Moto G aims for cheap smartphone market

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Moto G aims for cheap smartphone market

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Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Dennis Woodside presents the Moto G smartphone in Sao Paulo on Wednesday. [Reuters/news1]

Motorola wants to equip the world with the latest smartphone technology at less than a third the typical price. The new Moto G phone starts at $179 in the U.S. without a contract requirement. That compares with $600 or more that people must pay for phones without traditional two-year service agreements.

Motorola, which is owned by Google, said Wednesday that it will target an estimated 500 million people worldwide who can’t afford phones costing more than $200. In the past, the company said, those consumers were limited to phones with technology that’s at least a year old and thus unable to run the latest apps and services.

The company is targeting not just emerging markets, but budget-conscious consumers in the U.S. Although people can often get phones with contracts at the lower price, service fees are higher because they include the cost of subsidizing those phones. And many people don’t have good enough credit to qualify.

With the Moto G, Motorola is trying to offer a device that is closer to what’s available on leading high-end phones, although it won’t work on the faster 4G LTE networks emerging around the world.

The phone’s 4.5-inch screen, measured diagonally, is capable of high-definition video, but only at 720p, not at the better, 1020p standard found in leading phones. The resolution is 329 pixels per inch, which is comparable to the 326 pixels in the latest, 4-inch iPhones but short of the 441 pixels in Samsung’s 5-inch Galaxy S4.

The $179 price is for a phone with 8 gigabytes of storage, not the 16 gigabytes typical with high-end phones. A 16-gigabyte version is available for $199. The rear camera can take images at 5 megapixels, which is less than leading phones. There’s also an FM radio tuner, which is rare in phones.

The phone starts selling in Brazil and parts of Europe on Wednesday. AP

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