I chatted with a couple of mommy bloggers, heard Guy introduce a
champion Frisbee player, saw a past co-worker and had a brief
conversation with Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi and her hockey-playing
husband Bret Hedican. The room wasn't filled with journalists and
there wasn't a line of photographers standing behind a designated
cord. The evening felt like a potluck, not a product unveiling.
We were ushered into a small presentation room, Guy made a
couple of jokes, showed us one of Bret's signed hockey jerseys from
his collection and turned the night over to Rick Osterloh, the SVP
of product at Motorola Mobility. I sat in my chair thinking about
the odd turn of events. Guy, who is infamous as a past evangelist
for Apple, was here hosting an event for Moto X.
Osterloh showed us the new Motorola logo, which had been
unveiled several days prior. The "batman-wing" red and white
Motorola logo had obviously "gone Google." Next Osterloh gave a
low-tech presentation that included a demonstration of the
voice-command capabilities of the device that are activated by
saying "Google Now." He added, "It's a personalized system that
would hear even when the radio is on."
He showed the phone's photo-taking capabilities, including
gesture controls. He also showed how the device could be integrated
into your Gmail account. (Oh no, more email clutter?)
The highlight of the presentation was an interactive
demonstration, on a couple of work stations, where attendees could
create their own custom-colored Moto Xs. The devices are assembled
in Fort Worth, Texas, and Osteroh added, "We had to revamp our
supply chain so you can get the phone in four days or less."
After the product demonstration, we headed to a low-key buffet
in the courtyard. David Kelley, the founder of IDEO and a leading
design innovator who was instrumental in many early Apple efforts,
shared memorable tales over a chicken kebab and a deconstructed
tuna nicoise salad. Kristi Yamaguchi autographed photos at a nearby
I was struck by how much this unveiling was personal, which not
incidentally was one of the words Osteroh's PowerPoint presentation
used to describe the phone, along with responsive and
American-made. The mass-positioned, lower-priced phone will
certainly give the iPhone a run for its money. I know my 11-year
old has already been swayed by the custom colors available with
matching Sol Republic ear buds. Apple verses Moto X? It will be
interesting to see what happens next.