Google 'X-Phone' ready to blossom this spring: reports

The so-called X-Phone, the fruits of Google's recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility, is said to be introduced early this spring. 

Google signage is seen at the company's headquarters in New York in early January. According to a spate of new reports, Google is poised to release a new smartphone codenamed the 'X-Phone.'

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. 

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