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Moto G4 2016 news, price, specs and release date rumours - EXCLUSIVE: potential family of Moto Gs coming in 2016

Expert Reviews logo Expert Reviews 24-02-2016 Katharine Byrne
Motorola 3rd Gen Moto G hero shot© Expert Reviews Motorola 3rd Gen Moto G hero shot

The Moto G is our all-time favourite budget smartphone, but last year's model was, for a budget handset, significantly more expensive than the 2nd Gen version, with the base 1GB of RAM model starting at £159 and the top 2GB of RAM Moto Maker model costing as much as £209. This year, however, Motorola might be taking a slightly different approach, as it hinted to me tonight at MWC that it might even be introducing a whole family of 4th Gen Moto G devices to target different price points.

When I asked Motorola's Chief Marketing Officer Adrienne Hayes about the Moto G's gradual creep in price, she told me that, "It's a tricky proposition, because you want to improve and you want to make it better, but we don't want to have the price continue to increase, so it's a great challenge for our product management and engineering teams, and we're very conscious of it and we're very thoughtful about it.

"I think, this year, people are going to be very happy with the outcome, and I think one of the things we learned with Moto X is that you can have a family in a product line itself, so that gives you the opportunity to have some flexibility too. So I think people will be very happy this year with Moto G."

Does that mean we could see multiple 4th Gen Moto G models this year instead of just one? "Yes, possibly," she said with a smile.

This is fantastic news, as one of the best things about last year's Moto X series was that there was a whole range of different devices that were all (largely) excellent value for money. The Moto X Play, for instance, harked back to the very first Moto X as a great mid-range smartphone for £290, while the Moto X Style was a bit faster and had a more advanced camera for £400. Then there was the Moto X Force at the very top of the range, which had its incredible shatterproof display and even more premium specs to make one of the greatest smartphones ever created. If a phone can survive a beating with a baseball bat, you know you're on to a winner. 

In a way, Motorola has already started creating a Moto G family, as there were two different specifications last year. However, what Hayes seems to be suggesting is that we might see a Moto X-esque assortment of devices all bearing the Moto G name.

That might finally get the entry-level Moto G back down to nearer its original £130 asking price, but there may also be other, more expensive models with similar but slightly better features for those who want a something little more than the very basics. Of course, we'll have to wait and see what Motorola has in store for us, but right now, it sounds like the Moto G has a very bright future after the initial panic earlier in the year that Lenovo might be shuttering the Moto G brand altogether. 

Moto G4 release date

So when can we expect to see the new 4th Gen Moto G(s)? Well, Hayes definitely confirmed that we'll be seeing one this year, and that Motorola's aiming to take a more staggered approach to its upcoming product launches. 

"With our products this year, in part because [we're] working through the integration [with Lenovo], we're a bit back-loaded in the calendar," she told me. "We're trying to pull those things forwards. I don't think it's good to be that back-loaded, and we want to have a nice cadence across the calendar of options and choices for people, so they'll be more spread out, definitely. That's the goal, so not just one product launch a year, and not just one time period. We want to make sure we have a new-ish option in the marketplace at any given time."

Of course, that doesn't bring us any closer to finding out exactly what month the Moto G will be released in, but based on this information, my guess would be sooner rather than later. Last year, Motorola announced the 3rd Gen Moto G, the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style all at the same press event in July, so I think it's more likely the fourth generation Moto G will appear before then rather than later in the summer. If anything, we're due a 3rd Gen Moto E first, as the 2nd Gen model launched last March. I hoping, though, that we'll see them before July. 

Moto G4 specifications

As for the internal specifications of the 4th Gen Moto G, this is all currently shrouded in mystery. The fact that we might see a whole range of Moto Gs as well throws an even bigger spanner into the mix, as this will make it even harder to try and pin down exact specifications. 

However, judging by past experience, I don't think Motorola will increase the screen size of the Moto G, or indeed the resolution. It's stuck with a 5in 1,280x720 for the last two years now, and I don't see that changing, at least on any potential entry-level models. There's always scope to introduce a slightly higher resolution screen for the very top 4th Gen Moto G, but I think it's more likely that Motorola will differentiate each model by including a different processor rather than start introducing new screen resolutions.

Speaking of processors, I think this is the area where Motorola will pay the most attention to, especially if it wants to avoid the current situation where the £90 2nd Gen Moto E already has a better processor than the 3rd Gen Moto G. As a result, Motorola's going to have to think long and hard about which of Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 400-series chips it wants to include in its new smartphones. Likely suspects include the newly-announced Snapdragon 435 and Snapdragon 425, but right now it's too early to tell. 

The 4th Gen Moto G's camera is easier to guess. If the Moto G is indeed following in the Moto X's footsteps, then it's possible they might all have the same sized-sensor, but have more advanced features as you move up the line. The Moto X Play, for instance, didn't have phase detection auto-focus like the Moto X Style, and it lacked the Style's ability to record video in 4K. The 3rd Gen Moto G had a 13-megapixel sensor, so I wouldn't be surprised if Motorola increased the sensor size further still. Alternatively, it might take the approach Samsung did with the Galaxy S7 and reduce the size of the sensor, but increase the size of the pixels to allow more light into the lens and increase its overall picture quality. 

Either way, the prospect of multiple Moto Gs this year is arguably the best news to come out of this year's MWC, and I'll be keeping a watchful eye on any more developing rumours and information as the week goes on, so make sure to check back regularly to see all the very latest news about Motorola's upcoming smartphone wonder. 

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