budget Android
Moto E

Motorola Ups The Budget Android Ante With $130 Moto E, And LTE Moto G

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Budget Android smartphones still get a bad rap but Motorola is on a mission to change that, with the launch last year of the Moto G.

Today it’s stepping on the gas at the low end — outing an even cheaper follow up to the well-reviewed sub-$200 Moto G, called the Moto E, and a beefier update to the Moto G which adds LTE/4G.

Motorola’s new ‘budget hero’ Moto E handset is being priced at just $130 (or £90 in the U.K.). For that you get a 4.3 inch display, toughened up with Gorilla Glass, and the same interchangeable covers the company pushed on the Moto G.

The dual-core handset runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and updates to newer versions of Google’s OS are part of the promise — as Motorola continues to leverage the legacy of having been owned by Google (the company is in the process of being sold to Lenovo).

Screen resolution on the Moto E is sub-HD, but the squeezed price-tag is the news here: Motorola is targeting a growing low end user-base which is the engine of smartphone industry growth right now, as more mobile users in emerging markets abandon their dumb phones and jump aboard the smartphone bandwagon.

Making sure those users get a decent not dire experience with their first budget Droid is the mission Google leaves in Motorola’s hands.

That said, Lenovo is also going to competing with China’s Xiaomi, which is just kicking off a global push. Xiaomi’s Redmi budget Android handset is also priced at $130, yet boasts beefier specs than the Moto E.

Notably the first launch event for the Moto E was held in India — where the handset has been given a price-tag of 6,999 rupee — indicating Motorola believes India will be a key target market.

The Moto G update brings faster 4G cellular tech to what was already a great 3G handset, and also adds a microSD card storage slot so users can expand the 8GB of on board storage with up to 32GB more.

Pricing for the Moto G has been pushed up a little — which makes sense, given the arrival of the cheaper Moto E — with a U.S. pricing set at $219, or £149 in the U.K.

Elsewhere the specs remain unchanged, so the budget device with a 4.5-inch, 1280×720 display and a premium feel is getting a little more fancy for a few more dollars.

The updated Moto G is set for a global release in late May.