Motorola’s Moto E3 budget smartphone bound for U.K. shores in September

Most so-called budget smartphones these days go toe to toe with handsets high above their weight class, at least in terms of raw hardware. And Motorola’s new Moto E3, the successor to last year’s incredibly affordable Moto E, is no exception to that trend. On Thursday, the Lenovo subsidiary announced that the Moto E3, destined for the U.K. and other overseas markets in September, would start at 99 pounds — about $131.

The specifications are nothing to scoff at. The Moto E packs a 5-inch “HD” display (1,280 x 720p) with a “smudge-resistant screen protector,” a beefy 2,800mAh battery, and an exterior treated with water-resistant “nano coating.” And it sports a 8MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing shooter, and a MicroSD slot for expanding the device’s 8GB of internal storage.

The processor is a quad-core 1GHz MediaTek, and it’s paired with 1GB of RAM. And the Moto E3, in terms of connectivity, sports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and LTE radios.

In terms of software, the Moto E’s running Android Marshmallow 6.0 that’s fairly free of bloatware, save for a few Google applications (Play Music, Play Movies, etc.) and a “Help” app that serves as a virtual guidebook to the phone’s basic functions. Motorola was mum on a potential update to Android N, but considering last year’s Moto E received an upgrade to the latest version of Android in February — a year after its release, it’s worth noting — chances are fairly good that the Moto E3 will get see the same treatment.

The Moto E will be available in U.K. stores like Tesco, Argos, O2, and Amazon when it launches later this year.

Historically, the Moto E has been a growth driver for Motorola. Sales of Motorola’s device portfolio skyrocketed 118 percent in 2014 to $1.9 billion, and last year, the company sold 2.6 million smartphones in India over a seven-month period. Recent declines in developing markets this year have slowed sales, lately — its parent company Lenovo’s revenue dipped 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to $9.1 billion — but Motorola still managed to ship 5 million units.

Lenovo, for its part, is doubling down on the mid-range market. “[Markets like] China [are] still the most competitive … and Lenovo intends to return to growth there by continuing to drive the shift from carriers to open market,” the company said in an earnings call with investors. “Lenovo will maintain high growth in emerging markets and get the U.S. business back on track with a competitive product portfolio.” In a sign of its ambitions, Lenovo moved production of the Moto E to its Sriperambudur, Chennai facility in India.

Updated on 07-25-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added additional details regarding specifications. 

Article originally published on July 14, 2016. 

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