. Chen reports for The New York Times. “After lackluster results selling devices made by other companies, Google is giving hardware another try — this time with a smartphone made by a company it owns. On Thursday, Motorola Mobility, the handset maker Google bought last year for $12.5 billion and then retooled, introduced the Moto X, the company’s first major device since the deal.”
Google’s Motorola Mobility’s “Moto X” phone
“The stakes are big for Google, and not only because of the high price that it paid for Motorola. Google is enormously profitable, but its growth is slowing because of lagging ad sales. Finding success with the new phone could lead to a new source of revenue and a way to get more users to view the company’s ads,” Chen reports. “Sales could be an uphill climb. The phone, decked out with multiple processors, sensors and voice controls, is landing squarely in the brutally competitive market for high-end smartphones. And Google has a lot to prove before it is taken seriously as a hardware maker.”
Chen reports, “Motorola’s executives think they have something special with the Moto X, which will be sold by all the major American phone carriers beginning in late August or early September. It has a 4.7-inch touch screen, which puts it right between the smaller iPhone 5 and the larger Galaxy S4 from Samsung… What executives hope makes the Moto X stand out is its voice command capabilities — like continually listening for a user’s voice and quickly reacting to commands. Saying “O.K. Google, now find me my way home” will quickly pull up a Google map with directions to a user’s house, for example. The phone learns the voice of its owner and responds only to it.”
“Still, as other device makers have learned, it takes more than snazzy features to gain traction in the handset business,” Chen reports. “The companies competing with Apple and Samsung for the high-end market just haven’t had much luck. HTC’s new smartphone, called the One, and BlackBerry’s new phone, the Z10, got good reviews but still sold poorly.”
Read more in the full article here.