By Alexandra Burlacu | Jan 15, 2014 09:34 AM EST
Google dropped a small bomb and launched the Moto G Google Play Edition (GPE), which is now available for a $179 starting price unlocked through Google Play.
Motorola launched its new Moto G smartphone as a budget-friendly alternative to its flagship Moto X, but no one expected a GPE edition of the budget handset. Without any hints or warnings, Google dropped the Moto G GPE on its Google Play store.
The Moto G is the first mid-range device to join the GPE family, and is already available for purchase through Google Play. The handset costs $179 for the 8GB unlocked model, and $199 for the 16GB version, also unlocked.
In terms of technical specifications, the Moto G GPE remains exactly the same as the original model. The handset sports a 4.5-inch HD display with a 720p resolution and a pixel density of 329 pixels per inch (ppi), a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 8GB/16GB of storage, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front shooter. Connectivity options include dual-band HSPA+, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and a 2,070 mAh Li-Ion battery will keep things up and running. The handset runs Android 4.4 KitKat, which is quite impressive for a mid-range smartphone.
While the specs remain the same, there is a big difference in terms of software. As expected, the new Moto G Google Play Edition rocks pure vanilla Android, which means that it's stripped of any Motorola pre-loaded apps. Android 4.4 KitKat is now installed out of the box. Future software updates are also bound to be faster with GPE devices, but this wasn't a real concern anyway since Motorola is now Google-owned and has already delivered timely updates to its latest handsets.
The $179 price tag for the unlocked 8GB GPE Moto G version is the same as the Motorola version of the smartphone from third-party retailers. For just $20 more, however, interested buyers can get double that storage with the 16GB model. The Moto G may not be the highest-end smartphone, but it does boast some pretty impressive specifications for that price, especially with the Google Play Edition now available.