Motorola Moto G

The Verge: The Motorola Moto G is almost identical to the Moto X, but sports a 4.5-inch LCD with a pixel format of 1280×720. The biggest thing about the Moto G is its rock bottom price: US$179, unlocked and sans contract. I wonder if Motorola is making any money on this.

Update 2013.11.27

Jamie Rigg, Engadget:

Screen resolution often takes a hit in the name of cost savings, but not so on the Moto G. A respectable 720p resolution is spread lovingly across the 4.5-inch LCD display, working out to a screen density of 329 pixels per inch. Numbers aren’t everything, though. What’s the point of all those pixels if they’re dull and off-tone? Fortunately, we don’t have any such gripes with the Moto G’s screen. Colors are intense; whites are white; and blacks are, well, actually black — we had to double-check the spec sheet to make sure we hadn’t misread AMOLED for LCD.

That 329 ppi number is actually quite good; beats the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s by a hair. I’m impressed blacks are so black.

Update 2013.12.02

Aaron Souppouris, The Verge:

Although outdone by more expensive, higher-resolution displays, the Moto G’s 4.5-inch 720p LCD panel is in a class of its own at this price. A bright panel with accurate colors and solid viewing angles, there’s really not much more I could ask from a budget smartphone. In fact, the display is easily on par with those found on last year’s flagships, such as the HTC One X. It’s certainly a huge step up from the low-resolution displays offered by the competition.

Nokia’s cheap Lumia and Asha phones, Samsung’s lesser Galaxy smartphones, and LG’s Optimus F range all offer WVGA (800 x 480) displays. Some Samsung phones, like the Galaxy Fame, step that down further to HVGA (480 x 320). Of course, resolution isn’t the only defining aspect of a display, but the difference between WVGA and 720p is immediately noticeable. That Motorola has managed to put this display into a phone costing so little is an achievement in itself.

Motorola claims it is making a profit on the Moto G at just $179. I am impressed, especially because the LCD is large-ish at 4.5 inches and according to the few reviews I’ve read it is of very good quality. Can we expect several quite usable low- to mid-end smartphones in the near future to hit a full price of $149 or even $99? That will do a number on smartphone penetration in developing countries. Speaking of which…

Without LTE, and the incredibly low price, Motorola is clearly targeting developing countries with the Moto G. Countries with advanced wireless infrastructure — South Korea and Japan for instance — are planning to shut down 3G as they move aggressively toward LTE. No one will touch the Moto G in these countries, but I see huge potential for the Moto G in the U.S.

The four major carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless — will need more time — maybe up to two years? — to completely cover the U.S. with LTE. And even then it will take additional years to decide and implement the shutting down of 3G service. So my guess is: 3G in the U.S. is here to stay for a while.

Add to this the understanding that a lot of Android smartphone users use it as a basic phone, and price is probably the most important factor to this demographic. Pair the full price of only $179 with a month-to-month voice-only service and I can see the Moto G being a popular choice for many who would rather not deal with all the bells and whistles, a two-year contract, and the cost.