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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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