As tested this week, you can change the dock, and the lockscreen has some nice changes to it as well, such as being able to see your notifications and who sent them without having to unlock your phone.
That might seem like a minor change, but it plays a big part in conserving battery life, so Motorola has thrown in some unique special sauce technology powering only the middle of the screen, so that your display doesn’t have to totally switch on and you can save some battery life for later.
Given displays are generally the chief factor in killing battery life, it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense.
But then there’s the evolution of the phone, which takes that simplicity you seek to have with a phone, and cuts out that pesky requirement of needing to use your hands to operate it.
Apple’s Siri was one of the first things that stopped us from always touching our phone, and Google’s own “Now” based technology is doing it again. You can find Google Now in pretty much every currently available Android handset, but it’s merely a screen that you can get to, and unlike Siri, isn’t spread across the whole of the handset.
Motorola, though, being a company closely connected with Google (until the Lenovo buyout closes) has connected Google Now a little differently.
For instance, you can wake up the new Motorola handsets simply by talking to it, an action that will skip the Google screen and do the command your voice has told it. You can then make a search query, or call friends, or set an alarm — just like Siri — and you don’t have to touch the phone to make it happen, making it ideal for being in the car where touching your phone while driving is now illegal.
“If I’m in the car, it’ll know that I have momentum, and will wait for me to say a navigation command, or wait for me to call somebody,” said Ahlqvist, confident in the technology.
“You don’t have to touch the product,” he said.
It’s a unique technology, but it’s also one that may find the occasional problem, as our demo showed, because voice technology is only going to get better, and while it’s not exactly in its infancy, it can still have the occasional bug here and there, just like any.
Motorola will, of course, be refining the product over time, and as of the time this was published, has sent hundreds of updates through the Google Play Store, moving beyond the regular long waits people have for up-to-date operating systems.
For what it’s worth, most manufacturers are getting better at this, but it’s clear from our sit down that Motorola wants to be among the best at it, and wants to rebuild its reputation back from when the company left our humble little country.
Motorola’s Moto X and Moto G handsets are available in Australia now. Look for reviews on each shortly.