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Moto X: And the Price Wasn't Even Right

Stocks in this article: GOOG TMUS AAPL WMT QCOM

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Everything I said in my recent article about my expectations for Motorola X came true, except it was one step worse.

I said the device will be mediocre compared to the best Androids that Samsung and others have to offer, but that the situation could be saved by a killer price -- just as what Google (GOOG) does with the SIM-unlocked, contract-free, LG Nexus 4.

But in the end, it turns out it wasn't even cheaper.

And there is no new interesting sales model.

Motorola brings the Moto X to market with the same tired and expensive operator contract model that has been plaguing the U.S. smartphone market for over a decade. With the exception of T-Mobile (TMUS), the other operators bind you for two years and charge you the equivalent of a payday loan for the privilege of carrying their SIM-locked brick until a year after its warranty has expired.

There is, as yet, no unlocked, no-contract price for the Moto X. In the meantime, the overpriced prison-style contract pricing is $200 for the 16-gig version, and $250 for the 32-gig version.

Hey, at least Motorola exposes Apple's (AAPL) insanely greedy memory pricing by charging you only $50 for the jump from 16 gig to 32 gig. Apple charges you $100 for the identical upgrade. This tells you Apple is on the verge of a margin collapse: Competition, it hurts.

Depending on the operator and the channel, you can get a class-leading Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One for $100 or $200 on a two-year contract. In comparison to those, the Moto X offers you a one-year-old CPU and 720p screen resolution instead of 1080p resolution. Well, thank you for selling me a device with one-year-old specs at the same or double the upfront price!

Android 4.3: What's that?

If the hardware is a year old, surely because Google owns Motorola at least you get the very latest in software, no?

Uh, no.

Over the last week, I got Android 4.3 on my almost two-year-old Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and on my one-year-old Asus Nexus 7. Surely, the Moto X, being the very newest device made by Google's own subsidiary, launches with the latest Android software?

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