Moto G announced, launching for $179 off-contract and unlocked in U.S. in January

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Motorola just held a relatively short launch event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It may seem like an odd location, but the device being announced makes it absolutely clear why it chose Brazil. Simply put, the market this device is aiming at is huge in South America and parts of Asia. Particularly Brazil and India. This is about nailing the sub-$200 market. Motorola believes that 500 million people will by sub-$200 devices in 2014, and it wants to have the best device in that class.

Moto G is Motorola’s latest “stock” Android phone and it features some impressive specs:

  • 4.5-inch 720p display
  • 329ppi density
  • Nano-coating externally and internally to protect against moisture/splashing
  • 1.2GHz quad-core, efficient Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB or 16GB storage options
  • 2070 mAh, “all day” battery (10 hour talk time on 3G)
  • Ships with 4.3 Jelly Bean – (4.4 KitKat guaranteed for January 2014)
  • Interchangeable “Moto Shells” – Swap between different color rear shells, flip shells and “Active Grips” (bumpers)

Initially, it will go on sale in Brazil and parts of Europe this week. With more parts of South America, Asia and Europe getting the device between now and January 2014. The U.S. version won’t land until January.

The spec-list is pretty impressive, but is lacking on one thing: LTE.

HSPA+ is as fast as this thing goes. In terms of bands (going off GSMArena specs) it supports 1900/2100 but not 1700. And, it looks like carriers won’t be offering it for sale through their own channels in the States. Instead, you’ll pay $179 and get the 8GB model off-contract and unlocked through Motorola.com. Unlike a lot of other devices, you only have to pay an extra $20 if you want double the storage. 16GB model will be $199. To reiterate: This is the unlocked, SIM-free cost.

Motorola’s aim here is to create device that massively outperforms everything else in its class. Sub $200 handsets are generally awful, and this Moto G should be a breath of fresh air to those in developing markets like Brazil, India and other parts of Asia and South America. In the States, it could be a great option for the cost efficient among you.

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  • morning wood

    I’m wondering if they may have a 1700 band available for T-Mobile? I know that Verizon will have this available on their prepaid after the first of the year and its CDMA.

    • besweeet

      I’m hoping that that’s what’s causing the delay.

  • gsm1900

    Not compatible with T-Mobile, not even launching in the US. I thought this website was TMONews, not AndroidNews. Cam, if you want folks to continue coming here for TMO news, you need to post TMO news.

    • Cam Bunton

      As I understand it, T-Mobile does support 1900/2100 in some markets and it will be available in the States come January.

      • Rod

        T-Mobile supports 1900mHz 3G/4G in some markets. 2100mHz is the downlink band for TMOs AWS spectrum and since 1700/2100 is a paired band (band 4) you can’t use TMOs 2100 without 1700. 2100mHz (Band 1, used in S. America, Asia, Africa, and Europe) is completely different.

        • Alex Zapata

          I’ve tried explaining this to so many people, but they act like I’m speaking in tongues.

    • kliu0x52

      I’m pretty sure that the US model that launches in January will support the AWS band. Google likes T-Mobile; Android was launched on Tmo, Google has gone out of its way to add AWS bands to its Nexus devices for Tmo, and Tmo was the only carrier to sell the N4. And considering the $180 off-contract price, this phone is an attack against the contract-subsidy model and would be a perfect fit for T-Mobile–and Google knows that.

      • fechhelm

        I was thinking the same, because this phone seemed catered to the un-subsidised T-mobile crowd. Hope it happens.

      • http://twitter.com/phonecount StalkyTheFish

        Has all the HSPA been pushed to 1900 in LTE markets or can LTE and HSPA somehow share 1700?

        • kliu0x52

          LTE and UMTS are sharing the AWS band. Just as UMTS is sharing 1900 with GSM. They’re not sharing channels, though; they’re using different channels, just within the same band.

  • jury_rigger

    No LTE = PASS

    • Dakota

      Ironic when everyone defended the necus4 last year without lte. What happened to hspa+ is fast? A lot of people, especially those who haven’t had lte, don’t need it.. Not to mention many other countries don’t have widespread lte network right now

      • jury_rigger

        you could root the nexus 4 and get LTE. i havent heard that yet for this thing.

        • Bklynman

          Not everybody rooted there phones,there always a chance u
          can have a nice $200-$500.,brick if everything don’t go right.

  • nerdlust

    Wow sounds like alot of power for an entry device.

  • epsiblivion

    those are kind of beastly specs for $200! might have to get one for my dad

    • Paul

      GREAT IDEA!! MY parent’s have older Android Phones.

  • Paul

    I wish this had been around when my Note 2 took a shower. Instead I got an S4 and sold it when I got my Note 2 fixed.
    $200, and no monthly payment added, is a SWEET deal for these specs. And guaranteed Kit Kat? Nice deal.

    Epsiblivion has the right idea, these would make a good affordable gift…for my parents who don’t use LTE data.

  • http://benpike.net/ Ben Pike

    no LTE and no 1700MHz – this really needs to be bolded and underlined….

    for the lay person: this means you will only get slow 2G EDGE internet unless you’re in a larger metropolitan area that T-Mobile has set up to put 4G speeds on the 1900MHz frequency…

    • TheVorlon

      I guess you missed the part of the article that this product is being targeted for South America?

      Very unlikely to sell well in the US.

    • jury_rigger

      yup, but dont point that out to these TMo worshippers though.

      • UMA_Fan

        Considering the type of customer this phone is positioned for I don’t think they would care

    • Richard Finzel

      Isn’t it the same for most of T-Mobile anyway… Like 70% of their network is EDGE or GPRS

  • Dakota

    A network like a straight talk or T-Mobile should do a huge mass market push for some of these lower priced off contract devices, especially N5. If more customers knew they could get a good device and save $1000 or more during a typical contract period, sales would go up

  • guest

    No Thanks

  • fred

    no 1700- not T-Mobile related. This is tmonews not phonedog.

    • Richard Finzel

      Did you forget about “refarming”

  • Sherman Davis

    Sounds familiar? Just what Microsoft did in the PC world, Motorola/Google are doing the same in the smartphone world. Apple better watch out…

  • archerian

    the $80 Lumia 520 is better, at least it gets full HSPA speeds on T-mobile

    • UMA_Fan

      You’re kidding. The Moto G is pretty much the first galaxy s III on tmobile minus hspa+42. Both the lumia and moto g have hspa+14 only but a 720p screen and good battery life for that price is amazing

    • Richard Finzel

      Only if you can stand WP8…. I just can’t stand it at all

  • steveb944

    Sign me up! I’ll be getting this for a late holiday gift for someone.

  • landmarkcm

    Argh always something though.
    Even given the price point why do they have to make it so much thicker
    and bulky. Anything above 10mm range in thickness is just to thick now at
    least to me. Besides the ppi being slightly better on this too. Dont see
    much difference in it & current LG F6 im using. Was hoping for bit
    more..

    • Manny

      I know it is new but hoping for more out of a 179 dollar phone without a contract, unlocked. i don’t know how much better you could get.

  • Bklynman

    Everyone who putting this phone down,unless I am misreading is this is a pure android that everyone who goes after the nex.devices want? Unless I am missing
    something am I? Unless not go into they are the only phones to get updates,if so
    the n1 would still be around,they would not be on number 5.

  • fsured

    Forget cost efficient customers, this would be great to get my mother who decided to drop her HTC One S in a parking lot and lose it. Lose this and it’s only $200 I’m out.

    • Rapist on BAIL

      The Black HTC One S can be found brand new on ebay or amazon for $200

      • fsured

        hmm. I will have to look that up. The insurance claim to replace it is $150. I’d rather spend the $100 it would take to end the contract online, get a cheap phone on EIP with Jump, and drop my overall cell bill. I can’t see sending $150 to the insurance company for them to ship a refurbished One S.

  • EWTHOM

    For T-Mobile, I think that the just released Samsung Galaxy Light is a better deal. Not much more money ($199 off contract at HSN dot com). Similar specs: 4″ Screen, Quad-Core Processor, 5-meg camera, 1GB Ram, 8GB storage. Plus you get LTE and an SD card slot.

  • Sherman Davis

    I wonder how much Motorola is going to loose selling these phones. I guess they don’t care being owned by Google. Google is just trying to flood the market with all these cheap phones running on Android OS.

    • MuthaFuckinStephen

      Nokia flooded the market with their cheap Symbian phones. I’m just saying.

    • Manny

      What cheap phones are flooding by Google? This is the cheapest smartphone and you get bang for your buck. Sure it isn’t gonna measure up to a iPhone or S4, but this isn’t about breaking necks with this piece of equipment, this is a strategic move to 1.) Capitalize a market of consumers untouched 2.) Slowly but surely bring those into the smartphone area. (some elderly folk who don’t want to shell out the cash for some new fangled space machine, young kids who can’t save up for a 650 iPhone) Eventually those people will buy MORE phones, and they’ll more than likely stick with what works for them, Android. Meaning google here is trying to branch out Android OS to more and more people.

      Smart move, smart move, smart move.

  • noiphoneformykids

    good phone for the kids.

  • mcaslan

    I am happy this is good news, $650 for a phone is a rediculous expense. We have lost sight of the important things if we can’t get a good smartphone in a range of prices…

  • Andrew Allison

    With neither Band IV (1700Mhz AWS) nor LTE support, will this phone even work on the Tmobile network?

  • Cam Bunton

    I may have found some evidence to suggest the Moto G supports WCDMA 1700 bands… Stay tuned.

  • Jason Crumbley

    Good move on Motorola’s part.