Would you buy a Motorola phone if they had early access to Android updates? [POLL]

When Android 4.4 KitKat launched, we were surprised to see that the Moto X got the upgrade before most Nexus devices. It wasn’t a huge gap between the rollouts, but the fact that any non-Nexus device got it before any others was astonishing. Some suspected Motorola might have had privileged access to the update ahead of other OEMs thanks to their new parent company Google.

Motorola Logo

Interestingly enough, TrustedReviews posted an appalling headline earlier “confirming” as much. Here’s what the headline originally satated:

Motorola CEO confirms Google will prioritise Android updates for Motorola phones

And here’s a line from the source:

If you’re going to buy an Android phone you’ll get the fastest Android updates on Motorola. What do we want people to say about Motorola in 2-3 years?

That we are constantly proving that software is key. We want them to say Motorola stands for quality and value. That I can’t get a better smartphone at that price-point and then in the higher price products it’s that I have more choice.

That line alone doesn’t seem to convey that Motorola is getting priority access. Indeed, the headline was changed to reflect Woodside’s comments more accurately, which don’t actually state Motorola gets early access to upgrades.

But Woodside’s comments are still quite interesting. Such a confident statement, coupled with what seemed to be lightning fast upgrades to Android 4.4 KitKat on the Moto X, Moto G, and the 2013 DROID phones, would make anyone believe Motorola is receiving special treatment.

It’s entirely possible that other factors could be in play, of course. Motorola’s “keep it simple, stupid” approach to software these days probably makes it easier for them to implement and test new versions of Android than other OEMS. That said, they still do use a great deal of custom software in their latest phones, so it’s still amazing to see them able to get a stable upgrade out ahead of any Nexus device.


While we might not ever get a clear answer about it (that would tick some pretty big manufacturers off), one thing’s for sure — Motorola fans certainly won’t be complaining anytime soon. Would you make your next phone a Motorola phone if you found out they had access to newer versions of Android before anyone else? Let us know with a quick line in the comments section, as well as a vote in the poll below!

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TAGS: Motorola DROID MAXX , Motorola DROID Mini , Motorola DROID Ultra , Motorola Moto G , Motorola Moto X

  • PapaDroid

    Not until they have a phone with a screen around 5.5 inches. I can’t go to a smaller screen size now.

    • Big_EZ

      I loved my Note 2 at first, but hate a lot of what Samsung ruined about Android. I really miss my Motorola phones, but I wish they had a competitor to the Note line. I’ve said 5″ is as small as I’ll go after using the Note 2, but I just checked out the Droid Maxx and it seems really small. I would already have a Maxx if it had a microSD slot, but the lack of decent amount of storage, and smaller screen than I’d prefer has me holding out. I am really getting annoyed by this phone though, and even though I love the Note 3’s screen, I don’t think I can put myself through the horror of another Samsung phone. The only feature/change Samsung made was multi window.

      • PapaDroid

        I won’t be getting another phone until around November, so hopefully Motorola jumps on board with the bigger phones. Otherwise it may be the successor to the LG G2. But I really want a Motorola.

        • Big_EZ

          I just checked out the LG G2, and I really liked the screen and form factor. The main downsides to the G2 is no microSD slot/insufficient internal storage, and I hate their UI about as bad as touchwiz.

  • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

    I wouldn’t mind either a Sprint variant or unlocked GSM variant of the Motorola Maxx phones. The updates aren’t too much of a priority for me.

  • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

    To be honest, I think that the source is completely incorrect and/or being interpreted incorrectly. Dennis Woodisde has said multiple times that they do not get special treatment from Google. In fact, Dennis reiterated this again last month during his HoA with Marques Brownlee. All Motorola is doing is two things to get timely updates. 1) They are utilizing the PDK. 2) They are using stock Android instead of heavy customization. The two of them combined result in faster updates.

    • http://www.baldypal.com/ BaldyPal

      Exactly what i was thinking. they trimmed all the fat off. Less to work with.

  • Demolition505

    It’s more about specs and pricing compared to whatever Nexus is available.

    • scoter man1

      That’s what I came down here to say too. It also has to be easy to root/unlock and have a strong dev community behind it. There’s no way I’d buy another phone without some development going on for it.

      • nofearofimaginarymen

        I agree. Near stock or stock experience is great but I really need my xposed framework and tasker profiles. I will be off contract from here on out so price is also a huge factor for me since I will no longer get carrier subsidies.

      • Guantaco

        Because we all know that the only good Roms are the half baked ones you get from a leak. Thats a poor excuse people come up with when the phone doesn’t receive prompt updates.

  • J Cav the Great

    FYI…..I voted Yes….

  • deh2002

    They’d also have to use better cameras in order for me to buy one.

  • makapav

    Sensationalist bullshit headline.

    • Hothfox

      Polls generally are, but the concept warrants a look. If Motorola can continue this trend, people will notice. Who else is running official 4.4 builds of Android besides Nexus, GPE devices, and the Motorola line up? Motorola is significant because it is, in fact, a third party OEM just like Samsung and HTC.

      • makapav

        The headline talks about Motorola receiving early access to Android. There is no such access available and Motorola will never get it.

        They were able to update their phones in record time because they made it a priority. They studied the early (PDK) materials that Google hands out early with direction.

        • Hothfox

          I was trying to agree with you and add to the discussion.

    • Jerel Butler

      Could have sworn it said “if”

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    And fix the camera already!

  • Christopher Robert

    Moto X > Nexus 5

    I always thought Motorola made great hardware, they were just a poorly managed company before. Google helped them get their priorities back in line and now they are making great stuff again and keeping them relevant with the most recent updates.

    Most OEMs get the updated software fast from Google, its all of the extra skins, and bloat that take a long time to merge with the new software, that delay the updates. Combine that will Carrier BLOATWARE and it can take months. Motorola has just eliminated those issues.

    • makapav

      Punit Soni. Follow him on Google+.

    • h4rr4r

      Not if you care about Activesync. Moto X has totally broken ActiveSync support.

    • NYCHitman1

      Why does what you just said make the Moto X better than the Nexus 5? Moto X is a great phone – no doubt about it. However, from a hardware/software standpoint – it doesn’t even remotely compare.

      • HeatFan786

        On paper specs vs practical experience. The Nexus 5 has a lot more power and has good software. The Moto X provides a unique experience with energy efficiency with the X8 core optimization on a dual core processor, great unique features, customization options, timely updates, and great battery life. It’s just a different experience. Either it’s a lot of power or just user optimized experience. I feel like the Moto X is taking an Apple route in a good way. Is it necessary to have a 2k display on a phone? No, but it’s nice to have. The Moto X focused on software instead of just sheer specs. Samsung is taking the sheer specs route and many people have lost faith. It went from a peak with the S3 down to what it is now with the S4 and Note III. The Note III is an amazing phone, but people don’t like the display quality or the software. That’s what is great with the market. Tons of choices means more options for consumers.

        • NYCHitman1

          I own and develop a ROM for the Nexus 5, so I’m well aware of the practical experience vs. paper specs. However, there is nothing “unique” about the Moto X any longer. Especially with users becoming more acquainted with root/ROM methods. A majority of this is based off of hearsay from those are not adequately equipped to make an assertion of the two devices in competition with each other. The only thing the Moto X has over Nexus 5 is MotoMaker.

          • AGWednesday

            If you don’t recognize the fact that the Moto X has Touchless Control, Active Notifications, Moto Assist, and other apps baked in that the Nexus 5 lacks, I just don’t know what to tell you.

          • donkeykong85

            I dont think people realize how nice it is to have these features. Sure you can get SOME by rooting but not motorola connect. All of my texts are coming through chrome right now.

          • malcmilli

            they have other apps that do that

          • HeatFan786

            Cool, you’re one of the few that does that. All that stuff you mention involves people doing rooting. Most of the population doesn’t do that, so marketing comes into play. If Google shows why Active Notifications and Voice controls are main concessions the Moto X offers, then people would look into that. I saw a lady using a Nexus 5 few days ago. I doubt she would root, but that’s being too judgmental. I use my phone for what it’s worth. Rooting is nothing but problematic for me in the past.

      • johnny989

        Sorry, but from a software standpoint, Moto X wins. Active notifications and contextual services are amazing.

        From a hardware standpoint if you have Verizon, Moto X also wins by default.

        • Keith

          If you have Verizon, that means you lose because I’m guessing you were forced to use it.

      • Christopher Robert

        Moto X is better than the Nexus 5 for many reasons. That was a separate statement from the rest of the post.

        Moto X is better at:
        Active Notifications
        Contextual services
        Battery Life
        Call Quality

        Nexus 5 has a nicer screen, but as screens go it is still not top notch and definitely not worth switching from a Moto X for.

  • Jerel Butler

    Well I already buy Motorola updates are icing bootloaders being easy to unlock will influence me more. People follow djrbliss advice “don’t buy devices with locked down boot loader”

  • dreadfall

    with Google play edition Moto G now Motorola gets early access like HTC/Samsung/Sony/LG… but the article was misleading at first

  • Pam Oakea

    Yes but also want specs more like Nexus 5. 720p screen resolution just won’t cut it for me.

    • Guantaco

      Alright spec whore, because anything under 1080p is so not worth it. Just because it doesn’t have the best specs doesn’t mean inferior.

  • Jay

    The moto X felt like a toy in my hand. I probably wouldn’t. Nothing about their phones except for the innards are appealing to me.

    Now if they released a nearly bezel free 5.2″ – 5.7″ beast then yeah, I’d give them a look.

  • rcrow490

    I’ve always bought Motorola because of the hardware. This is just icing on the cake! Waiting patiently for Kit Kat on my Droid Maxx HD. I’m next in line!

    • Jerel Butler

      Waiting for it my Atrix HD maxx

  • tomaSconnie

    The Verizon payg moto g has yet to get 4.4 :/

    • master94

      Being on VZW expect a long wait

  • Mark2468

    This would alienate other oem’s that make Android devices and show favoritism towards Motorola, even though Google owns Motorola Samsung and HTC got the Android platform to where it is today in my opinion.

    • Aaron Peromsik

      There doesn’t have to be any foul play. Google can release the source to all partners at once. If Moto makes it a priority to port the updates to their phones, and others don’t hustle quite as much, the result could be about the same as what we see now. Not to mention that the heavier skins of other manufacturers slow down the update process.

  • steveb944

    Hell yes!

    Oh wait, my mom’s Moto G still doesn’t have KitKat I think.

    • Sean Royce

      It should have.

      • steveb944

        Yeah it does. Apparently she unknowingly updated it herself. And it’s 4.4.2 to boot, Moto is awesome.

  • HeatFan786

    Motorola’s plan for success imo: get rid of the Droid line with Verizon when possible, make phones for each carrier, expand storage to 32GB and 64GB, upgrade the cameras to flagship levels or partner with someone to do so, keep on making energy efficient and advanced features, keep the customization option and expand on it, keep the updates at the speed of now.

    • master94

      While for us techies removing the droid line sounds like a no brainer the rest of the world still calls androids droids or galaxies so keeping that name around gives Moto free advertisement when people call android by the wrong name

  • moises1204

    now all that is left for Motorola to do is learn how to price their product accordingly at first product launch!

    • Aaron Peromsik

      Have you met Moto G? Point taken, though, regarding X.

      • moises1204

        Motorola would have sold more moto x if they have price the phone right, and moto g was an after thought.

    • malcmilli

      as long as you dont expect them to compete with nexus pricing.

      • moises1204

        you don’t need to price the phones like the nexus line to price things accordingly! but if you build a mid range phone you should charge like a mid range not like a high end phone if you know what i mean!

        • malcmilli

          What i’m getting at is, the moto x was already priced cheaper than flagships that were already released. And yes the processor was older and the screen was (and i used this with slight sarcasm) “only” 720p. However the differences in price in those components was much less than that of the price difference between say a GS4 and the Moto X. Tons of optimization, and r&d put into the touchless controls, day long battery life, and the x8 architecture and the nexus-like update schedules do cost money. That’s what separates it from a “mid range” phone. You can argue over $50 off contract if you like, but all of those things need to be taken into account when you compare a Moto X to say a galaxy s4 mini.

  • bob

    I’d Consider it if the pricing competed with the nexus line. Otherwise any other phone is pointless to me.

    • malcmilli

      It would be extremely hard for a hardware company to sell their hardware at slim to no profit.

      • Eskimo128

        Are you saying it costs ~$300 to make a Nexus5?

        • malcmilli

          I’m saying that after the costs for the parts AND the costs to manufacture the device AND the costs for R&D AND the costs for advertising AND operating costs (i.e. property taxes, rent, employee salaries/benefits…. a phone with highend internals like a nexus 5 couldnt be sold at that price point by a company who’s primary source of income is making a profit off of handset hardware sales.

  • Hrethgir

    Fast updates and awesome radios (my Droid X got WAY better reception than my GS3), you better believe that Motorola is high on my list of phones to look at when my contract ends and I move from Verizon to T-Mobile this summer!

    • UniBroW

      yup, Daughter’s moto x consistently has better signal (not bars) than my Note 3.

  • shooter50

    Nope, I’d rather have a top of the line phone one update behind than a mid level phone with the latest update. G2 on 4.2.2 over Moto X any day.

  • joejoe5709

    Now that Android has gotten pretty advanced and pretty slick, I don’t have a need for updates until there’s something really massive. KitKat is awesome – maybe even more significant than Jelly Bean – but I’m still not desperate for it so waiting a few extra months is not really a big stress.

    I’d buy a Motorola if they actually had specs to compete with current flagships. “It’s just as fast and specs don’t matter any more” Blah Blah Blah. Yeah I know. But when it comes down to it, I’d much rather take a Nexus 5 (or even a G2) over a Moto X because the hardware is so much better.

  • roberthenderson

    Not a chance. I hate these butt ugly impractical onscreen buttons in their current form. Ask me again when they adopt A Wave Launcher or Pie Control style.

    • Sean Royce

      You’re an absolute idiot.

  • jnt

    If they can put a real camera in their devices, yes. And yes I’ve owned the X pre and post update. And yes I own a real camera, but it’s not always in my pocket.

  • Chris Brown

    This question is kind of a double-edge sword for me. While, I did answer “yes” in the poll because I want the latest and greatest software as soon as possible; I also feel that if Motorola has early access that it does unfairly balance the marketplace and could have an impact on a free market in Android devices over the long-term. Which with consideration is particularly concerning in light that Android is open-source and one of its advantages is accessibility to multiple players in producing the best offerings.

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    Earlier upgrades would make me MORE LIKELY to buy Motorola, but it’s just one checkbox of many they’d need to fulfill that Samsung already does (‘cept for early upgrades):
    [X]: Early upgrades
    [ ]: microSDXC slot
    [ ]: 32 || 64GB internal nand available.
    [ ]: Removable battery
    [X]: Unlockable bootloader
    [?]: Strong dev community (Note 3 got CM11 nightlies only about 2.5 months “late”).
    [X]: Forgiving PLASTIC construction instead of the “metal is premium” fad.
    [X]: Minimal bezel
    [X]: Non-crappy button layout OR no hardware buttons at all
    [ ]: A camera that doesn’t suck
    [ ]: Other samsung pros I’m forgetting.
    [ ]: CPU, GPU, & RAM as good or better than the flagship competition
    [ ]: Priced competitively off-contract (and not only during Black Friday sellout deals)

    The only thing I really like about the MotoX presently is its always-listening feature, and relatively nice build quality (for a smaller phone).

  • gojags!

    Some of the only things holding me back from not buying anything other then Samsung is that I want a removable battery, I know these battery’s have a life span and degrade over time, its always nice knowing I can buy a new battery if I notice my battery’s health isn’t what it was when I first bought my device… And of course a micro SD slot for expandable storage, I’m in the navy and we dont have WiFi/cloud services in the middle of the ocean… Lol hopefully we see 64GB internal storage be the norm this year. I’m obsessed with getting fast updates also, that’s why I opted for the galaxy s4 gpe, even though its not that big of an issue as it was 2 or 3 years ago because I really haven’t seen a big difference between jelly bean and kitkat other then the cool emoticons I use while I text lol. Only gripe I have with Samsung is the build quality, though I always put my devices in cases anyways…. I think they are going to work on this with the s5. My last Motorola was the the cliq lol I remember I waited forever for the eclair update so I can use GPS! Its nice to see what motorola is doing now and I have recommended the x and g to alot of friends.

  • Hash

    No need for removable batteries. No need for SD any more.

    99% don’t need these.
    Cloud storage and battery extenders

    • Babs Oyed

      Speak for yourself

    • Keith

      You’re right, most people don’t need those things but it seems the loudest people are usually the ones who do. Of course online and in the comments sections you’ll get a different user than the average type of person who just has a smartphone and doesn’t know every detail about it and probably doesn’t care either.
      Unfortunately not everyone is capable of looking at things in a different perspective though.

  • Tim B.

    Still need SD cards and replaceable batteries. Bulky battery extenders are annoyingly large and cloud storage IS NOT AN OPTION if you have a dataplan which is not unlimited.

    • Big_EZ

      I have unlimitedand iit’sstill not an option. I hate it when I’m listening to music and it has to buffer, or just stops because of weak data signal.

  • Alu Zeros

    Moto should just be the new Nexus line

    • AbbyZFresh

      The Nexus line is to showcase how the full-capabilities of Android under the latest specs possible of the time.

      Motorola’s purpose is to simplify that to efficiency and user experience in the way Apple does to its iPhone users.

  • InspectorGadget80

    YES I WOULD. but Motorola must make a 64GB version if possible on the phone other wise I’ll wait till their next two gen X PHONES. Since I now own a Z1.

    • Big_EZ

      64 gb minimum internal storage, or 32 GB and a microSD slot.

  • CerealFTW

    I would if they improved hardware. I hate buying new phones that don’t have the best hardware at the time because I like to hold on to it for around 2 years

  • Jenny Nolan


    ♝♝♝ ♝♝♝♝♝ ♝♝ᜟ♝♝ ♝♝♝ ♝♝ᜑ♝♝We want them to say Motorola stands for quality and value.

  • Truffol

    Yes! Motorola’s advantages of being owned by Google: quick Android updates and low prices since Google isn’t trying to make money with them but to dominate market share

    • maysider

      this subsidizing can hurt the Android market so the manufacturers will tend to switch platforms (Tizen, WebOS, Firefox OS)

      “Samsung Tizen smartphone to launch in March?”

      Google owes Samsung about 50 % market share so they should be more polite and cooperate with Samsung more….. dont be evil Google to your allies!

  • red_ghost7

    “That said, they still do use a great deal of custom software in their latest phones, ” — ALL custom software are market upgradable. Fast OS upgrades. Simple answer.

  • jgemberton

    Faster updates, better build quality, and higher quality components (chips, radios, antennas, and speakers) are my reason for going with Motorola. I no longer care how pretty, thin, or “spec-ed out” a phone is if it can’t perform well in all aspects. Right now, Motorola is doing things right in my opinion.

  • dhinged

    I don’t know, I just got an update to my Razr, and it runs slow and buggy now.

  • Robabobbob

    Yes, if it was a nice phone, no if it’s poop. Also it depends what early access means, I don’t want to buy a device to be an alpha tester so I assume early would mean exclusivity for a month or two.

  • Orion

    Of course I would buy a moto. Make it a phablet and I’m all over it.

  • tomn1ce

    I said yes on the poll..but if Moto continues what they started with the Moto X I wouldn’t mind waiting a month or two for the updates so they can get it right. Most of their core apps are in the Play Store anyway and they can update them through there without having to wait for the carriers to approve the OS updates…

  • R_Fact

    My Motorola Atrix was a great phone, but Motorola refused to upgrade its OS even though they had promised to do so. I just got an upgrade from 4.2 to 4.3 for my current phone. I have not noticed any differences, nor is it reasonable to expect much, and if there is one in the UI, it is likely to be something I do not care for much, or proves to be a step down (think the old Google Maps with labs versus the new Google Maps…). So in this sense, who cares about early upgrades. If I were to buy a Motorola phone again, I would buy it for its Motorola hardware.

  • Barry D.

    After the 4.3 update mess on my S3 and my HTC One having the screen start to fall out (good build quality my ass) I plan on trying Motorola next.

    • JRomeo

      why not try the best and easiest way to get android updates….. get a Nexus.

      • Barry D.

        I very well may.

  • Da Fuq

    How about you finally release the update for the RAZR i???