Motorola’s Moto X4 is coming to Google’s Project Fi network, and it’s bringing Android One along with it.
On Wednesday, Google announced that Motorola’s latest smartphone will work with its cellular MVNO service, which piggybacks off the networks run by T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular in the US. As a result, the Moto X4 will be the first smartphone that isn’t part of Google’s own Nexus or Pixel family devices to support Project Fi. It’ll be available to pre-order today.
The company also brings a relatively affordable option to the network; ever since Google stopped selling the older and more affordable Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X through Project Fi, the only Project Fi devices available have been the year-old Pixel and Pixel XL, which cost a minimum of $650. Sequels to those phones are coming soon and are all but guaranteed to support Project Fi, but they are expected to be even pricier. At $399 outright, the Moto X4 isn’t exactly cheap, but it should still be more manageable for a wider audience.
This version of the Moto X4 isn’t the same as the one Motorola started selling in Europe earlier this month, though, as it runs the stripped-down Android One edition of Google’s mobile OS. Google announced a sort of revamp to Android One a few weeks back, continuing its shift from an initiative that brought quality low-cost phones to developing markets into a brand name that signifies which phones run stock Android.
As such, the Project Fi Moto X4 lacks most of the software modifications Motorola typically plants on its handsets. The “one-button nav” option that lets you get through the phone without onscreen navigation buttons is gone, for instance. The new software also means this version ditches Motorola’s support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, something that Google and its competing Google Assistant probably don’t mind. But the barebones, Google-heavy take on Android should still be relatively smooth and uncluttered either way.
Google touts “access to the latest updates from Android” as one of the key perks from Android One and says in its press release that the Project Fi Moto X4 will be “among the first to receive an upgrade to Android P,” the next major Android update. But the phone itself will ship without Android Oreo, the current version of the OS that launched late last month. Instead, it’ll arrive with Android 7.1 Nougat, with an update to Oreo promised “before the end of the year.” Google says the device will also get “timely security updates.” We’ll see if that holds up.
Beyond the software, this is the same Moto X4 that was unveiled over the summer. We’re still looking at a 5.2-inch, 1080p display, a good-enough (but mid-tier) Snapdragon 630 chip, a 3,000mAh battery, and a dual rear camera that includes 12- and 8-megapixel sensors. This is all wrapped up in the typical Moto design, with its prominent bezels and flat fingerprint sensor.
To sweeten the deal, Google says those who trade in some older Nexus devices can save up to $165 toward the purchase of the new Moto X4. As a refresher, Project Fi starts at $20 a month for unlimited talk and text and $10 per GB for each GB of data used each month. You then get credit for data you didn’t use returned back to you at the end of each billing cycle. It’s not the cheapest mobile plan, but it’s all fairly straightforward.
Google says it plans to work with more OEM partners and “expand Android One to new places,” so don’t be surprised to see more third-party devices hit Project Fi and Android One in the US in the near future. Meanwhile, Android Central reports that a standard unlocked version of the Moto X4 will arrive in the US later this year as well.