Motorola introduced a super cheap Android phone today called the Moto E.
It costs just $US129 without a contract, and suggests a shift in Motorola’s strategy from the maker of premium, pricey phones to the maker of devices cheap enough to entice people still using regular feature phones.
For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 5S costs $US649 without a contract. The Samsung Galaxy S5 costs about $US660.
The Moto E has a 4.3-inch screen and runs a “clean” version of Android, meaning you won’t find many modifications to the software like you do in most Android phones. That also means Motorola will be able to upgrade the phone’s software shortly after Google releases new versions of Android. There’s also a 5 megapixel camera and memory card slot that will let you add up to 32 GB of additional storage.
However, the Moto E can’t connect to super-fast LTE networks. It only works on 3G networks.
In its announcement today, Motorola said its previous budget phone, the $US179 Moto G, was its best selling smartphone ever, a bad sign for last year’s Moto X flagship phone, which was hyped up with a pricey marketing and PR blitz.
The Moto G also got an upgrade today. It can now connect to LTE networks and costs $US219 without a contract, which is still much cheaper than most other LTE phones.
Until last year, Motorola was still trying to attack the premium smartphone market, just like Samsung, Apple, and HTC. But it’s now clear that its first (and last) flagship phone under Google, the Moto X, wasn’t the hit it was meant to be.
Motorola is about to become part of Chinese PC maker Lenovo. It’s unclear what Lenovo thinks of this strategy. Lenovo makes smartphones, but doesn’t sell them in the U.S. and many other countries. Cheap devices like the Moto E could help Lenovo gain a foothold in other markets. At the same time, Motorola is a pretty decent brand, and Lenovo may want to use it to market premium phones.
For a lot of people, the Moto E is probably going to be a good phone for the money. It’s not insanely powerful, but for those who just want to check Facebook, send email, or scroll through Twitter, it should be just fine.
Here’s a video from Motorola that shows off the new Moto E:
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