Motorola is now a Google company, and after almost two years has re-emerged as an entirely new smartphone manufacturer.

Handing me his business card, Motorola's general manager in the UK and Ireland, Andrew Morley proudly points out that below the recognisable Motorola logo sits the line: "A Google company."

It is indicative of where Motorola as a company is now - a company which may have the same name, the same logo as before and a company which continues to make mobile phones - but the Motorola od 2014 is very much a new proposition.

Pre-Google, Motorola was an American smartphone manufacturer which was a fading star. The company which had invented the mobile phone 40 years ago was quickly becoming an irrelevance.

Once dominant

In the middle of the last decade, Motorola was one of the dominant forces in the mobile phone industry, commanding almost 20% of the market, however as the iPhone and multiple Android manufacturers took hold from 2007 onwards, Motorola faded fast.

Motorola Moto X

The 2012 acquisition by Google promised a bright new dawn for the company, and while it may have taken almost two years for the results to be seen, Motorola now has a "very clear identity" according to Morley, who believes that Motorola's "consumer first" approach will eventually lead to the company regaining some of that lost market share.

The company's first step on that journey in the UK was the Moto G, an aggressively-priced budget smartphone which redefined the standards for a "budget smartphone."

Change the way we think

The second step is the Moto X, which Morley boasts is "a device which is trying to change the way people think about the smartphone."

The Moto X is a device which is trying to change the way people think about the smartphone.
- Andrew Morley

Morley admits that this is a very bold claim, but believes that features like touchless control, quick capture camera and active display will help it achieve this lofty ambition.

The Moto X is "a device that is all about solving your problems rather than talking about necessarily larger screens [or] more processors."

The Moto X's standout feature is Touchless Control, a system which lets users control the phone just by talking to it. Just as you can activate Google Glass by saying "OK Glass" saying the phrase "OK Google Now" will give you access to all the features you can currently get from Apple's Siri but without having to press a button.

As well as letting you know how tall the Empire State Building is, it will use the information from your contacts, calendar and social networks to let you know such things as when to leave the office for a meeting based on the current traffic situation.

"It Just works"

Andrew Morley, UK Manger Motorola
Motorola's general manager in UK and Ireland, Andrew Morley

The phone is always listening, but a low-power chip means this feature won't drain the battery too much, and the presence of separate natural language and contextual processors means the system "just works" says Morley.

The Moto X launched in the US last August, and usage of the voice control features in that time has been much greater than Motorola had forecast.

What you can do without touching your phone is limited however, but Motorola is adding new functionality all the time, such as a 'Find my Phone' feature which was added just this week.

Moto X vs Siri

Comparing the Moto X's voice recognition to Apple's personal assistant, Morley points out that not only can the Moto X's touchless voice control let you use your phone while it is in your pocket or on the table - something Siri cannot do - tests show it is "much stronger than any of the competitive products" in terms of accuracy.

The Moto G and Moto X give Motorola a very clear identity and 2014 will see more smartphones launched in the Moto range, though the company won't be repeating a mistake of the past, where it produced a huge array of smartphones many of which simply didn't work:

"This isn't about throwing 100 devices at the wall, and seeing what happens, this is about thinking about what consumers really want," Morely says.


The Moto X is a great looking phone, and has a number of features which seem genuinely useful. At £380 it may not be as cheap as the £120 Moto G, but the Moto X will be an appealing alternative to the premium phones from Apple and Samsung which sell for over £500.

It remains to be seen if Motorola will be able to regain the position it held in the mobile phone market ten years ago, but with the Moto G and now the Moto X, it has made an impressive start.