"Survival is the name of the game for many vendors, and it's more dire for those with much lower market share," Nguyen noted. "So survival is a legitimate concern" for Lenovo/Motorola.
IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the Moto X Style and Pure Edition will play best with "armchair techies who can customize their phones themselves and don't want bloatware." He called it a smart move, but noted that that market of buyers is still a small one.
Llamas said Motorola will do better with one of the other three new phones announced Tuesday -- a third-generation update of the Moto G that was first launched in 2013.
Starting at $179 unlocked, Llamas called the latest Moto G price "very compelling" for getting features that include a 5-in. display, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 2470 mAh battery. It is also water resistant and can survive for 30 minutes when dropped in one meter of water. (That's an IPX7 rating.)
The Moto G goes on sale in 60 countries starting Tuesday.
Still, Llamas had reservations for the new Moto G. "Unless they get carrier distribution, I expect continued low market share," he said.
The third phone Motorola announced, the Moto X Play, will be priced somewhere between the new Moto G and the Moto X Style, but Motorola didn't provide a figure. It will go on sale in 55 countries in August, Motorola President Rick Osterloh announced via an online presentation.
The Moto X Play comes with a 5.5-in. display, a 21-megapixel camera, a water-repellant barrier and a 48-hour battery, rated at 3630 mAh.
Motorola listed additional specs for each device on its website.
Each of the three phones comes with the best camera for the price and all-day power, adding up to "amazing value," Osterloh said. "It's the perfect blend of premium performance and design."
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