New Moto X Details Point To Customizable Cosmetics, Not Components

An ABC News report is dashing the hopes and dreams of Android fans everywhere. According to Joanna Stern, a version of the Motorola X will be available with custom casings and wallpapers, not customizable internal hardware like was widely speculated.

Owners will reportedly be able to order a version of the phone with different color options, backside engravings, and pre-installed custom wallpapers. This is said to be done in a new 500,000-foot factory in Texas, enabling Motorola and Google to deliver the custom phone to State-side customers in a quick manner. Another version of the phone will be available for purchase in retail stores, sans the artistic flair of their custom-ordered counterparts.

Motorola previously announced that the upcoming phone would be assembled in this facility and kicked off the phone’s marketing campaign with a full-page spread in several U.S. newspapers touting its American roots. The company’s new logo has gotten plenty of spotlight lately too, and the colorful new design may be representative of the chromatically diverse options for Motorola’s new flagship handset.

The Motorola X has long been rumored to be available with customizable options, though colors and trim weren’t exactly what some people were hoping for. It was widely speculated that the phone would be offered with various hardware options, and while that could still be the case, today’s report points towards a more logical plan.

Ordering a phone with more or less memory is one thing, but the thought of a user getting to pick and choose internal components such as the SoC, amount of RAM, and type of screen is rather ludicrous. Smartphones are relatively inexpensive through the economics of bulk ordering — if that’s removed, allowing the owner to swap different parts, the device’s price will ultimately be higher. And in the end, doesn’t everyone want the best option anyway?

These customizable options aren’t exactly novel. Apple has long offered backplate engraving on its iPods, and once upon a time Microsoft also offered the Zune with stunning backside artwork. As for custom color cases, Colorware is one of a few startups offering a similar service, allowing owners to customize their gadgets with a fresh coat of paint. But Motorola’s reported plan is the first to combine all the services prior to purchasing.

According to ABC News, the Moto X is currently in testing with carriers. With the ad campaign in full swing, it will likely hit stores sometime this summer.

Update: just published the pictures below reportedly showing the swappable backsides. Details are light and to me, I would wager these plastic backsides are for a mid- or low-level model. Motorola definitely doesn’t need a massive manufacturing facility to pump out colorful plastic back panels.

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