What’s that coming over the hill? Is it the Motorola X Phone?

Motorola_HQIt has been whispered about in the corridors of tech for what feels like centuries. The long fabled, X Phone, fathomed from precious metals, born of the combined genius of Google and Motorola, is set to conquer the Android landscape and bring peace to the galaxy. If you’d prefer the hyperbole-free version, Motorola is going to release a new phone and it looks quite good.

The long rumoured super phone might be Google-branded, and it could be the first device to feature the next major Android update (version 5.0 Key Lime Pie). It might also be indestructible and capable of running for days on a single charge. The grapevine says it will have a chameleon-like ability to change its aesthetic to suit your personality. It’s a given that the specs will be flagship-worthy and cutting edge.

Sadly, all of this is speculation and gossip. What we do know is that it will serve as the first fruit of Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which took place almost a year (and $12.5 billion) ago now. Google has slimmed down the once all-conquering Motorola and it’s primed to return to profitability. All it needs is one, exciting, flagship release, and you have to believe the combined efforts of Google and Motorola can provide it.

We half-expected the X Phone to make its debut at Google I/O, but there was a dearth of hardware on show. The truth is Google and Motorola have remained tight-lipped on the existence of the X Phone, so we don’t know anything for sure. Let’s take a look at the rumours and indulge in some wild speculation.

Super tough

Motorola has done tough in the past, so we could well see a Kevlar reinforced body combined with indestructible sapphire glass. It wouldn’t be a shock if it had military grade specs, and it will probably be splash proof, if not water proof. We’d stop short of driving a bus over it, but we’re thinking it will be tougher than your average phone.

Sexy screen

We’ve heard claims that the screen will be 4.7 inches, 4.8 inches, or maybe 5 inches. There’s no word on the resolution, but surely anything less than 1080p in the current climate would be a disappointment. If the screen veers towards the top end of the estimates then expect a super slim bezel to keep the form factor as compact as possible.

Lightning fast

How about a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor? Sounds good huh? Or maybe it will be a 1.7GHz quad-core processor. Would a dual-core Snapdragon 4 Pro processor be disappointing? We’ve even heard that a 2.3GHz Nvidia 4i chip is a possibility. Expect whatever it has to be backed up by 2GB of RAM.

Extra specs

Since Google cut the ability to shift apps on the SD card, demands for onboard storage are going up. The X Phone should have at least 32GB inside. NFC, LTE and the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are a given. How good does the camera have to be to compete in the megapixel war? We’re hearing 16MP, which will comfortably blow everything else out of the water.

Software features

The first quandary is whether it will run Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, or Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Beyond that, will it be stock? We think not, although some rumours have mentioned an unlockable bootloader. Most likely it will come packed with Motorola extras, there have been whispers about an ability to predict what you’re about to do and preempt your actions by automatically launching apps, but that sounds potentially demented and a bit silly. In any case, some attempt to compete with Samsung’s smorgasbord of apps and unique features on the S4 seems inevitable.

Build your own X Phone

Customization will be key, apparently, and customers will be able to design the phone they want before ordering. This may or may not extend beyond choosing a colour, to include pre-loaded apps, wallpaper and ringtones, along with various hardware spec choices.

Pricing and models

It could be that the X Phone will actually be a line of X Phones at various price points; that would certainly account for the mixed bag of specs that has been grinding out of the rumour mill. Maybe there’s a budget version, a mid-ranger, and a flagship. Will it be sold direct like previous Nexus phones? We’re pretty sure it won’t because there’s evidence of new Motorola phones coming to U.S. carriers very soon, so that would point towards a traditional subsidised approach – free phone with a two year contract sign-up.

It will last for days

The last solid tip about the X Phone, one which we find very believable, is that it will pack a big battery, maybe even as big as 4,000 mAh. Motorola has pioneered the search for a solution to everyone’s biggest gripe about smartphones – battery life. The Droid Razr Maxx had a whopping 3,300 mAh battery that was good for more than 21 hours of continuous talk time. The X Phone should be able last a couple of days between charges, even with heavy use.

When will we see it?

The X Phone rumours have been swirling around for months and a summer launch was originally touted. One recent rumour claims that it has been delayed until August. Let’s just say we’re expecting it before the end of the year, and it should generate some serious noise. Will it be the ultimate super phone or is the hype paving the way to bitter disenchantment? Place your bets.

About Simon Hill

Simon is an experienced tech writer with a background in games development. He has been covering the world of mobile technology for several years now and writes for a variety of popular websites.