Motorola's long-awaited Moto X smartphone was finally unveiled Thursday but the excitement quickly fizzled.
The phone was considered a disappointment by some hard-core techies. And further hurting its launch, Motorola had to quickly alter its marketing strategy after coming under criticism for a campaign laced with sexual innuendo.
Customization is a big selling point for the Moto X. Users can choose what colors they want for the front, back and parts of the phone. They can also decide on the phone's background wallpaper, choose to engrave the back and pick either 16 or 32 gigabytes of storage. In total, users can come up with more than 2,000 combinations, according to Motorola.
But users have very little control over what they can customize inside the phone. That might not have been a problem had the specs been top-of-the-line. But some critics said Motorola went with less expensive components and instead focused on new software features and long-lasting battery life (Motorola says the Moto X can hold a charge for about 24 hours).
The Moto X has a 4.7-inch screen with only 720p HD (other phones have 1080p HD), a dual-core 1.7GHz processor (other phones have quad-core processors), and it runs on Android 4.2.2 (Google announced Android 4.3 just last week). The Moto X will also be available on all carriers, but initially, its customizability will be limited to AT&T users.
Although those specs make for a pretty solid device, some users wanted more.
So disappointed by the Moto X announcement. High price, old OS, locked bootloader and carrier bloat preinstalled. What a flop.— Steve Schwartz (@jangosteve) August 1, 2013
Massively disappointed with the Moto X. So standard, 2 organisations that size should have come up with something much better.— Will Kennard (@WillKennard) August 2, 2013
Priced like an S4 or HTC One and customization limited to one carrier? Really? #motoxfail— Russell Smith (@OG_Rustysmitty) August 2, 2013
Whether the Moto X can be a hit with non-techies, its true target audience, remains to be seen.
But the Moto X also made headlines for its sexually laced marketing campaign.
For example, one option for the back cover was wood. That led Motorola to announce the phone with a tweet that, among other things, said, "Yep. We've got wood."
Motorola carried the innuendos to the Moto X's Web page as well.
In one section, explaining users can choose how much storage they want, the company said, "Is bigger really better? You decide."
Another part of the page, announcing a feature on the phone that lets users command it by simply speaking and not using their hands, said "Touch each other, not phones."
"Moto X responds to your voice, no touching necessary. (That's what she said.)" Motorola's website said.
All three of those parts of the Moto X Web page have now been changed and the initial tweet has been deleted. Motorola declined to comment.
All in all, it's been a bit of a rough start for the Moto X, but users will likely forget the marketing debacle and techies could be won over if it receives positive reviews.