Motorola, at a New York City event Nov. 13, introduced the Moto G, a lower-cost alternative to the Moto X.
The Moto G will be priced, before subsidies, at $179. The Moto X, by contrast, is priced at $499.99, though with a two-year contract from Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are now selling it for $99.99.
The Moto G features an edge-to-edge 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 720p and 329 pixels per inch—said to outperform the iPhone 5S in resolution. Its display is covered in Gorilla Glass, its back is curved (like the Moto X’s), and it has a waterproof coating to protect it from splashes.
The Moto G will arrive in Brazil and parts of Europe this week, and expand to Latin America, Europe and Canada in the coming weeks.
It will arrive in the United States, and elsewhere, in January and will initially be sold through Motorola.com, which suggests a lack of carrier support—at least for now.
The Moto X is a good-looking phone with lots of firsts—including that its the first phone that users can customize, choosing colors for different portions of the phone, choosing a greeting for the phone to speak when it’s turned on and, most recently, having the ability to include an engraving on its back, whether a name or phrase, free of charge.
Still, sales have been modest. According to Strategy Analytics, Motorola likely sold approximately 500,000 Moto X units during the third quarter. (Apple, by contrast, sold 9 million iPhones during the first weekend the iPhone 5S and 5C became available, and Samsung sold more than 10 million Galaxy S 4 smartphones during the first month of the phone’s availability.)
Even with the might of Google behind it, carriers may have some pause about backing the next Moto. Perhaps.
Because the Moto G, despite its diminutive price tag, is a solid offering.
Motorola, introducing the Moto G, said it runs “pure Android,” which makes it higher performing and easy to update. By January, the phone will run Android 4.4, or KitKat—the newest version of the Google OS.
The battery is long-lasting, basic tasks like booting up and launching the browser happen more quickly than on the Samsung Galaxy S 4, and the Moto G can outperform devices three times its cost, said Punit Soni, a software product manager who came to Motorola from Android, introducing the Moto G.
According to the Cnet live blog of the event, Soni described the Moto G as “punching above its weight.”
In an evolution that Motorola has been working on for years, Soni said, the Moto G will also learn and adapt to users’ behaviors.
The Moto G takes “incredible” photos (a claim few would make about the Moto X), includes an FM radio and access to free mobile music, will be available in a two-SIM model in some markets and comes with 65GB of free storage.
Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside told the crowd that 500 million people will buy a smartphone for under $200 in the next year.
“It’s not fair that these people have to buy an old or underpowered phone,” he said. “With Moto G, we’re giving people around the world a better choice.”