Jul 22nd, 2016

After presenting our own review of the Moto Z Droid, we naturally sought out others to see what the general consensus on this phone was. One of the common themes we came across in a few reviews was the uncertainty of software updates from Motorola and how that might impact the phone’s value down the line.

This point echoed louder than mostly anything else considering what has happened within the past few days. Motorola had finally released a security patch for the Moto X Pure Edition after 3 months of not having received one. The kicker is that the new patch only brought the device up to the May security patches, meaning it’s still 3 months behind the curve.

Moto Z Droid 2

Oh, and this page — with its whopping one security update bulletin for their (then) most recent flagship — is very depressing, too. Top it all off with the fact that Moto Z review units shipped with the May security patch, and suddenly those concerns sounded very valid.

But most of it was just cautionary speculation, until Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo posted his review noting, for a fact, that the Moto Z would not receive monthly security updates, and even attributed that to a Motorola statement.

The new Motorola has a terrible policy when it comes to software updates. Motorola has stated the Moto Z will not be receiving Android’s monthly security updates. Since the shipping version only contains the May security patch, Motorola will be shipping an insecure phone right off the bat. There’s a whole list of known vulnerabilities for June and July, most of which the Moto Z will be susceptible to. This is completely unacceptable for devices costing $600 and $700.

Motorola logoThis simply doesn’t sound good. Fast forward to today, and Motorola doesn’t seem to be making things any better. The company has decided to come out with a statement regarding the claims, and while they would like you to believe that the claims were completely inaccurate:

Moto Z and Moto Z Force will be supported with patches from Android Security Bulletins. They will receive an update shortly after launch with additional patches.

We’re going to believe otherwise. Ron’s initial claim was that Motorola wouldn’t be shipping out “monthly” security updates, and while the language may have been confused on one side or the other, Motorola’s response seems to validate the initial claims as technically (and linguistically) accurate. That’s the issue here.

Motorola says the Moto Z phones will be supported with security patches, but they don’t mention how up-to-date they will be, nor do they mention how often we’ll get them. The word “monthly” is conveniently absent here.

So, we’re still faced with the same dilemma — is the Moto Z going to be neglected for months at a time as yesteryear’s flagships currently are? Why can’t Motorola commit to monthly updates? Why are they dancing around a very important issue that could affect the sales of their smartphones?

To be honest, those who know and care about the issue are likely a very small minority compared to the common consumer who couldn’t care less what version they’re on or which security patch they have. But that doesn’t mean it’s right to ignore those who do care, and we’re sincerely hoping Motorola isn’t simply brushing this issue off in light of that reality.