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Sketchy Moto X prototype dummy leak suggests possible design for 2016 Motorola flagship


This year’s Moto X has only been out for a couple of months, and already we’re seeing rumors and leaks for next year’s models. While that’s not exactly surprising, it’s always worth taking any early leaks and images with a suitable amount of skepticism. What appears to be an early machined prototype dummy has leaked online and suggests Motorola might go with a new design for next year’s Moto X, switching from a metal pill-shaped panel to a glass, circular enclosure. Unlike last year’s model, the dual LED flash is placed in a segment at the bottom of this panel, rather than in a translucent ring around the camera module.

It’s also worth applying at least a little objective thought as to what we’re actually looking at here. It’s quite clear that it isn’t a working prototype, and is nothing like a finished product. Rather, this appears to be a slab of machined metal and not an intricately-assembled component-housing smartphone. The source of this leak claims that this is just one of the new designs Motorola is considering for next year, and hasn’t decided on it just yet.

Looking on the left edge (from the back) it appears Motorola could be considering switching out the single, long volume rocker in favor of two, small individual volume up/down buttons, with the power/sleep key above those.

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Those of you looking at the image and worrying that Motorola wants to ditch its customization options in favor of an all-metal phone are doing so needlessly. Moto Maker is one of the biggest selling points of the Moto X range, and is highly unlikely to disappear. If this was an actual working all-metal model, there would be antenna bands on the back, or on the edges. It clearly doesn’t have those. What’s more, the protruding camera and slightly raised lip around the edges leave room for a layer of plastic, leather, wood or ballistic nylon to be applied.

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If there’s any bad news about this design, it could be on the bottom half of the phone. Given that this is a dummy prototype, we don’t want to get too hung up on this just yet, but those 16 machined holes look suspiciously like they’d cover the phone’s loudspeaker(s). If so, and if this design was made final, that would see the next Moto X feature a rear-facing speaker, rather than the two front-facing speakers on the current model. Like the current phones, there also appears to be a small hole for a noise-cancelling microphone near the bottom edge.

As with any leak like this, there’s always a chance that it’s not genuine. It might even be a photoshop-job, even if it’s a decidedly blurry one. If it is genuine, and Motorola does go with this design, we’ll have a Moto X next year which looks something like a Lumia smartphone, and one (perhaps) without front-facing speakers.

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