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Moto X's penny-trial deal sells out fast

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Mark Lennihan/AP

(Read caption) Motorola Moto X smart phones, using Google's Android software, are shown at a press preview in New York. Motorola recently offered the Moto X phone for only a penny on a trial basis, betting customers would like it enough to pay full price after two weeks.

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Motorola has made waves in the tech world before for its inventive, customizable smart phone Moto X. Now it is taking a page from its current (soon to be former) owner Google, and letting customers decide if Moto X is the right fit by taking the phone for a test drive.

Motorola announced it would be releasing an unspecified number of Moto X smart phones to the public for only one penny. Customers could then take the phone home on a trial basis – if they like it, they keep it for full price -- if they don’t like it, they can ship it back. 

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Starting at midnight on Monday morning, Motorola opened the “Try then Buy” program on its website, offering customers the chance to rent a Moto X phone for cheap in hopes it would prove indispensable in their daily lives.

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“We’re betting you’ll fall in love with Moto X—how it looks, feels, and works for you,” says Motorola on its website. “For a limited time, we’ll let you customize your own no-contract phone, then try it at home for two weeks—all for $.01 to start.”

Customers then would have those two weeks to decide whether they like it or not. If they like it, their credit card would be charged for the full amount – up to $450. If not, they send it back for no charge.

As of 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, all the trial phones were sold out.

The Moto X is Motorola’s first phone after being bought by Google last summer, though Google is in the process of selling Motorola to Chinese technology company Lenovo. Unlike other top-level smart phone devices, it has hinged on Android’s super-customizable selling point. The Moto X comes with the basic top-of-the-line specs, including a 4.7-inch, 1,280-by-720 display, Android 4.2.2 operating system, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, and 10 megapixel camera. But outside of that, customers can choose the color and feel of the front, back, and buttons, including the option for a bamboo shell and a signature etched in the back.

Google has also teamed up with Motorola on an even more customizable smart phone called Project Ara. This phone will be made up of an endoskeleton and parts that can be clicked in and out like Legos. Want a faster processor? Click it in. Want a better camera? Buy it and replace your old one on the same phone. That phone is set to debut in January 2015.

Motorola hasn’t announced if more phones will be available by trial basis just yet, but no doubt we’ll be seeing more as Motorola kicks its handset business into high gear under the Lenovo brand.


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