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.
Stay tuned: Moto G with 4.5-inch edge-to-edge display coming to Verizon. Available on prepaid in early Q114. #MotoG
— Verizon Wireless (@VZWnews) November 13, 2013
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.