Jan. 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM ET
Google's Moto X phone has received plenty of rave reviews since its August launch. Now the smartphone is getting a serious price cut to $399 without a contract.
That makes the Moto X a great option for someone looking for a flagship phone without a burdensome two-year contract. Made in Texas, the phone was the first big release for Motorola after being bought by Google in 2011.
Critics love it. It garnered The Wirecutter's "Best Android Phone" designation, thanks to its sharp 4.7-inch display, solid feel, good battery life and its customizable design featuring 19 different backs, including the recently revealed bamboo.
So why lower the price to $399? Because six months is an eternity when it comes to new phones — especially when they aren't in the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy series.
"If the price cut didn't occur, given the age of the device, we would be looking at fewer sales," Ramon Llamas, mobile phone researcher at International Data Corp., told NBC News. "If you put it against the Samsung Galaxy S4, Motorola might find itself priced out."
Not to mention Motorola has to convince people to buy the Moto X after plenty of shoppers snapped it up when Amazon offered it for a single penny with a two-year Verizon contract for Black Friday.
While this is very good news for Android fans, it doesn't mean that the industry is moving towards cheaper no-contract phones, as opposed to carrier-subsidized deals.
"If you take a look between the margin between smartphones off-contract and on-contract, there is still a hefty difference between the two, like $300 to $400," Llamas said. "What would impress me is if all of the carriers moved together in lock-step and said, 'Hey, w'ere going to take away subsidies.' Do I see anyone doing that? Absolutely not."
Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at TheWeek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: Keith.Wagstaff@nbcuni.com