Thoughts on the Moto G and why it’s more important than either the Nexus 5 or Moto X

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 14 Nov 2013

Yesterday, at a press conference that lasted just a hair over 30 minutes, Motorola announced a smartphone that I think is the most important device of the year. If Apple has taught hardware makers anything, it’s that focus is important. For years, companies have made low-end and mid-range phones that have felt like afterthoughts. Let’s take some components we have laying around, shove them inside a plastic body that doesn’t feel all that premium, and then sell the result for about half as much as a flagship phone.

With the Moto G, that formula was thrown out the window.

Motorola, or more appropriately Google, set out to make the best phone they could for less than $200, and the Moto G is nearly perfect. The 4.5 inch 720p LCD that would have been considered best-in-class just one year ago comes standard. The 1.2 GHz quad core Snapdragon 400, while no where near a Snapdragon 800 in terms of performance, is more than enough for most consumers. And while we’ve yet to see how the 5 megapixel camera performs, it should be fine for quick snaps.

About the only thing the Moto G lacks is a microSD slot, which Google says they don’t need because the phone will come with 65 GB of Google Drive access.

Why is this phone more important than the Nexus 5? Because the Nexus 5 isn’t for me and you, it’s for developers who want to build apps and test them against the latest version of Android. They need access to cheap and decent hardware, which are the two best words to describe that device. While Google says the Nexus 5 will be on sale in more places than the Nexus 4, if you live in a country that doesn’t have the Play Store, be prepared to shell out a lot of money.

Why is the Moto G more important than the Moto X? Because while the Moto X was one of the most loved phones of this year, you can count the countries it launched in on one hand. This was probably done on purpose because of the niche chips the device has inside that enables it to do things like touch-less control and Active Notifications.

Will the Moto G outsell the Moto X? Probably, considering that the G will hit 30+ countries by next year, whereas the X is limited to North America and a handful of South American countries. That and the price tag, just $179, is absolutely incredible.

You and me, we spend $700 on phones because we want the best, but we’re not the majority. Most folks see phones as essential items they need to get on with their lives, and a $200 device can do 90% of what a $700 do, so why spend the extra money? If you’re Samsung or HTC, you’ve looked at this price category and thrown it a bone or two, but Motorola is going all in. And because Google is there to prop them up when they need money, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.

And let’s not forget, this is just one device for 2013.

One year from now, think of what the successor to the Moto G will have. It’ll probably ship with a 1080p display, and it might even have a faster Snapdragon 600. Will it still have a sub-$200 price tag?

I hope. The world needs these kind of devices.