Why I Betrayed Apple and Switched to the Moto X

Recently, my wife of 16 years accused me of cheating. She's right. I'm in a new relationship. Not with a new woman, but a new phone. After five years with various models of iPhone, I've switched to Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Moto X handset.

Tuesday morning, I would have told you I'd never go back. But then the device simply stopped working during Sony's keynote at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. And I do mean stopped: the Moto logo appeared, then a few prancing animals (mocking my misfortune?), and then a black screen. What was once a smartphone -- and my go-to device for recording events like this -- had become a brick.

The good news? Google's own services helped fix the problem. See, I use a Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) hotspot when working away from my desk and on trips. This time, I used portable Wi-Fi to dial Verizon customer care from my Mac using Google Hangouts and a pair of earbuds to make the call.

My first attempt dropped after a few minutes of software tests. But the second ended with a Verizon rep routing me to a tech support agent who documented the failure and recommended an in-store replacement. A few hours and $120 in cab fare later -- this is Vegas, remember -- I had a new Moto X, which is updating to Android 4.4 as I type this.

Why I'm giving Google a second chance
I'll admit I was tempted to ask Verizon to credit my Moto X purchase toward a new iPhone, especially since the device is less than a month old. Why didn't I do it? Gmail is my go-to email service. I write in Google Docs and track data in Sheets. Drive holds my article drafts, photos, art, research reports, and recorded interviews.

Moto X is also built on Android, which is optimized for handling Google services in ways that their iOS counterparts aren't. For example, Google Now automatically offers to render the route to my next meeting in Maps. No need to enter an address. Google just does the work for me, which I appreciate.

And that's not all. Here are three other ways the Moto X has changed my perspective.

1. The viewing experience is better. I've long argued that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) needs something closer to a phablet in order to cater to consumers who want a better smartphone viewing experience. Moto X's 4.7-inch display isn't so large as to fit in the phablet category, but it's more generous than what I had with the iPhone 4S and much easier to read as a result. I'm also happy with the brightness and clarity of the X's AMOLED screen -- though if you look at Apple's share of the domestic smartphone market and the estimates for what come from the new deal with China Mobile, it's fair to say I'm in the minority.

2. Cheaper isn't always worse. I'd be remiss if I didn't also point out that I got a deal. Verizon's holiday sale offered a $50 rebate on the 16 gig X, making the effective take-home price $99 versus $299 if I'd chosen to upgrade to the 5S, as my wife did. Most of the apps I use frequently are either available on Android or are easily replaced with native substitutes. Any.do's Cal is a good example, as is Contacts+, which I use in place of Cobook for contacts management.

3. My carrier experience is better. For at least a year, we'd been paying AT&T  (NYSE: T  ) for LTE service that was so spotty we'd turned it off in order to avoid dropped calls and frustrating delays in data downloads. We've yet to experience this problem with Verizon, and that's true even when I'm getting one or two bars of service in my basement office. Verizon's expansive LTE build-out -- effectively finished at this point -- seems to be paying off.

So, for now, I'm in this affair for the long haul. Do you think I'm wrong? Have you switched from an iPhone to Moto X or another Android device? If so, what was the experience like? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

Google is betting that customizable Motorola phones will entice some Apple iPhone users to switch. Sources: ABC News/Google.

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Read/Post Comments (33) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 8:34 AM, jb757 wrote:

    Several different iPhones in five years. And at what total cost? $1,000? This is a bad learning experience.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 8:42 AM, JbUps wrote:

    You pretty much covered all the same old usuall suspects. Apples brand, quality, and growing ecosystem mean nothing. Carrier issues will only hurt Apple. Will this drum beat never end?

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 8:45 AM, lkmd98 wrote:

    great experiment , should last until the iPhone 6 comes out .....thats why its the motley FOOL

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 8:56 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    > 91% of iPhone users stick with the iPhone. Only 75% of Android phone users stock w/ Android.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 9:21 AM, mfooljdg wrote:

    You switched to Verizon and are happier but what does that have to do with Moto X versus iPhone? You #3 makes no sense as a phone comparison.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 9:33 AM, interdyne wrote:

    The Google services point is very interesting and scary for Apple. If Google keeps improving those services that could be a problem for Apple.

    However, your other two points seem factually incorect. You state that the comparable price for a iPhone 5S 16GB would be $299, it's $199, making the difference $100 not $200.

    You cite the difference in carrier performance as a reason to switch, as if iPhone wasn't available on Verizon. But it is, so this point is non-sensical.

    The screen argument is at least not factually inaccurate and a matter of opinion.

    So in sum your article does have one interesting point, one often repeated complaint and two inaccurate or non-sensical points.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 9:52 AM, shailendrah wrote:

    I read the article but was puzzled as to why you twisted the facts. I paid 199 for my iPhone 5 last year. Also, I could have gotten the phone with Verizon or some other carrier, if I wanted but AT&T is pretty OK, where I live. I need my phone to be a phone first and am grateful to apple that they have maintained the form factor, so that I can carry it quite easily in my hip pocket & don't need a holster. Also, Google might have it's integration but Apple has it's own too. I have an all apple home apple tv, time machine, mac osx, iPhone, iPad, time machine etc. All my devices talk to each other including the mouse and the keyboard. If apple comes up with a watch, tv or a jacket; I will be ready to junk my Samsung LCD in favor of those devices because of the integrated experience and the quality of the products. In the 8-10 years of using apple products the reliability of Apple products has been super. Samsung is OK but I have already had a technician replace a board in my TV; Google's products look and feel cheap in comparison. I don't mind paying the extra money for apple products they are just superior in all respects.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 10:16 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    @shllendrah: I agree with you on all your points. It's nice to be able to put your phone in your pocket and not have it be a big lump there (Steve Jobs said this was one of the reasons that Apple designed the form factor as they did).

    Today, if you want a big screen device you can buy the iPad mini.

    The orginal iPhone was a phone first, a music player second, and an Internet connection third (quoting Jobs).

    The iPad was actually developed before the iPhone and was intended to be the heavy Internet users device of choice --- it was held back until the technology (for Wi-Fi and 3G/LTE caught up). [Apple probably got lucky that the market responded they way it did.]

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 10:40 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @interdyne and @shailendrah,

    Thanks for the comments. I can see where the problem is. While a 16 gig 5S is $199, my 4S was the 32 gig model. My wife bought a 32 gig. Had I stuck w the iPhone, I'd have done the same and paid $299 to ensure a smooth migration.

    In switching, I felt comfortable downgrading to the 16 gig configuration because my Google data is already in the cloud.

    I should also be clear that I'm *not* arguing that the Moto X is better than the iPhone. Rather, I decided to experiment with a phone that's more aligned with my daily usage of Google services. So far, I'm mostly pleased with the results -- though I remain a happy owner of a four-year-old MacBook Pro and a first generation iPad Mini.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter and +TimBeyers on Google+

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 12:09 PM, oatmealblues wrote:

    There are so many problems with this article. They have already been pointed out by others that have responded. I would think you could get at least half of the facts right. I would get fired from my job if I made so many mistakes. How many years has Verizon been selling the iphone? $299? What the heck?

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:00 PM, Thompr97 wrote:

    Your 3 reasons all contained peculiar logic.

    In example 1, you compare a 4.7 inch screen to the small screen of your previous phone (a 4S) instead of to a number of different iPhones of the "5" variety that you could have gotten. Yes, I realize the Moto X is still larger, but it sure seems like you deliberately attempted to make your point stronger through the faulty comparison. In fact, that seems to be a habit of yours, as we discover in example 2...

    In example 2, you compare the $99 holiday price for the 16G Moto X to an iPhone at $299. Well the 16G iPhone retails at $199, and many places offered similar rebates or credits as the one you mentioned, so the price disparity may have been only $50 instead of the $200 you imply. (Plus, you subsequently paid $120 for cab fare to replace your Moto X, so by my math you have now paid more than you would have if you went with the iPhone 5S.). There were also 5C and last generation 5 units that would have cost you less.

    As for example 3, I don't even know what to say. It has nothing to do with which phone you selected.

    So boiling it all down, you compared (1) Moto X screen to the screen of an old generation iPhone, (2) a 16G Moto X at holiday pricing to a 32G iPhone at list price, and (3) AT&T to Verizon. I offer two possibilities: either (1) you are unaware of the bad logic here, or (2) you are aware of it but are hoping we won't pick up on it. Neither possibility is flattering on you, making me disinclined to read any more of your articles.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:04 PM, demodave wrote:

    Tim, the only reason you switched to the Moto phone is that it fit your day-to-day use of the Google Android ecosystem. All the other factors are "good enough" on a different (cheaper) platform. They are not *justifications* for the change. If the Google ecosystem works better "for you", then bully for you. But it is not investment-quality data.

    And by the way, you start out by observing that your Moto phone died in your hands (for no apparent reason) and that your first call to tech support failed. With advertising like that, Google sure don't need competition.

    This "blog" posting belongs on FaceBook, not on The Motley Fool. I wish the Motley Fool's management would get back to their bread and butter (buy low, hold long, sell high) and quit playing with steak and frites. (No offense intended to frites.) And I wish management would push for quality well written content instead of cheap video segments. The internet was supposed to connect us and enlighten us, not deaden our brains.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:07 PM, advisor13 wrote:

    wow... Tim Beyers? Who is this guy? So you wanna write an article bashing Apple, huh

    #1 You start your point by saying that your new favorite device just broke... Seriously?

    #2 You end your points by saying that Verizon is a better experience... Um, what in the world does that have to do with iPhone vs MotoX. You do realize Verizon sells the iPhone right?

    I cant believe I wasted my time reading this article, I want my 3 minutes back :(

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:08 PM, Sookey9090 wrote:

    Don't betray us .... please please please.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:28 PM, deasystems wrote:

    Tim: "I've switched to Google's Moto X handset.…the device simply stopped working during Sony's keynote at this week's Consumer Electronics Show. And I do mean stopped: the Moto logo appeared, then a few prancing animals (mocking my misfortune?), and then a black screen. What was once a smartphone -- and my go-to device for recording events like this -- had become a brick."

    Well said Tim. Congratulations on your new acquisition.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:28 PM, margiecfl wrote:

    Tim, I own a MotoX and love it, especially the hands free model.

    I think a major downside in the argument here is the fact that you were largely comparing a 2 year old iPhone to the MotoX, which just isn't a fair comparison. You have to compare the latest iteration as they were released close to one another.

    Your logic of switching for Google services though makes sense. I haven't used the 5s, but there is no way that Apple matches that.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:51 PM, vinnybaggadonuts wrote:

    And the rabid Apple fan boys go on the attack!

    First off, those that are attacking the authors first point: screen size, have no idea what they're talking about.

    The moto-x's diagonal screen size is 4.7 inches.

    The Iphone 5S - is 4 inches...a half inch bigger than the 4S, but almost 3/4's an inch smaller than the Moto-X.

    The Iphone 4s? A meager 3.5 inches, almost 1 & 1/4 inches smaller than the Moto-X.

    Either way, the Moto-X has a bigger screen, regardless of which model Iphone your comparing.

    2: The author clearly states that the Iphone 5S is only 199. Which, is true...for the 16 gb version.

    If you look at his reply though, you'll see that to get the Iphone 5S, with the same capacity as his 4S (32GB) it'd be 299.

    Don't you Apple chumps read? Or is it full blown attack mode whenever someone voices their displeasure over Apple?

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 2:11 PM, boveejg wrote:

    In addition to all of the other mistakes and inaccuracies mentioned in the other comments here, the iphone 4S doesn't even have an LTE chip in it. So your comment about getting 'spotty" LTE service on your old 4S is, at best, a complete fabrication.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 2:25 PM, oatmealblues wrote:

    @vinnybaggadonuts yes we can read. Comparing a new phone to one that came out 2 or 3 years ago is not very good writing. Comparing the price of a 16 gig model to that of a 32 gig model is not very good writing. Comparing the phone service of one phone over the other phone is not very good writing with the service provider is available for both. We can read it was just a poor article.

    Good for him if he wanted a Moto-x but that has little to do on how the article was written. The article should be pulled or fixed.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 4:27 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    Tim - who cares! Buy and use what you like. Most seem to buy and prefer Apple's iPhone but what ever floats your boat.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 4:49 PM, BenAugust wrote:

    Is anyone else thinking the "Why I left (blank) for (blank)" articles are getting pretty old?

    Tech bias is getting about as bad as political bias

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 7:19 PM, larryw101 wrote:

    Another useless and very slanted article by the fools at Motley.

    These bozo authors are getting worse and worse.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 9:08 PM, MichalTod wrote:

    I went from the original iPhone to a HTC Incredible and now I'm on an iPhone 4s. The only reason why I would consider going back to Android are the bigger screens; I'm giving Apple sometime in 2014 to release an iPhone with a larger screen, and if it does I'll upgrade then.

    For me, it's the App Store, ease of use and integration with the rest of the computing devices in our household (last year we switched to all Mac) that keeps me on the iPhone. I know the Android experience will be OK, but even if I switch I'll likely end up just going back to Apple when I get tired of the Droid like I did last time.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 11:11 PM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    I care about as much as which OS is on your phone as I do about the next Hollywood reject who comes out of the closet and is desperate for attention.

    I have an android phone and I'll stick with it and I have a 256g Surface Pro. Does anyone care? I hope not because I don't care one bit what you've bought. All I care about is what I own works for me.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 11:47 PM, Mrr82 wrote:

    You know the 4S was selling for 300 on eBay when the 5s launched. You don't seem to understand the resale value you gain by going iPhone.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 8:13 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    Let's put the comments from the Apple fanboys and bashers in perspective. 20 comments are such a small sample size in the big picture it means nothing really.

    Here is some data:

    Apple has sold >500 million iOS devices to date and has > 90% retention rate. Android devices have < 75% retention rate.

    [CrazyDocAl said it best on the Android user side.]

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 4:25 PM, apatron wrote:

    First of all, despite the many errors, this is not an article. It is an ad. I would bet you Mr Beyer has received something for this error and misguiding filled article.

    You can certainly make a good argument when you can pick and choose the points you want while ignoring facts or truth. Watch the kindle fire ad where they compare the ipad/ipad air... they keep comparing points against different products. Gee, "My Ferrari is Faster than a horse and smaller than a building..."

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 10:22 AM, JKramarz321 wrote:

    The carrier issue is kind of lame to include, if not irrelevant.

    The Google Apps, however, are covered by iWork apps, which are now included with every mac and iOS device since October, and are cheap anyway if you have older devices.

    So I could write and equivalent article, about how I'm stuck on iOS because I use Numbers and Pages so much, and the Apple email. Where are we going with this, and really, why should anyone care what brand apps we're using?

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 12:48 AM, Caligula wrote:

    So, if you hadn't been near a big city with tons of Moto providers, you'd have been screwed, even though this was an issue SO well known it should have been fixed with a simple software update weeks ago . . .

    Frankly I have NEVER had an iPhone "just stop working" on my at any time. I haven't seen on just spontaneously die, and no one I know has either, though we have seem them killed, both accidentally (run over by earth mover) and deliberately ( .22-250 round from 100 meters), but I've NEVER seem them "just die".

    I think you made a bad deal.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 5:03 PM, EyeHateFools wrote:

    You didn't betray Apple. Apple wants people that like Apple products, and you obviously don't. If Steve Jobs were still alive I am sure he would tell you to go get a Moto X if that's what floats your boat. He was all about quality and making his customers happy, but recognized not everyone cares about quality.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 5:45 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    Steve Jobs also said all of the other handset manufacturers make junk.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 10:18 AM, iPhoneFan wrote:

    Ordered my Moto X for Republic Wireless yesterday. Couldn't take the $100 phone bills for AT&T for my Iphone 5 anymore. Once I sell my iPhone, I'll break even and start saving money in July - even with a $135 ETF. Good article

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2014, at 10:20 AM, iPhoneFan wrote:

    Also, forgot to mention that as a publicly traded company, AAPL's loyalty is to it's shareholders first, not its customers. Fiduciary responsibility trickles down... No sense in being loyal to a firm that isn't loyal to you

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