Motorola Aims To End ‘Dumbphone’ Era With £89 Moto E

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Motorola shows off low-cost Moto E and 4G-enabled Moto G

Motorola says it wants to increase smartphone adoption and end the era of the “dumbphone” with the launch of the entry-level Moto E, which made its debut alongside an LTE-enabled version of the mid-range Moto G, and will cost £89 in the UK.

Speaking at a launch event in London this morning, Steve Horowitz, senior vice president of software engineering at Motorola Mobility, claimed that 70 percent of the world was still using feature phones due to the prohibitive cost of smartphones, which are still a luxury item for many.

‘End the Feature phone era’

Moto E (4)He added that even those who took the plunge and purchased a smartphone had to suffer from inferior hardware, smaller screens and lacklustre software support – something the Moto E hopes to remedy.

“It’s time to end the feature phone era and compromises you have to make,” he declared, explaining that the device’s 4.3-inch display is capable of 256 pixels per inch, making it the sharpest screen in its class.

The Moto E is powered by a 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB of RAM and its 1980mAh battery promises to last a full day. It is protected by Gorilla Glass and users can customise their phone with interchangeable shells. Also on board is a five megapixel camera, an FM Radio and a MicroSD card slot for up to 32GB of additional storage.

Continued support

Motorola is keen to emphasise its continued support for the Moto E, promising its engineers will continue to optimise the phone’s software to improve connectivity, performance and battery life, and ensure Android updates reach the handset more quickly.

“We don’t say goodbye when we sell you our products. No one wants a phone what is outdated within six months,” said Horowitz. “We have proven we have the ability to deliver upgrades faster than any of our competitors.”

According to Motorola, Android KitKat is now running on 88 percent of Moto G handsets and 91 percent of Moto X devices, compared to an 8.5 percent adoption rate among all Android handsets. Motorola added that it plans to offer services that complement Android, such as Motorola Alert, which lets friends and family track a user’s location in the case of an emergency, rather than compete with it.

Moto G momentum

Horowitz said the Moto X and the Moto G, which is the bestselling smartphone in the company’s history, had given the company huge momentum. He added that it is hoping to build on this by launching an upgraded version of the Moto G, complete with 4G support and a MicroSD card slot, which will be available for £149.

Motorola’s share of the UK market has increased from 0 to six percent since the Moto G launched, while the firm has enjoyed 61 percent year-on-year growth during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts say the phone is targeting a younger, predominantly male demographic who are more tech-savvy and earn less than £20,000.

“With [the Moto X] and the Moto G, we feel like we’ve put Motorola back on the map,” said Horowitz. “Momentum is everything in this space and we feel like we have a lot of it.”

Since the launch of the Moto X and Moto G, Google has agreed to sell the company to Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo for £1.76 billion in the hope that it can allow it to make an impact on the global smartphone market.

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Moto E

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Moto E

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