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Why Motorola's low-cost Moto G can take over the world

Evan Dashevsky | Nov. 14, 2013
If this phone is as capable as Googlerola claims, the Moto G may be the Model T of the global smartphone market.

Following a leaky build-up, Motorola introduced the 4.5-inch Moto G, a smaller budget version its flagship Moto X.

The Moto G, which will be available around the world for "around $200" (and $180 in the U.S.) represents Google's most ambitious bid for the hearts, minds, and dollars of the developing smartphone market—a potential customer base that numbers in the billions.

As expected, the Moto G will come in 8GB and 16GB flavors and will run on Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip with a 1.2GHZ quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. The phone's 4.5-inch display will come with 720p resolution and 329 ppi.

Not cutting edge, but not bad.

The phone will ship with Jellybean, but Motorola guarantees of a KitKat upgrade by early January.

The G will not be available with the full customization capabilities of the Moto Maker site, but Motorola promises various customization options via interchangeable backs panels, flip shells, and grip shells. None of that is the Moto G's main draw, however.

It's the price point, stupid
As repeated numerous times during the company's unveiling presentation, Motorola's big selling point of the Moto G will be its approachable (unsubsidized) price point of "around $200."

The phone goes on sale starting today in Brazil and parts of Europe. It will become available over the next couple of weeks in Latin America, Canada, and parts of Asia, eventually making its way to 30 countries by 2014.

If you noticed something missing in the above list, the Moto G will not be available in the United States until early January. (Canada will get it first?!)

When the Moto G finally does make its way to the US, it will be available via with no SIM-lock and no-contract for $180 for the 8GB version, and $200 for the 16GB version.

Motorola said that various carriers may offer their version of the phone for more or less. Verizon has already tweeted that it will be available as a prepaid version in the first quarter of next year without mentioning any specific numberage.

The U.S. lag is probably due to three reasons: 1) Motorola does not want to cannibalize sales of the Moto X in the run-up to the Christmas season 2) the unsubsidized price will not turn as many heads in the US where subsidized prices rule the market and 3) but also because the United States is simply not the intended primary demographic.

"If you look at the worldwide smartphone market, you'll notice that a majority of the volume and the growth comes from mid-tier of the market, especially that cost about $200. They are in huge demand ... so it makes sense for Motorola to go into that segment," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.


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