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New Moto E Adds 4G LTE, Larger Display for $150

The new Moto E brings some welcome additions while still keeping a budget-friendly price tag.


Motorola today announced a faster, larger version of its entry-level smartphone, the Moto E.

On sale immediately in more than 40 countries, the second-generation Moto E brings 4G LTE connectivity (for faster Web browsing and downloads) and a bigger 4.5-inch touchscreen (albeit with the same 540-by-960-pixel resolution). The new Moto E also gains a front-facing camera.

It’s also running the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android Lollipop 5.0, has a faster quad-core Qualcomm processor and doubles the internal storage from 4 gigabytes to 8GB (with a microSD card slot).

Like the original model, the new Moto E is largely targeted at feature phone users who want to upgrade to a smartphone but haven’t been able to do so because of cost. This is particularly true in emerging markets like India and Latin America.

With the new upgrades, the second-gen Moto E is $30 more expensive than the original model at $150, but it remains one of the most affordable smartphones you can get without a carrier contract. And for the particularly price conscious, Motorola is also offering a 3G-only version of the new Moto E for $120.

It’s part of Motorola’s primary strategy, which has been to provide more high-end features in affordable devices. However, that’s also an approach that many other companies, like HTC and Microsoft, are also adopting.

In just the past two weeks, for example, Sony has announced two phones of its own — The Xperia E and E 4G — that are targeted at a similar market as the new Moto E devices.

But in an interview with Re/code’s Ina Fried last fall, Motorola President Rick Osterloh said he thinks the company can stand out from its competitors by offering a pure Android experience and customization options. The Moto E, for example, can be personalized with swappable color bumpers. Whether that’s enough remains to be seen.

Today’s announcement comes just ahead of the Mobile World Congress wireless show, where handset manufacturers like Samsung and HTC are expected to announce new phones. Re/code will be there to cover it all, so check back on Sunday for our full coverage.

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