If you're someone that hates to sign contracts that bind you to something for a certain amount of time, whether it be one year or two, then today's mobile market should be a pretty happy place for you. We may not quite be at the place where all contracts have been abolished when it comes to buying new mobile devices, but at least we seem to be moving in a direction where that might be the case. Some day.
Until then, you shouldn't be all that surprised to see people going other routes, especially with more frequency. All four of the major wireless carriers, once beholden to their contracts and known for never backing down on their implementation, offer different ways for new customers (or existing ones that want new devices) to get their hands on new hardware (and software).
Simply buying a phone off-contract at a physical retail location isn't always the easiest, though. I've gone to a few brick-and-mortar locations in the past looking for a particular device, offered to buy it at full-retail without a contract, and was told that because I wasn't a subscriber of that particular network I wasn't able to buy the handset. It's certainly odd, but I just chalk it up to the carriers wanting to save phones for people who actually pay them money every month, and not some random grifter that walks in the door for some one-time payment.
I'm sure there's more to it than that -- or maybe not, who knows -- but that's just my happy place thought.
The monthly installment plans that the four major wireless carriers have installed recently are there to give people the ability to pay as little as possible up front, but while paying towards the full retail cost of a phone. The ability to "upgrade" faster than normal compared to past years with contracts, is just a gimmick to get people to sign up. The real draw is the cheaper price up front, which people seem to be flocking to.
But in a world where prepaid carriers aren't a bane on the wireless industry's existence, and people don't seem to be so afraid of them anymore, finding a phone without a contract and a cheap price tag is something that many people look for. Even if they aren't going with a prepaid carrier. It's one reason why the Nexus lineup has looked so compelling to a lot of folks looking for a cheap, but not cheaply made, option in the last year. The Nexus 4 started it, and the Nexus 5 continues the tradition.
It doesn't look like the Nexus lineup is going to be the only offering, though, if the latest rumor regarding Motorola's Moto G is any indicator. The latest word on that particular device, which is said to be a handset that offers a 4.5-inch 1280x720 HD LCD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 5MP camera on the back, and 8GB of storage with 1GB of RAM suggests that it will come packing a pretty tiny price tag. How small? Roughly around $250, if not less.
Compare that to the $349 or $399 price tag for the 16GB or 32GB Nexus 5, and you can see why the Moto G would be a pretty quick pick up for anyone looking for a cheap phone. Sure, there are some obvious differences between devices, but for someone wanting to stay cheap, those differences might not amount to much at the end of the day.
Of course, Motorola isn't the only manufacturer offering cheap mid-range devices. Just a quick tour of Sony's online store indicates that they've got plenty of devices out there, available right now, that offer up a mid-range experience for a relatively cheap price tag. Sometimes as cheap as $150. So, while Motorola might be coming in to swoop some of the attention away from the Nexus lineup, they are certainly not the only company out there offering up good devices for a low price tag.
(Plus, we can't forget about BLU.)
Motorola may have priced the Moto X too high out of the gate, but it doesn't sound like the company is going to do that with their second device in the fledgling Moto family. If they can keep the price tag down, and they are willing to offer the Moto G in a wide market, I can't help but think that the Moto G will see quite a bit of adoption. Especially if Motorola can get the same features they have in the Moto X tucked inside the Moto G.
The event to unveil the Moto G is right around the corner, so we don't have long to wait to see what Motorola has up their sleeve and to see what their plans are. My question to you, is whether for not a phone with obviously not high-end specs, but a cheap price tag is something you'd be interested in at all. Whether you're on a prepaid carrier or not, or looking to get a phone for a friend, is a cheap, off-contract phone an option? Do you specifically look for these types of devices? Let me know!