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Will the Google and Motorola 'X Phone' take on the iPhone in 2013?

Team Google – or technically, Team Motorola within Team Google – is apparently working on a new smartphone that's designed to up the ante against hotshot smartphone competitor Apple.

The problem? It's apparently taking a bit longer than expected for Google to produce results, which might allegedly cost the rumoured "X Phone" some of its more eye-catching features.

The Wall Street Journal has all the details on the new device, but we use that term loosely, because the smartphone is more cloaked in secrecy than confirmed with facts at this point. Some of the potential features being tossed around, however, do seem a bit innovative, like the phone's rumoured bendable screen, something that could also appear on the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. Unfortunately, it's one of the attributes that might get the axe as a result of "manufacturing" and "supply-chain management" issues, reports Amir Efrati.

Other tweaks to the manufacturing of the handset itself might allegedly include Motorola's use of different materials, like ceramics, for constructing the smartphone itself. These would presumably allow Motorola to up the resiliency of the device and offer more colours to interested consumers.

Motorola has also allegedly been hoping to provide a big boost to the unannounced phone's camera features, which was rumoured to include support for panoramic photographs and stronger colour saturation. However, these features – and others yet hinted at – allegedly compromise battery life, or aren't all that groundbreaking compared to features found in competing devices like the iPhone 5.

Finally, there's talk that Motorola will somehow use its recent acquisition of augmented reality and facial recognition technology firm Viewdle to build increased image and gesture recognition capabilities into the "X Phone." As for what this might specifically entail, that's anybody's guess at this point.

The "X Phone" is expected to debut at some point in 2013, and there's also talk that Motorola will be working on a tablet follow-up to arrive after that. But it remains to be seen how Google and Motorola's relationship post-acquisition will affect Google's existing partnerships with handset manufactures,, whose devices would also rival the rumoured "X Phone."

In other words, how could Google encourage consumers to pick up more Motorola smartphones without angering its top Android partner, Samsung?

Image credit: 9to5Mac