Aug 09 AT 11:57 AM Taylor Wimberly 46 Comments

Motorola, “MOTOBLUR will not be our focus going forward”

Motorola Co-CEO Dr. Sanjay K. Jha blurred the future of MOTOBLUR last week when he said his company would not focus on the custom user interface skin for Android going forward.

During Motorola’s Q2 2010 earnings call, an analyst noted that the company had stopped advertising and promoting the custom UI and asked what the future of the brand was through the end of the year. Dr. Jha responded that it was hard to convey the value of MOTOBLUR in a 30-second ad spot and his company would focus more on their products and not on MOTOBLUR as a brand name.

This strategy of not focusing on MOTOBLUR was recently seen with the launch of the Droid X on Verizon. The device still featured Motorola’s custom Android skin, but there was no mention of the MOTOBLUR brand anywhere.

It has been rumored that the next major release of Android, codenamed Gingerbread, would make custom skins pointless so this could be one reason why Motorola has made the decision to phase out MOTOBLUR. Motorola worked closely with Google on the release of Android 2.0 and they could be doing the same for Android 3.0, so we should pay attention to these comments and see what develops.

Overall, I doubt anyone is really going to miss MOTOBLUR if it actually disappears and I think Motorola knows this. Most of the original functionality has been duplicated by native features found in Android 2.x, so it only doubles the work of Motorola who has to constantly update their software to be compatible with the latest and greatest version of Android.

What do you think of Motorola’s decision to focus less on MOTOBLUR and more on actual products? Will you miss the custom skin in future phones or praise Motorola for making the cut?

“With MOTOBLUR, we have found that being able to convey the value proposition around MOTOBLUR is not an easy thing to do in a 30-second ad spot. We have decided that we will focus on the value proposition of products and not MOTOBLUR as a brand name in its own right. MOTOBLUR continues to be important and I think you will see increased functionality in MOTOBLUR. This notion of push-Internet is going to be very important to us, but as a brand name, which we make matter in front of consumers as a brand name, I don’t think that’s going to be our focus going forward, but we see the experiences that we deliver is being relevant and differentiating us.”Dr. Sanjay K. JhaCo-CEO, Motorola

The 30-second MOTOBLUR spot from this year’s Super Bowl:

Source: Morning Star

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Evo2droidx

    I think this is absolutely the right move for motorola. Blur is weak and there are plenty if native sops and widgets. I would understand them sticking with it if it was as nice and intuitive as htc sense ui. But even that is going to be phased out. I hope motorola removes all blur bloat off my X with 2.2 or at least with gingerbread. Let android do its job. I’m excited to hear this

    • Nicko01

      Yeah, I think just about everyone is happy to hear this is happening. I’ve never heard of people who actually like it, so obviously more of their consumers will be happy than disappointed when they stop shipping phones with Blur.

      • Charlie

        I like the feel, UI, of blur. However I do not actually own a ‘real’ blur phone and so can’t comment on anything apart from the home screen.

  • http://Website Lithium98

    On a platform where the techies want the freedom to customize their software as they please, and the average user doesn’t care about what skin’s running on their OS and will also adapt to anything you put into their hands, it’s been kinda pointless for all the manufacturers to skin their phones. They were marketing something that was only understood by people who didn’t want it. They weren’t that bad of an idea, I think the execution was all wrong. Just stating the obvious.

  • http://Website grey

    Good call I think.
    I did see the point of M’blur in the early days of Android but for the future I’m in agreement that it will become more and more irrelevant.

    Even so, we have to acknowledge that for a multinational company to notice this quite quickly and act on it, as well as be honest about it, has to be applauded. At least just a little.

  • http://Website JJ

    I think you might have misread what Sanjay is saying about MOTOBLUR. Read his quote again and it sounds like they’re not abandoning it. They just aren’t going to try to make it a selling point in its own right.

    • http://Website jjl84

      Thank you for pointing that out. I was wondering if anyone was ever going to pick up on that. In no way did Sanjay mention getting rid of Blur (unfortunately), he simply stated it won’t be in their advertising. In no way is this news new, the Droid X advertisements do not mention anything about Blur, yet I still have to deal with their POS of a skin. I love my Droid X, but I miss the vanilla-ness of my Droid.

      I hope what AndroidAndMe is correct and they are abandoning all custom skins, but I’m not sure how you guys got that from what was said.

  • http://Website kent

    This is not Motorola’s focus so they can try to sneek this crap on to your phone. Is this some apple shit?? There is no motoblur if we fail to mention it… right ….and there is no issue with the antenna on the I*hone 4 .

    • HardNoks

      What in the world are you talking about?

  • eddieonofre

    I don’t think anybody will miss motoblur but for those that may wanna stick with motoblur motorola should make an MotoBlur App or a Motoblur Home Replacement for android

    • http://Website droidwolf

      This is an awsome ideal. Cause I love motoblur.

  • ER

    Thanks Moto, hopefully you really meant that blur is going away. 90% of users will not miss it at all

  • http://Website MulderFox

    Good idea but too little, too late. MotoBlur has to be the reason that the Cliq and XT updates to 2.1 (and eventually 2.2) have been delayed for so long.
    1.6 was released October of 2009.
    2.0 was released November 2009.
    2.1 was released in January 2010 and 8 months later, Cliq and XT are still running 1.5.

    • http://Website droidwolf

      Yep here I am still waiting for the update on my cliq.

    • Epicanis

      The only bit of good news here is the small but non-zero chance that the handful of us who haven’t gotten fed up and returned or replaced the “CLIQ™ with MOTOBLUR™” in disgust MIGHT actually get a decent official version of MOTOBLUR™-less Android on the phone one of these days.

      Unfortunately, the missing, promised upgrade to Android 2.1 appears to be on the “Duke Nuke’em Forever” release schedule (“When it’s ready. Now shut up and leave us alone.”)

    • http://Website JAG

      Think it twice, MOTO has not release 2.1 for CLIQ or XT casue of the CHARM launch.

      After they release CHARM they will sure update those phones.

  • HardNoks

    Thank. You. God.

  • http://Website Jimsu

    I think this is a great idea. Of course, if they are still going to “skin” and not call it motoblur, it’s still meh, but if they are ready to start putting out phones for android “purists”, I’m all for it.

    There are several phones out that I have drooled over (currently on an N1).. but the big stopping point is the UI, or skin from handset makers that freaks me out. I don’t want that stuff.. I want Android.. period. I don’t want to fear how long it will take said manufacturer to update their UI 6 months after the release comes out.. I want the release now. :)

    It’s not just motoblur.. htc has their sense, samsung has their wiz.. I’ve continued to purchase only android pure phones, and will continue to do so as long as I can.. I mean, at least give consumers the option to turn it off, or remove it all together. Take your fancy widgets and put them on the market.. alot of them are nice, and alot of people would pay for them.. but don’t cram them, and your UI down our throats!

  • http://Website Bob

    good decision by motorola, with iphone going to verizon soon, they are better off concentrating on designing good looking phones and on releasing higher end phones on other carriers. Remember looks are very very important even in these days of app phones ha ha.

  • http://Website deeb215

    Going forward(Gingerbread) all skins should be offered in the market and not pre-installed on devices. This can also be said of bloatware on devices. If it does come with our device, we should afford the right to uninstall anything we don’t want on said device without needing root access(skins, bloatware, even Google Apps). Now that companies have their own app suggestion tab in the market, they can place all the skins and provider based apps they want right in that section. Win for everybody!

  • Nick Gray

    Ummm… before any of you start rejoicing. MotoBLUR is not going anywhere any time soon. The quote simply states that they will not use it as a selling point for the phones.

    “MOTOBLUR continues to be important and I think you will see increased functionality in MOTOBLUR.”

    While most us us here complain about custom UI’s, Motorola and HTC will most likely never give them up. It’s what makes their phones stand out in the crowd.

    • http://Website jimsu

      You are correct.. but as the nerdy/techno-nut of my friends and family, I regularly suggest only phones that run vanilla android. When asked about the others, I ask if they are concerned about getting timely updates, and lay out for them that they will likely be waiting a while if they choose a phone with a custom UI.

  • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

    “We have decided that we will focus on the value proposition of products and not MOTOBLUR as a brand name in its own right. MOTOBLUR continues to be important and I think you will see increased functionality in MOTOBLUR.”

    I’m sorry but…… what?. The focus is elsewhere but MOTOBLUR’s functionality will increase?

    I don’t see how their focus changed?!?!? Is still the same they just won’t call MOTOBLUR like they did with the droid X.

  • http://Website Cristian Pimentel

    Yeah, sounds like everyone is completely misunderstanding the quote. They are going to CONTINUE MotoBlur development. They are just NOT going to advertise it as a selling point.

  • mikedminor

    This custom UIs are the only real way for the phone manufactures to differentiate themselves in the now crowded Android smart phone market. When the specs., capabilities, features and base OS are all the same, what is it that draws you to a particular phone model?

    Also, remember, that the largest consumer base for these phone is the NON-Techie consumer! And for this base, the Motoblurs, Sense UI and Touchwizs of the world, work fairly well and seem cool compared to that of the Blackberry and iPhone!

    I do agree that it should be something that can be removed by the end user, however, I would imagine that in doing so, would make future OS updates much more difficult for the manufacture and carriers as their OSs are flavored and somewhat integrated with the specific OS features and capabilities.

    Most of the people that I know with Android based phones, do not “Root,” or replace the ROMs of their phones. They simply download a few cool apps that they need or happen to come across. They do not frequent Android forums or blogs, unless there is a problem. They just use the device as a phone, a web access device, a text machine and do some social networking. All of which, it was designed to do. Unlike me, their phones spend more time with the screen off than on, and strangely, they do not considered their Android smart phone to be a vital organ or appendage. I believe that this is the exact demographic for things like Motoblur. It would appear that is the Majority of the current smart phone user populous. It is only us propeller heads, who are in the relative minority (and becoming more so, at the alleged rate of 200,000 new android owners a day), that want all of the freedom and power that we can squeeze out of the platform. Well that, and putting all of the sassy the iPhoners, in their place! ;) j/k iPhone fans!

    • Nick Gray

      Exactly! I’m gettign tired of people on tech sites complaining about how custom UI’s are the downfall of Android and I get a kick out of people who claim they will never buy a phone with HTC, MotoBLUR or any other custom UI.

      The masses are more worried about software features than hardware speficications. Yes, they want somethign fast with a bog screen. But how do they make their buying decision when a carrier has three phones that fit that description.

      Just as Android has a leg up over Windows Mobile or other OS’, manufacturers give their phones a custom UI and other features to help their phones stand out.

    • http://Website Chris

      Never apologize to an iPhone fan.

      • mikedminor

        I don’t! But I also do not see a reason to be needlessly rude to them either. They need our help, to see the Truth and the Light according to book of Google! ;)

    • http://Website jimsu

      Well maybe phone manufacturers should start doing something with their phones. If they were known for their software that would be one thing.. but they’re not. They need to differentiate with their hardware, not their software.

      • mikedminor

        Agreed, but do you want new hardware being developed and released every 30-90 days? You would never buy into any hardware for fear of instant obsolescence! This is a competitive (me too) market, the hardware R&D is expensive and takes time to test and build. Put your business hat on and take the consumer hat off, for a second. You build tons of hardware that noone buys (because they know that something else/better will be coming soon) and you have to support tons of product, that may have sold at one point. You have competitors who are not resting on their laurels and continually come up with some new hardware capability. So to compete, you need to do the same or better and do so at the risk of obsoleting your last, “latest and greatest,” product!

        This becomes a never ending product race and death spiral, the likes of which have bankrupted some countries! Software is cheaper to build and test and is what gives the underlying hardware it’s intrinsic value (in the form of functional capability,) in the short term and extends the useful product lifespan of the hardware, in the long term.

        Also, as these Android based phone manufactures do not own the OS itself, they can not stray too far from the capabilities/limitations of the OS platform or you may never see any OS updates for that specific unique platform. (This has already happened with both the 1st and 2nd Gen. Android phone models) On a technical level, this is probably why Nokia doesn’t want to join the Android Army….Yet anyway!. ;) And why Apple & RIM want to maintain total control of their proprietary mobile platforms and OS.

        As an example, Apple apparently realized the futility of continuously building proprietary hardware on their computer products with the climbing costs of R&D, just to try and keep up with, or ahead of, the PC camp at a technical level while not making a significant dent in the overall segment market share. General PC hardware is a dime a dozen and improves in speed and capability accordance with Moore’s Law. General purpose PC hardware has been commoditized, So why try and compete with that when much more can be done in software changes than in hardware changes. The general smart phone market has now been commoditized by the use of the Android OS across so many smart phone manufactures, as well. With the introduction of this common base OS, common App. ecosystem and the relatively similar hardware products, even the proprietary products have been commoditized from a functional can capability standpoint. The playing field, in this segment has effectively been leveled (in less than 6 mo.) by Google, with the introduction of the modern Android Mobile OS platform, more competitive hardware from may mfgs. and the extensive App market.

        Most computing hardware, today is evolutionary and it is the mainly the software that makes all of the revolutionary strides in modern computing…!

        Employing Touch Screen interfaces in different form factors is not, “Revolutionary,” in 2010! What I want to see, is true integrated AI in the palm of my hand or on my wrist, that I can speak to in common language an have it intelligently reply and execute what I ask of it. That would take both new hardware tech. and new software tech. (Revolutionary) Next step: the eyePhone! LOL

        The whole point of this diatribe is to simply say that Software is the key differentiator as hardware comes and goes and both the phone makers and the carriers know this. The carriers make little money off of the hardware, but they make plenty (at least Verizon does) off of any services that they can exclusively supply, monetize and control. Remember that these phones are made to order by the carriers, so I do not fully blame the phone makers for things like blur, wiz or sense. They could just say no! ( to the phone makers and not to us! )

  • http://Website - Z -

    Good. Now make it so we can update our phones that have been held hostage by
    Motoblur – before we all start shouting MOTO SLURS!!!!

  • http://Website AndroidLuvR3R


  • http://Website jayy336

    Motoblur is such a…..well…blur. it keeps phones, such as the cliq, from being updated to the latest android version in a timely fashion. Plus most of the features are now useless, and lets not forget to mention that its ugly.

  • mac08wrx

    I think it’s great. But what about the motorola x? Will the 2.0 software allow us to remove blur from our phones? That would be awesome.

  • Ms. Matrix

    I don’t know, I had the cliq xt and at first I thought Motoblur was cool, but as time went one I didn’t like the fact that you had to be locked into it. Then it just keep everything in a history, I don’t care for that.

    But since then I gave my cliq xt the boot, because I was fed up with waiting to Motorola to get their sh*t together with the updates. How much longer do you have to wait before they updated from 1.5?

    I just ended up buying the mytouch slide and I’ve been content with it ever since.

  • AndMac

    Unfortunately, it sounds like Motorola will keep their custom interface going forward and Sanjay is promising that we’ll “will see increased functionality in MOTOBLUR.”

    I hate the Samsung Galaxy S TouchWiz, and I hate Sense. Motoblur is even worse.

    The availability of vanilla Android OS and unlocked ROM will be very high on my list when I am shopping for my next phone. Or recommending one to others.

  • http://Website Thalinor

    Stock Android Please. I post on your Motorola Forums and am very outspoken on how much we could do without MotoBlur. You have the best hardware; let Google handle the software side. If anyone wants my reasons you can read them on the Motorola forums; there is way too much to type here in a comment.

    Goog move Moto, finally something positive. Now, how about an HDMI port that we can show powerpoints, pdf’s, word docs, and use 3rd party apps like RockPlayer and Documents to Go, instead of this gimped crap you gave us on the Droid X?

  • http://Website Tito!

    Are you kidding me? I Love BLUR! Better then Sense.
    I own a CLIQ, & imm just hoping that when they send the update; the contact and dialer buttons won’t be colorless like the DroidX . It looks so ghetto. I swear I’m not a fan of Android past 1.6 they did so many ugly revisions.

  • http://Website MikeP

    The only way I will buy a Motorola over a HTC is if they ship vanilla Android and let me update as soon as the latest version is out and compiled with drivers etc.
    Given that the rumours are that gingerbread will focus on user experience I want to see more vanilla Droids not more guff.

  • http://Website deeb215

    Really?! Blur better than sense? pfft!

  • Sgaduuw

    In the spirit of the Android platform, I would love to see the interface open sourced, if they are not going to continue development due to their shift in focus.
    The parts of it that are open source-able anyway…

  • http://Website Hans Donner

    This is a bad move from Motorola!! I think the Motoblur is the only feature differentiation from other Android phones in the market.
    All social networks happenings grouped and summarized on your phone, without any further, complicated actions by users…….This is great!
    Motorola should maintain this aggregation on its devices.

  • http://Website Carl Malden

    This seems to be a marketing problem, not a technical problem.
    I agree that is difficult to pass to the users all Motoblur functionality in a 30sec ad, but this should be done by other means, not TV ad.
    I do not agree with this decision. My Motorola Android phone with Motoblur works fine for me!

  • mralimcb

    I was a temporary user of an Italian version Motorola Backflop… sorry I meant Backflip, and despite not having AT&T’s bloatware, it was still bloated with the Blur. Now happily changed to a Hero (yes I’m behind the times but some people have budgets!) Great to see they’re moving forward. Blur won’t be missed!

  • http://Website IBRAHIM

    How to upgrade motoblur vision 1.5??

  • Motoblunder

    My wife and I carefully studied the various phones and bought a pair of Motorola Atrix. We loved the phone, but never heard of Motoblur. I guess we did not study enough – we were appalled at how intrusive Motoblur is, and frankly, we concluded that this was an invasion of our privacy. There is no need nor any desire for us to have Motorola maintain a copy of our contacts, text messages, location information, etc, and whenever Motorola decides to collect other information directly from our phones. So despite its dual core CPU and1 G RAM, we want no part of this racket so its going to be returned. This is NOT an option. What disgusts me is that this is not just an optional service that we can elect to not use, but is always on and embedded in the phone. NO THANKS ! THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN VOTING WITH YOUR WALLET! End of story.