The Moto X is now available in stores and online for AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers, while interested subscribers to T-Mobile and Sprint await a definitive release date for the device. The first phone considered a true collaboration between Google and Motorola is being touted as the first smartphone designed and “assembled in the U.S.A.”
The Twitter user evleaks, often a reliable source of leaked mobile phone photos and information, said the wooden backplates for the Moto X will arrive in time for the holiday season and will add $50 to the cost of the device. The wooden backplates will include ebony, bamboo, rosewood and teak.
In the tweet, evleaks also reports that the Moto X will have a $100 price drop. This would bring the purchase price of the new Google/Motorola phone down to $99 with a new two-year contract on most carriers.
Moto X price drop to $100 coming in Q4, along with wooden back configurations (for $50) pic.twitter.com/wpIdgYLjHO
— @evleaks (@evleaks) August 31, 2013
Moto X T-Mobile Release Date, Pricing Uncertain
An image of an internal T-Mobile screen leaked by an employee to TmoNews suggests that the carrier’s variant of the Moto X will be available only through Google Play. T-Mobile previously announced at the announcement of the Moto X that it would not be selling the phone online or in stores, and customers would have to purchase it directly from Motorola. The leaked image does not provide a Moto X release date for T-Mobile, however.
This news suggests that the Moto X will lack discount pricing for T-Mobile customers who are no longer on two-year agreements. The company’s “Uncarrier” plans offer no-contract, month-to-month service at a comparatively low price. Customers on the plan are able to purchase new phones at from T-Mobile, with the majority of the cost spread out monthly over two years, usually adding about $25 to monthly bills.
If T-Mobile customers have to order the Moto X through the Google Play Store as opposed to ordering directly from Motorola, they will not have access to the Moto Maker website or custom-colored versions of the Moto X. Instead, they will likely have limited options which may include a developer edition of the Moto X.
Moto X Developer Edition
The Moto X Developer Edition will have a special engraving on its back, along with 32GB of on-board storage and an unlocked bootloader, which allows programmers and enthusiasts to more easily install custom operating systems, ROMs and unofficial software.
Motorola executive Punit Soni said Aug. 25 that the Developer Edition of the Moto X would be available for all carriers and “rolling out in days,” in a post that has since been taken down. There is no word on price for the Moto X Developer Edition, although it will likely cost about $629, or $50 more than the off-contract price of the Moto X.
Soni also said in August that “Moto X on the Sprint, US Cellular, Rogers and T-Mobile networks will have an unlockable bootloader, and in addition, we will be offering a Verizon Wireless Developer Edition and a general North American Developer Edition.” The Verizon version of the Moto X contains different cellular radios from other carriers, which is why Motorola will offer a separate developer edition model.
Moto X Sprint Release Date Approaching, MotoMaker Availability
Sprint announced the price and availability of the Moto X -- offering only the 16GB model for $199 with a two-year contract discount sometime “this summer.” Sprint, however, still has yet to announce a release date for the Moto X. It is expected to offer the Moto X in black and white.
AT&T customers who have custom-designed a Moto X through the website are currently not yet able to select a custom engraving on the back. The delay due is to a production issue at the Fort Worth, Texas, plant where the Moto X is assembled.
Verizon Wireless customers have been able to order the Moto X in black or white since Friday, but they will have to wait until “later this year” to design their own Moto X on the MotoMaker website.
Moto X Teardowns Reveal Low Cost, High Repairability
The Moto X costs approximately $221 for Google-owned Motorola to manufacture, according to a report from AllThingsD. The low production cost is due to the internal chipset, callled the X8 Mobile Computing System, which utilizes multiple low-cost processors, including one main dual-core chip which IHS estimated to cost about $28.
The Moto X was given a score of “7 our of 10” on the repairability scale by the repair gurus at iFixIt. Motorola was praised for manufacturing a phone that is easy to repair thanks to the use of a single screw throughout the device, but the site reported “a sticky adhesive on the back cover is annoying and will slow opening the phone.”
Thomas Halleck is a technology reporter for the International Business Times, covering Google, wearables, product reviews, gadget news and more....