On Wednesday November 13, Motorola announced the Moto G, a low cost version of its Moto X flagship. The phone consists of 4.5 inch 720p display, Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. Seems like a basic budget smartphone phone for 2013 but the price is what makes this device stand out. Starting at $179 for 8GB and $199 for 16GB off contract, this low cost Moto G looks to shake things up in a landscape dominated by $500-$600 smartphones.
Google likes to talk about the next billion devices for Android but the Moto G really shows the path to the next billion sold. The Google Nexus line has started a race to the bottom in terms of cost in order to get as many smartphones as possible in the hands of those that don't have one yet. And Motorola, now a Google Company, has made another big push for that ambitious goal.
There are a lot of drawbacks when buying a budget Android smartphone on a US carrier as they are less likely to get Android updates and are nowhere near as powerful as their flagship counterparts. Another option is buying an old flagship device but these are usually running old hardware, are probably done receiving updates, and just don't perform as well as they once did. The Moto G, on the other hand, looks to be a good balance of power and price.
- 4.5 inch 720p TFT LCD Display
- Quad Core Snapdragon 400 Processor
- 1 GB of RAM
- 8 or 16 GB of internal storage
- 5 Megapixel Camera with LED Flash and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
- "Android 4.3 Jellybean, the most up to date Android of any phone in its class, with a guaranteed upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat"
- 19 customization options in removable colored back covers
- 21 HSPA+ (NO LTE)
- 2070mah Non-Removable Battery, Motorola optimizations allow for 24 hour mixed usage
For $179, this a good combination of hardware and software. While you won't get the customization options that the Moto X has, a pure stock Android software experience on optimized hardware can really help this phone shine. Motorola wants to take a page out of the Moto X by making a phone that feels fast without high end specs and without hurting your wallet.
The big omission is LTE but since the emerging markets are the focus of this phone this omission is to be expected since LTE networks aren't as robust or even available. A US launch is targeted for January 2014 and it remains to be since if LTE will be added. This will be a great phone for those on a budget as this device will be available on both GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile and CDMA networks such as Sprint and Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile both have robust 3G/HSPA+ networks that this phone can take advantage of.
With a price this low, the smartphone race to the bottom heats up and hopefully those still on feature phones can make the jump to a seemingly quality product. Even though other companies are readying and releasing smartphones at the same or lower cost like Nokia and Mozilla, the Moto G has one thing going for it that those other products don't have. The dominant force that is Google Android and its many Google Services.