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Motorola chief pins Android phone returns on poor apps

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Thu June 2, 2011

Motorola CEO Jha blames returns on bad app quality

Most of Motorola's phone returns are actually from people confusing poorly running apps with the phone quality itself, chief executive Sanjay Jha explained in a presentation at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference on Thursday. Of those returns that were tracked, 70 percent had been turned in because they used too much battery power or bogged the phone down. Google's loose testing on Android Market didn't check for this, leaving Motorola to both monitor for it and deal with the returns.

"We're beginning to understand the impact that has," he said with IDG and others in attendance.

Blur and Motoblur, the company's custom interface layers, were now making up for the deficit, Jha said. By tracking app use themselves, they told Motorola when an app was chewing too much energy. A future version of the interfaces might flag apps to warn users when an app is likely to be too battery-hungry.

The concrete return data is rare in the industry and may reflect one of the compromises Google has made for Android. While it touts that it never rejects an app outside of legality and has had more flexible apps than what Apple allows in the iOS App Store, the policy has also left more room for apps that can accidentally hurt the performance of the OS through quality and not their intended task.

It's unclear how many of the returns were colored by the Android versions Motorola has used. Up until the Droid X2, virtually every new Motorola smartphone was using Android 2.2 or earlier and lacked significant app management. Android 2.3 has tighter control both on its own and through settings of how apps run in the background, reducing the likelihood an app will chew power.

Apple like most companies doesn't usually explain its returns. However, power consumption from rogue iPhone apps is widely regarded as a non-issue both because of the reduced multitasking but also more aggressive app management that keeps battery life in check.

By Electronista Staff


  1. peter02l

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2009


    On the bright side

    Their customers have a choice!

  1. peter02l

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2009



    "By tracking app use themselves, they told Motorola when an app was chewing too much energy."

    Are you sure it's not the app-tracking that is chewing too much energy?

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999


    Where's facebook_Clarenchy

    Hmm... so Android isn't the panacea of multitasking/performance it's claimed to be. What do the Android proponent(s) have to say about this?


  1. ggarthe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010



    It's because Moto phones just plain suck. I'm an Apple fan and iPhone user, but I'll admit there are some Android phones out there that are really cool and I honestly wouldn't mind owning, though Moto is certainly not one of them.

  1. Haywire

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2001


    How much of the power is eaten by...


  1. chas_m




    Will not show his Face(book) for this story. He has the selective criteria of a Faux Noise news anchor, and facts are not important to what he says or thinks.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Two words.

    Weed. Patch.

  1. viktorob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011


    So no real "iPhone killer" just yet?

    Motorola, remember when you were asked How do you plan to compete against the iPhone (back in 2006) and you ex CEO answered "How are we going to compete with apple? I would ask HOW WOULD APPLE COMPETE WITH US!"
    Do you have something to add Moto???

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    Moto Says

    "... I would ask HOW WOULD APPLE COMPETE WITH US!"

    Adds Moto: "Hang in there, marketplace ... we'll let you know WHEN Apple can start competing with us. Not yet. Please be patient."

  1. chas_m



    Oh, almost forgot:


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