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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
 AT&T Subscribers Can Now Customize Their Moto X
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Message Text: Moto Maker, Motorola's Moto X design studio, is now officially open for online orders for AT&T customers.

You will be able to design their own phone in just a few clicks. You pick the colors, and decide on the all details: the front, back, accents, memory, wallpapers, accessories -- you can even include your Google ID and Motorola will load all of your account information for you in advance. Then, every custom phone is made to order in Ft. Worth, Texas and shipped to you for free.

Of course, you can still purchase a custom device or pick up a Moto X in woven white or woven black at any AT&T store.

Starting today, you can also buy a Moto X online directly through Motorola without a contract upgrade for $579.

Moto X will be available through other carrier very soon, starting with Verizon online on August 29.

Moto X's Cost Comparable to Asian-Assembled Smartphones

In related news, the U.S. - assembled Moto X - Motorola has a combined bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing cost in the same range as market-leading products made in Asia, contrary to conventional wisdom.

The total BOM of the Moto X amounts to $214, according to preliminary results of a dissection conducted by the Teardown Analysis Service at IHS Inc., a global source of critical information and insight. When the $12 manufacturing expense is added in, the cost to produce the Moto X increases to $226.

At this cost level, the Moto X comes roughly in the middle of the combined BOM and manufacturing costs of the leading smartphone models, Apple?s iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S4. The U.S. version of the Galaxy S4 with 16 gigabytes (GByte) of NAND flash memory carries a total BOM and manufacturing cost of $237. Meanwhile, the 16Gbyte iPhone 5 costs $207.

While the manufacturing expense of the Moto X is $3.50 to $4.00 more than these phones, the total cost to make Motorola's smartphone is only 9 percent more than the iPhone 5 - and about 5 percent less than the Galaxy S4.

The 16Gbyte Moto X has a full retail price of $540 or $580 when customized with Motorola's Moto Maker purchase and design service. With a two-year service contract from AT&T, consumers can obtain a Moto X for $199.

The Moto X is based on a Qualcomm turnkey design and makes maximum use of the supplier's semiconductors. Qualcomm-made chips in the Moto X include the MSM8960 apps/baseband processor; the WTR1605L radio frequency (RF) transceiver; the WCD9310 audio codec; the PM8921 power management integrated circuit (IC); and the WCN3680 Bluetooth, frequency modulation and wireless local area network companion IC.

While most of the design was familiar, this was the first time that the WCN3680 was seen in a product torn down by IHS. This device supports the 802.11ac WLAN standard, which is in the initial acceptance stage, but soon will become the standard in smartphones.

The MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 Pro Apps Processor appears to be a variant of the same part that has appeared in other devices, including the HTC One X, the Blackberry Z10 and the North American version of the Galaxy S III.

At the same time, Motorola is promoting its X8 Mobile Computing System. Upon further inspection, the X8 is not an SoC, and is not a Motorola chip. Rather, the X8 Mobile Computing System is a design architecture that spreads the eight cores across at least two integrated circuits - including the Qualcomm MSM8960 and a Texas Instruments digital signal processor/microcontroller.

The Moto X also uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) microphones from Wolfson Microphones, marking the first time that IHS has seen these parts from this supplier in any product. Wolfson's forte in the past was audio codec chips.

The Moto X also makes very efficient use of its battery by managing the power consumption of its apps processor and display.

Instead of taxing the apps processor for simple tasks like displaying notifications, the Moto X employs a secondary low-power contextual core to run the display when the phone is powered off. The Moto X's active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display only lights up small portions of the 4.7-inch screen to display time and notifications like email, text and missed calls, extending the battery life to a 24-hour usable experience.

As with all AMOLED displays, each pixel illuminates and thus is inherently more energy efficient than LCDs, where the entire panel is illuminated.
 
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