The Moto X represents the future of everything

In a few years, all phones, tablets and PCs will work just like the Moto X

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Motorola calls it their Active Display. Because the Moto X uses an AMOLED screen, the phone is able to turn on only a minority of the pixels normally lit up without wasting battery power on the rest of the pixels, and those only intermittently. The time, plus any recent notifications, automatically and constantly fade into view, then fade back to black. To check this information, just look at your phone.

You'd think that "always on" notifications would drain the battery. It turns out the opposite is true. One of the biggest battery drains today is caused by users constantly firing up the full smartphone display every 30 minutes to check the time and for notifications. The Moto X will give that information without waking up, which makes the battery last longer.

The X8 turns the Moto X smartphone into the phone equivalent of a wearable computer -- like Google Glass. In fact, the technology that makes the Moto X unique was originally developed for wearable computing.

A senior Motorola executive told me that it was developed for Motorola's smartwatch initiatives -- probably the fitness oriented wristwatch, the MOTOACTV, and possibly the company's rumored upcoming smartwatch. The Moto X's best technology is literally wearable computing technology built into a smartphone.

And, really, what's the difference between using Google Glass and Moto X?

What's the difference between saying "OK, Google Now: How do you say 'where is the stadium' in Japanese?" and starting that same request with "OK, Glass." It's pretty much the same behavior and exactly the same answer delivered the same way: By voice combined with a visual representation. They're both voice interactions. They're both fast. And they're both hands-free.

The Moto X is Google Glass, but in a smartphone.

The Moto X is not about convenience

Wearable computing critics slam the coming wearable revolution by saying: "What's so hard about pulling a phone out of your pocket?" -- as if Google Glass and smartwatches existed only as a minor convenience for lazy people.

They're completely missing the point.

Wearable computing technology in general, and the Moto X in particular, are about changing your mental state for the better. They're about removing the psychological barriers between questions and answers, brain and computer, human and machine.

Google's Knowledge Base feels a little less like information you're looking up and more like knowledge you already have. Your phone feels less like a gadget and more like an intelligent human who looks out for you and is always there to help.

Like prior advances in user interfaces, such as the personal computer, the graphical user interface and multi-touch computing on devices like the Apple iPad, real, hands-free interaction with Google Now -- and integrated Google services like Google+, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and all the rest -- simply feels awesome to use.

And you can't understand it until you experience it.

So don't be distracted by chatter about Moto X that treats the device like just another phone.

The Moto X is the future.

This article, The Moto X represents the future of everything, was originally published at

Mike Elgan writes about technology and tech culture. Contact and learn more about Mike at You can also see more articles by Mike Elgan on

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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