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© werner de coster dreamstime.com Analysis | October 10, 2013

Moto X outpaces competition

When comparing the latest offerings, Google (Motorola Mobility) trumps Apple in engineering design and creativity reports ABI Research.
Apple’s latest offerings, IPhone 5c and IPhone 5s, show only minor improvements over last year’s iPhone 5 while Motorola Mobility’s 3rd quarter offering, the Moto X, shows a number of creative engineering solutions.

The iPhone 5c simply sports a new housing material in a variety of colors. The 5s keeps the original housing but adds finger print ID, a sensor hub, and a dual-core 64b processor: all of which have all been seen before. Finger print ID was first introduced in handsets by Motorola a few years back on the ATRIX HD 4G; sensor hubs have been populating most of the new smartphones throughout all of 2013 (STm being one of the popular ones); and the 64b processor is just Apple’s way of providing more processing power.

Other suppliers have elected to add cores (4 and even 8 cores are available) to accomplish the same result. Either more bits or more cores add significant performance but the trade-off is always current drain. The A7 processor drew 1100mA during fixed point operations and 520mA during floating point operations. The iPhone 5 drew 485mA and 320mA for the same test.

In comparison, the Moto X features innovations such as always-on voice commands, ergonomic form factor, and a much underrated display are a few of the attributes that set the Moto X a step above the rest. Jim Mielke, VP of engineering at ABI Research comments: “Features like always-on voice commands typically would draw too much current to be practical, but the Moto X accomplishes the task with 4.5mA allowing the phone to maintain over 200hrs of standby time. The display is a bigger surprise though—the Moto X display draws 68mA at low output levels and only 92mA at high output levels, making it a new standard for high output level current drain.” The iPhone 5s draws 80mA and 220mA (~2.5 times as much as the Moto X) while sporting 20% fewer pixels.

The combination of solid engineering, creative features, and timely introduction of those features was Apple’s trademark but it has faded in this category over the last two years. Q3 2013 marks the start of another potential company that has put together that rare combination of traits that bring user friendly, innovative, practical products to market.

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