When the Motorola Moto G Android smartphone was announced last year, we were floored by the $179 off-contract price. Here, we were getting a mid-range phone for below an entry-level price. Now, a new version of the phone has launched and it’s the Moto G Google Play Edition.

You might be wondering why they’d have a Google Play Edition (GPE) when the Moto G is running an (almost) unaltered and unskinned version of Google Android in the first place. This is quite unlike what we see with the Google Play Editions of the HTC One, for example. Well, there are a few small features worth noting.

The branding is identical, but the Moto G GPE has the stock Android launcher found on the Nexus 4 and not the “Google Experience” launcher of the Nexus 5. The notification and navigation bars are not transparent, even if that’s what it shows on the packaging. I imagine the update should be pushed out soon, which is another advantage to having a GPE phone; they usually get first dibs on updates. Even without the update, you do get the KitKat Dialer app. The Motorola specific stuff is gone, though, like the Trusted Bluetooth option, the Motorola Assist app, the FM radio app, and Moto Care. The Moto camera app has been replaced by the stock Android app too. And perhaps most importantly, the Moto G GPE does not support T-Mobile’s AWS band.

For the time being, the Google Play Edition of the Moto G has limited availability. When I tried looking it up here in Canada, I got the “not available in your country” message, but I know that they are selling it through the US Google Play Store in your choice of 8GB or 16GB for the same $179 and $199 price points we’ve already seen. The Moto G is available in Canada directly from Motorola; it’s just not the Google Play Edition.

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