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Motorola Readies Unlocked $179 Smartphone

Libertyville, Ill. – Google-owned Motorola has developed a low-cost smartphone positioned as an alternative to price-conscious smartphone buyers who have had to settle for older obsolete smartphones or for cheap new phones with “second-rate technology.”

The Moto G is a 3G smartphone available in GSM/HSPA+21 and CDMA EV-DO Rev. A versions with Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 4.5-inch HD display, and Android 4.3. An Android 4.4 upgrade is due in January.

The phone will be available in the U.S. in early January through as an unlocked GSM/HSPA+21 model with no contract and unlockable bootloader. The price will be $179 for the 8GB version and $199 for the 16GB. Moto G will also be available through U.S. carriers and retailers.

The phone’s unlocked price of $179-$199 compares to premium smartphones costing up to $600 without contract, Motorola said.

In the U.S., the phone would appeal to no-contract consumers whose handset prices aren’t subsidized by a carrier. With contract, the Moto G’s price will be even lower.

The phone’s price will also appeal to consumers in developing markets and in markets where carriers don’t subsidize handset prices.

Other key features include a curved back, 1280 by 720 HD display with 329 ppi, 2070 mAh battery that delivers 24 hours of mixed usage, 5-megapixel image capture at 4:3 and 3.8-megapixel capture at 16:9, LED flash, 4x digital zoom, slow-motion video, burst mode, auto HDR, panorama mode, tap-to-focus capability, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 720p 30fps HD video capture on front and back cameras, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS.

 The 5-ounce phone curves in back with a depth ranging from 0.24 to 0.46 inches. Interchangeable shells in different colors will be available.

It comes with 50GB of Google Drive cloud storage.

This week, the Moto G goes on sale in Brazil and parts of Europe and will be available within the next few weeks throughout Latin America, Europe, Canada and parts of Asia. It will be available in India, the Middle East and more Asian countries in early January.