Thanks for Nothing, Motorola

When I decided to buy my first tablet computer, I played around with the available machines and settled on the Motorola Xoom ‘Family Edition,’ or mz505. Android devices were the best option since I already had an Android phone and would have a big head-start on apps. The mz505 seemed to be the best balance of performance and price among Android tablets at the time—mid $300’s and enough horsepower to avoid any lagginess. Most importantly, Motorola had made an explicit promise that the mz505—then running Android 3.1—would soon be upgraded to the new and improved Android 4.

That was in January 2012, and Android 4 was already three months old. Motorola had implied (though hadn’t promised) that the update would come in the first quarter—before the end of March. When they eventually announced their upgrade schedule, I was disappointed to find that the mz505 was scheduled for upgrade in the second quarter—which ended this past Saturday. But a month or so ago, Motorola updated their schedule and moved the mz505 upgrade to third quarter—by the end of September. That will be almost a year after Android 4 came out. Thanks for nothing, Motorola.

Motorola’s miserable failure to provide a basic level of software update support for their products is inexcusable, especially since they promised that support for the mz505 before I bought it. I plan to stick with the Android operating system for now, but from now on I will only buy Google’s flagship ‘Nexus’ devices. They are all-but guaranteed to get timely software updates for as long as the hardware can handle them. I’m tired of being artificially locked out of the new features, bigfixes, and improvements of my chosen platform.

For my phone, a Motorola Droid 2 Global that has also been artificially blocked from updates, I’m not eligible for an affordable upgrade until the end of the year. But Google, partnering with Asus, has announced their own Nexus tablet: the Nexus 7. It is a seven inch tablet that ships with Android 4.1, and it costs only two hundred dollars. I ordered one on the day it was announced, and as soon as it arrives my mz505 goes up on eBay. Maybe it’ll get the Android 4 update someday . . . if Motorola ever awakens from their stupor. I wouldn’t count on it though. It’s bad policy to trust liars.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.