When Motorola unveiled its voice-commanded, colorfully customizable Moto X, most consumers and critics seemed to be impressed, but baffled as to why a phone with decidedly mid-range specs still cost $200 with a two-year contract. Today, the Google-owned smartphone maker seems to be taking those complaints to heart. It’s revealed the Moto G, a sibling to the aforementioned Moto X that starts at just $180 unlocked.
The Moto G had been leaked rather extensively before today’s reveal, so the official details won’t be too surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. Its spec sheet will show you that it comes with a 4.5-inch, 720p display, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 or 16GB of (non-upgradeable) storage, 5- and 1.3-megapixel cameras, and a 2,070mAh battery.
This will all power Android 4.3 to start, but Motorola says that a “guaranteed update” to Android 4.4 KitKat will come early next year. The Moto G sports an almost stock version of Google’s mobile OS, but it doesn’t come with the Touchless Control, Active Notifications or other advanced software features of the Moto X, since it doesn’t run on Motorola’s X8 chip.
Design-wise, we’re looking at a phone that appears very much similar to its more expensive brother. There’ll be no Moto Maker customization shop here, but the Moto G is still a colorful device with a gently curved feel. It’ll have a number of swappable back plates and covers, just in case you feel like carrying around an aqua-colored phone one day, and a purple one the next. They’re purely for aesthetic purposes, but Motorola says there’ll be 19 options in total, ranging from traditional backs to rugged ones to flip covers and the like.
Given the rock bottom price, you’d expect there to be a caveat or two with the Moto G. Alas, there is at least one big one: the phone doesn’t support 4G LTE connectivity, so you’ll have to tough it out with a 3G or HSPA+ connection if you want to get the fastest speeds out of it. That’s not the worst thing in the world — again, this thing is only $180 without a contract — but it will keep the Moto G from being a real “premium” device, despite Motorola’s claims to the contrary.
Nevertheless, the Moto G could very well be a trendsetter for future entry-level smartphones. Its performance, looks, and Android ecosystem should make it far more advanced than the Nokia Asha and Firefox OS devices that typically dominate the entry-level range, and it could very well be the kind of phone that helps Google bring Android to those “next billion users” it so desperately wants to reach.
Brazil and “parts of Europe” will get the Moto G this week, while Latin America, Canada, “parts of Asia” and other parts of Europe will see the device later this month. The US isn’t being left out in the cold, but the phone won’t come Stateside until sometime in January. It’ll hit India, the Middle East and the rest of Asia during that same time frame. That $180 price applies to the 8GB version, but you can double the storage for $20 more.