Motorola targets Moto G smartphone at emerging markets

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:45pm

Google-owned Motorola Mobility moved Wednesday to shake up the global smartphone market with an entry-level handset aimed at cost-sensitive consumers around the world, many in emerging markets.

The new Moto G handset will sell at less than US$200 without a contract in the US market and, around the world, will be about one-third the price of top-line Apple iPhones and Samsung devices, the company said.

“Moto G is a smartphone that delivers a premium experience with today’s technology,” Motorola chief Dennis Woodside said in unveiling the phone in the Brazilian business hub Sao Paulo.

“Half a billion people will buy a phone for under US$200.”

The new device is a low-cost version of the Moto X released earlier this year in the United States, lacking some features such as a high-resolution camera and the ability to access the fastest networks.

The Moto G features a 4.5-inch display and all-day battery and will include the latest versions of the Google Android operating system.

Half a billion people will buy a phone for under US$200
Dennis Woodside, Motorola

Woodside said the phone would be especially attractive in emerging markets where carrier subsidies for phones are rare and consumers are reluctant to pay US$600 or more for a handset.

“Our industry forced consumers to make a choice between two very bad options,” he said.

“The first option is to buy an old technology that doesn’t work well with applications like Google Maps … the second option is to buy an old premium phone that was typically released in the US two or three years ago. We think the industry should deliver more value for the consumer’s dollar.”

The handset packs in a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 5-megapixel and 1.3-megapixel cameras front and rear.

IDC market analyst Ramon Llamas said the device won’t work on high-speed LTE networks but “most of the initial markets don’t have LTE networks. 3G will do just fine”.

“Moto G in emerging markets is more a competitor for LG, HTC & Lenovo … It will certainly put more pressure on Nokia Asha,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, referring to the low-cost device from the Finnish handset maker.

Woodside said the phone goes on sale immediately in Brazil and some European markets and will hit the United States and a total of 30 countries by early next year.