Motorola announces the Moto G, a $180 Android smartphone with a mission

Moto G Top

Check out our review of the Motorola Moto G smartphone.

Motorola has announced the Moto G, a more affordable version of the popular Moto X, which will also be sold worldwide instead of being restricted to America. Introduced by Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside at a dedicated event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Moto G may have a relatively ordinary specification, but its still an interesting phone.

Much was made during the 30 minute event of the difficulty smartphone buyers on a budget have finding a suitable device. To illustrate the problem, the Samsung Galaxy Fame and the iPhone 4 were held up as examples, the former being a cheap, poorly performing option, and the latter an out-of-date, no longer supported device. Woodside said 500 million phones under $200 would be sold over the coming year, and they deserve better.

Moto G SideThe Moto G is Motorola’s solution to this conundrum. It has a 4.5-inch touchscreen covered in Gorilla Glass 3, boasting a 720p resolution, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor running at 1.2GHz. There’s 1GB of RAM, and a choice of either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage.

Like the Moto X, it has a curved rear panel and an edge-to-edge display, plus it can be customized using brightly colored rear panels called Motorola Shells. The phone runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is almost as up-to-date as it gets, but the good news is it’ll have Android 4.4 KitKat before January 2014. What’s more, Android has no user interface over the top, and instead has been optimized for high speed performance. Motorola claims it’s faster than the Galaxy S4 during startup, dialing a number, launching the browser and other common tasks.

The phone also has a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel video call camera above the screen, an FM radio, a battery which should easily last the day, a dual-SIM option in some countries, and a bonus 50GB of Google Drive storage space. Perhaps the only glaring omission is 4G LTE, but it’s hardly surprising given the Moto G’s price and target markets.

Motorola’s VP of software, Punit Soni, who aggressively hammered home the benefits of stock Android during the event, said the Moto G, “Shows what’s possible when Google and Motorola come together.” If you’re thinking it sounds like a Nexus Lite, you’re about right.

Finally, there’s the price. The 8GB model will cost just $180 when it goes on sale in the U.S. in January, or $200 for the larger 16GB phone. Brazil gets the phone today, and Motorola aims to have the Moto G on sale in 30 countries by 2014, ready to convince those 500 million people a Motorola phone is the one to buy.

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