The Moto G packs most of the styling and features of Motorola’s flagship Moto X handset at a fraction of the cost. It’s now available off-contract in the United States starting at $179 for the 8GB version and $199 for the 16GB version. That makes it one of the cheapest phones you can buy without signing a two-year contract.
The unsubsidized phone is currently supported by AT&T and T-Mobile, but Verizon is expected to roll out support early next year. A subsidized, on-contract version is expected to be available through the three major U.S. carriers starting sometime in January.
So what makes this affordable phone such a steal for business users?
Android 4.4 KitKat
The Moto G is shipping with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, but Motorola says an update to the version 4.4 KitKat is coming very soon. That’s good news for frugal small business owners who want to upgrade to the latest version of the Android operating system without shelling out for a top-tier smartphone. KitKat is currently only available on a handful of phones, such as Google’s Nexus 5, and a wider rollout will take some time.
KitKat introduces a smarter, more accessible version of Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant that can help business users stay on track and never miss a call or meeting. The service works by monitoring your activity within the Google ecosystem and pushing relevant notifications to you as they’re detected. In practice, the service can notify you of traffic delays, weather, upcoming appointments and much more. The OS update also includes built-in support for Quickoffice, a free Android-based office suite, as well as native wireless printing support.
Hands-free control options are the Moto X’s claim to fame, and the features are intact for the Moto G. Even when the Moto G’s screen is off, simply say “OK Google” – you’ll train the phone to recognize only your voice – and you can activate the full set of Android voice commands. There’s no need to wake your phone up, unlock it or open any app; the Moto G is always listening for your next voice command.
For business users, the feature is a nice productivity booster. Inputting an item onto your calendar or to-do list can be cumbersome on a small touch screen. Voice controls are a convenient solution, but they’re less useful when you have to root through a menu to activate them. Those issues are remedied with touchless controls on the Moto G. It also means quicker and easier access to GPS navigation, and the first truly hands-free way to respond to an urgent text message on your smartphone while driving.