In 2009, John Gruber wrote:
Don’t aim for the middle of the market. That seems to be what all the other Android manufacturers are doing and it’s the road to NobodyCaresAboutYourPhoneVille. So instead of trying to sell half a million phones to anyone, try to sell half a million phones to a specific target: people in the market for the latest and greatest phone in the world.
Some would argue that the Nexus line was an opportunity to develop this. But the opportunity was squandered with the release of the Nexus 4, the features of which scream “budget phone”.
Three years later, a premium pure Android phone built with the blessing of Google is in development, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Seven months after being acquired by Google for $12.5 billion, Motorola is designing its marquee handset—known internally as the “X phone”—to stand apart from existing phones, though the company is running into some obstacles, these people said. […]
For the X phone, an initiative being led by former Google product manager Lior Ron who specialized in mapping, Motorola wanted top-notch features for the phone’s camera and photo software, such as better color saturation and the ability to take panoramic shots, two people familiar with the situation said.
If they can nail the hardware (and I’m not sure they can), and avoid skinning it in any way, this could be a really great product.