Motorola touts 'universally unlocked' Moto G phones in U.S.

Motorola Mobility is touting the benefits of "universally unlocked" phones in an effort to push its new line of Moto G devices to U.S. consumers.

The division of Lenovo last month introduced a trio of Moto G phones, splitting the popular and affordable gadget into three distinct models in its fourth generation. While two of the three handsets seem targeted primarily at emerging markets, Motorola took to its company blog this morning to point out that the U.S. versions will offer users more flexibility than phones that are tied to a limited number of carriers.

"The fourth-generation Moto G is universally unlocked in the U.S., so it works on both GSM and CDMA networks and is not tied to a carrier or plan, giving you the most choice possible," the manufacturer trumpeted. "No matter where life takes you - whether you want to switch carriers or travel internationally - simply insert the SIM card of your choice and activate your plan."

Motorola said 87 percent of U.S. smartphone owners plan to purchase a new phone within two years, and 47 percent said they're likely to switch carriers. But Americans often aren't clear about the definition of "unlocked," at least as the vendor defines the term. While 68 percent of smartphone owners claim to be familiar with unlocked phones, 23 percent think it refers to phones that don't require a password to open; 20 percent think unlocked phones are expensive; and 11 percent think they must be hacked after purchasing.

The manufacturer claimed 69 percent of users say they'll likely buy an unlocked phone once they learned what the term meant.

While unlocked phones clearly have their appeal, they're often a tough sell in a U.S. market where carriers dominate the retail landscape. Motorola said the G4 will launch with a $199 price tag and the G4 Plus will be available starting at $249 beginning July 12. The vendor didn't offer U.S. sales information for the third G4 handset, the G Play.

The G4 and G4 Plus will be available to U.S. users from Motorola's website as well as from retailers including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Best Buy, Car Toys, Sam's Club and Walmart.

For more:
- read Motorola's blog post

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