Exclusive: Motorola Moto X Software Update Cures Its Wired Headset Headaches

Moto X lead small

The affordable, yet sophisticated Motorola Moto X succeeds in making life with a smartphone as simple, colorful and touch-free as possible, but until recently it stumbled with one of the most basic of all cell phone accessories: wired headsets with microphones.

Fortunately, a new Moto X system software update cleans up the glitch, allowing these headsets to work as they should. The free update is now being pushed out to AT&T and T-Mobile handsets. Moto X owners can wait for the notification screen to pop up or scroll through the phone’s settings to the “About Phone” section, where they can manually initiate the update.

When a Moto X with the original system software was tested with apps such as Skype and voice recorders, it often failed to recognize wired headsets with built-in mics. The earpieces would go silent and the mics wouldn’t transmit audio.

To see if your Moto X still has the original system software, download Skype and try this: Plug a wired headset with a mic to your Moto X and make a voice call to the “Echo/Sound Test Service” entry that’s preinstalled as a contact in Skype. Once connected, try to listen to the automated recording and try to record your voice when prompted.

If you have the original system software, you won’t hear and thing and won’t be able to make the recording. Try the call again without the headset–Skype should work fine. Skype and Motorola public relations representatives were contacted for comment about the wired headset problems; neither responded.

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A Moto X which once failed the Skype test now works perfectly after the five-minute software, which also cures other Moto X issues, was installed.

The wired headsets used for testing included Audiofly AF45 and Lenovo 57Y4488 earbuds and a Native Union Pop Phone handset. The above problems were limited to wired headsets with mics–they did not occur with wired headsets without mics or with wireless Bluetooth headsets.

The wired headset problems were ironic since the Moto X, which has three built-in microphones, actually works very well with voice-activated apps such as Google Now since one of the mics is used for noise cancellation. With the new software update, the Moto X becomes an even better value.

Moto X headset 1

Overall, the Moto X is a remarkable smartphone with good looks–which can be customized–and quality high-end features like a sharp, 4.7-inch display and a 10-megapixel camera. (Click here for full review).

Text and photos Copyright 2013, Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features

Motorola Moto X: Fun, Friendly & Fast Enough

Motorola Moto X

Motorola Moto X

Motorola’s Moto X smartphone is an admirable balance of style and usability. It doesn’t try to outdo Samsung, Apple and others in the race to squeeze in as many high-tech features as possible but instead aims to please with its hand-shaped curves, cool voice-activated features and touch-friendly camera.

The Moto X succeeds as a sophisticated mainstream smartphone but is no speed demon. Its user-friendliness and simplicity are apparent from the start: Instead of a cluttered home screen, the Moto X offers pretty much a plain vanilla Android home screen that allows the new owner do the customizing. And that’s not surprising since Motorola Mobility is now a division of Google, the maker of Android software.

To start the camera, you pick up the phone and twist your wrist twice–that’s it; the Moto X immediately switches to camera mode. To take a photo you can touch any part of the screen–there’s no need to hunt for a shutter button. The Moto X’s 10-megapixel camera uses Motorola’s ClearPixel technology, which allows each sensor to gather 75 percent more light, thus making it possible to get clear photos even in low-light situations. according to Motorola.

The Moto X can be customized with numerous color combinations for its keys and shell (including an all wood case available later this year) by ordering the unit via the Moto X website, which only offers AT&T units at the moment. Since the Moto X is manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas instead of somewhere overseas, online buyers can expect to see their new phones–already initialized with their Google accounts–in four days or less, according to Motorola.

Motorola's Moto X can be ordered in a variety of color combinations.

Motorola’s Moto X can be ordered in a variety of color combinations.

“We think this represents a very interesting future,” said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president for product development at Motorola during a press event in New York. He said the Moto X is aimed at “the mainstream user,” not the feature-frenzied geek.

Rear of Motorola Moto X.

Rear of Motorola Moto X.

The Moto X uses what computing power it has fairly efficiently. It runs Android version 4.2.2 and has a dual-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon processor. Other top-shelf smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 have quad-core processors, but they also have more sensors and higher-resolution screens, making the additional processor muscle necessary.

Moto X Active Display

The low-power Active Display mode on Motorola’s Moto X.

The Moto X is built with what’s called the Motorola X8 computing system. It’s a set of eight processor cores assigned to different tasks. Why is this important? By using different cores for different tasks, the entire processor doesn’t have to be awake all the time–each core wakes up as it’s needed. This design extends the life of the Moto X’s 2200 mAH battery to a full day of average use, according to Motorola.

Two of the processor cores are used for basic application processing (this is what makes the Moto X a “dual-core” smartphone) and four are used for graphics processing, thus speeding up video and photo functions. The other two cores take care of voice commands and sensors like the accelerometer and the ambient light sensor and help the Moto X detect how fast you’re moving and what you’re doing with the phone.

When tested with voice commands, the Moto X worked very well and was able to verbally answer questions about the time, the weather, directions, baseball scores and many other queries. The quality of the speech detection is aided by the phone’s three microphones, which work together to cancel stray noises and enhance voices.

A useful Active Display shows notifications in a simple, low-power mode, thus letting you know if you have incoming e-mail, text messages or other items even when the phone is in standby mode.

The Moto X lists for $199 (16GB of user memory) or $249 (32GB) with a two-year plan and is sold by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular and major retailers.

Do you have a Moto X? How do you like it so far? Comment or vote:

Text and photos Copyright 2013, Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features

Samsung Galaxy Tab Does Adobe Flash

During a press conference last week for the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Tab, Kevin Lynch, chief technology officer at Adobe, showed off how the Android-based tablet can do something Apple’s iPad can’t: Play videos, games, web tools and other online content created with Adobe Flash.

The Galaxy Tab comes with the Android 2.2 operating system–the same used on popular Android smartphones–and comes with support for Adobe Flash 10.1.


During the Samsung press event in New York, Lynch showed how the tablet handled the video-heavy Major League Baseball website and a couple of Harry Potter online games.

The Galaxy Tab will debut with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon and a Wi-Fi-only version will be available later. The unit weighs well under a pound, has a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 16GB of internal memory (expandable with memory cards), and a 7-inch screen.

Want to see more? My video of the Galaxy Tab in action is available at PC World.

Video and text Copyright 2010 Stadium Circle Features

Samsung Galaxy S: Shining Star on Smartphone Horizon

With the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone at a lavish launch event in New York this week, Samsung claims the lead in smartphone display technology. So how nice is the 4-inch, Super AMOLED display? Very nice indeed, even in bright sunlight.


Not only is the display bright and rich, but video playback is more than impressive, rendering even action movies with a jitter. Combined with a 1GHz processor, the Galaxy S handles high-definition videos very well. Take a look at how nice the movie “Avatar” comes across on the small screen. The entire movie comes with the phone on a removable memory card.

The Galaxy S is known as the T-Mobile Vibrant, the Verizon Wireless Fascinate, the AT&T Captivate and the Sprint Epic 4G, which, unlike the other three, has a slide-out QWERTY keypad.


What else do I think? See my first impressions at PC World.

Copyright 2010 Stadium Circle Features

Sound ID 510 Bluetooth Headset: Now Hear That!

According to the folks at Sound ID, you are what you hear. That’s why the new Sound ID 510 Bluetooth headset comes with something no other wireless headset to date has offered: Its own personalized iPhone app.

The new app, called EarPrint, allows you to fine tune the incoming audio of the headset to your own ear. Depending on how you set the app, you can have the earpiece dull loud sounds or increase the volume of soft ones.

The headset will be available at AT&T stores and the Sound ID website on June 6. So what else does it offer? Read my first look at PC World.

Copyright 2010 Stadium Circle Features

Wi-Fi: Sometimes free, not always easy

A free wireless Internet connection can be pretty handy when you’re out and about town or traveling. Finding it is sometimes the hard part. Why pay up to $30 a day for Wi-Fi when free–and legal–connections are easy to come by?

Take a look at my piece in the Your Money section of the March 3 issue of the New York Daily News.

If you have some tips of your own, let me know. Thanks.

Smartphones for gift-giving


Looking for a new smartphone? Take a look at my latest piece in the New York Daily News for some guidance. And let me know what you think!