So as you all may know, I’m a Nexus 4 owner. When Moto introduced the Moto X I was instantly intrigued with the device. I loved it’s look and I really loved those functions. Things like Motorola Assist, Touchless Controls, and those Active Notifications (especially those notifications) really made me want to buy the phone ASAP. But then Motorola had to go dork up the launch by giving AT&T exclusive rights to Moto Maker. Then there was the lack of ability to pick it up at my local T-Mobile store. So here I am wanting to buy the Moto X but I can’t just because AT&T has exclusives that I really would like to use when I make my phone on my carrier. So a month or so passes and we get closer to “Nexus Season” which for me is a big deal because though the Moto X is nice; the Nexus could be nicer. So I find myself waiting and literally checking the Moto site every day to see if they have opened Moto Maker to all.
Developers to the rescue:
So as I said already, I love the Moto X. But when I compare it to my Nexus 4 there isn’t that much of a difference between the two. It’s not compelling enough for me to jump from where I am to the Moto X when I know another Nexus is looming that may have better hardware and a lower price point. So I like many others go to the Google Play Store to find a scratch for my itch. In the Play Store I found a couple apps that mimic the functionality of the Moto X right down to the “Active Notifications”. So I tested a few and honestly; the internal conflict I had about waiting for the Nexus or purchasing the Moto X has ended. In the Play store there are a series of apps that combined can give you the Moto X experience and won’t kill your battery, I have listed them below:
DynamicNotifications - This app will give you those sexy active notifications you have always wanted. But furthermore, it allows you to customize the experience. You can control everything from the color of the notifications, to how long you want it to wait between taking “breaths” with the breathing animation. Though this app works better with AMOLED screens; I have had no problem with it on my Nexus 4. You can always control the screen timeout or you can set it to turn off the screen while in your pocket. It works like a dream.
Knock2+ - This app takes the Active Notifications concept and makes it prettier. The notifications have cool animations and are more designed for any type of screen. You can’t go wrong with this app or DynamicNotifications, it’s all in how you want your notifications presented.
Camera Flick Gesture
Twisty Launcher - This app allows you to set a gesture from the predefined list in the app to activate the app of your choice. Works very well, and if you want the camera twist without the “Screw Driver” motion this is for you.
Tasker - How do I love thee, let me count the ways. This app allows you to do “Anything”. Seriously, ANYTHING. But you can also set a task to shake your phone to activate the camera. Another wonderful alternative.
Agent - Ok look. You have apps like Tasker where you have to build tasks yourself and this can be confusing. This app is truly the closest thing to Moto Assist i’ve found and it works beautifully. This app is simple, beautiful and functional. You open the app, you select your settings and your done. Fire and Forget, no check-up or management required. This app will read your SMS while your driving, it will tag where your car is parked, it will silence your phone during meetings and at certain times of the day. This truly does everything Moto Assist does and more.
Tasker - Once again the mother of all apps will allow you to set parameters which will get your phone to do many of the things assist does. Want your phone to silence at a certain time? Or auto turn on the bluetooth when you get in the car? This app has you covered.
Mini Tasker - This app needs more press, this is honestly an amazing app. It takes the concept of Tasker and simplifies it for everyone. If you find yourself overwhelmed with Tasker this one has just as much power but is so simple I actually prefer it over the Tasker application.
“Ok Google Now” (always listening)
Utter! Beta - This product is in beta, but it already performs better than it’s competition. If I had to describe this app, it’s Google Now on Steroids. The developer is truly a genius. You can set this app to run in the background and always listen for two commands. The first is “Wake Up” (Or whatever you want it to be) when you do this command you are talking to Utter which means you have voice control access to the functions the Utter app controls and it’s a TON. If you say “Ok Google” Utter turns on Google Now and then your talking to Google Search. This app allows you to have the “always on” experience whenever you want it. Utter can also detect when your driving and read your SMS to you if you wish, but I prefer Agent.
Google Search (New Update) (US ONLY) - I love GOOGLE. I really love GOOGLE. So today I received an update to Google Search which allows you to say “Ok Google” as the hot word while in Google Now then it will search results for me. BUT it’s better than that, if you say “Ok Google” without hitting the mic while in search it will ask what you are searching for again. This is basically “always on” as long as your inside Google Now. I know what your gonna say “But it’s not Touchless Controls”. But it is touchless controls, you can ask anything as long as your in Google Now. So for someone like me that likes my phone to only listen when I’m doing something specific this works great. In my demoing of the Moto X; I hated that I would have to whisper around the phone to prevent it from triggering from the hotword. You also see this in numerous demos on Youtube.
Text from Computer
Might Text - Not sure if you guys knew this but motorola also has an app/extension that allows users to reply to text messages via their computer. Now if you don’t know, Mighty Text has allowed this for quite some time. So if your not using this and you like to respond to messages through your computer this app is the best. They have a Chrome Extension and an Android application for phones and tablets so not only can you respond from your computer, you can also respond from your tablets.
A Happy Camper
So i’m happy with my Moto X experience on my Nexus, so much so that I am now able to wait for the Nexus announcement before I make up my mind. Which is great because I still may get the Moto X, but that’s not looking to likely (maybe next year?). Granted, the Moto X has better battery management than the Nexus 4, and I still have not found a way to do the secure bluetooth thing the Moto X offers (though I could emulate that with Tasker). At the end of the day I just wanted to share that you don’t have to choose. You can have the Moto X experience on any Android phone today if you want. As great as the Moto X and its innovations are, I am more happy that Google allows developers the freedom to develop applications that bring a similar experience to our devices.Written by: