Moto X comes up short with a high price and no Android 4.3

Still, the new smartphones custom features could help Motorola and Google (see video below)

Motorola Mobility announced the 4.7-in. Moto X smartphone on Thursday after weeks of build-up that touted the device as the first made from scratch under Google ownership.

Still, analysts said that build-up didn't exactly crowd out this reality: In a saturated smartphone market, it's getting harder to stand out.

Motorola's Moto X smartphone.
The Moto X smartphone.

"As the fruit of Google and Moto collaboration, it seems to come up a little short of expectations," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, who later tweeted: Moto X is "different in an Android market that got a bit bland, but [is this] enough?"

Milanesi noted that Moto X shares features with three Motorola Droid smartphones announced last week to be sold exclusively by Verizon Wireless.

"It seems...Moto X is a way to go around the Droid being a Verizon brand, and delivering a similar product to AT&T to widen opportunity in the market," Milanesi said.

In addition to its 2200 mAh battery and Android 4.2.2 OS, the Moto X has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. A 2-megapixel front camera complements a 10-megapixel rear camera.The device supports LTE wireless.

AT&T and other major carriers will sell the Moto X at the end of this month for $199.99 for a 16 GB version with a two-year contract; Verizon will sell an unlocked version later.

Similarities in the Moto X to the Droid Ultra, Maxx and Mini models from Verizon include a similar processor, camera, display and natural interaction features, such as voice commands that work when the phone is idle and a gesture to activate the camera instead of using a specific button.

"Voice command is great when it works, but an absolute turn-off when it does not," Milanesi said.

Distinctions from the Droids include a curved back and the ability to order customizable colors for back and front of the handset through a Moto Maker feature on the Motorola Website. The customized version is only available through AT&T.

The customizable Moto X will come in two color choices for front and 16 for the back, with seven color options for accent colors for the power key, volume key and camera ring. Unique wallpapers and other features are also available, as well as a 32 GB version for $249.99 in addition to the 16 GB version for $199.99.

As for customizable cases, she wondered how much different those will be than just buying a separate smartphone case from a third party.

"Consumers today are differentiating their experiences already with third party cases," added Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "If Motorola can make this stick with marketing, then they have a shot at being more than they are today, which is irrelevant."

Google's Motorola Mobility unit unveiled its highly anticipated Moto X smartphone on Thursday, priced at $199 and loaded with Googles latest Android OS, Jellybean. This is the first new Motorola phone developed since Google bought Motorola.

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