Late last year, rumors began circulating about a so-called "X-Phone" – a handset to be produced by Google and its recently-acquired Motorola Mobility division. Unlike the Nexus smartphones, which ran Google Android software but were built by outside manufacturers, the X-Phone would be entirely a Google affair. In a report in December, the Wall Street Journal called the device "a marquee handset with cutting-edge features."
Something powerful enough to go head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple iPhone 5, in other words. Well, a few weeks later, a new scattering of reports on the X-Phone have emerged, and at least one of them targets the device for a May 2013 launch. According to a forum thread spotted by Droid Life, the X-Phone will be introduced at the Google I/O conference this spring, and unveiled in July (hat tip to CNET for the link).
Standard caveat: Google has not yet acknowledged the existence of an X-Phone.
But as Quartz points out, Google has stressed that it inherited a 12 to 18 month "product pipeline" of existing handsets from Motorola – once those 12 to 18 months are through (this spring, roughly speaking), Google will presumably be freed up to experiment with a new generation of devices.
Meanwhile, in an earnings call this week, Google CEO Larry Page outlined a range of features he'd like to see on the next Google phones – comments widely read as hints about the forthcoming X-Phone. "Battery life is a huge issue," said Page, according to The Verge. "You shouldn't have to worry about constantly recharging your phone. When you drop your phone, it shouldn't go splat. Everything should be a ton faster and easier. There’s real potential to invent new and better experiences."
Google, of course, faces stiff competition: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech recently estimated that Apple and its iPhone account for 51 percent of the US smartphone market. But Android rules the worldwide market.