There’s no question about it — we have reached a point where smartphones are as much a part of our lives as any device can be. One need only scroll down to the comments section on any tech news site or blog to see how passionate people can be when it comes to their smartphone of choice. But when buying such an important device, why should vendors have all the say when it comes to design? Unless you plan to swallow a penalty or pay a premium tied to a crafty new accelerated upgrade scheme, your smartphone is going to be a huge part of your life for the next two years. Giving users the ability to customize their handsets to speak to their individual styles seems like a big advantage, albeit a complicated and pricey endeavor — but that’s exactly what Motorola and Google have done with the Moto X.
I spent some time playing with Motorola’s Moto Maker for the first time on Thursday, and it really is a terrific concept.
The user starts by selecting colors for the front and back of the device. The front is limited to either white or black, but the user can choose from 18 different colors for the back of the case that are split into categories like “warm” snd “neutral.” In time, Motorola will also make various other materials available for case-backs, such as different woods, but the only option at launch is scratch-resistant plastic.
The user can then choose from seven different metallic accent colors for the buttons on the side of the phone and the ring around the camera lens. There is also an option to print text on the back of the phone, though the finished product might take a bit longer to ship if the user takes advantage of this option.
Moving to the inside of the phone, Motorola gives users the ability to specify some text that will appear when the phone boots. Users can also pick from a handful of default wallpapers and the selected image will appear on the home screen the first time the Moto X is powered on.
Finally — and this might be one of my favorite features — a user has the option to log into his or her Google account so that the Moto X ships preconfigured. This option isn’t for the paranoid, but having your brand new smartphone arrive at your door preloaded with all of your contacts, calendars, music, emails and more is a pretty nifty option.
And to wrap things up after your order is complete, Motorola points you straight to options to learn more about your newly purchased smartphone, or to begin migrating your data from your old device and non-Google accounts so everything is ready to go once your new Moto X arrives.
The best part is that despite all of these great custom options, the customized Moto X takes just four days to arrive at your door. Want a teal phone with pink accents? Four days. Want a sleek woven white phone with gray steel accents? Four days. That’s the advantage of assembling the Moto X right here in the United States.
In the end, the Moto Maker is a very smart idea that is executed quite well. The interface is intuitive and the big, clear image of the Moto X phone at the center of your screen updates with each new color you pick, so you know exactly what all of the different color combinations look like before you make a purchase. It’s smart, it’s fun, and it’s a smartphone buying experience that is unlike any other.
With the Moto X, Google and Motorola have really put together something special.