Motorola unveils low-cost Moto G smartphone; contract-free phone starts at $179

Features include case customization

NEW YORK - Motorola is making a cheaper smartphone aimed at emerging markets and budget-conscious consumers in the U.S.

The company, which is owned by Google Inc., says the new Moto G phone runs recent Android software and has processors, screens and other components approaching what's found in many high-end phones. But it's just a third of the price.

The phone starts at $179 without a contract requirement. Contract-free prices for leading phones typically exceed $600. The starting price is for a phone with 8 gigabytes of storage. Most phones have at least 16 gigabytes. Moto G costs $199 for a 16-gigabyte version.

Moto G will have a removable back to allow for customization. Motorola's flagship Moto X also allows customization, but it must be ordered in advance and can't be changed.

For more on the features available on the Moto G, watch the video below (mobile users: http://bit.ly/1gKagq9): 

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