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Motorola blames future owner Google for slow Android updates

updated 06:25 pm EST, Thu February 9, 2012

Motorola says Android too linked to hardware

Motorola was unusually critical of its likely future acquirer Google late Wednesday in an interview. Senior enterprise business VP Christy Wyatt claimed to PCMag that Google made timely Android OS updates difficult because of its tendency to target each major release against a reference phone like the Galaxy Nexus. Since the initial release only supported that hardware, no other Android partner could get started on drivers and other code they needed to get moving.

"The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it," Wyatt said. "Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It's a big machine to churn."

She added that the company couldn't be more specific on its Android 4.0 timing beyond earlier in the year due to carriers. Since they could control updates, not Motorola, the RAZR designer was subject to whether or not they wanted to upgrade it and what the timing would be.

The executive deflected criticism that it was Motorola's insistence on custom interface layers triggering the delays. She did, however, acknowledge that Android 4.0 and Chrome for Android might require a rethink of its desktop-like Webtop experience.

Motorola's complaint still partly deflects some of the responsibility. When a new Android build releases, it has to test and modify software unconnected to the hardware to ready upgrades. Phones that weren't full Google phones but which still have stock Android, such as the T-Mobile G2 and G2X, have still gotten updates relatively quickly even if not as fast as Nexus models. Many of the phones Motorola has released in the past two years were either shipping with an already obsolete version of Android or stopped getting updates within a few months.

The commentary, regardless of the answer, still points to Android having inherent problems with fast upgrades. Where iOS and Windows Phone owners usually get updates either immediately or within a few weeks, it suggests that even ideal conditions may delay an Android update by months for devices that Google doesn't make itself, if the update is allowed at all. Both Apple and Microsoft have tighter control of the OS pipeline and don't let carriers determine whether updates are available.

By Electronista Staff


  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004



    Moto can go take a big smelly dump in Larry Page's front yard, and Google still won't call off the merger because they'd have to pay a $2.5 billion break-up fee. Moto has Google by the balls here.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Well its obvious.....

    Apple owns the reference phone - iphone X's and iPad X's and iPod X's.

    Apple's upgrade cycle is: design -> develop -> test -> release
    Android's and WinMo's upgrade cycle is design -> develop -> test -> release (to OEM's) -> design (GUI layer) -> develop -> release (to carrers) -> add bloatware -> release (to customers)

    Sucks to be an OEM slave.

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000


    Oracle will kill Android

    Once Google is found guilty of basing Android on Sun's Java code, Oracle's Larry Ellison will then have every right to go thermonuclear on Android as a favor to his friend Steve Jobs. Google may have nothing left but Motorola's patents to try to get their 2% extortion money from Apple in order to stay afloat.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    The courts won't back Oracle

    The courts have already decided that Google and Android is more important to the business of making money than Oracle and Java. Courts don't like to upset the masses and besides Google has already paid off all the judges in the matter. Oracle probably won't get a cent for their pains.

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