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Can a Motorola X Phone keep up with Apple and Samsung?

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Mark Lennihan/AP/File

(Read caption) Google and Motorola are reportedly working on a flagship "X Phone" to rival the iPhone and popular Android smart phones. Here, a man raises his hand at Google's offices in Mountain View, California.

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When Google purchased Motorola last year for $12.5 billion, there was lots of speculation about what was behind the deal. Was Google only interested in Motorola’s portfolio of patents? Or did it hope to put the company’s engineers to work on its own projects?

New rumors suggest that it’s largely the latter: The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Motorola is hard at work on a flagship Android phone known internally as the “X Phone,” to be released some time in 2013. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Journal says the X Phone is designed to stand head and shoulders above current handsets, although engineers are running into some early obstacles.

Motorola and Google apparently have big plans for the X Phone: Motorola is investigating materials that would make the display more flexible and less likely to crack or break under pressure, and the company wants to include better camera software and gesture recognition while simultaneously boosting battery life. It’s too early to speculate on the size of the phone or the features it will include, but the Journal’s sources say Motorola will also begin building an X Tablet once the phone has been completed.

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