Mobile Updates…

Motorola Atrix 4G
Motorola Atrix 4G with MotoBlur

Mainly about vague software updates in general. This is also a Rant at 3 in the morning so it may make little sense.

Let me preface this rant with the fact that I like my Motorola Atrix 4G phone. You can read the tech specs of it here if you wish. I got it over a year ago to replace my irritating iPhone 3GS. The iPhone wasn’t bad per se, it just got more buggy and crash prone with each iOS update. Also, I was getting sick and tired of the Apple ecosystem. I still have an iPod Touch, but I really only use it for music, podcasts and the occasional game. After my iPhone crashed again last July, I decided on getting an Android phone to replace it.

I decided on the Motorola Atrix 4G. It was a flagship phone of the AT&T network. It had a good battery that was removable, a nice large display, dual core processor and the promise of upgradeability. The only issue I had with the phone was some of the AT&T bloatware and the MotoBlur skin. The phone initially ran Froyo (Android 2.2) but a couple months later an update to Gingerbread (Android 2.3.x) was provided so I upgraded to that. About a month later Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, Android 4.0) came out to unify the tablet and smartphone platforms’ OSes. At the beginning of 2012, Motorola said they were working up upgrading the Atrix 4G and other smartphones on other networks to 4.0 and it will start rolling out around Q3 of 2012.

Ok. I have a basic understanding of rolling out software to the public. There’s feature choices, development, testing, QA, bug fixes, etc. Then in Android’s case, there’s manufacturer’s skinning and carrier app compliance. That’s about all I know. However, I do know that bought Motorola Mobility earlier this year and some new guys said there would be more transparency in the upgrade paths. After 8 months of telling Atrix 4G owners they were developing ICS, with the new much improved Motorola skin, for that handset, Motorola decides that the Atrix 4G will stay on Gingerbread. No reasons given, just, “Screw you. Buy a new phone.”

I understand Motorola doesn’t have to uphold their promise of transparency and commitments to upgrade phones that can easily handle newer operating systems, but this is horse shit. I never really expected much from Motorola when I had their little flip phones (not the Razrs). They were durable phones with good call qualities, reception and battery life. The Atrix 4G is the same with  good performance in the Android OS world. The phone is still fast, though it is a little glitchy with Gingerbread. But it doesn’t matter anymore cause Moto has essentially given up on a solid phone that operates well, that is only a little over a year and a half old. Moto has offered a $100 coupon for those Atrix 4G and other handsets that were affected in this decision, but it turns out that it’s really just a trade-in option.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I still have 5 more months before I’m eligible for an upgrade. I don’t want to go back to the Apple ecosystem, I would rather stay on Android though Windows Phone might be a viable option by then. but I’d have to think long and hard before I get another Motorola again. Or I might just stick with the Atrix until it starts acting like my iPhone 3GS, crashy and slow.

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