The Real Meaning of Moto X

Tickers in this article: AAPL GOOG SNE
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google's Motorola is set to launch the long-awaited Moto X smartphone on August 1. The major question that arises is: How can this device differentiate itself in the market?

There have been more leaks around the Moto X than I can count. Some of them may be true; others not. Other things have not been addressed in the leaks. Let's deal with each of the possibilities:

1. Hardware: How to out-engineer Samsung?

The Android smartphone market is flooded with devices from dozens of companies. The market is so competitive that nobody except Samsung makes any money in the Android world. One really has to ask if the market needs Motorola as the umpteenth Android.

If the leaks are true, the Moto X looks to be no match for several of the leading entries in the Android market today, including Samsung: 720p screen, 4.5-4.7 inches, no cutting-edge CPU. I mean, seriously? These are the Samsung Galaxy S3 specs from May 2012, which is ancient history in the smartphone world.

2. Customization: Jewelry, gimmick, hip or just irrelevant?

It is widely believed that Motorola will use the domestic U.S. manufacturing situation to its advantage by offering some degree of device customization. This includes a choice of colors and perhaps engraving.

For the life of me, I don't see why this is significant. Why would I possibly care what color my phone is as long as it doesn't look weird or objectionable? This seems like a solution in search of a problem.

3. Software: Lots of possibilities, but hard to get right.

There is no doubt that there are multiple ways to improve the Android OS. My two favorites would be to plug the two aspects that keeps me from getting rid of Apple iOS in my stable of devices: Podcasts and AirPlay (wireless display to TV).

Currently, Android's offerings in terms of podcasts and AirPlay-equivalent are somewhere between nonexistent and deeply inferior to how Apple does them. If Android plugs these two holes, I will be ready to ditch my iOS devices in favor of 100% Google.

The problem with this theory is that almost every Android software improvement of which I can think -- including podcasts and AirPlay -- really should be part of the standard Android offering, not some sort of third-party application exclusive to Motorola.