It’s not too difficult to argue that the Moto X is part of an important new direction for the company, a direction that’s finally being guided by its relationship with Google. Ever since talk of an acquisition was first on the table we’ve been hearing the message that in spite of this association, Motorola Mobility wouldn’t just become Google’s smartphone manufacturing arm, and would continue to act independently in many respects. We’re reminded again of this divide today, after hearing Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside explain why the Moto X is shipping with Android 4.2.2, rather than the brand-new Android 4.3.
Apparently, despite Android 4.3 being in development for months and months, Motorola had no special access to these efforts, and got to see the Android 4.3 code the same time the rest of us did, with the launch of the new Nexus 7.
That’s not stopping Motorola from rushing to get a 4.3 update ready for new Moto X users – Woodside describes the effort as “absolutely” a priority – but it’s still interesting to see evidence for this still-at-arm’s-length relationship between Motorola and the overall Google Android leadership efforts. For the moment, there’s no sign of that changing, but we wonder how long this might last. Surely, it must be tempting for Google to give Motorola a little edge.