Google Moto X: A Weird Name and Some Weirdo Features

Moto X Google Phone
Written by Chris Miller

The Google Moto X is so hyped. Chris Miller is concerned about the upcoming phone, from wrist-activated motion to a scary alwayson mic. And then there’s the name …does anyone else hear it and think: Motocross? More here … — Google’s upcoming Moto X is a smartphone with a ton of planned bells and whistles, but there are issues.

Right off the bat, there’s the name. Moto X. Really? Sometimes I wonder whether the Google marketers really know what they are doing.

Moto X: the Sport

Moto X is shorthand, of course, for motocross, which means the phrase already shows up in searches, has specific online and offline branding anda huge fan base uses the term all the time.

Google will need to use its massive and seemingly limitless marketing budget to make its product stand out. So far, though, even Wikipedia had to make a note. Moto X initially directs to the Motocross page. Check this out …

Motocross Redirect on Wikipedia

Photo credit: Chris Miller

Google, in controlling so much of search plus its sheer size, will eventually overcome this issue. I mean, just a week after writing the intro and idea for this article I now find that motocross now suffers in search results. The old Moto X has been overwhelmed by news, reports, specs, Google references and leaks regarding the new Moto X phone.

But the Moto X name isn’t the only problem here …

Questionable Design

The phone reportedly relies on voice commands and sensors, and is the first product from Google and Motorola. Google is playing the marketing game well, and it continually leaks pictures and specs aimed at enticing would-be buyers before the phone hits the market.

In scouring the Web, I found reports of a specification that will scare even those who don’t care about PRISM and the recent data scandals around U.S. data spying.

The microphone on the Moto X will always be on, waiting for a command from the user. Unlike Apple’s Siri feature, you will not have to click a button to activate the microphone. Just speak the words and the phone responds.

That creeps me out.

Other specifications include twisting your wrist to activate the camera and a self-activating homescreen with updates. I see Google Cards all over this one. If you dislike the Facebook phone from HTC then this may not be the device for you. No other specifications are concrete yet, but the phone is reported to greatly resemble the Nexus 4.

Moto X Phone Screenshot

Photo credit:

Google has employed another marketing tool — a customizable design.

A strange tactic.

I think this will likely kill the refurbished or used phone aftermarket for the Moto X.

Who wants a phone that has someone’s name and personal engravings emblazoned on the back?

Apple does this same thing with iPods and iPads — for free — as a marketing scheme. The web is already full of people looking for ways to get rid of their phones or alter the engraved devices. We don’t need more, but Google is stuck on this idea.

I see phones as disposable items in today’s market. Carriers don’t want you to keep your phone longer than a year.

AT&T recently announced a program to let you trade and upgrade your phone sooner. In order to lock the consumer into a renewed contract companies need new phones, rebate/return programs and incentives. What will Canadian telecommunications company Rogers do with thousands of engraved Moto X phones when they are up for trade in?

Google took on a huge challenge when it decided to produce its own phone and get into the hardware business with Motorola. It will offer the same Android operating system that other phone makers carry and the Moto X capabilities will eventually make it onto other hardware manufacturer devices.

Twisting my wrist to activate a camera is not a selling point for me, it seems a better idea than reality. And I have a serious problem with a phone that always has its microphone on. Good luck to the Moto X.

Do not get me wrong though. I will gladly test one out to see if my concerns are valid.

Based in St Louis, MO, Chris Miller  is a founding senior editor at He is is a pivotal member of our dev team and part of the committed group that launched the alpha version of this site on 11.11.11. Chris also is a director at cloud-hosting and remote-management provider Connectria – and has been for nearly 15 years. Find all Chris Miller’s articles and podcasts here. Follow Chris @IdoNotes and email him at On Google+ he is +Chris Miller.