Current Weather
The Spy FM

Google Ups Its Game Against Apple With New Smartphone

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
August 2, 2013

When it was launched Thursday, the Moto X, Google’s first smartphone product to come out of its buyout of Motorola, was not the highest powered or highest pixeled device. Rather, the designers boasted of its usability — that the Moto X has a larger purpose: making the technology of a phone adapt to the way people use them, rather than force user behavior to adapt to the technology.

For example, if the phone is placed face down and then turned over, it briefly exposes the time, text and any email notifications without getting unlocked. And the Moto X is designed with rounded edges so it’s comfortable in the hand.

Gesture-control also becomes prominent. By twisting it back and forth two times, the camera opens without the user needing to feel around for a button.

It’s also responsive to the way younger generations are using their phones — for searches, GPS, texting — anything but actually calling people. A study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project released in 2011 found that barely 53 percent of Americans preferred a voice call to a text message.

So Google has made its voice activation system, Google Now, easy to use with this phone. Unlike the Siri system by Apple, which requires a button to turn it on, Google Now is always listening. All you have to do is say “OK, Google Now.” And then it listens for your commands.

Google Now combines nicely with GPS so it can help answer questions like, “where’s the closest Chinese takeout?” It takes dictation and it can respond to a text with a quick note, “Not now! Busy.”

“It’s a refreshing step back,” said Consumer Reports’ Mike Gikas. He got an advanced look at Moto X and has been testing it. “For the last few years we’ve been in this arms race regarding features,” he said. “Every phone is going to have more megapixels and a larger display and sharper this and faster that.”

Gikas says he’s still got a lot of testing to do before he makes a recommendation as to whether consumers should pick the Moto X over an iPhone or a new Samsung Galaxy. But, he thinks the Moto X is inching us along to another way of thinking about smartphones.

“Whenever there’s a good idea like this,” he said, “we’re going to see more of it.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

Listen Live Now!

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

View the program guide!

1PM to 2PM Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation

Journalist Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center