Motorola today began promoting its highly-anticipated Moto X smartphone in newspaper ads and on its Web site.
The device will be the first smartphone produced by Motorola since it was acquired by Google a year ago.
The promotions don't include images of the new phone, which reports say will run Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 and feature a 4.7-in. 720p touchscreen display.
The Motorola promotions say the Moto X is "coming soon." Various unconfirmed reports say it will be unveiled on August 1.
The promotions on the Motorola website instead show a picture of two people jumping off the end of a dock into a lake with the words: "Celebrate the freedom to design a smartphone as unique as you are."
The tone of the print ad also focuses on freedom and July 4th celebrations, with Motorola boasting it is "the first smartphone designed, engineered and assembled in the USA."
Apple recently began airing TV ads along a similar theme: "This is our signature and it means everything: Designed by Apple in California."
Brian Wallace, vice president of Motorola's global brand and product marketing, told Ad Age that assembling Moto X smartphones in its Fort Worth, Texas, assembly plant is "very different. What better time than July 4th to come with a message like that?"
Wallace said some Moto X components will be made abroad, but final assembly will be in the U.S.
Motorola's Web site says 2,000 new employees have been hired to produce the devices in Fort Worth.
Now that smartphones are so widely used in the U.S., the marketing and advertising of them has taken on greater significance, analysts said. The nuances of hardware and software are sometimes compared, but more often the overall user experience and even where they are designed and made are put forward as a competitive advantage.
Motorola's print ad ran in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post and was created by Droga5, an independent advertising firm.
Reports have circulated that the customer-designed hardware elements in the Moto X could be laser-etched art on the case (as happened with Microsoft's Zune HD) or custom cases. Native Android software from Google is known to be highly customizable.
Last month, PhoneArena published a leaked photo of what is presumed to be the Moto X running on Sprint's 4G LTE network, as well as next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi and NFC. It appears to be shaped somewhat like an iPhone, a rectangle with rounded corners.
It will have a 1.7 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage along with a 10-megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front camera, according to various reports.
Anticipation for the Moto X is as high as for any recent Android phone, if only because Google had a hand in designing it, analysts said.
Some pundits have said Google bought Motorola to more tightly control device design and manufacturing, similar to the Apple's processes. At the same time, analysts have noted that several other Android manufacturers have objected to Google for taking such control in what was intended to an open source approach.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His email address is [email protected].
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