Motorola announced new versions of its Moto X and Moto G smartphones as well as a new Bluetooth headset, and began selling its previously announced smart watch, the Moto 360, for $250. The company also indicated that it will continue undercutting its rivals on price in the smartphone market and that it does not plan to shrink back from smartphones, even though it is in the process of being acquired by a much larger company, Lenovo.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is in the process of selling Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion, and the companies expect the deal to close by the end of the year.
Motorola plans to make its flagship Moto X smartphone a top device in the market, Motorola President Rick Osterloh told CNET, even if it takes many years to do so. "We're going to keep doing this until everyone knows about it. ... It might take 10 years, it might take two; it doesn't matter to us."
Osterloh indicated Lenovo plans to continue backing Motorola's strategy of innovation in its product line as well as offering smartphones at lower prices. "Lenovo knows all the details of what we're working on and knows our strategy very well," he said. "I'm very confident that what you see now will be our strategy in the long term." Lenovo declined to comment since the deal hasn't closed yet, according to CNET.
Much of the growth in the smartphone market is coming from sub-$200 phones. Yet Osterloh indicated that he thinks there is room to grow in the mid-range smartphone market, and that Motorola will offer premium experiences for prices below what its competitors charge.
"The days of the $600-$700 smartphone are numbered," Osterloh told Re/code. "People are realizing they don't need to pay that much money."
Motorola's Moto G, which the company sells for under $200, has become Motorola's best-selling smartphone ever, especially in emerging markets. According to Re/code, that has helped catapult Motorola to be the No. 2 player in Brazil and No. 4 in India.
As for Motorola's new devices, the new Moto X runs Android 4.4. KitKat and a quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 801 processor. The device has a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, compared to the previous version's 4.7-inch 720p screen, and a 13-megapixel camera with a ring of LEDs, compared to the 10-megapixel camera and a single LED flash on last year's model. The phone also has an aluminum frame, but customers will still be able to use the MotoMaker website to customize the phone with wood, plastic or leather rear covers, including 25 different back cover colors. Users can also create their own unique voice prompt, like "What's up Moto X," to wake up the phone and activate the Google Now service. The new Moto X will be coming to North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia starting later this month. In the U.S., it will be available for as low as $99.99 with a new two-year contract or for $500 off-contract and unlocked.
Motorola did not say which carriers will launch the phone. AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) confirmed they will be offering the phone but did not say when. Representatives from Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The new Moto G now has a 5-inch 720p screen compared to the 4.5-inch display on the older model, and its rear camera now is an 8-megapixel shooter compared to 5-megapixels before. However, it has the same 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor as before. The new Moto G is available today unlocked and off-contract for $179.99 in the United States. The new Moto G is also on sale today in India, France, the UK, Brazil, Spain and Germany. By end of year, Motorola said the new Moto G will be available in more than a dozen countries and through several carrier partners around the world.
According to CNET, Motorola will cease selling the older Moto X and Moto G once it gets rid of the last of its inventory.
As for the Moto 360, Motorola's previously announced smart watch, the company said it is now available in black leather and limited-edition gray leather with suede finish in the U.S. today for $250 on motorola.com, Google Play, and through Best Buy. Additionally, the Moto 360 will be available in two metal options later this fall for $300. For those who buy a Moto 360 today, there will be an option to purchase a metal band later this fall for $79.99. Leather bands will also be available independently for $29.99 at that time.
The Moto 360 runs on Android Wear and has a Texas Instruments OMAP 3 processor, and has a 1.56-inch 320x290 backlit LCD display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. The Moto 360 comes pre-loaded with six digital watch faces and can receive notifications from Google Now and apps like Facebook Messenger. The device has a 320 mAh battery designed for all-day mixed use, and also comes with a wireless charging dock that users can put the watch in at night to charge. The device has 4 GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy connectivity. The watch has a pedometer and optical heart rate monitor as well for health and fitness tracking. Unlike many smart watches from other smartphone vendors that can only sync with their smartphones, the Moto 360 can sync with any smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher.
Motorola also unveiled the $150 Hint wireless earbud that connects to your smartphone and uses voice activated commands to ask for directions, conduct voice searches get text messages spoken out and more. AT&T indicated it will support the Motorola Hint.
- see this Motorola blog post
- see this Re/code article
- see this CNET article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see these four different articles from The Verge
- see this Ars Technica article
- see this The Next Web article
Samsung, LG, Motorola and others favor IFA and their own events over CTIA for device announcements
LG teases rounded smart watch, likely dubbed the G Watch R
Motorola's Moto 360 smart watch tipped to cost $250
Lenovo sees booming Q2 sales, looks to emerging markets for smartphone growth
Lenovo predicts Motorola turnaround, but cautions it will take time