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Motorola working on a Moto X+1, despite closed US factory


“If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This has always been a motivational statement for individuals to aim at achieving their dreams, even in the face of opposition. At the same time, there is an inverse to this statement: “If at first you don’t succeed, give up and try something else.” Some would assume that Motorola would abandon its smartphone vision after low sales of its Moto X smartphone, but that isn’t stopping the soon-to-be-Lenovo manufacturer from getting back in the game with a new smartphone release that will take its place in the history of top smartphones in 2014.

A new image at Baidu Forums shows a gold front panel with speakers and holes that match what we saw on the Moto X when it was released last August. Above it are the words “Moto X+1,” alerting us as to the new name of the next-generation Moto X. What we can take away from this image is that it does look as if it’s a genuine model of the Moto X flagship and that it’s likely a gold variant will make its way worldwide this year. Motorola, in producing a gold Moto X+1 model, would join other manufacturers such as HTC, LG, Samsung, and Apple in the production of the color (gold) that’s becoming a favorite new “splash” on high-end smartphones.

According to what we know, the Moto X+1 will come with a 5.2-inch screen with a full HD screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. Contrary to new and rumored smartphones that are increasing screen resolution to 2K (or Quad HD) resolutions of 2,560 x 1440 (or higher), Motorola is committed to retaining an HD resolution. The Moto X+1’s screen resolution, if the photos and rumors are true, will be a bit sharper than last year’s 720p resolution. The 5.2-inch screen will match that of Google’s Nexus 5, Google’s latest Nexus that is now approaching 8 months old. Google has decided to scrap the Nexus line in favor of Android Silver, and it’s likely that the Nexus 5 will forever make history as the last of the Nexus collection.

The Moto X made American history: while the phone parts were manufactured in Asia, the phone was hailed by then-owner Google as the first smartphone to be assembled in the United States. Moto X customers were pleased to find that the 4.7-inch, AMOLED display smartphone with its unique, mixed dual-core processor, Motorola’s own innovative apps and some water splash resistance would arrive at their home in as little as two or three days. Motorola’s Moto Maker was monopolized in the US with AT&T, but made it way to other American carriers Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile by the end of last November (three months after Google announced the Moto X). Google hailed the Moto X as a smartphone of choice for Americans who are committed to freedom.

Google decided to sell the company earlier this year to worldwide PC and smartphone manufacturer Lenovo, and, while the sale has not been finalized, Moto X customers could’ve never seen it coming.

Motorola Mobility announced this past Friday that the company looks to shut down the Texas Moto X factory by the end of 2014, the same factory packed with 700 workers responsible for the Moto X’s assembly for American customers. Early results from last Fall said that the Moto X had only sold 500,000 copies worldwide in its first three months of sales, but new results show that the still Google-owned company only sold 900,000 Moto X models in Q1 2014 – a sign that the Moto X project, committed to bringing something new to the market, failed when compared with the likes of Apple (who sold 26 million iPhone 5s models in Q1) and Android OEM rival Samsung Electronics. Even Samsung’s Galaxy S4 sold more than 10 million in its first month of sales and whose Galaxy S5 has already sold over 11 million since it arrived on the worldwide market on April 11th.

“Google’s shutdown of Motorola suggests that the experience of offering customized phones [in the US] was a failure,” said Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart. What’s even more surprising than this, Greengart said, is that Google’s decided to shut down the Texas factory before Lenovo gains official control of one of the most nostalgic companies in phone manufacturing history. Most manufacturers wouldn’t shut down a factory that could bring in profit, no matter how miniscule. “Typically, when you sell a division, you want to keep it as if you’re not selling it in case the sale falls through, so you’re not left with an asset that is unsaleable.”

Motorola President Rick Osterloh commented on the reason behind the Motorola plant closing: “What we found was that the North American market was exceptionally tough.” The Moto X has had its share of success in India so far, and the Moto G 3G and 4G LTE models, as well as the budget-friendly Moto E have already helped Motorola grab 6% of the European market share.

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