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Google Becomes a Hardware Company

The phone will come in a variety of colors, it can be customized with a user's own photo as its "wallpaper" screen and it can carry an etched identity on the back. The phone will be assembled in the U.S. The phone will also be priced aggressively, with the highest estimate being $599 without a contract, $199 with one. It is also expected to be delivered through all four major carriers simultaneously.

Market research firm IDC estimated the global smartphone market at 216.3 million units in just the first quarter of this year with Samsung, an Android label, having 37% of it, more than twice Apple's share.

Getting Motorola significant share in that market will have to take sales away from both Samsung and Apple -- lots of sales. The "Samsung-compatible" Moto X will come with new features, a low price and a huge marketing budget.

Google is about to give the smartphone market a major shake-up, resulting in a major shakeout.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and GOOG.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and a tech reporter since 1982. His specialty has been getting to the future ahead of the crowd, then leaving before success arrived. That meant covering the Internet in 1985, e-commerce in 1994, the Internet of Things in 2005, open source in 2005 and, since 2010, renewable energy. He has written for every medium from newspapers and magazines to Web sites, from books to blogs. He still seeks tomorrow from his Craftsman home in Atlanta.
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