There is a spectrum of pricing for cell phones. There are the expensive flagship models which emphasize performance and smart design, the mid-range models which are tagged as good enough cell phones but with more performance than the bottom rung entry-level affordable low-end market. As for the low-end market, it is not yet the bottom of the market, as there are feature phones which are cheaper than Android/iOS/Windows devices.
And yet, Motorola is bringing two cell phones to the low-end fray. The Moto C and its counterpart Moto C Plus will be Motorola’s most affordable cell phones. Made for entry-level users, these two models are easy to use — again to reiterate their reason for being – and very affordable. It’s something you might want to give to a first time user, a child or maybe someone who has outgrown a feature phone.
The problem with the low-end phones is not that they are made from cheap materials. That is to be expected. What is surprising is that manufacturers race to the bottom with low-end cell phones. If you have ever used a low-end cell phone for any length of time, you would see that these phones can be as durable as the more expensive models. It just so happens, that the pricing scheme makes them too risky because there are almost no margins for revenues. For some manufacturers, the more they sell at the low-end, the bigger their losses.
Motorola seems to be releasing this pair of cell phones for a complete coverage of the market. The low-end market always has enough room for two more cell phone models, no matter how tight the competition.
Now here comes Motorola with two models. These run on Android 7.0 Nougat, with 5-inch displays. The Moto C has an 850×480 pixel display, while the Moto C Plus has a 1280×720 pixel display. These have MediaTek processors inside with the Moto C having only 1GB of RAM, while the Moto C Plus has either 1GB or 2GB depending on the market. The Moto C has only 16 GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD slot. The Moto C Plus has 8 GB or 16 GB internal storage, again depending on the region, with expandable storage courtesy of a microSD slot. Although both are LTE 4G network connectivity, the Moto C also has a 3G only version.
For cameras, the Moto C will have a 2 MP selfie cam, and a 5MP rear-facing camera. On a side note, the Moto C Plus will have a 2MP front-facing, and 8 MP rear-facing camera. Both cell phones have LED flashes front and back.
Battery for the Moto C is only 2350 mAh, while the Moto C Plus has a comparatively large 4000 mAh battery. Since these are entry level cell phones, it is expected that owners would not be using them for games. Hence these should be good for about a whole day’s use before the need to recharge.
The Market Strategy
There was a time when Motorola was the best-selling brand in the United States. That was before GSM was used for cell phone connectivity. Things turned south quickly after the conversion from CDMA to GSM. From that time, the company has scrambled in trying to get a grip on the market.
The launch of the pair of cell phones shows a significant investment and belief in the low-end market. Most manufacturers may have more than one inexpensive model. However, these models would be largely distinguishable from one another. Motorola’s approach is to make these two practically indistinguishable with their matching cases and same size 5-inch displays.
This is a good design because it would be cheaper to have the same spare parts and case. In a way, the case is one major consideration no matter what brand cell phone you have. There is always a hesitancy to change the case because you would have to retool the production line.
Even as there is as yet no price for these two cell phones, this is not a race to the bottom. With two entries in the low-end market, Motorola would not be in a position to slash prices any lower than the initial pricing. The company can let others cut down and discount cell phones, while Motorola can continue to roll out cell phones based on Moto C and Moto C Plus sizes.
Of course, the bigger margins are the premium models, and Motorola should have a strategy to go head to head with the top of the class. In the fluid market of cell phones, there is always a chance of a slip up for any of the other phone makers. They can have supply chain problems, or maybe another episode of bad batteries. There is no way of knowing if you followed a good strategy unless people start buying (or not buying) your cell phones.
In the year when cell phones are expected to have long battery life, 3GB RAM, expandable memory, dual SIM, and LTE, anything less is a gamble. The irony is not lost on Motorola. They still have a loyal following, but it is getting eroded daily with their designs looking like last year’s model.
With Nokia trying to make a comeback, they might even steal some sales from the low-end smart phone market converting buyers with the Nokia 3310 feature phone. If that happens, Motorola has to rethink their strategy when it comes to the low-end market.Google+