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Lenovo quietly unveils the Vibe C2, but is it this year’s Moto E?

Samsung and Apple have a fairly strong hold on the top-tier smartphone market, and rather than competing in the flagship war, Lenovo is trying to win big in the mid- and budget range — especially after the acquisition of Motorola from Google. Lenovo hopes to accomplish that with the quiet unveiling of the Vibe C2, which might be this year’s Moto E.

Updated on 07-12-2016 by Williams Pelegrin: Added details of the Vibe C2’s official announcement.

Lenovo Vibe C2

Starting on the exterior, the Vibe C2 features a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 resolution display with a 5-megapixel selfie shooter above it and an 8MP main camera around back, with capacitive keys instead of on-screen buttons below the display. As far as the main camera placement is concerned, the Vibe C2 definitely takes some design cues from the Moto Z, but unlike the metallic flagship device, the Vibe C2 is encased in plastic.

Under the hood, a quad-core 1GHz MediaTek MT6735P chipset and 1GB RAM power the Vibe C2, with only 8GB of native storage out of the box. Even less will likely be available to customers, which makes the inclusion of a MicroSD card slot and the possibility of a 16GB version all the more worthwhile.

Related: Lenovo Moto Z vs. Moto X Pure: Does Lenovo’s new flagship stand up to last year’s champ?

Elsewhere, the Vibe C2 features a somewhat generous 2,750mAh battery, which should keep the lights on all day considering how undemanding the Vibe C2 is on paper. Lenovo also tacks on its Vibe UI on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Similar to other Android skins, such as Huawei’s EMUI and Xiaomi’s MIUI, Vibe UI does not feature an app drawer, so the skin is iPhone-esque in that all your apps live in home screens.

The question on people’s mind is whether the Vibe C2 will turn into this year’s Moto E. In leaked data, we saw K10A40, the Vibe C2’s model number. Under the same product description, however, we saw XT1700 and XT1706, model numbers typically used by Motorola. This leads to the assumption that the Vibe C2 will exist as the Moto E 2016 in different, more widespread markets, particularly given the low-end hardware. When asked, Motorola told Digital Trends that the company does not comment on rumors.

For now, however, the Vibe C2 will launch sometime soon in Russia, with other markets presumably to follow. When it becomes available, the Vibe C2 will come in black and white.

There were a few rumors regarding the Vibe C2 before Lenovo quietly unveiled the budget phone on July 12, so let’s take a look back at all the gossip. We knew that the Vibe C2 would be Lenovo’s follow-up to the original Vibe C, but we still do not know if the phone will end up being the Moto E for the rest of the world.

Rumors of the Vibe C2 emerge

The company recently unveiled the Vibe C, a $105 budget Android phone that launched in Croatia and will gradually roll out to a few other territories. We’re now seeing leaks about a second version — the Vibe C2 — but that moniker could be different in different markets. The Vibe C2 could see a wider rollout under the Moto E name, according to German site WinFuture.

Of Motorola’s original three smartphone series before the Lenovo takeover, we’ve only seen new devices from one of them — the Moto G4, which replaced the Moto G with three variants. We haven’t heard much about the Moto X line or the Moto E. Instead of making a phone in one of those series, Motorola and Lenovo recently unveiled a new flagship lineup with two devices — the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force.

Related: Famed Motorola design lead Jim Wicks is leaving the company

Many believed the Moto Z would be a replacement to the previous Moto X flagship, but Motorola has expressly stated that is not the case — so expect to see a new Moto X in the future. The new Z series predominantly exists to showcase “Moto Mods” — modules that snap to the back of the phone to add new functions.

Alas, take this information with a grain of salt, as we cannot confirm the accuracy of the leaks. It could just be that since Motorola is designing all of Lenovo’s phones, it may be attaching its model numbers for reference as well. A Motorola spokesperson told Digital Trends that the company does not comment on rumors.

Leaked image and specs reveal low-end phone

The leaked images show the Vibe C2 with a completely different look from the Vibe C — in fact it’s more similar to the new Moto Z with the same camera placement. There’s a speaker on the back below Lenovo’s branding, and you’ll find the power and volume rocker on the right side. The front shows capacitive buttons like on the Vibe C.

Lenovo Vibe C2

The Vibe C2 has a 5-inch display with 720p resolution. Powering the device is a MediaTek MT6734P processor, and you’ll only find 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The rear camera will have 8 megapixels, and the selfie camera will be packed with 5 megapixels. The battery is surprisingly larger than expected at 2,750mAh.

The specs are certainly low-tier, and the design resembles the new look of Motorola’s phones, but that doesn’t mean we should assume the Vibe C2 is the Moto E. While we are indeed expecting a Moto E in the foreseeable future, we’ll have to wait and see to find out if this rumor lines up.