The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s Motorola is developing a “marquee handset with cutting-edge features to stand apart from existing phones” codenamed “X Phone” to compete with Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line.
The initiative is led by a former Google product manager Lior Ron who worked on the Google Maps team.
Motorola is looking at incorporating features in the “X Phone” such as bendable screen, ceramics that would allow the company to make the X Phone more stress resistant, better color saturation for the phone’s camera, the ability to take panoramic photos, image and gesture recognition etc.
The “X Phone” is expected to be launched sometime next year, but the report notes that some of the features were found to drain battery life. The company is also facing difficulties on the supply-chain management front.
But while Google is known for swift execution on the Web, its new hardware unit has run into hurdles associated with manufacturing and supply-chain management that have caused the company to rethink some initial plans for the X phone, such as using a bendable screen, these people added.
Motorola is primarily working on two fronts: devices that will be sold by carrier partner Verizon Wireless, such as the “Droid” line of smartphones, and the X phone, these people said. Motorola is also expected to work on an “X” tablet after the phone, the people added.
Meanwhile, Google must manage complex relationships with smartphone makers that use its Android mobile-device software—particularly with Samsung Electronics Co., a Motorola rival that has become the No. 1 smartphone maker with Google’s help.
It would be departure from Google’s strategy of co-developing the flagship Android-based smartphone with hardware makers such as Samsung, LG etc. The report notes that Google is worried that Samsung, which shipped approximately 40% of Android phone shipments in the third quarter, could “fork” Android like Amazon and prevent Google’s applications from being installed by default. Motorola currently accounts for less than 3% of Android phone shipments in the third quarter.
Motorola is also expected to work on a tablet based on the “X Phone” platform.