Motorola sticks with an AT&T exclusive for its custom MotoMaker software, forcing other US carriers to wait three months it.
Motorola is up to trouble, once again – in a bad way.
As we’ve said with the Moto 360 smartwatch that we know will be priced at $249, Motorola’s remaining out of touch with its consumers regarding pricing. Now, however, Motorola’s back to provide another price jump and a carrier problem.
First, the Moto X+1, Motorola’s soon-to-be-announced Moto X successor, will come priced at $249 for a 32GB model. Some say that a 16GB model could be on the way down the line, but it makes us wonder why Motorola would release a larger model up front and not provide a $199 offering for some customers. While $50 isn’t that large of an amount, it does seem as though Motorola’s offering won’t leave open a 16GB memory storage option this year. We hope it will, but releasing the 32GB before the 16GB doesn’t seem like a wise decision.
Next, Motorola is releasing the Moto X+1 for – wait, it’s coming!—AT&T. Aren’t you getting tired of AT&T exclusives? First, it was the Galaxy S4 Active, followed by the Moto X from last year (this doesn’t count the Lumia 1020); this year, it’s the same song and dance: Samsung released the GS5 Active for AT&T, and now, Motorola’s releasing the Moto X+1 with AT&T.
Sure, Motorola will release the Moto X+1 for other carriers, but Motorola’s custom software for the Moto X line (dubbed “MotoMaker”) will once again prove to be a “troublemaker” when it comes to interested consumers. With last year’s Moto X, customers at other carriers such as Sprint and Verizon were forced to wait until November (three months after the Moto X release) to customize their Moto X models. In the meantime, all they had to choose from were black and white models.
We don’t know what it is about AT&T that’s got companies trying to secure exclusives with them (perhaps AT&T’s got some bargaining power to secure these exclusives), but we long for the day when manufacturers stop prioritizing one carrier over another. Perhaps manufacturers aren’t making much money these days because of carrier exclusives. While it’s not the only problem, it is a major problem in the eyes of many tech enthusiasts. Read our lips: we will not switch carriers just to get the latest Moto X+1 with a customized experience – even if it does have a better camera than last year’s!
The price isn’t necessarily bad on-contract, but it’s the off-contract price that’s got us concerned. Motorola priced the Moto X at $599.99 off-contract last year, and the bump in price this year indicates to us (unofficially) that Motorola’s increased the off-contract price of the Moto X+1 to around $649.99 this year. It could be the case that AT&T mandates a higher out-of-pocket amount with the Moto X as Verizon did with the Galaxy S5 right out of the gate, though the off-contract price remains the same. The Galaxy S5, priced at $599.99, still mandated a $249.99 on-contract price with Verizon.
We don’t know what’s at play here, but we’re not sure that Motorola’s 1080p display and 12MP camera will be able to compete with the best devices such as Sony’s Xperia Z3 (with a 20.7MP camera), Apple’s iPhone 6 (that’ll feature a 13MP camera), and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 that’ll feature a 2K display, optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 16MP camera. For that matter, the Moto X+1 doesn’t have much on the Galaxy S5’s 16MP camera, and 1080p display (and the GS5 was released nearly five months ago).
At the same time, we have to remember, too that Motorola’s Moto X+1 is far better than the Moto X was at the time of its release. Motorola didn’t make excuses this year about how its dual-core processor was better than Samsung’s quad-core or how Motorola was doing “an industry first” (Arshad said) in order to justify the 2012 specs Motorola used in the 2013 smartphone. It is because the company’s stepped up the specs in the Moto X+1 that you can expect the device to cost around the same as other high-end smartphones.
As for a release date, you can expect the Moto X+1 to be released to AT&T around September 28, with pre-orders set for September 6.
Are you planning to pick up the Moto X+1 this year? If so, what features pushed you to make this decision? If not, what other smartphone has stolen your interest? We’re dying to know.