Motorola looking to expand to higher end users with new Moto G phones

Motorola introduced a trio of Moto G devices, splitting its popular and affordable gadget into three distinct models in its fourth generation.

Motorola is targeting emerging markets
with its new trio. (Source: Motorola)

The Moto G is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 617 processor and offers a 5.5-inch 1080p display and 16 GB to 64 GB of storage as well as a 13-megapixel camera. The Moto G Plus is similar but has a few more bells and whistles, including a 16-megapixel camera with two "rapid focus technologies" and a fingerprint sensor.

Finally, the Moto G Play is a more basic handset that includes a 5-inch 720p display with Snapdragon 410 processor and 8 GB to 16 GB of storage. The phone also features an 8-megapixel camera.

Interestingly, Motorola is clearly targeting major emerging markets with the two higher-end models. The Moto G and Moto G Plus launched today in Brazil, and the G Plus will also be available in India starting today. Both handsets will hit the U.K. market in June, with the Moto G starting at roughly $245 and the G Plus starting at about $285.

The Moto G Play will be released later this summer, the company said. All three handsets will eventually be available in North America and other regions, although Motorola didn't announce any pricing or carrier availability for the U.S. market.

While the Moto G Play is clearly targeted at budget-conscious consumers, Motorola appears to be hoping to reach higher-end users with the G and G Plus. That's something of a departure for the Moto G line, which traditionally has been aimed at the lower end of the market.

Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google in 2014 for $2.91 billion but has continued to struggle in a competitive smartphone landscape even after the pick-up. It claimed a 5.3 percent share of global smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics, down from 7.6 percent during the same period in 2014. Lenovo is particularly challenged in its home market of China, where smartphone sales have slowed as the market matures.

Motorola clearly has opportunities to compete in India and Brazil, two massive markets where smartphone penetration rates lag behind more mature markets. But those regions have become extremely competitive, and it's unclear whether it can tap those markets with more expensive handsets.

For more:
- see this Motorola blog post

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