When I wrote for Fortune in 2010 that inexpensive hardware would allow Android to ‘take over the world’, the concept of smartphones that were priced only slightly above feature phones was just starting to take hold. Fast forward three years and Android has by some accounts cleared 80% of the world smartphone market. The low end of that Android spectrum, with the exception of a few mediocre handsets (LG’s Optimus line comes to mind), has been, frankly, a mess.
Today there is a truly great, inexpensive Android phone that costs less than $200 unsubsidized, and it is made by Google’s Motorola division. I’ve tested the Moto G for the past week and a half and I love it. It could easily replace any high end handset on a day to day basis in terms of speed and functionality. The one caveat being the camera is mediocre, but still functional.
I’ll rundown the specs, but the important thing to consider is the price and positioning of Google (and believe me, this is a Google phone, not an old Motorola one).
The $179/$199 8GB/16GB Motorola G comes with a 4.5-inch 720P display, which isn’t the best by any means, but it also isn’t far from the best out there. I’ve argued for awhile that you can’t hardly make out the difference between 720P and 1080P on a display without some very close inspection. Even those with sub 20/20 vision don’t notice much day to day.
The G has a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor which falls along the same lines: Not the best, but not far from it. It is a little heavier than what I’d now expect from a 4.5-inch display phone, but that heft is largely because of the all day 2,070 mAh battery.
This thing looks and behaves like a flagship Nexus phone…from last year – all the way down to the hardly-touched Android 4.3 interface. Motorola has promised some form of 4.4 Kitkat by the end of next month. With the veracity that they’ve been updating their Moto X handsets, I have little doubt that it will get done.
But what does this all mean? Why this phone at this price? Why now? expand full story