Uh, hey, amigos? Did someone just order a ton of new unlocked Android phones?
Apparently, someone did -- because four new low-cost Android devices have shown up over the past 24 hours. And that's adding onto yet another one launched just last week.
It practically takes a full-time job to keep up with this stuff, but as luck would have it, I know a guy with such a gig. He's irresistibly charming, in fact. And for some reason, he loves referring to himself in the third-person.
But enough self-referential silliness. Let me make things easy for you and break down what's new and on the way:
The Motorola Moto X Style -- aka Moto X Pure Edition
The highest profile announcement from the past several hours is Motorola's new Moto X Style, which you can think of as the successor to the company's 2014 Moto X flagship. It's evidently being branded as the "Moto X Pure Edition" in the U.S., which might prove to be a bit confusing. But hey, such is life, right?
The new Moto X Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It looks to be quite the impressive device -- though there is a caveat: It's big. Moto has bumped the phone up to a Galaxy Note-sized screen, and its body consequently also now falls into "phablet" terrain.
With its 5.7-in. Quad HD display, the phone measures in at 6.1 x 3 in. -- a significant increase from the 5.5-x-2.9-in. frame on last year's Moto flagship. And if you remember, last year's phone was already a significant bump up in size from the previous year's first-gen model. Love it or hate it, manufacturers are clearly convinced we all want platter-sized gadgets poking out of our pockets.
Size aside, the Moto X Style/Pure Edition comes in a customizable choice of colors and materials (including real wood along with rubber and a new kind of leather). It has what Moto promises is "one of the best cameras in the industry" -- a 21-megapixel main lens along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with "selfie flash" (a term that warrants a slap to one's own face if ever used in actual conversation). And, according to Moto, it has the "world's fastest charging" technology, capable of giving you 10 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes on the outlet.
Perhaps most notably, the single unlocked model of the new Moto X will work on any carrier in the U.S. -- including, amazingly, Verizon and Sprint. And it'll be available through Amazon and Best Buy as well as from Motorola's own online store.
(Motorola also announced a smaller phone, the Moto X Play, but the company says it has no plans to launch it in the U.S. as of now. That being said, Moto's official blog coyly teases that there'll be "more choices" for U.S. consumers "later this year" -- which, especially considering the Moto X Play's promised 48-hour battery life, makes me wonder if that model might be set to serve as the foundation for a new Verizon-destined Droid device. Time will tell.)
The new Moto G
Motorola's Moto G has always been a very decent budget-level phone. With this latest model, the device promises to go from being "good for the price" to just being "pretty darn good" all around.
The third-gen Moto G brings a new 13-megapixel camera with the same image sensor used in Google's current Android flagship, the Nexus 6. It keeps its predecessor's 5-in. 720p display but has a newer and faster processor as well as the option for double the amount of storage and RAM -- 16GB and 2GB, respectively -- for an extra 40 bucks.
This year's Moto G adds water resistance -- up to 30 minutes in three feet of water -- along with (at last!) LTE support. It can also be customized with a variety of colors (all with plastic backings) on Motorola's Moto Maker website. And, like its higher-end X sibling, it's being sold through Amazon and Best Buy as well as through Motorola's own store.
The OnePlus 2
The OnePlus 2, like its predecessor, is made with Android enthusiasts in mind. It has high-end specs -- including a Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB or 4GB of RAM -- along with software that focuses on a clean but feature-enhanced Android experience.
Following the lead of the original model, the new device uses a 5.5-in. 1080p display and offers a variety of swappable plates for its back side (including sandstone, Kevlar, and wood options). The phone also has some new touches, like a USB Type-C charging port -- the up-and-coming universal standard set to appear across the Android ecosystem later this fall -- and a physical "alert slider" that lets you toggle between Android's different notification modes without having to use on-screen commands.
At $389, the OnePlus 2 is definitely a lot of bang for the buck. There's just one problem: You can't actually buy the thing. At least, not in any easy way. OnePlus is selling the phone exclusively through its "invite-only" system. According to the company's website:
You can get an invite from friends who have purchased a OnePlus 2 already, or by participating in our contests and promotions.
So, yeah. Good luck with that.
And don't forget...
In addition to the slew of phones announced today, we have the ZTE Axon -- a powerful and sleek-looking phone with high-end specs that's selling unlocked for $450.
All in all, we've got a lot to process and consider. I'll be spending some time with the various devices over the coming days and weeks -- and, naturally, I'll have more detailed thoughts and hands-on impressions to share with you soon.
For now, I'll say this: It's pretty incredible to see this kind of choice and quality starting to show up on the unlocked and affordable side of Android. The times, they are a-changin' -- and for us as consumers, that's a wonderful thing to see.