Google's X-factor: Moto X is a warning to existing handset makers

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Moto X is first smartphone released by Motorola Mobility since it was acquired by Google. (AP) Moto X is first smartphone released by Motorola Mobility since it was acquired by Google. (AP)
SummaryMoto X is first smartphone released by Motorola Mobility since it was acquired by Google.

It's a rare thing for Google to not be at the top or near the top of any market it is present in. But, with the release of the Moto X smartphone, that’s exactly the position the search giant will find itself in—a latecomer to a pretty saturated market. Moto X is the first smartphone released by Motorola Mobility since it was acquired by Google in May 2012. As such, the phone also represents Google’s first foray into the smartphone hardware space with an in-home product. Google’s previous forays into hardware were with phones built by other companies, like the Nexus One by HTC. Now, it is easy to dismiss the Moto X as yet another phone in the market, but its success could have much larger ramifications for the entire smartphone industry.

If the phone does well, then we can expect Google to ramp up production of more models. This, combined with the fact that Google-owned Android leads the OS market, means that Google could dominate the field in an unprecedented fashion. At the moment, Samsung is the market leader, but it rides on the success of Android. If Google wants to seriously enter the handset market, it is likely to start offering its competitors inferior versions of Android, reserving the newest and best for itself. If Samsung is smart, it will fast-track the development of its own mobile OS—otherwise, it will soon find its competitive edge severely blunted.

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