Nov 16 AT 4:47 PM Nick Sarafolean 61 Comments

Motorola is onto something with the Moto G

Moto G official

With Android now reigning as the dominant smartphone OS across the globe, it stands to reason that obviously a lot of people have Android smartphones. Unfortunately though, many countries are stuck with low-end Android devices that don’t do the platform justice at all. Some countries have the problem that better devices simply aren’t available in their country, but the largest problem is that phones are simply too expensive.

The US is one of the minority countries around the world that has a cell phone market based off of contracts. Many countries around the world have markets where cell phones are primarily bought off contract. When you buy that way, price becomes a bigger factor. And to go along with that, most countries around the world have a lower per capita income than the US. If it’s expensive to buy a $500 off contract phone in the US, then imagine how expensive it must be to buy that in developing countries like India and many of the Middle Eastern countries.

This week may have marked the start of something new, however. After many leaks, Motorola finally made the Moto G official. The Moto G is a new mid-range device from Motorola that aims to provide decent specs at an extremely low price. With features like a 4.5-inch 720p display, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, and 2,070mAh battery, the Moto G doesn’t fit into the high-end market. But when you pair those specs with a $179 price tag for the 8GB model and $199 for the 16GB model, the entire package gets that much sweeter.

The Moto G isn’t catering to the high-end western markets. Instead, the targets are developing nations in parts of the world such as the Middle East. In places like these, the Moto G is going to quickly become popular for offering worthwhile specs, speedy updates, and that crucially low price tag.

The Moto G will still be sold in the US but we’re betting that it won’t be wildly popular here. In the land of iPhones and Galaxy S4s, most people won’t bother with a mid-range device like the Moto G, especially with it being sold off contract. But it will be noticed. It will cater to those who don’t have money to freely toss around. And it could even impact the rest of the market. If other manufacturers see that the Moto G’s low price is allowing it to sell more, then they’ll try to compete by building lower cost devices with better specs.

In reality, that’s half of the point of the Moto G. It’s influenced by Google in obvious ways. Motorola and Google are trying to change the market to offer better devices at reasonable off-contract prices. The latest entries in the Nexus family reflect this with high-end specs being sold for low off-contract prices. The same thing goes for Chrome OS devices that are (aside from the Chromebook Pixel) designed with budget friendliness in mind.

While this strategy takes time to work out, it can eventually bring great results. Results that will inevitably be seen with the Moto G. The Moto G is going to be the new go-to phone in developing nations. It’s going to be the new portal into Android for people in these nations.

Are you guys in agreement? Do you think that Motorola and Google are onto something with the Moto G? Or do you think that the Moto G is just going to fade into nonexistence? Comment away.

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • redraider133

    I like the direction that phones are going, not only in this case price, but no longer if you want a lower end phone or do not want to pay $700+, you no longer are stuck with “junk phones.” Finally those people can get a device that isn’t going to turn people off of android because of the terrible experience. This is one of those “it just works” like apple always likes to tout and moto’s new line of phones are a great example of that. They show you don’t need all the cores and specs in the world for it to run smoothly and be priced not at high end flagship type range while still getting that flagship type experience.

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  • TheTruthSquad

    I can imagine that Apple right now is shaking in their boots over the Motorola G. That phone is selling for half of what Apple makes on every one of their phones. Apple could cut their profit on each phone In half and they would still have to sell it for $400. it is laughable to think that Apple will try to compete with this phone.I think they had better hang on to their fan boys because in a few years that’s the only ones who will be lining up to buy one of their $800 phones.

    • honourbound68

      i don’t think apple will be shaking in their boots at all. like pt barnum said “there’s a sucker born every minute” replace sucker for fanboy and the statement is equally true. in image-conscious china, they line up in droves to get the newest i-device.. and if they can’t afford it, they’ll buy fakes that look like the real thing. whether we like it or not, apple will keep selling their 850 phones, 2700 macbook pros, and 930 ipads. as for myself, i’d welcome a phone like this (now if only it had all day battery). i normally carry a tablet and phone and since i really just need my phone for tethering, i could get away with a midrange phone like this. heck it’d be an upgrade to my galaxy nexus lol.

      • SGB101

        The battery is all day, at the moment I have on that has been off charge for 1day 1day 8h 31m with 5 hours 59mins screen time. The only powers saving I used is auto brightness, same with my day one test below.

        On day one I got almost 8 hours screen time, which included setting up, playing rr3, YouTube, music streaming and general browsing, it’s very impressive.

        • honourbound68

          i’m darned sure it wouldn’t be all day if it was tethering all day lol. i’m sure you’re right that it’s an all day battery for regular users but that 2070 mah battery would last maybe 4 hours the way i use it.

          • Abey

            same here for me. I get around 4-5 hours on wifi without playing any high-end games. :)

  • gmaninvan

    I think they actually could do better than you think in North America. Think of all the people who lose our break their phone mid contract and half to deal with garbage or pay a lot until their renewal date.

    This let’s people replace their lost , stolen, or broken device with something half decent at a reasonable cost until they renew. It will be even better when they hit the used phone market

    • sdny8

      I hate apple. Own a g2 had a gnex and a droid x before. Had other android devices for a shorter period of time. I really wanted moto to have a comeback. I’m more than anything annoyed they haven’t even begun to live up to expectations after 2 Year’s.

      I find it hilarious that because I’m very critical of their first to Google inspired products that I’m labeled an apple fan boi. I think there are becoming to be a few to many Google fan bois. Let’s be honest everything they touch isn’t gold. Nexus Q. Pixel.

      In the end the sales numbers will partially tell. There are great devices that don’t sell amazing. But in general I expect to see a sales flop.

      • gmaninvan

        I get your point but the Moto G is very different from the two products you mentioned. Both the Nexus Q and the Chromebook Pixel didn’t sell well for the same reason. They were horrendously expensive! The Moto G is without a doubt far and above anything at the low price point it sells ($180-$200)

        Also, in the case of the Pixel, I don’t think Google ever intended the product to sell well. The purpose of the pixel was to show the capabilities of the platform as well as to show that they possess the capability to produce better hardware than the best in this department (apple)

  • sdny8

    I say bullshit. They said oh there’s too big a gap in high end and low end phones. What do they do. Continue the trend. Moto x is overpriced for the specs and the g is a low end phone that will do worse than the iPhone c in the us. Best of look in emerging markets. But I see another failure. Its said that the new googorola is starting to make the old Motorola look better. Make a moto x with a s800 and a 2800 mah battery. Maybe a few other hardware bumps and price it at $450-500 off contract and $99 on. They would sell a truckload.

    • TheTruthSquad

      It didn’t take long for the first fan boy to come out of the woods, did it? Maybe you can answer a question for me. Why does Apple still sell a 2007 Iphone for $800? I imagine you would still be driving a Franklin if they still made them.

    • Sean

      You didn’t even read the article did you?

  • SGB101

    I picked on up yesterday for £120, orange has them for £99 apparently and in phones4u, you can get one on contract for free and £11pm, considering you’ll be putting £10 credit on a monthly anyway that means the device works our at £24

    Anyway, this isn’t a good phone for the price it’s a good phone in its own right. Have been a spec whore for a long time, this is the first non top end phones I’ve had in 15years.

    I bought it for my daughter as an Xmas present, but thought I’d make sure it’s all working, and it’s fantastic and I’ve decided to keep it and mothballed my note2.the battery so far has been good 5.5jours screen time so far today (its 22:19h)and u have 27% Battery left.

    One big shock is real racing 3, runs without dropping frams in Cup races, something that the note2,sgs3 or Onex could do. I don’t understand either.

    One minor irritation is this is the first phone to display the carrier in the notification bar, it doesn’t happen in the Uk, or hasn’t before. It wouldn’t be so bad, but ‘T-mobile Orange’ takes up half the bar, I have notification bar ocd and like it empty!

    Storage will be an issue for me, so I’ll be getting a 16gb for me, and gifting thus one. Also no nfc but it’s not something I ever used anyway, unlike my cars buetooth hands free, but the G refuses to connect, I thing bt4.0 us incompatible, no fault of the phone tho.

    This is a game changer.

    • Sean

      The moto g like its big brother supports USB otg, so you can buy a $2-$5 USB otg cable that will allow you to use regular USB flash drives. Also there are a number of WiFi storage solutions that are fairly inexpensive now. One that comes to mind is the Sandisk Connect which is the size of a USB flash drive. You can leave it in your pocket or bag and read/write files and data, stream music and videos for up to 8 simultaneous users (iOS, Android, PC, tablet).

  • Sir Alex

    “The Moto G will still be sold in the US but we’re betting that it won’t be wildly popular here.”

    I can’t agree with this statement. I think it will do well here.

  • JQuest81

    I could see this phone doing well… Heck I might get one as my emergency phone… Or the phone I have on hand in that space between selling/buying a new phone.

    • Nick Corbay

      This is a game changer for any market. This is what people were expecting from Apple with the 5c but they went in for colours… This one is going to blow the lid off any mid-range cell thats made by Samsung or Sony.

    • ihatefanboys

      There are tons of low end Android phones you can get for free from most carriers as an emergency phone. But you’re right, its only good as a backup phone or a hold me over.

  • Mystroller

    I thought the same.. I guess this is why they presented the phone in Brazil and launched it first in countries like that. Here in South America it’s easy for many to say: “Android are commonly laggy, cheap and low quality phones”, and things like that, for the android phones they usually see are really low end ones. Figure out that, in a certain telecommunication company, the HTC One S is sold as a high-end device, and the LG Optimus L5 as a middle-range one. Few know nowaday’s flagships. This new strategy sounds great for these areas.

  • Renato S.

    You also gotta take into account the absurd amoount of taxes paid in countries like Brazil. Brazil simply has one of the most, if not the most expensive tech devices. Top of the line smartphones here are USD1000+ here. This Moto G is really something, the official price in Brazil is out, with all the taxes I knew it wouldn’t be US$180, but it’s less than double the price, which, in some sad ways, it’s already something. The US$180 8GB version will cost around US$285, the 8GB dual SIM around US$305 and the 16GB with some extra colored back will be around US$350. But this prices are nothing without parameters, usually devices with these specs are between US$400~500, so having the cheaper 8GB version for less than US$300 is somehow very significant. Damn – badly used – taxes from Brazil!

  • ashok pai

    quite frankly I’m astonished that USA does not have any chinese phones on their shores. the chinese *clones* have roundabout the same price and some of them based on the MTK6589 SoC are better than the moto g in performance and on par with the galaxy S3 and costs almost around the $180-200 mark. only drawback with them being the poor camera and average build.
    perhaps the perception and lack of marketing did not bring them to the US where galaxy and iphones sells well (there’s no sony either in the US, which also makes great phones in the premium space).

    for the asian countries – the “clones” have really brought about a huge change, i often laugh at articles which say that low end chinese androids are bad – quite the opposite! when your $200 “clone phone” can outdo a last generation iphone – it must be doing something right!

  • fechhelm

    I can easily see this becoming the #1 seller on T-mobile. When the average customer looks at the S4, One, or iPhone and sees the $25 or so payment plan the Moto G starts to look real good.

  • Rajinder Bhalla

    Moto G will finish iPhone in next 2 years. This year will see maximum sales of Moto G. Unless Moto G fails to deliver the quantities in time, he will be the best selling phone in 2014. Within next 1 year i.e. by end of 2015 the economic system of iPhone will be destroyed come what may.

    If Iphone works on 1.2 Gz CPU then why Moto G will not work on it to outperform iPhone. They still have Android 5 coming in market in 2014 to beat iOS.

  • donger

    Interesting thought.

  • Sylvester ranjith

    I like how this is going Motorola is going to be the top android phone manufacturer with assistance from Google while Samsung can play around with its tizen os… we are looking at the dawn of a newer and more brighter android era

    • ihatefanboys

      Wow, give me some of what you’re smoking. Motorolla needs a top tier smartphone to wow the masses, not this generic, cheap , device. It will sell to low income people and the like, but it is not going to make Motorolla a “top android manufacturer” I dont see Google’s influence at all on either of the last 2 phones released since they purchased Motorolla. Im sure these phones were in the pipeline before that. And if rumors are true, Google might just be using Motorolla for its patents and not really planning on releasing any phones through Motorolla. It explains the reason the Nexus 5 was made by LG and not Motorolla, there was ample time for them to make one, given they had time to pump out 2 mediocre phones in a row in the same amount of time for the Nexus to come out. I hate bandwagon fans, and sites like these are full of them.

  • Dushyant Shrikhande

    There’s always a price differential due to import duties and such, but the stark price differential we are seeing these days really goes to show that major OEMs don’t really care as much about India as they do the USA. It’s sad considering this is the 2nd largest smartphone market in the world.
    Also, the Moto G marks the return of Motorola to India. The pricing, therefore, takes an even greater importance than in a normal scenario. Consumers have a negative perception of Motorola after they pulled out of India, stopping services completely. So this can mark the beginning of a new phase for motorola in that respect.
    All in all, the Moto G is definitely a very important device, and yes, we’re all hoping for google to surprise us!!

  • Dushyant Shrikhande

    Be sure to check out my article, where I ponder upon whether the Moto G could be as significant for Android as the Lumia 520 was for Windows Phone:

  • Boulton

    I hope it’s durable. Low income consumers can’t afford to upgrade a device every year and from what I’ve seen Motorola don’t make the most durable devices.

    • ihatefanboys

      Agreed. Like I said, you get what you pay for. Cheap price = Cheap materials & easily breakable.

  • Mo

    Here in Israel a 16Gb Nexus 5 (D821) costs approx $750 more then twice the price after shipping and some tax for much of the US. Comparatively the HTC One (32Gb) and LG G2 (16Gb) or Galaxy S4 (16Gb) cost approx $825 each while the iPhone 5s and Note 3 can be had for a low (sic) $1050 give or take.
    For the price that a Moto G should cost here or less ($270 import tax of 35%) here in israel today you can get a variety of Samsung low end phones like the Pocket, Young or even the Mini 2 or any variation of a number of LG models from the Optimus L line including the L7, L5, L3… basically not worth buying…

    There are some cheap no name brands at around that price point but the quality of the phone is very much reflected in the price.

  • DS

    I would hope that a good value smartphone like this will change the market in the USA and here in the UK too. It is a bit of a mystery to me why so many people think top end smartphones are actually worth the £600 or so every two years, plus a couple of hundred pounds to ensure them against damage or theft. Do people actually realise that those expensive contracts are mainly paying for the handsets and not the minutes?

  • sandwich

    This is great news. FYI, one of the big reasons phones beyond the USA tend to be so expensive is because of import tax, localization, and local warranties. Unfortunately, I don’t see how the Moto G will be able to get around that any more than any other off-contract phone has. Still, at least it’s starting the base price at a very decent place. :) Hopefully it will be available outside the USA for $400 or less after all that is said and done.

  • ferminmartin2003

    If they market it correctly i think it can do very well here in the US…common people need to know about it too not just us that are looking at forums and blogs

  • Mark

    I am glad Motorola / Google have the nerve to “go there”. I hope to see this phones build quality and price point become a game changer. I have grown weary of the numerous contracts and crazy greed of the big 4 carriers in the US. I am finally making a switch to a prepaid as my family plan expires with sprint. As a phone geek I used to think having the best android was the be all end all. After enjoying a HTC EVO for well into 2012. The best isn’t necessary to perform basic phones tasks, productivity apps, music, video and game apps. Thanks to Motorola, Moto X and Moto G will be my families choices.

  • deborahalvarad

    I can easily see this becoming the #1 seller on T-mobile. When the average customer looks at the S4, One, or iPhone and sees the $25 or so payment plan the Moto G starts to look real good.

  • deborahalvarad

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    • SGB101

      Wow she could afford an iPhone, why are bothering to spam here.

  • Roy

    It has been clear to me for a while that Google intends to go after the next two billion people (just read the new digital age by Eric Schmidt, listen to Larry pages recent interviews or look at project loon, android 4.4). If they could make one phone that sells to 10 or 20 times as many people, then they could focus on software instead of hardware to improve that phone. Also, the phone can be sold much closer to production cost, something Larry page has hinted at, and still be profitable due to huge volumes. The Moto G seems directed at India and other upcoming nations. The next one, in a few years, will hit Africa and make it BOOM!

    • ihatefanboys

      I think Africa needs a proper govt, sewer, and sanitation system before they need to care about smartphones Unless you’re referring to the white parts of Africa. People that live in mud huts and run around naked with spears all day hunting lions or whatever aint gonna want a smartphone. And where would they put it ? In their earlobe ? or ass ? If thats the case they wont have to worry about anyone wanting to borrow it.

      • SGB101

        You do know Africa is a continent and not a country, also they don’t all live in the jungle and chuck spears

  • Alex B

    I understand the struggle in developing countries, they can’t always afford a high end phone.
    But at the same time cheap is never ever ever good. No matter what it is if you are cheap and try to pay less you in general end up paying twice or more in the long run.


    It will be a game changer in India. Its performance and specs are much higher than the flagships of so called Indian mfgs (which are actually Chinese, rebranded in India), which cost above 20k. And Moto G is below 15k. It will be successfull in Price concious market like India

  • mitcoes

    USAmericans are not so rich

    Probably telecoms can give this phone FREE with contract and it does work perfect – perhaps as a 2 year old premium one

    If you are not a rich gaming teenager you do not need a better one.


    If with 200 USD you have it all

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  • brian

    Here’s how I see it: Google is trying to prepare people to jump cell carriers at a split second. There were rumors about Google becoming a wireless carrier, so is it possible that they are trying to sell people phones out of contract so it will be easier to abandon ship? The biggest problem with Google becoming a wireless carrier is everyone being locked into other contracts. A great deal like this comes along and a lot of smart people will like the idea of not being locked in contract.

    • SGB101

      If they offer unlimited free data I’m sure alot would jump ship even if they are still locked to a contract.

      What they do need to do is make dual sim phones for interim, that would work a treat.

  • Usama

    I disagree with the author when he says that the phone will not be popular here in the U.S. On carriers like MetroPCS and the like, I think it will be a very popular device. People want good phones at a reasonable price without the bloatware that plagues many of the budget range smartphones that carriers fight to keep alive.

    • MG

      Great phone for parents getting their kids a starter smartphone. This would be ideal. Inexpensive (I didn’t say ‘cheap’), perfectly capable of being a decent smartphone, no huge investment if it gets lost/stolen/damaged.

  • Crickerman

    I’m interested in the device. Not everyone wants to spend 700-800dollars for a smartphone. For texting, communication, browsing, gps, etc this is fine.

  • ellett

    Won’t do well in the US?!?!?!

    If they had this thing out in the US in time for Christmas they’d sell about a billion of them to parents to put under the tree for their kids.

    And if my circle of friends says anything, I have friends who are already waiting for the phone to appear in January.

  • mike

    Its gonna be a prepaid phone on Verizon.

  • ihatefanboys

    “You get what you pay for” Cheap price for a cheap phone. Its nonsense to say that low income people cant buy a high end smartphone. In most cases you put down a small down payment to subsidize the device. Its easy and simple, ive been low on income and still have had all the high end HTC smartphones going on 5 years. I wish the writers of this article would just tell the truth, its colorful and will appeal to mindless drones just like the iPhone and iPod with all the pretty colors. Plus we know that for some odd reason, even though they were bought by Google, theyre pumping out mid range phone after midrange phone, that would have been spat on if they were still an independent company. Being owned by Google doesnt excuse or forgive them of this, just as going to confession at church doesnt instantly absolve you of your sins. There is no clean slate. Motorolla needs to put out a high end phone, because the gimmick of your phone always listening is now something every high end Android smartphone can do.

    • SGB101

      The point is now you don’t have to tie yourself to a carrier and be overcharged for a device. You can now get a very good, very affordable phone, and not have a monthly bill to worry about.

  • Great Phone But…

    Bought one at the weekend after dropping by Nexus 4 and smashing the screen. This phone actually seems quicker than the Nexus 4 in real world operation and for me, the screen seems clearer. A truly great phone for the money. But…

    4 days into use and my volume button has broken already. I can’t turn the volume down and the phone gets stuck into a system reboot which is hard to get out. I’m taking it back to get it swapped out today. It can’t help me wondering if this has been made just a bit too cheaply….

  • smarty69

    Received my moto g 16gb today & am extremely Happy & impressed with it :-)
    Feels well made looks good
    Sounds amazing! Camera is average but for £129… rocks :0)
    BTW I’ve had iPhone nexus 4
    Nexus 7
    S3 note2 & s3 mini.& a few sings :)

  • smarty69

    Meant to say tested a few Sony phones too!
    & think moto g is a stinker of a phone for the price!
    Go grab one you won’t regret it :0) Happy surfin everyone x

  • Taylor

    I think moto G is the future, obviously highly subsidised, and reliant upon you paying for Google apps. But you get a top notch device that runs anything on Play Store effortlessly.

  • praveenjayagoda

    what are the new made countries of Motorola Moto G?