Motorola needs to up the ante with the Moto G6 series.
Motorola dominates the budget category in Western markets with the Moto G series, but the company hasn't had an easy time of late. Lack of timely updates made the Moto G series lose its luster, and Motorola is witnessing increased competition in the budget category.
HMD has announced that it will launch the Nokia 6 2018 in the U.S. next month, and in India — Motorola's second-largest market — the budget segment is overrun by Xiaomi, which overtook Samsung at the end of last year to become the country's largest smartphone manufacturer.
Here's what Motorola needs to do to win the budget segment with the Moto G6 series.
The basics need to be rock-solid
Budget phones have gotten remarkably better over the last two years, and with increased competition in this category, Motorola needs to make sure it nails the basics. The latest leaks suggest the Moto G6 Plus will feature a 5.93-inch FHD+ 18:9 panel, along with Snapdragon 630, up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, 12MP + 5MP dual cameras at the back, and a 3200mAh battery.
The Moto G6, meanwhile, is rumored with a smaller 5.7-inch panel with the same resolution, a Snapdragon 450, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the same imaging sensors as its larger sibling, and a 3000mAh battery.
With the Nokia 6 2018 set to launch in the U.S. at some point — and the Redmi Note 5 Pro setting a high bar in India — Motorola has to ensure it doesn't compromise when it comes to the internal specs.
The Moto G6 needs to have a fantastic camera
Moto G series phones had lackluster cameras for several generations, but that changed last year with the Moto G5. The phone had one of the best cameras in the budget segment in 2017, and while the dual camera-toting Moto G5S Plus didn't quite match up, it still had a decent camera.
But other companies haven't been idle on this front. Xiaomi overhauled the cameras on its Redmi Note 5 Pro, with the phone setting a new standard for budget cameras. Motorola needs to offer a comparable camera experience with the Moto G6 and G6 Plus to compete in this category.
Timely updates matter
Motorola's resurgence revolved around its ability to roll out affordable devices that received fast updates, but the manufacturer has struggled with the latter over the course of the last year. Motorola significantly expanded its portfolio last year, and it's clear that the sheer number of SKUs on sale globally is causing undue strain on its engineering resources.
As a result, Motorola phones went from being one of the first to receive updates to essentially being waylaid. The company launched phones last year that never even saw a single update, and Motorola needs to remedy the situation in 2018.
The issue is particularly severe considering HMD Global is killing it on the updates front — the Finnish manufacturer has consistently done a great job of rolling out platform and security updates across its devices, even the entry-level Nokia 3. And starting this year, HMD has announced that all of its devices will be based on Android One, essentially guaranteeing timely updates in the future.
Motorola made its foray into the world of Android One with the Moto X4, and it will be great if the manufacturer commits to the initiative for its upcoming Moto G6 portfolio as well. Partnering with Google over Android One allows Motorola to reduce turnaround times for updates, giving it a better chance against devices from the likes of HMD.
Motorola should take advantage of Xiaomi's woes
For all the great hardware that Xiaomi has to offer, the Chinese manufacturer has faced a lot of issues making its phones available to consumers. Two months after its release, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is still limited to weekly flash sales, and despite Xiaomi's assurance that the phone will be widely available at offline stores, that isn't the case.
In fact, I've seen people wait over a month to get their hands on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. It's a pretty great phone, but isn't worth the ridiculous wait times. Motorola can take advantage of Xiaomi's availability issues by positioning the Moto G6 series as the ideal alternative.
Motorola doesn't have any supply constraints in India, and although it may not sell quite as many phones as Xiaomi, it does a great job ensuring its phones are always available. With the Moto G6 series, it needs to build on that by increasing its retail business.
What are you looking forward to seeing from the Moto G6 series? Share your thoughts in the comments below.