Motorola unveils Moto G – A lot of phone for only $179 off contract.

The unlocked phone market is going to get a little more exciting.

moto g front and rearThis is Moto’s first serious stab at the global market under Google’s ownership. The Moto G aims for the same developing markets targeted by Nokia with their Asha devices and the formidable $100 Lumia 520. Moto G is more expensive, but carries better specs and the Android app ecosystem certainly doesn’t hurt.

Getting into those better specs, a 4.5″ 720p LCD display is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It’s lower power per individual core than phones like the HTC One, but it’s twice as many cores as a handset in this price range typically receives. 1GB of RAM should keep plenty of apps running simultaneously, and there are options for 8GB at $179 or 16GB of storage for $199.

A 1.3MP front facing camera should be plenty fine for video chat, and a 5MP shooter is bolted onto the back. Lastly a 2,070 mAh battery should give the G decent staying power. Provided the quad-core doesn’t run to hard, that’s a larger battery than most entry level phones receive. There wont be a removeable battery, there’s no LTE, nor the ability to add more storage as Moto G lacks MicroSD. Obvious concessions at this price point.

This is also the second phone from Motorola to carry this design aesthetic. Sculpted modeled polycarb, organic rounded lines, the G looks very similar to the Moto X, which is a good thing. It’s a compact and attractive handset. It’s unlikely that there will be the same customization options available for the Moto G as there are for Moto X (especially with the recent opening of MotoMaker for all carriers), but there is a removeable backplate. Moto G will launch with a handful of colors blue, teal, red, yellow, purple, white, and black. Expect to see additional full body covers and a rugged case option after launch.

Maybe most exciting, this phone is launching with Android 4.3 JellyBean, but will soon be updated to Android 4.4. KitKat’s focus is on low power hardware, improving the Android experience for devices in that sub $200 price range. Those phones usually end up getting single processors, 512MB of RAM, and they have to run Android 2.3. The Moto G could be one of the first phones to really showcase the benefits of KitKat’s optimizations while presenting it on more current and powerful hardware at an accessible price. This demonstrates a higher tier of software support than most expect at this tier.

Motorola has struggled to move Moto X as it had to compete against iPhones and Galaxies, but while in Google’s pocket (and with access to Google’s checkbook) disrupting the entry level market could be Motorola’s path to better mindshare.

Moto G is available in Brazil and a handful of European markets today. We should see it launch in Latin America and Canada in the coming weeks. We’re expecting USA availability in January of next year. Watch Motorola’s announcement for more info and demos after the jump!

Skip ahead to 1 hour 11 minutes. That’s when the actual event begins.

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