The Moto G was the second device to be released after Motorola re-launched its image and phone strategy in 2013, occupying a mid-range spot underneath the previously announced Moto X.

The Moto G launched with relatively basic specs and design in order to focus on offering the best possible experience overall, and Motorola's strategy was generally applauded. Even with a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and just 8GB of storage the Moto G was fast and responsive, even when comparing to devices more expensive than it.

Working with its new tentpole of phone customization, Motorola also offered a lineup of interchangeable backs — called "shells" — for the Moto G that offered a variety of different colors. It also offered Grip Shells with additional protection and Flip Shells with a screen-covering flap.

Just over three months after its unveiling, Motorola announced publicly that the Moto G was its best-selling smartphone of all time, with further indication that second place wasn't even close. With a starting unlocked price of just $179 — and even less from many prepaid vendors — it offered an incredibly good value for the money, and the sales represented that

Over six months after launch, Motorola refreshed the Moto G lineup slightly with a model that introduced LTE connectivity and an SDcard slot for an additional $40, bringing the retail price up to a still-palatable $219 unlocked.

In September 2014, Motorola refreshed the lineup, calling the second generation simply "the new Moto G."