We've been talking this week about the Moto X and what exactly makes it so special. As I mentioned yesterday, the phone offers an outstanding overall user experience -- a rare feat to achieve in the "more for the sake of more" smartphone world -- but Motorola's launch of the device, unfortunately, hasn't been quite as impressive.
Specifically, there are three areas where Motorola could have done better from a consumer perspective:
Mistake #1: The AT&T limitation
One of the most marketable features of the Moto X is the fact that you can make it look any way you want: Motorola's online "Moto Maker" tool lets you pick out your device's back color, front color, accent color, and (eventually) a custom engraved message.
But wait: That's available only to AT&T customers at the moment. As is the option to upgrade the phone's internal memory from 16 to 32GB.
Look, I know that smartphones are a business -- and odds are, Moto struck the exclusivity deal with AT&T in order to secure strong in-store placement and promotion (especially given the fact that Verizon's bound to be pushing its own Droid-branded devices over the X in its retail locations).
But for consumers, carrier exclusives suck, plain and simple. In this day and age, no one's gonna switch to AT&T just so they can get a customized Moto X. Instead, they'll either (a) not get the phone or (b) get it but miss out on one of its most unique (and, in the case of the memory upgrade, useful) elements.
Mistake #2: The missing options
Speaking of customization, two of the most touted features of Moto's make-your-own-phone setup are the ability to engrave a custom message on the phone and the option to get a model with a real-wood back.
From the get-go, the wood thing has been discussed as coming "later this year." A deliberate way to renew interest in the phone this fall and push some preholiday sales? Maybe. But for folks looking at the device right now, it's one potential reason to hold off on a purchase.
As for the engraving, it was supposed to be available at launch -- but, as I first confirmed over on Google+, Moto determined the quality of the printing wasn't meeting its standards and decided to pull the plug on it for now.
Yes, it's good that a company is maintaining standards and refusing to do something that isn't at the level it wants. But discovering the problem and temporarily pulling the feature days before the product's launch is most certainly a screw-up that should have been avoided.
Mistake #3: The unseen unlocked model
We've heard plenty of rumblings about an unlocked, direct-from-Google version of the Moto X -- but officially? Sorry, pals: We've got nuthin'.
Personally, I'd never buy a phone on contract again -- and I'm far from the only one, particularly when it comes to the Android power-user crowd. While you can pay full price to get a Moto X without the contract, you'd still be getting a carrier-specific model that, as far as we know, will be locked down to that one carrier. Not cool.
Again, this may boil down to business: Selling an unlocked phone, especially if the price is right, could undercut carrier sales and upset important people. Maybe Moto's hands are tied. Maybe the company's just biding its time until it can unleash the unlocked beast.
For the moment, though, it's a point of frustration for consumers who might otherwise be ready to pull the trigger on a purchase.
The Moto X has enough good going for it to make up for these minor missteps -- and with any luck, most of them will be moot points soon enough -- but still, for a phone that's so damn good, you hate to see these sorts of launch-related lapses getting in the way.
SEE ALSO: What makes the Moto X so special