Google's Motorola unveils low-cost Moto G, pushes for emerging markets

As expected, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobile division announced the Moto G, a low-cost version of its Moto X smartphone aimed at emerging markets. Motorola said the Moto G will go sale this week in Brazil and parts of Europe and will be available within the next few weeks throughout Latin America, Europe, Canada and parts of Asia. The device will also be available in the United States, India, the Middle East and more of Asia in early January. The Moto G is launching with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, though Motorola said that it will be upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat in a matter of weeks. The gadget sports a 4.5-inch, 720p LCD TFT display, a quad-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)  Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM,, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

The phone will be sold directly from Motorola as well as other U.S. carriers in early January, with the 8 GB model selling for $179 and the 16 GB version for $199, without a contract. According to The Verge, Motorola said it does make a profit on the Moto G (it wouldn't say how much) despite its aggressive price point.

While Motorola sees an opportunity to sell the device to prepaid carriers in the U.S. market, the Moto G is really about the rest of the world.. The device is aimed at getting Motorola back in business in emerging markets. "The industry had really abandoned five billion people on the planet who were never going to pay $600 for a phone," Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said in an interview with AllThingsD last week, showing off the device. "This is at literally a quarter the cost of the iPhone."

Although the Moto G lacks many of the bells and whistles of the Moto X (there is no support for LTE, always-on voice recognition technology or actively displayed notifications) the device has strong specifications for such a low price point. "Outside the U.S., it's a great aspirational device," Woodside said. Of course, the device will also help  Google spread its Android platform even further in emerging markets. Article