With yesterday's announcement and release of the Moto G, a rather promising handset set to rock up the lower end of the market with impressive specs and design for a price of £159 sim-free for the 16GB model, and the rather obscure hints of the, I hope, imminent international roll-out of the Moto X, many of us are left trying to piece together Motorola's' game plan, and how it fits into the Google grand-master plan, if there is one.
Let me explain...
Android has always been regarded as part of a "geek" culture, where its fanbase loves big numbers in spec sheets and tinkering, so the Moto X actually ended up confusing people. It did away with "raw specs", instead relying on software enhancements to have features that would appeal to less "geeky" people; practical features. They concentrated on the design, on the battery life, on the ease of use. It's also important to note that it comes with almost stock android.
It is not just a simple re-branding for Motorola, nor is the company simply producing Nexus phones without the Nexus brand. It's a re-branding for Android. (Duh, Duh, Duuuuh).
It seems as though it is Google's little experiment in an effort to help Android reach "the next billion".
The Nexus line of phones are more traditional, aiming for the sweet-spot of bang-for-buck, while the Moto X is attempting to appeal to the people attached with iPhones. It's an attempt to get Android to a different type of user, while at the same time satisfying the old fanbase.
The friendly Android
In Android KitKat, we can see the dramatically lowered RAM usage, explicitly stated by Google as an effort for Android to run on lower end hardware.
We also see the UI get a lick of paint; icons are larger, the neon-blues are gone, thrown away with the dark wallpapers and backgrounds.
We also see GoogleNow and get pushed to the homescreen, as well as one of the Moto X's features being pulled over: the hot-phrase "OK Google" . Granted, it's not the exact same implementation, it only applies to the homescreens, but its fairly similar.
Android is losing its' original look, in an effort to become more... Googley. It's starting to match the other Google apps look and feel.
This seems to be just one piece of Google taking back Android, you may have noticed more of the "core" apps being pulled to the play store. That's another method that is being used to get all apps on to every device.
What comes next?
While the next version of Android is always showcased on a Nexus; it seems that Google tests the water first by releasing phones with Motorola.
The cleaner, simpler look of Android will draw in a different type of customer. Needless to say, Google will continue to lower the system requirements of a device to run Android.
And even skinned versions of Android will have access to all of the core apps.
Thanks for reading,