‘Next big thing’ from Google might be crushed by Apple’s iPhone 5S

Moto X Analysis

Google’s Motorola announced preliminary details surrounding the “Moto X” smartphone last week, but one detail was particularly troubling. The Moto X will include a number of exciting features enabled by a variety of sensors contained within the device, however according to Motorola boss Dennis Woodside, the phone won’t debut until late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.

Forbes contributor Nigam Arora was intrigued by Woodside’s description of the device’s capabilities, to the point where he called the phone Google’s “next big thing” in a recent piece. He was particularly impressed with the Moto X’s self-awareness capabilities, which will allow the phone to, for example, automatically open the camera app when the user is about to take a picture, or enable certain features as soon as the handset is removed from a pocket.

The X’s feature set indeed sounds intriguing, but the timing of the phone’s launch couldn’t be worse. As we pointed out when Motorola first began discussing the phone last month, a late Q3 or early Q4 launch pits the Moto X directly against Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5S. As many vendors have learned in the past, this is never a good idea.

What’s more, Samsung will likely release a new version of its flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note III, right around the same time as well. Samsung has stolen the Android limelight and launching a new Motorola phone in Samsung’s shadow makes the odds of success even slimmer.

The Moto X is shaping up to be a fantastic smartphone, but timing is everything. There is a silver lining on this cloud, though: Google’s deep pockets mean that whether or not the Moto X is a hit, there will be plenty more to come from Motorola.

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