Earlier this month, Motorola introduced the Moto X, the company's first smartphone designed and delivered as a Google subsidiary (see my full Moto X review here). From the beginning of its marketing push for the new phone in July, Motorola has touted the Moto X as the first customizable smartphone. This week, Gizmag was given special access to create our own Moto X through the beta version of Moto Maker, Motorola's online software that will allow consumers to order, design and customize their own look for the phone.
Once the Moto X launches and Motorola begins taking orders from the public sometime in the coming weeks, Moto Maker will also be fired up online and in AT&T stores. Motorola reps told me at the Moto X unveiling that other carriers and retailers may also have Moto Maker design stations in their outlets later on, but in the beginning, it's just AT&T.;
You may be also able to order the Moto X from other carriers that don't have Moto Maker stations in-store in the beginning, though. In that case, Motorola says it'll basically sell you a card with a scratch-off code that you can use to access Moto Maker online from home and design your phone on the carrier that you bought the code from.
With all those logistical details out of the way, let's begin our tour of Moto Maker and the process of designing a Moto X.
After entering your pin code, you'll be brought to the Moto Maker dashboard, which gives you a preview of your phone and allows you to rotate it 360 degrees. Before you get started on picking colors for the front, back and accents, as well as selecting a wallpaper, startup message and optional etched message on the back, you can check out more than a dozen suggested designs.
If you opt to dive in and pick out your own colors, you'll be able to choose from a total of 18 color choices (including five neutral tones) for the back of the phone, seven hues for accents on the side buttons and a ring around the rear camera lens, and either black or white for the front of the phone.
I set out to design a special Gizmag-themed phone that would be both simple and elegant and sport the same orange and white look as the site itself. I began by selecting the most pale backplate tone available, a white front and orange accents.
The process is pretty straight-forward and the ability to rotate and zoom in on the design was a nice touch, although clearly not groundbreaking in any way.
Next comes the option to add some sort of personalized message to the lower back of the housing. This can be a good place to put an email or other method of contact in case your phone is lost and picked up by a good Samaritan. Of course, it's also a great place for driving traffic to an emerging technology website, so our custom message simply reads "Gizmag.com."
Moto Maker also allows you to add a special welcome message that you'll see when the phone first starts up, and you can choose your own wallpaper in advance. The selection of wallpapers available on Moto Maker is surprisingly limited, but there was a nice road-styled image that seemed appropriate for Gizmag. After plugging in that last choice, we came up with this final design:
After finishing a look with all the personalized touches, you'll want to choose a 16 GB or 32 GB model, consider ordering accessories such as matching colored Sol Republic headphones at extra cost, and hand over the keys to your Google account so that you can get started checking your Gmail and Google Now right out of the box without having to go through the usual setup routine.
AT&T says the Moto X will be available to consumers starting August 23, with a select few who pre-register able to get their hands on one a few days before everyone else, beginning August 19. More details from AT&T can be found on the company website or in the video below.