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The original Moto X challenged what a smartphone should be

by Brandon Russell | April 1, 2018April 1, 2018 6:00 am PST

It’s been nearly five years since the original Moto X was announced. Now, reports suggest the line’s days are numbered.

We should all be saddened by the news, because the device introduced some of the market’s most innovative ideas, from helpful lock screen tweaks to clever gestures. It was smart without relying on gimmicks, instead focusing entirely on the user experience.

It was confident without being flashy, ignoring convention by launching with stock Android when others were fumbling with skins, and it supported deep hardware customization. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen.

It’s why we picked the Moto X as our top phone in 2013 over the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4. Motorola’s device was fresh and exciting and wholly unique. There hasn’t been anything like it since.

What made the Moto X so remarkable was its approach to software. With Active Display, users could glance at notifications without fully turning the screen on. Then there was Assist, which did could silence your phone when it knew you were in a meeting.

Some of its best ideas have subsequently been adopted and implemented into today’s top devices. Whether you know it or not, the Moto X has had an influence on the features you use everyday, such as always-on display technology and hands-free control.

The fact that you could customize nearly every facet of the device, from the rear shell to the front glass, remains one of the most impressive achievements the industry has ever seen. When the Moto X launched, there were over 2,000 possible color combinations. That’s not something we’ll ever see again.

Not only did the Moto X set a new standard for intelligence, but it sparked a period of innovation for Motorola. A year after the Moto X launched, the company went on to develop one of the most impressive smartphone lineups we’d ever seen. It was a surprising turnaround for a company that endured a bleak period of darkness.

To hear the Moto X line might be abandoned is not what it deserves, but it’s not all that surprising. Since the original hit in 2013, subsequent releases have become less and less exciting as competing manufacturers develop more intelligence software. But I’ll always remember the device for challenging what a smartphone could be.

It wasn’t flashy, nor did it come equipped with the latest specs. Instead, Motorola proved the Moto X didn’t need those things to succeed. What mattered was how the device’s software complemented the Android experience while offering a sleek design and a cool customization element.

At the time, it provided a spark of excitement no other device could provide, and it’s why we should all by disappointed by the Moto X’s potential demise.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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