Google Inc.’s Motorola wants everyone to have a smartphone.
The handset unit, which Lenovo Group Ltd. agreed to buy for $2.91 billion earlier this year, is introducing the Moto E, an affordable smartphone aimed at emerging markets. It’s also upgrading the Moto G, the previous low-tier phone, to run on fast fourth-generation wireless networks.
Lenovo, which will take over Motorola once the deal closes, is the fifth-largest smartphone vendor globally with a range of inexpensive devices and has begun to expand into premium smartphones in a bid to challenge Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. The new Moto smartphones, which complement that strategy, will appeal to first-time smartphone buyers, Motorola said in a statement.
“The fact is, about 70 percent of mobile-phone users in the world are still using feature phones that can’t unlock the full wonder of the mobile Internet, either because they can’t afford to or don’t think it’s worth the $337 for a smartphone,” Motorola said in a statement.
The Moto E will feature a 4.3 inch display, a long-lasting battery and the latest version of Google’s Android mobile software. The smartphone, which will be sold at prices starting at $129 without a contract, will be available in more than 40 countries via more than 80 wireless carriers over the next few weeks, the company said.
Motorola is looking to boost sales. The smartphone maker had 6.3 percent of the market at the end of February, based on a three-month average, versus 6.7 percent on the same basis in November, according to ComScore Inc.
The new Moto G smartphone, which will be able to access the Internet as faster speeds, will be available starting at $219, Motorola said. Patrick Pichette, Google’s chief financial officer, said last month that the device had “strong sales momentum” in the first quarter, without giving any specifics.