Motorola Moto G Smartphone Packs Features at Affordable Price

The new smartphone is seen as Motorola's big push into the international market.

November 13, 2013, 11:02 AM

Nov. 13, 2013— -- Let's say you have a smartphone that just isn't cutting it. Maybe it's incompatible with the latest mobile operating systems or that it takes an eternity to access services like Google Maps or Instagram.

You could buy a new phone, but if you're still in the middle of your cell phone contract, it will cost anywhere from $500 to 600. Motorola's looking to shake up the market with the Moto G, a new smartphone that starts at $179.

But Motorola is putting the United States on hold for now and looking to the global market for new customers. According to Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, over half a billion people around the world will buy a smartphone for under $200 in the next year. "The problem is that the experience that smartphones in this class provides is really, really bad," he said today at an event to unveil the Moto G in São Paulo, Brazil.

Woodside pointed to Samsung's Galaxy Fame as an example of a new smartphone that uses outdated hardware. "It's built with old technology, yesterday's screens and processors," he said. "A number of these devices can't use apps that we know and love, the screens are small, and they're slow and buggy."

"We want to give people a better choice."

Motorola's claims come with some fine print. All of the presenters at today's event said something that the Moto G would be the best phone "in its class" or "in its price category."

Ben Bajarin, the principal tech analyst for Creative Strategies, said that the Moto G is isn't designed to compete with iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones. "It is a budget smartphone with budget phone features," he told ABC News. "Motorola is still highly differentiating the Moto X from the Moto G in this light."

But Punit Soni, vice president of software product management for Motorola, said it may be time to rethink what it means to be a premium device. "People spend their time focused on specs and numbers," he told ABC News. "But you need to look at how people use their phones. From the customer's perspective, the Moto G is on par with most premium devices."

Charlie Tristchler, the product manager for Moto G, agrees with Soni that the new phone comes with a host of features not found in budget smart phones. "It has an all-day battery life, a quad core processor and a pure Android operating system," he said. "I don't see anyone else offering that combination."

Bajarin and the Moto G team may disagree on what premium actually means, but they can see eye to eye that this is Motorola's big attempt at getting new customers worldwide. "Motorola has not been relevant in the global smartphone conversation," said Bajarin. "This is a strategy to try and make them relevant at a global level."

The Moto G is available for purchase today in Brazil, and will roll out to other markets in Latin America starting tomorrow. The phone should be available in the United States and 30 other countries in 2014.

"The mission is to connect millions of people to the world's information with devices that don't compromise on style or experience," Woodside said. "We want to give people around the world a better choice."

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