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Motorola Launches New Moto G Phone, Two New Moto X Models

An update for the Moto 360 is coming later in the year, Motorola head Rick Osterloh told Re/code.


Motorola is doubling down on its recent strategy of offering a lot of smartphone for a whole lot less money than the latest iPhone. The company is unveiling a trio of new phones on Tuesday, though only two of the three are initially targeted at the U.S. market.

At the budget end, Motorola is updating the Moto G with many of the software features first found on the Moto X, along with an improved camera, faster processor and support for LTE networks — all for $179, the same starting price of last year’s Moto G.

Motorola is also bringing its Moto Maker customization features to Moto G and making the device water resistant.

“That was a lot of engineering but we thought it was really important to users,” Motorola operating chief Rick Osterloh said in an interview. In the U.S. the new Moto G will work with GSM carriers such as T-Mobile and AT&T but not on Sprint or Verizon.
It will be available immediately online and starting Aug. 2 at Best Buy stores.

Motorola is splitting its Moto X brand across two different phone models.

In the U.S., the company will offer the Moto X Pure Edition, an unlocked phone with a 5.7-inch screen and 21-megapixel camera. In a twist, the Moto X Pure Edition is capable of working on any of the four major carriers with just a switch of a SIM card. The company isn’t talking exact pricing but Osterloh said it should be about two-thirds of a typical flagship phone (so probably around $400.)

Globally, Motorola will sell that same phone as the Moto X Style and offer a second model — the Moto X Play — with a slightly smaller screen and not quite as many video capabilities. The Moto X Play should sell for roughly half of a flagship phone, so think around $300.

The Moto X phones will go on sale later in the summer, Osterloh said.

Osterloh says the company believes the trend toward cheaper but still powerful phones will continue.

“Prices are really coming down and there is absolutely more competition across the board,” Osterloh said.

That’s good for consumers and, he said, good for Motorola. The company, he said, has posted 118 percent year-over-year growth thanks in large part to the Moto G, the company’s best selling smartphone ever.

Motorola is even stronger, Osterloh said, since being sold to Lenovo.

“If you look at the parent company, this is a company that survived consolidation in the PC industry from close to 100 [manufacturers] to a very small number,” Osterloh said. “We are well positioned to be one of the people that survive.”

As for the company’s other main product — the Moto 360 watch — it’s not getting an update just yet, but Osterloh said a new model is in the works and due out later this year. It will retain the fashion sense of its predecessor and, like the first version, use Google’s Android Wear software.

“The original Moto 360 has done very well,” Osterloh said. “We still are very bullish on the wearable space. We expect this category to be a big one over time.”

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