Motorola has embraced relatively stock Android since the launch of Moto X. I originally disliked how the Moto X wasn’t really stock, (cue the philosophical discussion about what stock really means), but truth be told the software preload is devoid of what I don’t like about the skinned, operator-adulterated stuff we’d get otherwise. It strikes perhaps the optimal balance between the two, what works is left intact, what tweaks there are seem to be the bare minimum to appease operators and make the experience better for the majority of users.

The Moto G doesn’t deviate from that formula. At launch, the Moto G comes running Android 4.3, the latest possible version supplied by Qualcomm for the platform inside.


Motorola has promised an update to Android 4.4 KitKat in January (probably near the end of the month), this aligns with the software roadmaps I’ve caught glimpses of. Remember that Motorola is still effectively an OEM and subject to the software release cadences of its silicon suppliers.


The Moto G’s unlocked and operator-free status makes it subject to a bit less than the operator-attached variants of the Moto X I’ve played with, like the AT&T address book and status indicator branding. On the Moto G there’s none of that, just the few tweaks that Motorola has added in, like Device ID, Assist, Migrate, Care, and of course their own camera application.

The delta between the Moto X and G on the software front really comes down to subtraction of features it lacks the hardware for. Specifically the Active Display notifications and interface which used a TI MSP430 and leveraged an AMOLED display, and the always-on voice activation (“OK Google Now”) which used a TI C55x DSP. It’s an easy to understand differentiation point between the two products that I can’t complain about, and although I enjoyed those two features, their absence doesn’t really dilute the software choices that make the Moto G enjoyable.

Moto G also adds an FM radio over Moto X. Inclusion of FM radio is something which remains oddly is absent from most flagship handsets, but a must have on the lower end devices.


Just like the Moto X, the bulk of these applications (Camera, FM radio, Boot Services) are updatable over the Play Store. Motorola has effectively decoupled a bunch of their own first party applications from the normal OTA process.

Again I can’t complain about Motorola’s software strategy for the Moto G. I almost hesitate to make the comparison, but Nexus ends up making flagships that are very competitive on cost in the high end segment, the space Moto G is competing in is entirely different. Having Android 4.3 and the promised upgrade to 4.4 within essentially a month is great, but real proof of Motorola’s commitment will be in continued software support beyond that update.

Intro and Hardware Battery Life and Charging
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  • haukionkannel - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    True, but this is not power user phone. The Noto X is for that purpose. For normal mister Smith this is very good phone indeed. But so is/are allso Lumia 52x phone(s), so comparison would be nice as someone above allready said.
  • fic2 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    My girlfriend has a 521. It is a nice phone, but the HUGE problem is having to do a hard reset every time there is an upgrade. A hard reset looses all settings. And MS seems incapable of doing a backup that actually backs up everything. The stuff they do backup has to go to "the cloud" (to be datamined by them and the NSA). And when you do a restore it is a one-shot and can only be done over 3G since wireless isn't enabled at the time.
    Because of this I am thinking about getting her a Moto G.
  • skiboysteve - Saturday, December 21, 2013 - link

    What are you talking about? WP updates are OTA incremental and never require a hard reset...
  • shaduck007 - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - link

    thanks for Mentioning the Lumia, it's 1/3 the price of the MOTO G.

    Thinking of what is the best value!!

  • sephirotic - Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - link

    If this is not a power use phone then why add quad core, instead of a dual core processor, and a 720p screen? Witch is cheaper and more usefull, that or a SD card slot?
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    Are power users interested in this phone as their main device? If 8 or 16GB was fine for the flagship Nexus 4 13 months ago, I think it's fine for a low cost phone now.
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    Lets not forget, the average consumer still buys a 16GB iPhone or 16GB Galaxy S4 and doesn't put in a microSD card in the case of the GS4.
  • fokka - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    source? regarding the s4 i mean.
  • flyingpants1 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    The average consumer doesn't actually use their phone for more than an hour or two a day, leaving it in sleep state 95% of the time and somehow assumes this means it has "good battery life".
    The average consumer does not store hours of movies on their phone, or watch movies on their phone at all.
    The average consumer also can't see the difference between a 5mp camera and a 13mp camera.
    The average consumer sees almost no benefit from 7mbit HSPA+ to 30mbit LTE.
    The average consumer doesn't care about front speakers or waterproofing.
    The average consumer doesn't use a wireless charger.
    The average consumer CANNOT. SEE. The difference between a 540x960 display and a 1080p display.
    The average consumer doesn't run more than a couple apps at the same time.
    The average consumer doesn't care about read/write speeds of the NAND on their phone.
    The average consumer doesn't know the difference between LCD and AMOLED.

    Smartphones are ubiquitous now. Every grandma has a $0 iPhone that they don't know how to use. This doesn't mean we should stop making things better. For god's sake don't make us all suffer on behalf of your demented relatives.
  • apertotes - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    it was not fine for nexus 4. And I explicitly said that it was not a poweruser scenario at all.

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