Motorola’s Jha: We Want to Make Fewer Android Devices, Carriers Don’t Want Seven Stock Android Devices on Their Shelves


The folks at The Verge sat down with Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha here at CES and he had a couple of interesting quotes that might ruffle a few feathers. Firstly, he said that Motorola wants to make fewer Android devices each year. I see nothing wrong with that as OEMs do tend to over-saturate the market. By cutting down on the amount of devices they have out they are able to focus their marketing efforts and budgets better for each carrier.

The real interesting quote, though, was this: “Verizon and AT&T don’t want seven stock ICS devices on their shelves.” For OEMs, having skinned devices helps them differentiate themselves from competition but he claims that carriers need to differentiate their own stock, too. I imagine that is true, to be honest.

Having stock Android devices is great but if you get the same skin and set of features from all OEMs then carriers might not be able to sell through stock of several different phones. It comes down to consumer need, too. Some consumers might not like stock Android and since Android is a big part of carriers’ smartphone lineups they couldn’t afford to alienate a large batch of their consumers.

I’m sure there are other reasons but that’s what the game has come down to these days. We do hope that Motorola eventually comes to market with another stock Android device but don’t be surprised if they don’t. Let’s hope their new owner urges them to do it anyway. [via The Verge]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. There are better ways to differentiate than skin vs stock. How about price? How about keyboarded versus not? Show me the stock lte slider on the market today before you tell me that’s why you have to have blur on the droid 4.

  2. All laptops run stock Windows (more or less) and yet people buy one laptop over another for all sorts of different reasons.  Why does the phone market have to be any different.  In my ideal world, all OEM skins would go away forever.  I will buy nothing but Nexus devices from now on.

    1. Amen brother.  Nexus for me too from now on.

      1. For myself I agree, I always want a stock device, but I know many users for which the HTC SenseUI really improves their feelings about Android. Most skins however don’t add much value, some argue for Touchwiz, but I don’t think it adds any really needed functionality.

        1. I kinda like Touchwiz on my Galaxy S II, but it’s got it’s downsides too. I’m curious about TW 5 on the next-gen ICS phones as Samsung promised it’ll be much less of a change compared to stock ICS since they feel the base UI has improved enough not to mess too much with it.  I’m hoping other OEMS go that route too, making minimal customization to the look and fell of the launcher without taking too much away.

    2. Technically speaking there is only one place you can get a “stock” Windows PC, and that is from a MS store; the “Microsoft Signature Series”. All the rest have a varying amount of shovelware pre-loaded thereby making not quite  stock.

      1. Thats just like carrier bloatware, its not like HP, or dell adds their own custom UI to windows, then calls it something different. All windows computers are still windows computers.

        1. Have you ever used a laptop? Every manufacturer has different GUIs/Effects that happen from the various Function Hotkeys. My recent Asus laptop has Fn hotkeys for launching their preloaded apps as well.

          1. So your telling me if I buy an Asus laptop that I am forced to use a system that is only windows at its core, but looks completely different and hogs more resources than windows already does? No. If I went from your laptop to a Dell laptop would I have to figure anything new out? No. If I get the same exact laptop I could uninstall the drivers that make all that work and uninstall the apps. Its still stock windows, just with some added bloatware, as any manufacturer will put on their products

          2. I think your exaggerating manufacturer customization of windows, although you do make a point.  However, it’s fairly easy to remove the manufacturer software and/or install a default version of windows (I always do).  With a phone, it’s a lot of work and time getting the stock Android OS to work on our devices that shipped with custom UI’s.

    3. People keep assuming that they are Motorola’s customers.  Wrong.  The carriers are Motorola’s customers.  You are the carrier’s customer.  That’s why Motorola makes phones to the carrier’s specifications, not to yours.

      You want change?  Bug the carrier.  Blaming Motorola is taking a whee in the wind.  

    4. I absolutely agree with you Adam!

  3. What are they going to say to Microsoft? Wp7 won’t be skinned, but you’ll have a samsung, ,Nokia, HTC, etc wp7 device on the floor all looking the same. Obviously don’t make all phones stock, but there needs to be WAY MORE options for pure untouched android.

  4. The point he is making would be valid if it weren’t for the fact that until the Galaxy Nexus came along, there wasn’t a single stock Android device available on Verizon.  Yet Moto released a ridiculous number of phones (some nearly identical) with the same skin in 2011.

    1. Yeah, screw Moto’s stock Blur UI skin. They cant differentiate among their Bul either huh?

    2. Perhaps he was thinking a “stock Moto” phone will always have Motoblur, which still means that released too many phones :)

  5. I woyld love to buy a HTC phone that lets you boot either sense or stock android. would be amazing.

    1. You’d prolly also need a minimum of 2gb’s of ram to run those smoothly. i would love that though

      1. If you are booting one or the other there would be no need for 2 gigs of ram. 

  6. I think every device should give you the option of using their skin, or going stock.

    1. Right on. As a customer I should have the option of using a skin or running the phone in stock mode. And PLEASE….give users the option of deleting the bloatware without the need to root. If I pay for the phone then its mine, I should be able to delete whatever I want.

      1. If you bought the phone with bloatware then don’t complain because thats what you paid for, if you dont want it root it and take it off…tada

        1. We shouldn’t have to root to take off the shit we don’t want.  It should be an option.  Shut up.

    2. I agree. Would it be that hard to leave the stock launcher and give the end user the ability to choose between the manufactuer’s launcher or the stock one.

  7. How about the customer who wants Google updates as soon as available? How about that market Sanjay? I could give a rats ass on the whole stock vs skin issue but that ties into getting the latest Google OS updates more than my ability to have a Raider’s ROM on my phone. All without void the warranty or putting up with the night builds. Woot I got the latest ROM but my Bluetooth doesn’t work or my 3G, still got the latest though….

    Hell, Microsoft is now releasing PC’s that are bloat ware free now with their Signature line. Why can’t phones be released the same way?

  8. I haven’t found a single OEM skin that I would use on any of the Android phones that I’ve owned. Until I got the Galaxy Nexus Launcher Pro was my skin of choice. What they should try is; not making skins that suck and use up all the phones resources. I’ve used Moto’s, Samsung’s, and HTC’s. Not happy with any of them.

    What they should focus on is the design and hardware features of the phone. For example, the HTC Rezound is a nice phone spec wise, but its big and bulky. So if I’m an ‘average’ consumer and I’m in a Verizon store looking at phones, I’m not going to pick the bulky HTC over the RAZR.

    Now that ICS is out, i think design and h/w features should be their main focus. As ICS has a very nice, unobtrusive and very usable UI.

  9. How many non-Nexus, stock Android phones are available? He makes it seem as if there are plenty, but I cant seem to find them. I’ve only ever owned a G1 and G2 for this reason.

  10. prepare for the year of windows phones. going to be interesting to see google let their company build windows phones…

  11. I agree to an extent with Sanjay Jha look at how Windows Phone 7 is its too much of the same there needs to be different experiences when it comes to smartphones but Motorola already only makes so few stock android devices any less is actually just non existent. Stock android wasn’t as desirable before 4.0 because it was boring now with this overhaul they better allow people the chance to experience it in some form people will actually like it. Android 4.0 would be the best thing paired with HTC camera firmware. If someone was to make a hybrid rom id hop on it so fast.

    1. I do agree with you about WP7 but companies like Microsoft and Apple don’t even allow you to alter their phones after you buy them where Android does. 

    2. It’s funny… from what I’ve heard, HTC’s decision-makers firmly believe that they’re selling Sense devices that just happen to run over Android. I’d challenge them to go one cycle with one phone per carrier that allowed users to “opt out” of Sense, possibly via a downloadable ROM. I wonder how well (A) the phone would sell, and (B) how many people would opt for a stock ROM… I’d like to see their eyes being opened that they really aren’t selling Sense phones. Or not as many as they’d like to fool themselves into believing. They’re really selling Android phones. Really really!

      1. I actually believe that about the htc decision makers.  I also would believe that about samsung with touchwiz.  I think these people are hedging their bets and that they will always be able to switch to another underlying system with their sense and wiz crap on top should the need arise.  Samsung already puts wiz on top of bada as well as android, looks the same, they are already good to go.

  12. Says motorola as they roll out 14 versions of the RAZR and the 27th iteration of droid.

  13. Or do something completely revolutionary and give users the choice. Android is about being open, yet manufacturers force their good/garbage skins on to users phones. This causes a number of issues, not the least of which is update speed and future support. Users should not NEED to be savvy enough to root/rom their phones just to get rid of things like MotoBlur (or whatever they’re not calling it these days). Every phone goes through an initial set-up process; why not make it an option there to choose stock or skin? Or better yet, why not do what HTC sort-of does and allow you to change skins on the device. Granted theirs are all over the top of the core SenseUI, but its proof-of-concept that the option and functionality could work. Downloading new Launchers can semi-remedy the issue, but it doesn’t really change HOW the phone operates. And who, that’s new to Android, knows what a “Launcher” is? 

    Give users the choice: stock or skinned on ALL phones and the ability to change at will.

    1. Or if you don’t like Blur, don’t buy Motorola.  Don’t like Sense, don’t buy HTC.  A lot easier.

      1. Yes – a lot easier. That makes it better right? Keep limiting choices – perfect.

        1. Limited choices??  There are plenty of other phones on the market if you don’t like a manufacturer’s skin.  And stock is missing a lot of functionality, at least with GB and prior.  ICS is the first stock not be so stripped down and limited.

          It would be nice to have a disable function on the UI’s so you can run stock if you want.  But realistically, that isn’t going to happen.  I find the new Blur to be better than Sense and TW though.

          1. My point, however, is more that you should not have to choose another manufacturer because you don’t like a particular skin. Hypothetically, if l love the look/feel/performance of HTC phones, but didn’t like Sense – as a consumer who is going to pay for their product, I should have the choice to go stock…without rooting.

          2. I want stock Android. I only have ONE CHOICE. One choice in a market of hundreds.

          3. Well…. 2, but your point is taken. (Sprint still sells the Nexus S)

          4. One choice on my carrier. I was on Sprint for 7 years…I could never go back. But, it works for some people. I get that.

            Sent from my Galaxy Nexus
            On Jan 11, 2012 8:02 PM, “Disqus”

          5. I challenge the idea that stock android is missing functionality.  There is nothing blur or sense, and especially wiz does that I could not find – in a few moments – a market app to do better and with less system resources.

  14. about making good looking ones.

  15. So not only are the carriers responsible for slow updates because of their crapware they insist on, but also the BS skins. Really hate wireless carriers.

  16. This is BS. Ok here is the work around. Put what ever skin you want at POS. Give the customer the option to run on STOCK Android. Serves every one right….

    1. Maybe Google should require manufacturers to do so, just like they require that they keep the default theme on all ICS devices.

  17. How about unlocking those bootloaders like you promised, Jha? Follow through on that one first!

  18. If you want to add bloatware to appease the non-stock loving customers, at least have the decency to make it removeable!

    That’s all I ask…..well actually I don’t care….prolly gonna get the nexus 5 in two years time….till then, galaxy nexus is keeping me alive :P
    (figure of speech people….figure of speech)

  19. I guess they wanted a dozen Android phones with blur instead.

    1. I guess they wanted a dozen Android phones with blur that won’t sell well or work right instead.

      There, fixed it for you  :)

  20. Blur(less) is not bad anymore. It use to be the worst, but it is ok now. The problem with their devices is not the skin…its the heavily encrypted bootloader!

  21. i personally think every OEM should create one low range phone, one mid-range phone and one or two high end phones every 6 months or so. what is really killing the market is the vast number of low end phones. if people are going to get a smart phone, MOST are going to get a mid to high end one, there is no reason for the wealth of choice on the bottom tier.

    anyway im staying all nexus now, all high end phones are great but only one major update in its life kills a phone way too quick… nexus phones are better because they are supported longer!

  22. This is why I will only look at hardware specs and open bootloaders when it comes to time to make my purchase. I love cyanogen and will get cm9 as quickly as it comes out for whatever device I decide on. No company’s skin is worth giving up the benefits of all that you get with CM.

  23. CEO’S never listen to us the CONSUMERS

  24. One flagship phone per carrier per year is all that’s needed. It’s not like we all need a new phone every other month.

  25. Prior to 4.0, I could not stand stock Android. it was unattractive and just boring to use. I prefer things like Sense or touchwiz or even blur because it does give it more appeal and it did add functionality that wasn’t found in stock android.

    Since 4.0 and my Galaxy Nexus, I do like the new UI style but i still would talke a skinned version(Sony’s or Samsung’s) over stock android but at least ICS is fairly attractive and fun to use.

    1. You’re right but what most of the ppl here are saying is that we should have a choice to use thier skin or not.  I like HTC phones but Sense is kinda played out so now I use Go Launcher over it because I can switch up the look of my phone and still have the great specs and functions that I enjoy.

  26. That quote about “7 devices” is funny because as far as I know, I only see one stock Android device on AT&T’s shelves (Impulse) but I do see multiple Sense(3), Blur(2), LG(3), Pantech(2), Sharp(1), Sony(1), and Touchwiz(6!) devices that are skinned, for a ratio of 18 to 1. And at CES, not one single stock Android phone was announced for AT&T (out of 5 phones announced). Even their tablets are all skinned (Galaxy Tab, HTC Jetstream, and the upcoming Pantech Element).

    Google has dragged their feet with OEMs and all the good hardware gets hobbled by manufacturer skins and poor support. Android really needs visionaries and pioneers like Andy Rubin but with the leverage and power of someone like Steve Jobs.

  27. The real issue at Motorola is that their market share has fallen so far down they no longer have the financial strength to keep churning out lots of devices. Plus, by putting MotoBlur on their devices, they have gotten themselves in the terrible position of their updates being major development efforts. Consequently, their updates are late (if they ever appear), not well tested, and generally non-competitive. Because of all that, I’ll never buy another Motorola device again.

  28. Guys, read between the lines. 

    First, he says that “We will bring less, but quality Motorola phones to the market.” And then he says, “Carriers don’t want a lot of stock Android phones on their shelves.”

    It could only mean this: “From now on, you will get one BEASTLY, STOCK ANDROID Motorola phone every 6 months.


  29. I’ve been saying all along that Moto has too many devices out there.  They have too many devices that they can’t service and maintain them with software updates.  If they do something like Samsung did with the Galaxy line or LG with the Optimus line, they are in a much better position to lower costs for development, probably get volume discounts from production, and be able to focus on higher quality devices, with less bugs.

  30. HAHAHAHA, coming from Motorola (who releases an update version of the RAZR two months after the release of the original Droid RAZR) it’s kind of hard to believe. The Verizon store is loaded with Motorola Android phones. They release on every two months, because they are greedy and are not about producing great products for their customers. They are a household name, and that’s what keeps them in business. Motorola is going to hopefully have a harder downfall than RIM is right now. Motorola can crash and burn for all I care. Get this fake trash out of here. I will believe Motorola when I see something they say follow through (Unlocked bootloaders in 2011, HA!). Screw Motorola and everything they make. 

  31. If I were running one of these companies, and this is something I think they all should do. I would release atleast one stock Android device a year. Say I ran Samsung, I bring out the sgs2, then since it’s my top end device of the year I would also release one with stock Android. That to me makes more sense than making all of your devices stock or able to run stock Android for a year’s worth of products.
    This would also make the nexus line stronger as it would have to be better than the best phone made that isn’t the nexus.

    1. The goal of the Nexus line isn’t to be better than anything else but to represent the baseline of what should be released in the following year. As it started, it was supposed to be a developer’s phone. It’s just that people really liked the idea of having stock UI and fast updates.

  32. users do need a good phone, good OS and support but we do not need a lot of phone. At the end of the day we only use 1 thats all

  33. focus on better minimalistic hardware idiots! stock ICS is where it’s at!

  34. Motorola = Locked bootloaders and broken promises…Why anyone would want to give money to this company at this point is beyond me.
    As comsumers when we continue to buy their products we send the wrong message.

    1. I remember back when I had the Moto Cliq XT.  Never had an update the whole time I had it.  Never went back to Moto until the Bionic which was a piece of crap so I sent it back.

      1. CyanogenMod team got CM7 (gingerbread 2.3) running on it, and moto couldn’t even figure out how to get 2.1. or 2.2 on blur or otherwise.  That should tell you everything you need to know about moto and blur.

  35. I call BS here, why then is it ok for these same carriers to inventory 6 different versions of stock iOS devices. These are carried by three of the four major carriers in the US and sell hundreds of millions of units each year. The problem here is that Google allows the oem’s and carriers to put their crap on these devices. Just more Moto shenanigans!

  36. People like consistency. And there’s a very strong argument for sticking with stock Android. Faster updates, optional skins. Look at the popularity of launchers on the market. People aren’t using what comes with their phone too often anyways. This CEO is an idiot. Of course people are ok with stock phones if they’re strong offerings. Let me say the bad word here, iPhone. Same device, OS and hardware, three carriers, strong market presence. Get a fucking clue Motorola and stop screwing Android with your stupid skin. Sincerely, Android fans.

  37. The ghost of Bill Gates has possessed Sanjay

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