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Motorola has made a splash in the mobile world today, thanks to a ridiculously cheap phone that appears to be pretty good. (Shocking!) The $179 Moto G was announced in a live event this morning, with availability in Brazil and parts of Europe today, and a worldwide rollout continuing into early 2014. The company published the first ad for the Moto G on its YouTube channel.

The ad highlights the phone's customizable backplates first and foremost. Think "Nokia candybar phone faceplates," except, you know, on the back. In between extolling the screen, battery, processor (which are debatable, considering the decidedly mid-range specs), and Google integration, it also points out that the phone runs Android 4.3 and will get a guaranteed upgrade. Motorola went on record during the presentation saying that the Moto G's Android 4.4 update is scheduled for January. This is particularly interesting, as it indicates that even the target market of midrange and budget-conscious buyers are starting to see the value in running the latest software. Or at least, Motorola hopes that they are.

Separately, Verizon Wireless issued a tweet on their official Twitter account saying that the Moto G will be available in the first quarter of 2014, which jives with Motorola's planned US launch in January.

Note the mention of prepaid. Motorola has separately stated that the low-price Moto G will only be available from Motorola's official online store, at least in the US, keeping the focus away from the more conventional contract-subsidy model. It's possible that the Moto G might not be offered from carriers at all, or at least not offered with contracts, which would keep the phone from competing with the more lucrative high-end contract phones in the same $200 price range.

Verizon is the carrier that would seem to be the least open to the contract-free, BYOD model. It's encouraging to see that they're planning to support the Moto G, even if they ignore more powerful alternatives like the Nexus 5 (not to mention drag their heels on the Nexus 7 2013). GSM versions of the Moto G won't need any sort of verification or clearance from carriers, unlike CDMA phones. Of course, you could interpret this tweet as Verizon saying, "you can't use the Moto G as a contract phone." We'll see in a couple of months, I suppose.

Source: YouTube

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Kree Terry

    That was actually a pretty sweet commercial. I gotta say i really like were moto is going.

    • Dan Carter


  • Dave Whyte

    I'm not excited for this phone in general but what this brings. It brings a medium range phone at a very low price. I am sure this is what will cause the pricing of phones to start coming down. As everyone stated the Nexus phones are in a different league so they don't affect most companies but when a major Android manufacturer (even Google owned) does this it will make other companies look.

  • Ivan

    This will be perfect gift for parents and elders... :-) Good phone with a VERY good price! Nice job M :-)))

    • John Smith

      I like that idea

    • http://ecellmobile.blogspot.com/ e_cell mobile

      Finally, a real "cheap" phone with decent specs, unlike the iPhone 5c which was so much thought of a smartphone for the masses. But to no avail, it isn't any near of being affordable.

  • Chris

    As I may not get this phone, I am super happy to see that they are selling a phone for this price. It shows that they can actually hit this price point while maintaining the feature rich platform they brought to their flagship lineups...

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am actually really excited to see a Motorola version of the Nexus lineup...

  • jamesfuston

    Stupid question (not a Big Red customer) but does Verizon even have an HSPA network or will people with the phone on Red be stuck with EVDO? I want to say I recall them skipping straight from 3G to LTE.

    • JiGSaW525

      Yeah, they don't have a HSPA+ network. That's why I believe it's only available for prepaid customers.

      • jamesfuston

        Seems like TMo is going to be the best option, then. If the phone supports their 42mb HSDPA that is.

        • hoosiercub88

          Unless you know, you don't have good T-Mobile coverage where you live.. like many people.

    • Zach B.

      You're right, but with the wrong reasoning.

      The general "path" of cell networks went this way:

      CDMA networks (Sprint, VZW) went to 1XRTT (2G) --> EVDO Rev 0 -> Rev A (3G)
      --> LTE (4G)

      GSM networks (Tmobile, AT&T, the rest of the planet) generally went from ??? --> EDGE (2.5G?) --> HSPA (3G). HSPA then evolved into a bunch of other acronyms I'm not 100% familiar with to what we now have marketed at "4G" in HSPA+ --> Now they all are deploying LTE.

      The terms 3G and 4G aren't actual technologies, but rather identifiers of "generations" of cell technology.

      SO to your question: Verizon didn't "skip" HSPA; it was never a part of their upgrade plans, because it is a different technology.

      Also, I HEAVILY generalized a lot of this, so don't take it verbatim.

      • jamesfuston

        I realize this, and was simply using the consumer terms for brevity. Although, I was incorrect in using EVDO when I meant Rev A.

    • Evan Knofsky

      There will be a CDMA version of the phone, so it will run on Verizon's 3G network.

  • Robert Alex Kibler

    I bet Verizon will be selling it for $179 on contract. $600 off.

    • hoosiercub88

      It'll probably be $179, but it'll only be for their prepaid network. Won't be able to utilize it on their post-paid network.

      • Robert Alex Kibler

        They have different networks? I realized they did prepaid but I assumed it was on the same network.

        • Pierce Bae

          No roaming and some other restrictions, I believe.

        • http://Twitter.com/eggoespada Eric Gonzalez

          Same network. Just some restrictions. Like no roaming and no LTE being two big ones. Also, Verizon won't let you activate their prepaid smartphones onto a contracted plan (from my experience anyway).

    • Benito Wood

      Usually the case with all Verizon prepaid is that the phone has to be used for x amount of months on a prepaid service before it can be put on a postpaid account. I've always heard a year

  • strikeir13

    I would interpret Verizon prepaid as further confirmation there won't be an LTE version. Can't do LTE on prepaid.

  • briankariu

    Here Moto. Take my money! No seriously, take it! 600$ this December will buy 3 Moto G's for those pesky nephews and nieces for Christmas. And still have enough change to buy a beer or two :). Good move Moto

  • GraveUypo

    this phone would be perfect if not for the crappy storage.

    it's sad to see that one of the most important specs (to me anyways) seems to be frozen in time. we've been getting the same shitty 8/16/32gb internal storage for over 2 years now.
    where's my 64/128 gb option?

    i'd love to buy the two-years-from-now version of this.

    • Al Bowering

      If it supports USB OTG, who needs microSD support? I use a 256GB flash drive with my HTC ONE S that only has 16GB and no microSD support, BUT it is one of the few phones that supports USB OTG. It only takes minutes to transfer hours of content to the phone, and unlike cloud services, I don't have to pay(data) every time i want to use my own content. This support/feature is huge. I don' know why devices that have the support don't market it. I also use a standard usb keyboard/mouse on my phone when when i need to be productive.

    • NeedName

      Notice how the 16gb version of the N5 keeps selling out while the 32gb doesn't?

      even apple's devices show people prefer price over storage. . . so, you're screwed for a while.

  • CERN

    Une question, If I purchase(unlocked) this in USA will I be able to use it with gsm carriers in India? Merci beaucoup !

  • Atique Ahmed

    I'm buying this phone for my dad. When will it be available in Canada?

  • Kevin Lauscher


  • Leonardo Farage Freitas

    Well.. it got here in Brazil a little bit higher than U$179, but still I'm surprised, great device and at a relative low price.

  • thanos kotos

    What song is this?????

  • Chris Lancaster

    I have the phone in my hand and Verizon will not activate it cause its not in their system . I'm getting pissed they say I have to send in my moto g phone to them to activate it