Motorola Introduces $129 Moto E, a Smartphone ‘Affordable for All’

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Motorola is trying to lower the cost of entry for smartphone buyers around the world with its latest device: the $129 Moto E.

The company announced the device Tuesday morning, saying the gadget will be available at its low price without requiring a service contract. By comparison, a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5s with no contract costs $649.

“Now we want to radically transform the mobile industry once again by making quality smartphones that can do great things available to practically everyone,” Motorola said in an online post.

Currently, the average price of a smartphone is $337. As a result, 70 percent of cellphone users still own feature phones, which can connect to the web but cannot run mobile apps, according to Motorola.

“We believe it’s time the feature phone era came to an end and that quality smartphones are made accessible and affordable for all,” Motorola said.

Although the Moto E does not feature top-of-the-line specs, it does come with some pretty solid hardware.

The 4.3-inch screen features 540 by 960 pixel-resolution with 256 pixel per inch density. The device runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest version of Google’s mobile software, and has a 5-megapixel rear camera.

The Moto E comes with just 4 GB of storage, but users can expand its capacity through its microSD slot. The device uses a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, and Motorola said it has a battery that can last throughout the day for the average user. Users can also customize their phones by changing the Moto E’s back cover.

Among the few downsides of the Moto E is that it cannot connect to high-speed 4G LTE networks. Instead, the Moto E is limited to 3G networks and lower.

U.S. customers can pre-order the Moto E online now for delivery in early June.

The phone maker also said it had created a new version of the Moto G, a low-cost device introduced a few months ago for $179 with no contract. Now, customers will also be able to purchase a $219 version of the gadget that can connect to 4G LTE networks.

On Tuesday, Motorola also said that the Moto G was its best-selling phone ever. If so, the even-cheaper Moto E stands to gain greater success.