The Moto X from Google and Motorola has generated a lot of interest for its software features, in a smartphone industry that often focuses on high-end hardware. Voice control and a camera that opens with simple wrist gestures are a couple of the top features found on the Moto X, but many Android users can already install apps with similar functions prior to the phone’s release date.

The Moto X release date is rumored to be Aug. 23 on all carriers. A Verizon Wireless employee leaked a company screen that may have given away the Moto X's release date. Reports also say the Moto X might see an Aug. 23 release date across all carriers.

However, some of the Moto X’s most intriguing features can be integrated to existing Android handsets with the addition of a few apps:


1) Wrist gesture to open camera

The Moto X will allow users to open their camera with a few flicks of the wrist -- something that Android app Twisty Launcher also allows users of Android 2.3 and up. With two chopping gestures, Twisty Launcher opens a phone’s camera app. Unfortunately, Twisty Launcher does not open a phone when the screen is off like the Moto X, but has the option of bypassing the Android lock screen.

As Lifehacker points out, Twisty Launcher offers gestures to open any app.


2) Read and respond to text messages hands-free

The Moto X will always have voice control on, with a special processor dedicated to the service to minimize battery drain. This hardware feature is currently exclusive to Motorola devices like the Moto X and Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini, however there are a couple apps that can offer the chance to hear texts read aloud and respond by voice, even while driving.

The first is called Talk – Text to Voice, which runs as a background process listening for commands. Users have the option to have incoming texts read aloud, and are given a chance to respond by speaking aloud. The app seems to have a hard time in noisy environments, but works.

Another more feature-rich app is Robin, an Android app that imitates Apple's Siri. Robin offers GPS directions, information on local businesses as well as the chance to listen to and respond to texts while driving.


3) Active lock-screen notifications

Great Bytes Software has released ActiveNotifications, which mirrors the lock-screen gestures of the Moto X. The benefit of the app on the Moto X is the phone’s AMOLED screen -- which only powers the parts of the screen in use. Therefore, a black background is a battery saver on the Moto X, but not for most devices. The app is currently only available for phones running Android 4.3, so only Nexus devices can run it for now.

Bonus -- Moto X wallpaper

The wallpaper images for the AT&T version of the Moto X were uploaded and released on the AndroidCentral forums, and have been downloaded by those eagerly anticipating the Moto X.

Moto X Android 4.3 update release date “soon”

Those who may have expected a Nexus-like upgrade path for the Moto X were surprised at news that the phone from Google and Motorola would ship with Android 4.2.2. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside told AllThingsD that the Moto X will upgrade to Android 4.3 shortly after its release date, as the company did not have access to the update’s code until the release of the new Nexus 7.

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