Though its executives didn’t mention it in today’s earnings call, but the device called Google “X Phone,” may come as early as spring 2013.
At this point its existence and capabilities are pure speculation—rumoured features range from a bendable screen and a ceramic case to advanced gesture recognition technology—but whatever it is, it will be the first true “Google phone,” where everything from its hardware to its software will be under Google’s complete control. (Past efforts at creating Google-branded devices, as in Google’s Nexus line of phones and tablets, have always been partnerships with a variety of manufacturers outside Google.)
Twice during today’s earnings call, Google executives emphasized that when the company bought Motorola, Motorola already had a 12 to 18 month “product pipeline” in the works, which Google is still “working through.” Google could have shut down Motorola’s work on existing handsets, but that would have involved bigger short- and long-term losses than the company was apparently willing to take. It also means that all of the devices that Motorola has released since it was acquired were already in the works, and the same is likely to be true until at least spring of this year. (A good example is the Motorola Motogo! phone, which looks like a dated BlackBerry and doesn’t even run Android.)
Rumours have already circulated that Google will reveal a Motorola-built “X Phone” and “X Tablet” at its next developer’s conference, which is scheduled for May 15-17, 2013.
In today’s call, Google CEO Larry Page said that “In today’s multi-screen world, the opportunities are endless… battery life is a huge issue… when you drop your phone it shouldn’t go splat. There’s a real potential to invent new and better experiences.” Page also mentioned phone recharging as a pain point for people. This is speculation, but the obvious interpretation of these comments is that Google is working on—or at least thinking about—phones with extra-long battery life, some kind of novel (perhaps wireless) recharging capability, and a case that won’t break when the phone is dropped. (Which is possibly a reference to earlier rumours about Google’s X Phone using an extra-hard case that incorporates ceramics.)