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Courtesy of Motorola


The Moto G has a 4.5-inch high-definition display and can be customized in seven different colors.

New Motorola MotoG smartphone tapping into emerging markets

by Brian Ayala
Nov 13, 2013


Brian Ayala/MEDILL

On Monday the Moto X went down in price to $100 from $200.

Motorola Mobility rolled the dice in Sao Paulo Wednesday with a new smartphone it hopes will capture more cost-conscious international consumers yearning for a premium phone at a price of under $200.

The new, customizable Moto G, Motorola’s second major product launch since being acquired by Google Inc. last year, is contract-free––with no SIM card–– and starts at $179 for 8 gigabytes of storage or 16 gigabytes for $199.

Mark McKechnie, a telecom equipment analyst at Evercore Partners, said in an e-mail exchange that Motorola’s new phone is part of a bigger strategy.

“Google is clearly trying to push smartphones into lower price points to bring Internet to emerging markets, which don’t have Internet because personal computers are too expensive, and in turn grows their market,” McKechnie said.

Motorola has been struggling to regain a toehold in the handset market, but so far has failed to do so. Its sales dropped 33 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, and operating income fell $248 million.

The price of the Libertyville-based company’s premium Moto X, launched in August, has dropped by 50 percent to $100 from $200 to goose up flagging sales.

Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside said at Wednesday’s launch event that the company can be successful with international price-conscious consumers. Global consumers want to access and share information on their smartphones, but have been deterred by high costs.

“Moto G is a smartphone that delivers a premium experience with today’s technology,” Woodside said at the event.

The average unsubsidized smartphone, or unlocked to any carrier, is in the range of $500 to $600. There are other economical options, but the devices are built with older technology and don’t serve the need of the user, Woodside added.

“We believe that full access to the mobile Internet should be a right, not a privilege,” said Charlie Tristchler, product manager for Motorola Mobility.

For less than one-third of Apple’s iPhone 5S and Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the company said the economical mobile device will give users similar capabilities as the “premium smartphones.”

The new smartphone will be released this week in Brazil and parts of Europe, and become available a few weeks later across Latin America, Asia and Canada. The phone will be available in the U.S. in January.