Motorola unveils ‘aggressively priced’ £89 smartphone

Motorola has unveiled an “aggressively priced” £89 smartphone it intends to target at feature phone users looking to upgrade.

Moto E
Motorola hopes low-priced Moto E will help build affection for the entire Motorola brand.

Announcing the Moto E at an event in London today (13 May), Motorola’s director of product marketing Cathay Bi compared the handset’s performance to the Samsung Galaxy Fame. Motorola claims the Moto E has a 23 per can larger display and 52 per cent better battery life than the Galaxy device, yet comes in at a cheaper price point. The company also added that certain functions such as starting a voice call can be performed faster on a Moto E than the high-end Samsung Galaxy S4.

With those product specifications at an £89 price point, it is unlikely Motorola is expecting to drive high margins from the Moto E. Instead it is hoped the device will help build awareness of the Motorola brand and affinity towards its products.

Marcus Frost, Motorola senior marketing director for EMEA and APAC, told Marketing Week: “We have made the pricing as aggressive as possible to get more people into Motorola as the best way to build the brand is to keep getting the device into people’s hands.”

Motorola is focusing the majority of its Moto E product marketing, which will carry the strapline “Made to Last. Priced for All”, on digital media where Frost says the majority of its target market will be researching for their first smartphone device. The push began on social media, with Motorola teasing the launch as the “death of the flip phone” earlier this week.

The handset maker is hoping the Moto E will repeat the success of the mid-priced Moto G phone, which helped boost the company’s first quarter sales by 61 per cent year on year. The device also boosted Motorola’s UK smartphone market share from a negligible amount to more than 6 per cent and helped it take more than 17 per cent share of the prepaid smartphone market, according to Motorola’s own figures.

The unveiling of the Moto E marks the first device launch since Chinese PC giant Lenovo announced it was to buy Motorola Mobility from Google in a $2.9bn deal. The acquisition still needs to be approved by regulators, but both companies have said Lenovo will look to leverage the “strong legacy” of the Motorola brand to grow its business in Western markets. 

Frost said while it is still early days, Motorola is “excited” about the Lenovo opportunity given the company’s strengths in geographical markets where the Motorola brand is not as strong, such as Asia. Brand positioning is still yet to be decided but Frost, who said he has yet to have meetings with Lenovo to discuss marketing, hopes the Motorola brand will retain its “vivaciousness” going forward.

Motorola also announced an update to the Moto G handset today (13 May). The new £149 handset offers 4G compatibility and has a MicroSD slot.

Last month Motorola’s UK vice president and general manager Andrew Morley announced he was leaving the company after more than seven years at the business. 

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