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After teasing that its upcoming Moto X smartphone will be the “first smartphone you can design yourself,” it looks like Motorola is following in Microsoft’s footsteps to make those customization promises a reality. Yes, really.

Motorola will let Moto X buyers customize the smartphone’s colors on its website (both the rear color and side trim), as well as place an engraving on the back of the phone, sources tell ABC News. Additionally, you’ll be able to upload a photo to customize the phone’s wallpaper before it ships to you.

Custom case colors were a given, since the popularity of smartphone cases shows that people love to add their own flair to their gadgets. I also expected Motorola to offer some sort of engraving option — similar to what Microsoft used to offer with the Zune Originals service for the Zune HD.  That site allowed Zune HD owners to add elaborate art engravings to their device, as well as engrave special messages. (Apple also offers engraving for the iPod and iPad.)

While the customization options are a decent way for Motorola to differentiate itself in the smartphone market, I can’t imagine they’ll be enough to entice consumers away from the latest iPhone or Galaxy. It’s also not something that typical retail store shoppers will be able to take advantage of, since you’ll have to order online to go through the customization process.

The Moto X also has the distinction of being the first smartphone to be assembled in the U.S. ABC notes that carriers are currently testing the phone with Android 4.2.2, but by the time it’s released it’ll likely be running a newer version of Android.

Motorola says the Moto X is coming “soon.” The company won’t want to miss out on the holiday season, so it should land by the end of the year. But I have a feeling Motorola is working hard to get it out the door before Apple announces the next iPhone.


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