When a new version of Android is announced, one of the first questions on everyone's mind is "when will my device be getting updated?" Fortunately, Motorola has moved towards complete transparency and providing timely updates over the past couple of years, and with the announcement of Lollipop it is giving details on what Moto owners can expect in the coming weeks.
Someone at the unconventional indie carrier Republic Wireless is a big fan of Motorola. In addition to carrying both the high-end Moto X and the budget-oriented Moto G (both from 2013), the company is now offering the low-end Moto E in its limited lineup of customized phone hardware, as promised. Interested customers can pick one up from the company's online store for $99. White and black colors are available.
A quick spec refresh: the Moto E uses a 4.3-inch, 960x540 screen, a dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage, plus whatever you can fit in the MicroSD card slot.
Republic Wireless offers a variety of super-cheap calling and data plans thanks to its WiFi-cellular hybrid calling setup. In just a few days you'll be able to pair the reasonably priced Moto E with those plans. Republic will start selling the Moto E for $99 on October 15th.
There are no contracts on Republic Wireless, so that $99 price isn't subsidized at all. It's not much cheaper than the Moto E usually is, but you can't just bring any device to Republic.
Like a lot of manufacturers that hope to sell phones in developing territories, Motorola adds FM radio functionality to its budget models, currently including the Moto E and the first and second generation of the Moto G. And as is the vogue for manufacturer customizations, the developers at the company have published their custom apps on the Play Store for easier updating. Today the built-in version of the FM radio app gets an update adding some much-needed features.
It looks like Republic Wireless is going for the Motorola hat trick: in addition to last year's flagship Moto X and mid-range Moto G, the American hybrid MVNO is now planning on selling the low-end Moto E to its customers. According to this post on the official Republic blog, the carrier's customized version of the Moto E will go on sale next month for $99, $30 cheaper than the retail GSM model.
The new Moto X makes a good first impression, but that's as much to do with the software as with the hardware. Luckily, owners of last year's Motorola devices won't be left in the dust. Motorola's Punit Soni has confirmed that all the new software features will be ported to the last generation devices, provided there is hardware support.
Motorola's apps are exclusively available to its devices, but some of the more affordable handsets take a while to get some of the provided features. In this case, the Motorola Assist and Contextual Services apps have recently been updated to bring Driving and Home mode support for the Moto G and the Moto E. To understand what this means, we must first take a look at what both of these apps actually do.
Motorola's newer phones have a lot of little touches that improve the overall experience, one of which is the boot services app. Sounds boring, right? Well, it is most of the time. The exception being days like today when Motorola uses boot services to push out a new boot animation. This time it's got a World Cup theme.
Yesterday we brought attention to an issue with Motorola's international devices wherein the carrier ID would be displayed in the status bar all the time, making the notification area almost useless in many circumstances. Well, Motorola VP Punit Soni happened to notice the post and chimed in with an update – it turns out Motorola is rolling out a fix in 4.4.3.