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Moto X: Google’s Biggest Flop or Biggest Hit?

Google (GOOG) has finally brought its home-grown hardware to market via the Moto X smartphone. Investors and analysts have long awaited this synergy between the dominant Android OS and a device built with the brains of Motorola in the wake of a $12.5 billion buyout two years ago.

Since the Moto X was only released on Aug. 23, it’s impossible to tell by now whether the gadget is a success just yet, or whether Apple (AAPL), BlackBerry (BBRY), Microsoft (MSFT) or other mobile players have anything to worry about.

But out of the gate, it appears clear that the Moto X is either an unmitigated success or an unmitigated disaster.

Exhibit A: reports that only about 100,000 of the Google devices have shipped, which will pace about 5 million annually — Apple moves some 30 million phones per quarter, by way of comparison.

That hints that the Moto X is nothing to crow about.

On the other hand, some reports chalk up the initially slow pace to a bottleneck and delays thanks to customization, a big feature of the Moto X.

That could mean big buzz, big enthusiasm and the kind of big-time demand and exclusivity akin to iPhone launches where too many people wanted the new gadgets but the controlled release just couldn’t keep up with consumers.

Google investors are obviously hoping the latter is true, and plenty of members in the Android Army are convinced this phone is going to shake things up big-time. If it does, the Moto X might be just the starting point for home-grown hardware that builds on the efforts of Google Nexus gadgets.

And if the device turns out to be a flop? Well, investors might start to wonder whether the Motorola buyout was a waste, and consumers might be very reluctant to ever open their wallets for a Google gadget.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Related reading on the Moto X:

Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Write him at editor@investorplace.com or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP

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  • StevieTopSiders

    That was a lot of words to not say anything.

  • cuz2333

    Get all the perks (like moto maker and the developer edition) out on Verizon if you want to see the big sales!!!

    • Bobt

      I would be looking at this post on a Moto X right now if they got off there butts and release the 32 GB on Verizon.

  • Jack

    Hard to believe that early on in this article you listed Blackberry second as companies that might have something to be concerned about with the new Moto X release. After all the articles you’ve written stating that Blackberry is a non-player in the smartphone market the mention of them here in this context seems to be inconsistent with your previous writings.

  • iPhone5Cforum.com

    So what is this ‘Exhibit A’ you speak of that shows only 100,000 units sold? I don’t see a link.

  • iPhone5Cforum.com

    Dennis Woodside was very clear that the 100,000 per week was just a ramp up goal as they continue to expand the factory’s output. If you saw the footage of the factory, it is only about 1/3 being used right now and they will expand over the next few months. Right now is all about getting the customized manufacturing to work like clockwork. It’s wayyyy too early to know if the Moto X is a success or not. I just saw my very first one in the wild this weekend…a blue with yellow accents here in Santa Monica.

  • Eleeflyguy43

    It will be a modest hit when compared to brands like HTC One, LG. G2, Sony Xperia, etc. In the end, Moto X will be scaled down to fewer customizable features and more meaningful customizations like more stargaze options than 15 flavors of battery covers. Google would have to streamline expenses to a smaller scale business that Moto X can sustain. 12 million phones is what I predict over the year. The onslaught of iPhone, the new Galaxy phones and upcoming nexus 5 will bog down Moto X sales by the end of October.

  • bob bob

    htc one for life