Motorola's not-so-secret smartphone

SNEAK PEEK: Though Motorola is trying to keep secret the details of its newest smartphone, Google chief Eric Schmidt was seen with what appeared to be the phone before its expected release next month.


    Jul 22, 2013

    Motorola's not-so-secret smartphone

    MOTOROLA Mobility's efforts to keep secret the details of its first flagship smartphone since the company was bought by Google have run up against reality.

    Rumours about Motorola's smartphone, usually called Moto X, have been leaked all over the Web.

    And Mr Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, has even been seen in public using what appears to be the new device.

    Motorola won't confirm details about the new device. But the early exposure - some of it the company's own doing - makes it seem like this pseudo-secrecy could just be a way to prime the hype pump.

    Last month, Motorola's chief executive, Mr Dennis Woodside, made it known during an onstage interview that Moto X devices would be made in the United States. He admitted coyly that the phone was in his pocket, but shook his head when asked to show it off.

    However, Mr Schmidt apparently took care of that while at a business conference packed with reporters, holding a new Motorola phone to his ear. He said: "I'm not allowed to comment on the nature of this phone."

    He did not need to say much. A day before Independence Day, Motorola advertised the phone in newspapers. The ads hinted that the device would be customisable: "The first smartphone that you can design yourself."

    Ms Joanna Stern of ABCNews was quick to clarify that customers would be able to choose the colours of the phone case and add an engraving.

    But what exactly can the phone do? Google executives have offered clues that future Motorola phones would include artificial intelligence and sensors that recognise people's voices in a room.

    Spoiling the surprise, tech blog Ausdroid spotted a video online from Rogers Wireless, a Canadian carrier, showing the Moto X.

    The video, which Rogers asked Ausdroid to take down because of copyright infringement, gave some details, including that the phone listens constantly for a user's commands and reacts to them.

    The initiating command is "OK, Google Now", similar to the "OK, Glass" command to control Google Glass. The video also said that the phone would be released next month.

    Last Friday, Motorola sent invitations to the press for an event to be held on Aug 1 in New York, where Moto X will most likely get its official introduction.