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What if the Moto X is $300 Off-contract?

eric schmidt moto x

The Moto X is coming next week, on August 1. We know that much. We also know the specs, what the camera UI looks like, and some of the new features that Motorola will use to try and make the phone stand out from a crowded market. But what about the price? Could Motorola do something crazy and offer it at Nexus 4-like price points? They might. 

Recent rumors that are circulating the blog-o-sphere suggest that Motorola may introduce the phone at $299 off-contract for the 16GB version, while also releasing a 32GB variant at anywhere from $350 to $399. We’ve had sources suggest that it could be as low as $200 off-contract, but I’m not going to lie, that sounds insane. Only 16GB versions are floating around in the wild for testing, so the 32GB variant rumor is just that, a rumor.

But let’s talk about low prices – is it even possible to go that low for such a new phone? Well, sure it is. Dennis Woodside – Motorola CEO – said himself in a recent interview that his company is interested in the “low-cost, high quality market.” They see this huge gap between feature and smartphone pricing ($30 to $650), and they feel as if they can bring that gap closer together or at least dive right into the middle of it. You could call that a hint or a vision of the future, but Motorola seems poised to make something radical happen today.

But think about the specs. We’re talking about a processor that is technically a step behind that of the Nexus 4, which was a phone that sold for $299 at launch. For those not familiar, the Nexus 4 sported a Snapdragon S4 Pro, but was the quad-core version – the Moto X is running a Snapdragon S4 Pro that is the dual-core version. The display is a 720p panel, which we would assume could be had for quite reasonable prices these days now that the standard has become 1080p. The rest of the make-up is pretty standard smartphone stuff these days in terms of hardware.

So why not? If Motorola wants to do something wild and really grab attention, an insanely low price would help do that along with a push for experience over specs. Get people this phone without a contract at a great price, let them customize it, have it learn their patterns, and you may have a winner.

What would a $300 off-contract price mean to you?

  • Jeremy Wray

    I’d be surprised if Verizon allowed this to happen to their version. This would just be another way for people to avoid upgrading their plan and loosing the unlimited data. I mean that’s the main reason I’d be interested in the phone.

    • Defenestratus

      They already have done that though with the device payment plans.

      • Charlie R.

        The device payment plans are not available for people with unlimited data plans.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          I thought the device payment plan was, but the upgrade plan (Verizon Edge) is not.

          Either way, I doubt Verizon cares about moving people off the unlimited plans unless they are using 8-10 GBs of data a month. Think about it, if you have an unlimited plan, you are not under contract anymore so you are paying the built in subsidy, plus the cost of service. They are making more money off you than having you sign another contract and having the subsidy cost actually apply to a phone.

        • chihova

          If you go to a VZW store they will set you up on a device plan…not Edge…and you can keep your unlimited data. You have to have a good payment history for 6 consecutive months and good credit of course.

  • Defenestratus

    Not buying a phone for $300 even off contract that has the same specs as my 2 year old Gnex.

    • Diablo81588

      Really?…. No.

  • Exactly. If I can keep my plan and upgrade from this aging gnex I will love it. Also didn’t the benchmarks show it keeping pace with most of the quad cores?

  • Prox

    If its $299 off contract for T-Mobile with LTE, I will buy it.

  • James_C_L

    16gb is a no go for me with no sd card .. . I bet for many others as well. I’m also sure as hell not paying another $75 – $100 more for another 16gb.That’s become a running joke lately Imo.

    • A.Miller

      To me the lack of a replaceable battery is a huge loss. That’s even more important to me than the SD card, though I agree with you on that, too. Particularly about the extra cost for 16gb when a card costs hardly anything.

  • coolsilver

    Then I made a foolish mistake with the Galaxy S4

    • James_C_L

      Well in that case, you can definitely sell the s4 for around 500, get the X and pocket some nice loot.

      • runner30

        That’s what I’m planning on doing with my upgrade in August. Hopefully I can buy a Moto X off contract for VZ.

        Buy a flagship-sell-buy a moto x.

  • James

    I understand the excitement I guess cause this phone is ‘new’ but why so pumped about the nexus 4 price it has? Just get a nexus 4 if you want that price haha. Plus the nexus has the quad core S4 processor and this has just the dual core.

    • Blue Sun

      James, I totally agree with you. I think the root of the issue is that most people who want the Nexus 4, can’t get the Nexus 4 on their network. Cough, cough, Verizon…

    • Jim Davis

      Nexus 4 doesn’t have LTE.

    • Will P

      No Nexus 4 on verizon and it doesn’t have LTE (officially). Most people don’t care to hack their way to add LTE to a phone.

  • Makes sense to me. Future for them could be a Nexus phone (intended for devs) and a moto slightly lower-spec’d (intended for consumers) phone at $300 unlocked and for all carriers. (well, at least the moto for all)

    Then other moto phones that are pushing boundaries at the typical $600 price range.

  • web

    I’ll buy it on the day of release for $300.

  • JonathonFlores

    I don’t see myself extending a contract with a $300 or even $200 price point for that phone. But an off contract price of $300 or even $400 is attractive and I’d buy that… (Considering boot loader can be unlocked.)

  • jer85008

    The question is – could there be a Verizon version for $300 off contract? If everyone else gets one at a good cost off-contract, and the only option for Verizon customers is to get on on-contract, I just won’t buy one. I’ll stick it out with my broken Rezound and RAZR M until the end of the year and bolt to AT&T.

    • icedrop

      Same, if ZV screws us on this deal and all other carriers get hooked up that will be the last straw. Hello world of GSM!

  • ill buy a verizon moto X for 300 instantly.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Not happening.

  • Tim Swann

    If unlockable at $300 off-contract I’d take a serious look. I have a GNex that I’m just happy with so I would wait on the reviews. With good reviews on battery life and camera, I could be swayed to drop 3 bones on it if it’s unlockable

  • Steve Benson

    $300 off contract, plus $500 million in advertising and this thing is a market game changer.

    • David Narada Brown

      thats what i said!

      • Steve Benson

        You’re an intelligent man.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    i’d give my iphone 5 to gazelle for $300 and buy this. If there’s a 32gb version i’ll come out of pocket.

  • MikeCiggy

    If so my girlfriend will be buying one and not renewing her contract with Verizon.

    • Weber

      Crack that whip!

  • shdowman

    IF they sell it off contract, it will be same scenario as N4. GSM only. Verizon won’t allow it on their network off contract. IF they did, it would count as some upgrade or some shenanigans to where you would still lose your unlimited data. Don’t get your hopes up…

    • aDROIDfreeworld

      not if you order from the play store, then call and activate the device over the phone – threaten to cancel all lines if they try to take away your current plan!

      • jscofi

        i hope you are right

    • Tim Swann

      that’s not totally true. Carriers are required to allow use of phones that they don’t directly sell. (This includes VZ). Moto would just need to use radios with the right bands. I would be shocked if VZ didn’t sell this since the model with VZ bands passed through the FCC already. that being said, if VZ sells directly to customers (which they will) don’t count on an unlockable bootloader. There’s too many unknowns and everything is speculation at this point.

      • David Narada Brown

        they already have the model number for verizon version. it already passed through FCC so its definitely coming to verizon.

      • Drome

        this is incorrect information. Sprint and VZW both are on CDMA but you cannot use a sprint phone on the VZW network. In order for VZW to let you use their proprietary CDMA network, they would have to approve of the phone to be sold off contract officially. The samsung phone posted above is the phone that is approved to be used on VZW, simply being sold my samsung.

        VZW wont become unlocked friendly until VoLTE rolls out. Hopefully.

        • Tim Swann

          Yes, they have to “let you” use the phone, but if I’m not mistaken there are laws that prevent them from not letting you use a phone that is compatible with their network. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the laws I mention (I don’t know off top the name of it) exist to prevent this kind of behavior.

          • Drome

            Sorry but I do not believe that is correct. Those laws only exist for LTE, GSM and HSPA but not CDMA since it is patented and proprietary. Since all VZW LTE phones drop back to CDMA for sms and data, VZW can still prevent unlocked phones from accessing their network. That is, until VoLTE phones are out. Show me one truly unlocked phone that works on the VZW network without serious hacking and ill eat my hat.

      • A.Miller

        If its stock — or nearly stock — and received updates from Google then unlockable bootloader isn’t that important to me.

    • burkett375


      Here’s one you could buy off contract and bring to their network without any change to your contract.

      • Drome

        this phone is not unlocked though, it is licensed by VZW to be the developer version of the sim locked VZW galaxy s3. They still approved this to happen.

    • shdowman

      You can down vote all you like, it’s merely an opinion. I highly doubt there will be CDMA versions offered off-contract.

      • Blue Sun

        Corrected: “…I highly doubt there will be CDMA versions offered off-contract at that price point.”

        • shdowman

          Fair enough…lol.

  • Jeremy B.

    Low cost has intrigued me, especially since the phone isn’t all that great spec wise….I’m still eyeing up the droid Maxx at this point.

  • Bionic


  • NAM37

    As long as the battery life is good, <$350 off-contact is an instant buy.

  • Warwick

    300 off contract, I would buy one just to have one.

  • samosa king

    32GB model. Yes please

    • Steve Benson

      32gb will be $349.

  • BCoils

    This won’t change monthly bills/fees unfortunately.

  • fillyo75

    I seen no reason why not, if they can make a Nexus 7 for $200, this should be easy.

  • samosa king

    It should be cheaper than the Nexus 4.

  • Ted

    Their is indeed a 32GB model, I guarantee it.

  • Chris Schmucker

    Being $300 off-contract is more about making a statement for Moto and Google than it is for advancing technology from a hardware standpoint. If Moto and Google can open up the average consumers eyes to the “suckiness” (for lack of a better word) of being locked into a two year contract then this phone will start a revolution on how the wireless industry functions.

    • Luxferro

      …how the wireless industry functions.

      Which has been to rip off the consumer in every way possible.

    • Trueblue711

      Agreed. I think it’s ridiculous that you can get an Android tablet for $200-400, yet almost every smartphone starts at $600. I don’t think a cellular radio should add $200-400 per phone.

  • samosa king

    I love samosa. I will obviously trade my samosa for lovely Moto X.

  • Michael Bassett

    Maybe release the xPhone with $99 on contract, $199-$299 off contract for a couple months. Then, after you sold all the high quality, low cost phones to the masses, sell a high end xPhone with a 800, 3gb RAM, 32/64gb for $199 on contract, $399-$499 off contract to people that want high end specs, power users.

    • A.Miller

      Bionic has claimed that there will be a second “Xphone” released later… a “hero” device. Is there any substantiated reason to believe that there is a second X coming soon?

      • Michael Bassett

        The nova or hero device is what I meant, not a xPhone 2 or whatever.

  • litobirdy

    $30 off contract on Verizon? that’ll never happen

    • onDroid

      Agreed. $30 off contract on any carrier will never happen

  • Will

    It means it will make a nice replacement for anybody who breaks their nicer phone on contract. If my DNA takes a turn for the worst, this will be my next phone.

  • aDROIDfreeworld

    I would pay 350 for the 32gb in a heartbeat – so sick of screwing with my razr’s software to get a stock experience!

  • It’s a game changer. Imagine being able to upgrade your phone on Verizon any time you want without having to pay $699? If more phone companies follow suit, you can basically upgrade anytime you want without having to be locked to a 24 month contract. These new programs they have for unsubsidized phones are a huge ripoff so if this is the only alternative, I’ll take it. That being said, if the phone is around $300 for a 16/32gb version, I’m definitely going to buy it. LONG LIVE UNLIMITED DATA!

  • David Narada Brown

    that price is perfect!

  • MrJigolo

    $300 off contract = insta buy for me

  • EC8CH

    $300 phone off contract on Verizon…

    surely you jest.

  • samosa king

    It’s not that I need it, but I will buy it.

  • hetaldp

    Made in USA @ $300 i suspect ! Please surprise us google

  • I doubt that $300 would make a real splash. You would see the same reaction as the Nexus 4 launch. $200 would really turn heads though. Not claiming that $200 will happen, but that’s the sweat spot that will move lots of units.

    • EC8CH

      I kinda agree. Match the subsidized price and more of the average customers would take notice.

      • Exactly. Most consumers are ok with paying $200 up front with a 2yr contract. Keep the same price and remove the contract – that will change things. Really hoping the rumors of an unlocked version are true.

        • David Narada Brown

          subsidized you should see this phone easily under $100.

      • Dave

        I agree. Why not start as a base at $200, then up-charge for all of these customization options? People will pay to make their phone unique. So you can kind of recuperate some money there, lets face it black/white base, adding color really can’t add to their cost, but they can still charge for it.

      • A.Miller

        I don’t think the average consumer cares much about the contract. I don’t think they think much of it.

    • David Narada Brown

      nexus 4 couldnt meet demand and it wasnt advertised. think of a nexus 4 price point with $500,000,000 to advertise (i just had to put all those zero’s). thats gonna be a huge splash. if a carrier subsidizes this phone, it would almost be pointless for manufacturers to make “low-end” smartphones that would compete at the same price.

      • They couldn’t meet demand because they didn’t produce very many units. Have you heard Google or LG bragging about the millions of units sold?

        • zurginator

          Have you heard of Nexus device sales numbers ever being released (bar the N7 incident, and Google ripped Asus a new one)?

          Based on S/N tracking though, it has been estimated around 1 million between Nov and Feb.

        • A.Miller

          Wasn’t available on Verizon or Sprint. That would really help the numbers.

    • Eldorath

      I’d tend to agree here.. $300 would be a bit lukewarm… $200 would be a nice spot.. and if they were to release it at $100 (doubtful) I’d be shocked if people could find one to purchase within 60 days… although, with 16GB, that pricepoint would still make me sigh a bit, as I routinely push a bit over 16GB regularly between the offline downloads of music from the Google Music Sub service, audiobooks, and photos.

      With Moto being owned by Google, It’d be kind of nice to see this device being subsidized by Google a bit to drop it down that low.

      • $99 Android phones with legit specs are coming next year. It’s going to be a lot harder for certain OEMs to keep charging $650-700 for new devices, when you can get a similar experience at a greatly reduced price.

        • Eldorath

          I semi-agree with that statement already. While our Galaxy Nexuses (Nexi?) are starting to show some age, I’ve not found a legitimate, $1200 (currently unlimited on VZW), reason to upgrade 2 phones that work just fine.

  • peeyourownpants

    ubuntu edge! instead

  • Robert Willis

    Means i could keep my unlimited Verizon data plan. Assuming it comes to Verizon the same way. Doubtful though.

    • Blue Sun

      You mean with an unlocked bootloader? Or Wireless provider stickers all over the device?

    • WickedToby741

      No reason why it wouldn’t. If Motorola is selling it directly, then they set the price, not Verizon. A CDMA chip shouldn’t jack up the price by $300.

      • Robert Willis

        Verizon could prevent them from selling a CDMA version off contract. Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen them do something like that.

        • Chris Gaton

          Every phone Verizon sells can be purchased off-contract. They just cost more.

          • jscofi

            there has to be a reason why it costs more. maybe verizon charges them to allow phones to be on their network?

          • Terrormaster

            It’s called price fixing. Carriers and OEMs have been doing this for years with smart phones but they’ll never admit it.

          • Chris N

            Verizon would not be fan of this soley for the purpose of getting people off of their unlimited data plans….

        • master94

          what is VZW gets a LTE only version? Didnt they say they were going to stop selling 3G/4G hybrids and go all LTE? They cant say no to any LTE phone because the 700mhz frequency it uses must be open according to their deal with the govt.

          • Trueblue711

            They’ve already bent the definition of “open” to mean that any OEM can submit to have their phone run on their network, WITH Verizon’s approval.

  • burkett375

    For $299, I’d buy it…why not? It’s got the same specs as my GSIII, which I’m happy with, but has a better GPU, and can handle everything that’s thrown at it. If the software optimizations are what we hear, it can only get better…

    and saving my unlimited data is completely worth it.

  • samosa king

    I will trade my samosas for the Moto X if it is more than £300.

  • Stephen

    It would mean I have a solid option to have and keep unlimited data without having to spend 600+ dollars on a phone

    • Blue Sun

      On Verizon, yes. The other providers have options under $380 (after taxes), off contract.

      • Stephen

        Maybe it will be 300 (380 with tax) off contract with verizon? i can only hope….

        but in the meantime, i have an s3 and a dna…. so i guess i don’t really need another phone.

  • JimmyHACK

    It’s still a higher end budget phone right? Spec wise. So it wouldn’t be some huge shock. More like normal pricing.

    • Josh Carroll

      Exactly my thoughts. It’s priced at the proper place, given it’s a mid-range device.

      • Richard Albert McKenzie III

        I’m not sure I’d say it’s a “mid-range” device, i’d give it slightly more credit. i’d also point out the mid-range devices are usually more than this, especially at release and off contract.

        • Josh Carroll

          Well I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Dual core, 720P and < 5" screen all scream mid-range to me.

          • Higher_Ground

            agreed. I haven’t been paying as much attention to DL lately but the only thing I see as an improvement is the camera and the attenna (both of which suck horribly on the gnex, so that’s not too hard to accomplish). The customizable colors sounds pretty cool, even if it is a gimmick.

          • Diablo81588

            The processor alone is much faster, dual core aside. Graphics are many times faster. Battery life will kill the gnex. Screen won’t be pentile. Price will be considerably cheaper. Shall I go on?

          • Higher_Ground

            It’s 1.5 years newer, so I would hope it’s better in literally every respect. I just don’t think it matches what I want enough for me to upgrade yet.

    • fauxshizzl

      Normal pricing is a huge shock in the US phone market though.

  • NorCalGuy

    what about 350 for a 32?? Then hell ya my GNex needs a replacement

    • NexusPhan69

      That’s the current rumor going around. One I’m really hoping is true.

    • Shssael Perez

      I would replace my GNex as well.. This is the future and I hope Moto and Google can make a statement and set a new trend.

    • Richard Albert McKenzie III

      Get the Moto X IF it is at this price or wait for the next Nexus device and live in all it’s glory.

      • Rickd

        There wont be another nexus on verizon, hes replacing his GNEX

    • Tyler Bowden

      Well it was about that time that I notice that VZW rep was about eight stories tall and was a crustacean from the palezoic era. I said “Dammit monster! Get out of this store! I ain’t giving you no treefiddy!” It said “how about just twofiddy?” I said “Oh now it’s only twofiddy?! What is there a sale on Loch Ness gigabytes or something?!”

  • Jeremy Martin

    If it comes to Verizon at that price I will be buying one for sure.

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      This is where most people would land. Honestly, with those specs, if they price it higher I doubt many people would buy it off contract. I’d sell my gs3 to get this phone if it’s $300

      • j

        This would be the perfect device for all GNex owners who want to maintain their unlimited data. Decent specs at a good price. Not a top tier device, but a quality upgrade to the GNex on what looks to be fairly stock software. I would 100% purchase one and give my Gnex to my Mom!

        • j

          To follow up.. there are tons of people in the same book.
          OG droid owners -> GNex Owners -> ????
          Whole slew of us looking for the next replacement.

          • A.Miller

            That’s where I am!

          • dragonflyr

            agreed… OG to GNex for me as well. It really all comes down to this: VZW offering the motoX at $300 keeps me with them; VZW NOT offering the phone, or screwing us somehow (very likely), and I am GONE .. for sure … the end.

          • mjmedstarved

            I’m sure Verizon doesn’t mind losing folks like us, who use massive amounts of data.

          • KleenDroid

            Even though we have unlimited, most of the time we only use the same amount as everyone else.

            But then again once and awhile we use 40 gig like I did last month.

            I guess it’s nice not being limited.

          • michael arazan

            my minimum is 10gb a month and that was before all access

          • Checking in… looking forward to Note3

        • KleenDroid

          The only way it would be worthy for Gnex owners is if it were able to be fully unlocked so it has a great development community.

          If it were a great price and unlockable I would buy a couple of them for the wife and daughter.

      • Corey Foltman

        If you can only buy it from vzw, im guessing they will up the unactivated price to 550. like Tmobile did with the Nexus4.

        • EC8CH

          I can only imagine the rage I and many others will feel if they pull a stunt like that.

          *sharpens pitchfork*

        • El_Big_CHRIS

          Oh God i hope not. That would seriously pissed me off. But i still wouldnt leave VZW, they have me by the [email protected]

      • NexusPhan69

        After the Droid ultra announcement today that is essentially the Moto X + .3″ of screen in a different case, I’m highly suspicious of $300 off contract.

        • j

          As am I. Smartphones these days cost $200+ in parts alone.. Add in manufacturing, advertising, etc.. and $300 would be a small profit..
          But the Nexus4 gives me hope.

          • kashtrey

            Well iPhone 5 is like $170 and S4 $240 for parts and manufacturing. With the parts being a little outdated in the X, let’s say it’s closer to the 5, so around $200. That’s still a 50% mark up and $100 of profit on each phone. The other costs you mentioned are all fixed cost, so really depend on how much volume Moto can ship (which should be a lot if it’s priced super low). Also, Moto is currently losing tons of money, if they even get it to breakeven by moving lots of low margin volume, it’ll be a success (especially when you consider every additional phone they sell is more potential ad revenue for Google).

          • kstagg

            No overseas shipping costs to US as it is ASSEMBLED in Fort Worth, TX. Didn’t say the parts were built in the US. Just that the phone was put together in TX (at the old Nokia – now Motorola) plant.

          • kstagg

            No overseas shipping costs to US as it is ASSEMBLED in Fort Worth, TX. Didn’t say the parts were built in the US. Just that the phone was put together in TX (at the old Nokia – now Motorola) plant.

          • kashtrey

            You could probably argue that the shipping costs are a wash when comparing shipping completed products vs components. I’d say estimating costs close to the iPhone 5s probably overestimates. The point I was trying to make is that in any case, Moto is still making a decent profit off of each device and are going for volume.

    • Edwin M

      You, me, and every other person on Verizon with Unlimited data.

      • Jeremy Sheehan

        Amen to that. I’d be keeping my unlimited plan. I think it would be a worthy successor to my Bionic.

    • Col_Angus

      GNex through Play Store: $349
      GNex through Verizon: $750 (no contract)

      • Tyler Durden

        You do realize they didn’t sell a CDMA version on Google play right?

        • Col_Angus

          Yes, I know that, but even then, CDMA radios don’t cost an additional $400.

        • capecodcarl

          The point still remains that the Verizon price for the CDMA version should have been matching, or at least close to, the $349 for the GSM version on the Play Store. The radio certainly does not cost $400 more than the GSM radios.

          • Tyler Durden

            Because google wasn’t making a huge profit and Verizon wasn’t going to lose on it either.

    • Aaron

      I really really hope not but how much do you want to bed that it is $299 unlocked for everybody but verizon and if you want their version is $99 on contract or something way over$299 off contract. If I can get it for $299 off contract for the verizon version it is a day one/preorder purchase for me.

    • USAndroid

      Made in USA for $300?
      “Designed by you” just can’t and MUSTN’T cost $300.

    • That Guy

      I’m so giddy about the idea of a phone right from Google for $300 on Verizon I can barely stand it. I’m still rocking a TBolt with unlimited!

  • Ben Klene

    It means it won’t be on Verizon to me.. not at that price anyways.

  • gadget_hero

    That is going to suck for Apple and HTC the most, Samsung probably will feel pressure too, but they can drop some sensors to compete at lower price points. This could contribute to carriers not meeting their contracted sales goals for iPhone sales a lot.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Apple and Samsung aren’t worried a bit. This phone isn’t meant to sell that much but to get a message out regarding phone specs and carrier restrictions that most OEMs need to be cautious of.

      • gadget_hero

        See that is exactly the point, if its not a spec war then whats the point of buying the most expensive phone, as it is 50% of iPhone sales are 4S/4 which get Apple much less profit than the 5. Apple makes most of its money from iPhone/iPad. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the R&D for their computers is from iDevice profit. In a race to lower price points Apple/HTC are the most vulnerable. Samsung is a much more diversified company. Its not going to be a single device that does it but rather a death by a thousand cuts, Nexus 4 @299, a Moto X @299, a tablet at @199, etc.

  • mrbirdman

    it would mean i’d consider it.

    otherwise with the specs, there’s zero reason to. (at least when owning a htc one)