Goodbye Motorola

Nearly four years ago I entered the world of Android with the original Motorola Droid. Two years later, I was eager to upgrade to one of the most early anticipated Android phones: the Droid Bionic.  Like many, I was led to believe that this was going to be Motorola’s next flagship phone, ushering an error of dual-core processors and 4G LTE.  After months of delays, I stood in an (albeit small) line on release day to get the phone, only to find out that this wasn’t the flagship device I was looking for. 


A month later Motorola released their revamped Razr line, a phone that learned all of the lessons from the mistakes that caused the Bionic to become so delayed.  As quickly as the Bionic flashed onto the scene, the phone seemed to have fizzled out from Motorola’s roadmap.  Soon it became apparent that I bet on the wrong horse, that this phone was the red-headed step-child that Motorola conveniently ignored.  The device had some pretty gaping holes, from a crappy camera to unstable Bluetooth.  I realize that every phone has its problems, there isn’t a perfect one out there – but the issue came with how Motorola addressed Bionic problems: they ignored them.

The phone shipped with Gingerbread installed, with a promise to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich soon.  As the months passed, the promises of the upgrade grew more ambiguous, as we watched more and more phones released after the Bionic get upgraded.  Over a year after its release, with Jelly Bean on the horizon, Motorola and Verizon finally gave us our coveted upgrade.  Again more empty promises were made about the Jelly Bean upgrade, and of course the Bionic’s younger cousins got first dibs on the new bits, with the Bionic not being updated until last month.

Don’t think Bionic owners got a raw deal? Just ask Motorola’s VP of Product: he admitted as much last September.  Nothing changed however, Motorola has got bigger problems to deal with.  Google has all but cast them out from the product party, there doesn’t seem to be any worthwhile products in their pipeline.  The rumored “X Phone” is all but vaporware, with Google reportedly pulling out of the device’s development.

Here we are in May, when I become eligible for an upgrade, and not only has Motorola not given me any incentive to stay, but they’ve justified my resentment of their products, to the point where I won’t even own a Motorola device ever again.  Now that the Galaxy S4 is out, I’m more than happy to buy a product from a company that hasn’t ignored their products the way Motorola does.  Thanks for introducing me to the world of Android, Motorola – but I’m happy to leave you for greener pastures.

Motorola – how to screw with your customers

As you know I’m a Droid user, and for the most part am happy with my device.  Since the announcement of Android 2.1, us Droid users have been anxiously awaiting an update to our devices.  Google’s anointed phone, the Nexus One received the update back in February, and the Droid users have been anxiously awaiting news on when we will be updated.

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Out of the gate, Motorola said all the right things, issuing a post on their Facebook page on February 9th that the update was coming “this week”.  That was then met with refuting news a few days later on their forum.  After that. silence.  Motorola remained completely mum on the issue, both of their Facebook page, on the forum, through news sources – there was no word about when the update would happen. Motorola customers, including myself, have been complaining on their Facebook page about the lack of details.  I actually uploaded my own subtle protest on their “Motopic Monday” feature on Facebook. Finally Motorola shares the news: the upgrade will be rolled out on Thursday to a few test users, then will be going out to all customers over the new few days.

Thursday comes. and goes. It turns out that Motorola delayed pushing out the update again, reported by Engadget. Of course, Motorola’s own Facebook page has been indirect and mum on the issue. Motorola never actually comes out and says the update has been delayed, yet they allude to it with their last two posts:

Thanks for your continued patience. We aim to answer each and every question; if your post isn’t answered immediately, please know that we’re looking into your question so that we can provide the most up-to-date information as possible.
Hi Everyone – We are looking into this new update and will definitely share with you what we find. Please patient with us! Thank you!

Rightfully so, Motorola’s customers have been hammering their Facebook page non-stop with complaints and comments.  Motorola has just continued to botch this situation up – I can’t imagine how else they can screw this up from a PR front.

Motorola, I understand these technical these technical issues come up and it’s completely fine – but be direct and transparent when you’re communicating this!  This business of putting out a statement, then letting weeks go by without any word – is completely unacceptable.  It’s great they’re using Facebook as a platform to put out this information, but by not following it up with any direct announcement or posts about the problems is only confusing people more.  Also when they try to be coy with the mistake with “How embarrassing! We jumped the gun” but then offer no additional information is only infuriating.  I’d much rather appreciate “We apologize, but we mistakenly communicated the wrong date. Please look for an announcement early next week” – then actually follow up like you promised!

We’ll see how long it takes for the Motorola & Verizon to finally get their stuff together and actually be direct with their customers – it’s the least they could do.

The Motorola Droid – Punching Apple in the Mouth

By now you may have seen the new commercials for the Motorola Droid, which looks to be the next competitor to the iPhone.  What makes this viable is the fact that a phone with a nice form factor and runs Google Android is now on the Verizon Network.  This first ad takes a shot at the iPhone – right in the mouth.

The iPhone looks great, but the experiences that my friends have with the AT&T Network has deferred me from  getting an iPhone.  I own the Verizon xv6800 (which is basically a rebranded HTC Titan), which I have been mostly happy with.  However, Windows Mobile drives me crazy.  The fact that Microsoft doesn’t seem to put any serious development into the Windows Mobile roadmap really leaves me wondering if I’m riding on a sinking ship.  The fact the Microsoft has taken this long simply  to release Windows Mobile 6.5 – let alone 7.0 – is pretty appalling.

At the end of the day: It’s the Apps, stupid.  iPhone has all of these great apps that you read and hear about, that are capturing the attention of the Smartphone consumers market.  Android looks to have a promising app ecosystem, especially with the fact that they have a free SDK and an open platform.  Now, if they can continue to build up their compelling App inventory, we may have a viable competitor.

The key to this whole thing is Verizon.  Verizon, which is notorious for crippling their devices, will need to let Android to have free reign over the hardware to make this successful.  They have the strongest network by far, which has been the compelling reason for keeping me as a customer.  If I can have a phone that has access to the GPS, allows tethering and lets me do all that my hardware is capable of – Verizon and Motorola will have hit one out of the park.

Now I’m simply left to wonder if this will be my next phone.  I’m up for a renewal discount next month, maybe this will be it.