Last week at CTIA in San Francisco, Motorola announced seven new smartphones for the U.S., but only a single one (Droid Pro) was running the latest Android 2.2. Motorola doesn’t exactly have the best track record with providing software updates for their mid-level Android phones (just ask any CLIQ, Backflip, or Devour owner), so I was extremely disappointed to see a wave of new devices that will ship with an outdated OS.
So what is the reasoning behind shipping six phones with the older Android 2.1 when they could have used 2.2?
I asked several Motorola executives last week and tried to get a clear answer, but all I heard was the usual response of them wanting to provide the “best combined hardware and software experience” for the end user.
With all due respect Motorola, that answer is a bunch of BS. We know that you have Android 2.2 running on multiple phones (Droid, Droid 2, Droid X) and we know that Android 2.2 can run on the lowest of devices (LG Optimus), so why would you keep it off the majority of your new launches?
When friends ask me what Android phone they should purchase, I always tell them to buy whatever is the best available device on their carrier running the latest version of Android. Despite what some carriers say, there will be many Android phones left behind which will never receive new Android firmware updates. For this very reason, I will not be suggesting any of the six phones that Motorola announced which will ship with Android 2.1 (Bravo, Citrus, Defy, Flipout, Flipside, and Spice).
If you think I’m being a little too harsh, check out PCMag’s interview with the Andy Rubin, the founder of Android. Rubin says that customers who purchase phones with older versions of Android are starting out with a disadvantage and over time he hopes the OEMs will realize this and adjust their strategies.
“The OEMs who don’t want to do the work to adopt the latest release are just going to see the impact on what consumers want. We’re actually in the middle of an interesting time because we’re actually seeing whether consumers recognize the value of each one of these releases. So far it looks like they do. So I think OEMs will adjust their strategies and their time to market for these new releases accordingly. There’s no advantage to the OEM of using an older version, and I’d say there’s a consumer disadvantage.”Andy RubinFather of Android
What do you think about Motorola’s decision to ship so many new phones with an outdated Android OS? Are they really doing it to provide their customers with the “best experience” or are they just plain lazy? I’m sure there is some logical reasoning behind their decision, but I honestly don’t get it yet.
Bonus video: Here is my quick run-down of the six Motorola phones shipping with Android 2.1.