Android this week: $99 for Moto X and why Galaxy Gear returns may be high

AT&T(s t) still has the exclusive Moto X(s goog) customization option and now it has a price reduction to match. Earlier this week, the MotoMaker site showed price reductions to $99 for the 16 GB model and $149 for the 32 GB model; both prices reflect two-year contract pricing.

That’s a drop of $100 from the initial price in August. Is that a sign of poor sales? Possibly, but not likely. Android handsets often see a price cut within 3 to 6 months after launch. The $100 drop was also leaked in late August to happen in the fourth quarter:

Although some thought the original $199 cost was too high for what people called a phone “with mid-range” hardware, I felt the Moto X provided a high-end experience and bought my own in August. It’s still the Android phone I carry on a daily basis. After the price cut, it’s an even more compelling handset.

Perhaps not so compelling is Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch. According to, the device return rate is trending above 30 percent at Best Buy(s bbuy). The company is reportedly trying to determine why that is but I’m not sure it will need to spend too much figuring it out.

I’ve been using a Galaxy Gear with a Galaxy Note 3 for the past few weeks, holding off on my thoughts to give it a fair shake over time. At $299, it’s a tough sell in my opinion; perhaps even a tough sell at $199. From a hardware perspective, it’s not a bad device: The screen is bright, the battery life is acceptable — I don’t mind charging a device each night — and the touchscreen is responsive.

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I don’t find that the Galaxy Gear advances the smartwatch concept however, nor is a completely finished product.

Notifications from non-Samsung apps don’t provide information details, for example, and that’s one of the key features of the device. The built-in camera is interesting and works well, but I don’t find it provides that much value. And taking a phone call on the watch isn’t something I’d want to do often; it’s difficult to hear your caller if there’s any background noise.

At $299 with limitations — the watch only works with certain Samsung devices — the Gear is a tough sell. And for those that do buy it, I can understand why some aren’t happy with the purchase.