With no one besides Apple and Samsung making any money from smartphones these days, the only hope for breaking those two companies’ grip on the industry may lie with Google. Barron’s points us to a new research report from several Goldman Sachs analysts who say that the upcoming Moto X phone has a chance to make a real impact where other flagship phones released this year have failed. The key for the Moto X, writes Goldman, is that it will be a mid-range device that will nonetheless offer unique features that neither the iPhone 5 nor the Galaxy S4 will be able to match. In other words, it seems that Google is trying to eschew raw specs in favor of improved user experience.
Based on their analysis of the bill of materials used for the Moto X, the analysts believe that Google will price the device between $225 and $300 off-contract, which would put it in the same price range as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 mini and, in all likelihood, Apple’s budget iPhone. As far as new features go, Goldman believes that Google and Motorola are developing a smartphone that will use a wide variety of sensors to anticipate users’ needs, such as understanding that someone wants to take a photo when they hold their device a certain way or switching automatically to “hands-free” mode whenever the device is in a moving car.
Given its low price and unique features, the Moto X could be a hit for Google and could put pressure on Samsung and Apple to lower the rates they charge Google to be the default search engine on their devices, Goldman believes.
“If the Moto X were to enjoy success it could narrow competitive gap [sic] between Samsung Electronics and Moto X, especially given the financial support and reach that the product and future products could have with the backing of Google,” the analysts write. “While Apple’s model has been refined over several decades and won’t be easy to replicate, Google’s Motorola strategy clearly has the potential to make it an even more formidable competitor for Apple over time.”