Google possibly about to disrupt the carrier cell phone model with Motorola X Phone

If the following X phone rumors are true, Google is about try and disrupt the carrier model for cell phones in the United States in a big way.

Right now, it is quite common to sign a two-year contract in the US and then buy a phone for $200 or less. This model has existed for several years, but if you are willing to believe a rumor from Android and Me, Google has had enough and wants to change the game.

We have been hearing about the X phone for some time, and the photos that leaked of an unnamed Motorola device are reportedly an early prototype of the phone. But here is the deal, Google wants to sell the phone for a very low price, possibly as low as $199, without a contract and maybe even offer the ability to customize the phone like you do a PC.

The idea would be that you could customize your phone with a “build-to-order” option and allow end consumers to build phones that fits their budget and needs. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one of the ways Dell managed to break into the PC market so many years ago.

If this all sounds a little too far-fetched, look at what Google did with the Nexus 4; the phone had average specs but a low price and it was nabbed up at an incredible rate. This could have been an early pilot for Google to test the waters for this type of business model and it certainly seems like consumers loved the idea.

The source is claiming the phone could make its debut as early as June (I/O) but may not ship until July (much like the Nexus 7).  

It will be quite interesting to see how carriers react to such a model as it is a strong diversion from their standard operating models that we could see resistance by means of not support the phones on their networks.

Source: Android and Me | Image via Tinhte.vn

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You know what would be fun? If such a phone came 'free' with some kind of Google subscription. Like, pay 10 dollars for a Drive account, get the phone thrown in. Now that might irk the carriers (the same carrier subscription models work here in Europe too btw, even though we don't have such astronomical subscription fees).

Could even work without any carrier at all if Google moved ahead with GTalk which is not available outside the US. They'd need a 3G network, sure. I can see them do that.

hopefully google bring the thing woldwide this time, because its third world countries need affordable phones....

Too soon for this. Major carriers WILL NOT LIKE and thus won't support. This needs to be saved for when Microsoft and Google (yes, bitter enemies are actually somewhat united on this) both launch the Super Wifi white spaces VoIP network game changer.

Of course, if you buy this phone you'll still need a carrier. They control the pricing on their networks which they'll simply adjust. This is a battle Google can't win.

Jeez, these guys are REALLY ****ing everyone in the industry off. This is likely a panic measure since they're about to be kicked out by just about every handset manufacturer (except Motorola). Everything that's coming out of Google these days reeks of panic.

djdanster said,
I don't see Samsung, HTC, LG etc changing their position on Android anytime soon.

You must have completely missed the whole Tizen article because Samsung wouldn't be codeveloping it with Intel and other industry figures if they had no problems with Android. With Tizen capable of running android apps using Alien Dalvik and using touchwiz on Tizen to the customers a Galaxy S 5 using Tizen instead of android will make no difference to them this summer when it comes out. HTC is near bankrupt and LG has always made garbage. With Tizen they will have to pay either less or no patent royalties to Microsoft on each handset sold, completely control the OS as its fully open source and has no restrictions on modifications and isn't malware ridden like android is, and they have the ability to run all android apps.

Why can't they just do that with Nexus instead of Motorola? Yes Motorola can build the phones, but why break away from such strong family of devices?

And how is this any different than say the Nokia Lumia 520 which has a lot of high end features and not to mention Nokia makes much better phones than Motorola and the 520 will sell for about 180US so it seems to me that Nokia is leading on this..

I'm sort of surprised that people are so negative towards Google on this one. Obviously Google are working closely with the manufacturers of their devices.. you only need to look at how good (and how popular) the Nexus 4 by LG and the Nexus 7 by Asus have been.. I know three people at work who all ordered the Nexus 4 when they became available again recently and all of them are absolutely pleased as punch with them. Wishing I had one myself to be honest!

Juan Rodriguez said,
And how is this any different than say the Nokia Lumia 520 which has a lot of high end features and not to mention Nokia makes much better phones than Motorola and the 520 will sell for about 180US so it seems to me that Nokia is leading on this..

Actually the 520 is available for pre order in the UK for $235........
I would compare real model against real model and then decide which one is better.

Another Windoze fanboi completely misses the point. Sure the 520 is cheap, but with what processor, camera and ram? Can you customize it so you can beef the specs up a bit if you pay a little extra? Last I checked the 920 was well over $500, and to be honest, it doesn't look that different from the 520 so why is everyone preferring it and paying the extra > $300?

Fritzly said,
Actually the 520 is available for pre order in the UK for $235........
Of course that included 20% tax and pre-orders always cost more than when devices are generally available so $180 is realistic.

recursive said,
Another Windoze fanboi completely misses the point. Sure the 520 is cheap, but with what processor, camera and ram? Can you customize it so you can beef the specs up a bit if you pay a little extra? Last I checked the 920 was well over $500, and to be honest, it doesn't look that different from the 520 so why is everyone preferring it and paying the extra > $300?
How many options do you need. They do more than 520 and 920...You have a spectrum, with progressively better specs going from 520, 620, 720, 820 and 920. There's not really any gaps in that range, apart from the ****ty low-end android devices that aren't really powerful enough to run the OS.

My wife has an HTC Wildfire and it takes her about 20 seconds to open a text and due to bugs in the OS, which HTC have never updated after 2 years, will randomly open the wrong person in the text message list and even randomly send to the wrong person from time to time (and report it sent correctly!!). She will soon be upgrading to a win phone, probably a Nokia.

Article
If this all sounds a little too far-fetched, look at what Google did with the Nexus 4; the phone had average specs but a low price and it was nabbed up at an incredible rate.

AVERAGE SPECS?!

Personally I think the camera's are very average, and the battery. Everything else is top notch though and it's still an unbelievable price

it was not the high specs! and for a device that was supposed to be top-tier, it was average specs.

(obviously if you compare to low end devices... but that was not what nexus 4 is competing against)

The $200 price HAS to be a lie, there's no way their motorola x phone would cost that little to produce, nevermind to sell. Would have to be atleast $250, more likely $280+ i would guess.

Being able to choose the camera, battery and storage space would be very handy. I'd go with a 13mp camera, huge battery life (at the expense of thickness) and a low storage space and just use a micro sd card for the extra space i need.

assuming it has the micro-sd card.... i hope it does.

i would pick high storage and highest battery power, and little processing power.

I use it for google maps, facebook, camera, audio book listening, and news reading... and as a PHONE.

after being one of the earliest people to have a quad core, i failed to see the benefit! no program i use, ever need such processing power. i dont game on phone....

I think the quad core CPU is more beneficial for multitasking rather than a single application. If you can, you should try disabling some of the cores and compare performance/battery life.

Might work for Google since they can make the money back from ads, app store, google services etc. Other ODMs, apart from Apple, don't really have that luxury.

The other problem with this is that if you don't buy a new phone with your contract you're in essence paying more. Afaik no carrier gives you a monthly discount just because you didn't sign a contract or buy a new phone. Sure you can use prepay cell phone plans but they don't have many features.

-Razorfold said,
Might work for Google since they can make the money back from ads, app store, google services etc. Other ODMs, apart from Apple, don't really have that luxury.

The other problem with this is that if you don't buy a new phone with your contract you're in essence paying more. Afaik no carrier gives you a monthly discount just because you didn't sign a contract or buy a new phone. Sure you can use prepay cell phone plans but they don't have many features.

Rumor is the phone will sell starting at $199. If so, then that is cheaper than a lot of discounts you get and not a bad price really. Also depends on what you get for the $199. A lot of info is still up in the air, if true.

-Razorfold said,
Might work for Google since they can make the money back from ads, app store, google services etc. Other ODMs, apart from Apple, don't really have that luxury.

The other problem with this is that if you don't buy a new phone with your contract you're in essence paying more. Afaik no carrier gives you a monthly discount just because you didn't sign a contract or buy a new phone. Sure you can use prepay cell phone plans but they don't have many features.

Well as long as your comments are related to the US it might be true; many other more Countries are not under control of carriers racketeering as here.

Jason Stillion said,
However.... I don't see this on CDMA phones, just GSM.

GSM is used in the majority of Countries Worldwide. Besides if it will be a compelling device people with Verizon will just drop the carriers at the end of the contract or, if financially convenient, earlier.

Due to my location, the only proper GSM coverage is AT&T. I'll stick with sprint and the "nexus" line if I have to. Liked T Mobile but coverage issues where I live.

Jason Stillion said,
Due to my location, the only proper GSM coverage is AT&T. I'll stick with sprint and the "nexus" line if I have to. Liked T Mobile but coverage issues where I live.

I do not blame you; I hate AT&T and I use Tmobile as well.

Bring. It. On.

The high price of smartphones and subsequently ridiculous tie-ins with carriers has gotten well out of hand. Something needs to change. Good work Google!

Damn this will have a ripple effect that will change pricing on not only the retail level but also on the used market. Sounds like a win for consumers.

Average consumers barely understand what specs they need for a PC, they won't have a clue about the specs they need for a phone!

DomZ said,
Average consumers barely understand what specs they need for a PC, they won't have a clue about the specs they need for a phone!

A simple, easy-to-use webpage showing what components you can customize, and what those components do would work. For example, it could say "the faster the processor, the faster the phone runs", or "more internal storage means more space for videos, photos and music." Then have sliders, and a price that updates. Maybe even predefined configurations for those that are lazy or don't care except for the price.

DomZ said,
Average consumers barely understand what specs they need for a PC, they won't have a clue about the specs they need for a phone!

Why? Seems to be working well in the PC world. People will pay what they can afford. But lets not get ahead of ourselves...just rumor and speculation at this point.