If you have been watching the Android space closely these past few weeks, then you've heard about the Motorola X-Phone. Expected to arrive in May at Google's I/O conference, the handset is already one of the most rumor-worthy mobile products of 2013. Why? This marks the first time we see what Google and Motorola are able to conjure up when working as one entity.
A recent job listing spotted on LinkedIn (below; click to enlarge) caught the fanboys off-guard this week while also adding a layer of credibility to previous details. The filing has been removed from LinkedIn; however, copies still exist elsewhere online. Poring over the job description, I found four key points that hint at what we can expect for the X-Phone.
It's real, but it won't be called X-Phone
Proof of the job listing should erase any lingering doubts over the veracity of the device. Given that the title of the position specifically refers to the X-Phone, we may assume that this is the internal code name for the handset. It is rare for a company to announce or promote a final product name this far ahead of launch.
When pressed by CNET for comment, Motorola did not deny the existence of the position. With roughly four months until the expected announcement, it is possible that the final name has yet to be decided. Since the job listing is seeking a product manager, we might be in the later stages of development. With that in mind, this particular device will soon become the subject of much fanfare and rumor-mongering.
More than one device
One bullet point refers to a "high level schedule for future products," indicating there will be more to come. Previous chatter suggests a tablet could be in the works, though I suspect there may be even more devices that fall under the platform category. Considering that Google is behind the curtain, we could be looking at any number of things, including the Google TV products, docks, or even the revival of lapdocks. For all we know, the already-forgotten Google Nexus Q could get a new lease on life with some Motorola love.
It is also possible that the reference to plural devices could just refer to different carrier models. We have heard rumors that all major carriers will offer the X-Phone, but that doesn't mean each provider will support the device on Day One. Nevertheless, I won't complain about getting more out of Google and Motorola.
Like it or not, wireless providers may get to customize the X-Phone. This dovetails with recent details that the handset will not be considered a "Nexus" device and will have preloaded software.
Taking things one step further, the listing's "product customization requirements" could refer to any number of details -- including software, hardware, and packaging. While I would love to see one universal form factor with identical hardware across the board, this might not occur if carriers have their way differentiating the device. For instance, Verizon's "Droid" sub-brand is unique to the carrier. The optimist in me, however, is hoping that bloatware remains minimal.
Software updates will be important
Although the X-Phone may not give a "Pure Google" experience, timely software updates will be an important facet. Android enthusiasts should appreciate that Motorola's future product manager will oversee maintenance releases for this device. Assuming the phone runs a version of Android that's light on the pre-installs, timely software updates should not be an issue. That is, of course, if the updates come directly from Google and Motorola and don't have to pass through carriers.
Android lovers and mobile watchdogs should keep their eyes peeled for plenty more X-Phone rumors in the months ahead. Google has yet to turn a profit with Motorola Mobility, so all eyes will be on the X-Phone. Can Google's mobile arm satisfy both the fanboys and Wall Street with the new device? Buckle up -- we are about to find out.