Let’s be real here: there’s a decent chance that you picked up a new smartphone at some point during the holidays, so you’re off the market for at least a little while longer. As it turns out though, you may have been better off waiting a bit.
In a show of New Years magnanimity (or, you know, a ploy to push more units) Motorola has slashed the prices of its sans-contract Moto X — a fully-customized 16GB model for any carrier will now only set you back $399 rather than the $499 it would’ve originally cost. Sadly, those of you with a woodgrain fetish will still have to pay a premium for those newly-available bamboo backs — $100 to be precise.
Does this ultimately mean you should pick up a Moto X over, say, a Nexus 5? Not necessarily — much as I love what the new Motorola is up to these days the Nexus is still my pick for Android device of the year — but it’s a little heartening to see a big name manufacturer is working to reduce the gap between on and off-contract device pricing for high-end smartphones. If anything, it’s that pricing precedent that seems most interesting here. Between this price cut and the introduction of the wallet-friendly Moto G back in late November, Motorola is positioning itself as a player that can deliver new remarkably solid (and in the X’s case, remarkably thoughtful) smartphone experiences at prices that can seem outlandishly low compared to most competitors.
But where does Motorola go from here? Will it be stuck playing the price game from here on out? It’s possible, but maybe that was the plan all along. CEO Dennis Woodside has mentioned multiple times in the past that he wanted Motorola to deliver cutting edge tech at reasonable prices, and I personally took the Moto G as an affirmation of desire. By slashing the price of its flagship device though, Motorola may be testing the waters to see if it can feasibly move its future products with similarly low price tags. If so, Samsung and rest of the low-cost smartphone leaders really need to keep on their toes.