We know that Motorola took the wraps off the much-rumoured Moto E last night, starting in India, and then making its way around the world, with launches in Germany, the UK, US, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and now around to Australia. This morning, Ausdroid attended a press briefing in Sydney to get a bit more local information for us all.
Motorola have done great things for the lower end of the smartphone market in Australia. Long consigned to a fate of low cost and low value Android devices sold indiscriminately, with out-dated software, no prospect of an update, and fairly awful hardware, those who want smartphones without spending a fortune have certainly faced a tough lot. Motorola has turned that on its head here. The Moto G is one of the top selling low-cost smartphones, and they let slip that Dick Smith Electronics just can’t get enough stock to satisfy demand.
Motorola have aimed for great products without sacrifice, focusing on five key areas where they want to best the competition: fast, durable, great battery life, frequent and latest OS updates, and customised shells. The Moto G brought this, and the Moto E and Moto G 4G will continue that trend.
Hopes for the Moto E, and Moto Alert
The Australian arm of Motorola was unable to confirm pricing, but the inside word is that we’re looking at around $149 AUD for the Moto E, and probably around the $299 mark for the Moto G 4G. Launch dates haven’t yet been finalised, but expect something in a couple of weeks; early to mid June.
Motorola were quick to point out a cool new feature on the Moto E, which hopefully will make its way across the product lines, and possibly onto other Android handsets as well. Called Moto Alert, it’s a service that allows notification of three people from your contacts when you enter or leave geofenced areas, e.g. home, work, school, or somewhere else.
The device’s owner (or their parents, for example) can set up these locations and opt to send notifications when arriving at or leaving those locations. There’s also an emergency alert function which is quickly accessible, designed to that users can easily send a notification to the three designated contacts with a precise location able to be opened in Google Maps on the recipients’ devices.
Intelligent Dual SIM and OS Updates
The Moto E also features intelligent dual SIM capability; the phone will learn which numbers you call from which line, and which numbers you text. By doing so, if you regularly call Uncle Bob from your Optus SIM, and Aunty Mary from your Telstra SIM, the Moto E will remember this, and (by default) offer to complete your call or SMS via the proper service. Neat. The same capability will be rolled out in a software update soon to the Moto G and Moto G 4G.
We’ve also been made promises about OS updates. The Moto E is intended to be ‘self-regulated’ (Motorola’s words, not mine) in Australia, meaning that OS updates should (in theory) bypass the carrier update approval process, because the phones won’t be tied to any carrier subsidy or other compliance process. Whether this will become a reality seems a bit unlikely, but we sure hope that Motorola are able to keep that promise.
It is acknowledged that the Moto E really is aimed for emerging markets rather than Australia, but given that with a good range of handsets across the Moto E, Moto G (and 4G) and the Moto X for under $500, Motorola seems to be on a winning bet.