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5 min read 54 Shares 19 comments

Motorola's big stumbles of 2017

Motorola is a huge and important brand in the smartphone industry, and that just makes its hiccups all the more apparent and open to criticism. So, let’s take a look at how it has stumbled in 2017. 

Products launched without software updates

When you buy a phone and it ends up only getting one update, it's a huge disappointment, because it means that it becomes obsolete after only just a short while. Motorola takes this to the next level by launching devices that will never be upgraded.

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The Moto E4 Plus was launched in 2017, and there's no plan to update to Oreo. / © AndroidPIT

The Moto C Plus, Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus were released in 2017. Even with the announcement of Android Oreo 8.0 a few months after that, these devices were left off Motorola’s official list of updates.

Inconsistent update schedule

Here we find Motorola's second trip up. When the Motorola Moto G4 Plus was launched last year, the company reported that the update to Android O (the name at the time) was a guarantee. However, this year, when the company released its list of confirmed updates the G4 Plus was nowhere to be found.

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Moto G4 Plus almost didn’t get an update. / © ANDROIDPIT

Needless to say, people weren’t thrilled. After all, this was a mid-range device which costs about $250, and many people bought it just because of the company's promise to update it. In the end, the company had to backtrack and include the G4 Plus on its update schedule. However, it has emphasized that it’s not sure when that will happen exactly.

This has left a lot of users with the uncertainty of not knowing if the device they’ve bought will ever be updated, and may even be steering potential buyers away from it.

The system isn’t as pure as it used to be

One of the most significant differences in Motorola products from the launch of its first, beloved Moto X is the almost-pure Android system. At that time, it won over a ton of users (myself included), and the closer you were to a pure system the lighter it was. It offered fewer features and it was easier to handle than what the other big brands were offering.

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Moto X4 has one of the companies most modified interfaces. / © AndroidPIT

As time went by, the pressure from Lenovo was mounting. Simple things like native app icons were changed, and, as a whole, Motorola’s special features have been increasingly integrated into the interface.

Anyone who enjoys a cleaner, near-stock experience no longer gets that with this brand. However, I think it’s only natural that over time the system evolves and branches out from pure Android. The Pixel phones pretty much have pure Android on lockdown as well.

The Moto Mods are so expensive

Motorola was the only company to introduce a viable and practical modular phone solution. Its Moto Mods, with the magnetic connection on the back, are a fantastic idea. There are even different types of Mods, bringing with them various features and decorations for compatible devices.

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Moto Mods can get expensive. / © AndroidPIT

There are a wide range of Mods available, including multiple external battery models. There are even Mods that work with Alexa, others that give you the ability to wirelessly charge your phone and a plethora of style shells that let you change your phone's look. Some of the coolest Mods are the projector, the 360º camera and the gamepad. Unfortunately, they’re really expensive. The projector, for example, sells for $300. So, even though there are so many really enticing options offered, it's not practical for the average user to buy all the ones they would want. These phones are capable of so much, but because of the price, most users won't be able to see them live up to their potential.

But there are a lot of wins as well

This article wasn’t intended to throw Motorola under the bus. I’ve never done that to any brand, and I don’t plan to start now. The idea was to point out to Motorola that there are some things they should avoid in 2018.

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Moto Z2 Play is a huge success. / © AndroidPIT

The company did make a lot of good decisions as well. Motorola promised to maintain Mod compatibility on its 2017 line, and it did. It has also launched new power packs and the new JBL speaker Mod. It nailed it with the Moto Z2 Play, and the Moto G5 is an excellent device for its price.

The Moto Z2 Force was launched with 6 GB of RAM, which I thought was a spot-on decision. It brought the company up to an even playing field with other brands' top-of-the-line phones. This is something that hasn’t happened in a while. Plus, despite how expensive they are, the video game and 360º camera Mods are really cool.

Even though it’s continuously changing the Android system, Moto has brought some impressive new features, like Moto Key to manage logins, a Moto Voice update (which had died) and it brought back the Moto X.

Companies make mistakes and they make good decisions. It’s our job to help them along the way: AndroidPIT on the reporting side, and you guys on the side of deciding whether to buy their products or not.

What do you think were Motorola's good or bad decisions this year? Discuss with us in the comments! And, if you have a Moto, tell us what you think of the device.

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  • I have a z force Droid and it is the worst phone I have ever owned. It shuts off when ever it wants to Bluetooth doesn't work WiFi doesn't stay connected. I have had Motorola phones ever since the bag phone. This is the most expensive phone that I have ever had and it is by far the worst one.


  • I find it pretty sad every year Lenovo states much improved camera. If this a true statement then why did they remove OIS with the camera? It makes no sense to me!


  • Well I have a z force Droid and the Bluetooth quit working. Nobody seem to know how to fix it. I believe it all started after the last system update. Now I can't use my phone while driving.verizon has had me do everything but factory reset which I won't do. Pay 700 dollars for a phone that can't make 2 years without something not working. Battery doesn't seem to last long. It used to be my screen using most of my battery now it Android.


  • I got the Z2 Force after my original Z Force blue screened. I think some of the criticism in the review are fair. But I think some are overblown too. I think the Z2 is a great phone. I like the form factor, the aluminum body and shattershield. The battery performance is better with the new Z2 despite a smaller battery compared to the Z. Good application of the new Snapdragon processor makes it efficient. Never gets hot. For work I have Galaxy S8. I prefer the Z2 overall. The Galaxy S8 is a really neat phone with some cool Samsung touches, and it is water resistant to 5' deep for up to 30 minutes. If you are constantly dropping phones in water, go with Samsung S8. If you're dropping your phone on concrete, Motorola. Or you can get a case. You can't go wrong with either, and the Moto is a great phone regardless of the Mods.


  • RHV4 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    Many things I like about Motorola, But for me to buy back into the brand I need to be offered their full menu. I can not understand why the Z force, or the Z2 force are not accessible in Canada. Well not if I want any kind of warranty. Ya I could buy from best buy a go down an pick it up, I may as well risk it and order AliExpress.


  • 2nd gen Moto X still a daily driver for nearly 3 yrs.. it's simple and very reliable,
    stuck on marshmallow
    but a long way from being "obsolete" because the software's not updated..
    cant believe you're saying that no updates means obsolete, cos that's millions of android users who's device's are what .."obsolete"?
    not too keen on Lenovo.. but Motorola's Moto display is the perfect example of intelligent and we'll optimized integrated hardware and software that really improves on stock android UX
    it's still the most frugal always on display I've had the pleasure of using..
    with Cell, wi fi, Moto display/voice all switched on overnight 10hrs, average battery use 4% - 6%...


  • I kinda disagree with the article on a couple of the points, but especially about the operating systems "android purity". I think that the system is still basically stock, with the few exceptions being Motorola's best features. I have the Moto Z Force Droid, which follows the turbo 2, and Droid Maxx, etc etc. You get the picture. I think Motorola is the best phone system (all things considered) out there, and I can't believe more people don't realize that. It's an easy decision for me every time that I go to upgrade. I try the Samsung models, Apple, LG, Sony, etc, but never understand what the hell everyone sees in any of them! I am using (for the first time EVER) a new launcher on my phone now, and not because I don't like Motorola's stock launcher, just for something different. And it's the new Microsoft launcher for Android, which is BADASS for sure. But I regress. Motorola makes the best phones year after year, thru ownership after ownership, and that's a reality that seems obvious to me. When will the rest of the world catch up ?? It would be nice to be able to get a damn aftermarket car for my phone at Walmart for Christ sakes. I phone and Galaxy aren't the only phones out there Mr Walton. Thank God for small miracles, I say. Don't forget that the Shattershield, the mod system, the damn cellphone itself, amongst many other developments came from Motorola. Good job guys (Motorola), keep up the great work.


    • Right on! Moto Z2 play user that purchased and stopped using the Pixel XL and LG V30 only to return to Moto. They are great phone but Moto is so much more user friendly. I keep my JBL mod on all the time and use it with a belt clip. One button nav is amazing. Great job Motorola.


  • Zac S. 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    Love Moto phones, but from here out...not sure if I'll buy again. The simple fact is one update is not enough, while they pull an Apple and release S models with slight "upgrades".


  • Good article, it seemed they were making bad decisions constantly. Models of phones with different specs in different areas of the world. Gimicky mods, so overpriced that no one bought them, then gave them away by offering"free" with over priced phones. No nfc, then saying it was not needed in the USA. They have the ability to build great phones, but the marketing decisions are juvenile and heading the company for disaster.


  • Motorola keep trying to compete with the top lads, but it's not themselves who are in charge of the Full running of the company, as Lenova who are the leaders and make the decisions what they produce or support, so with no updates for the Motorola phones, is showing that Lenova Is acting like Microsoft did with Nokia, they are just using the old phone makers name to get them competiting more with Apple or Google and Samsung, Microsoft down graded Nokia by using software that couldn't match the phone quality by Nokia and was like,, miles behind Android, so hope Lenova do not do the same with Motorola,Why are other companies allowed to overtake them when they do not fully support what they produce?


  • First of all, it is a hugely worsely researched post. Whoever the writer is, shame on you...!
    What do you mean when you say "The system isn’t as pure as it used to be"..?
    Moto's interface is truly the stock android experience and it's the best. Coupled with Moto actions it makes moto experience the best. No one can question on that...!
    I have been using mot Moto Z Play for nearly a year and I am loving it more and more.
    It's never been better. I use two sim cards, one 64GB microSD. And guess what, the storage is almost full all the time. This is coupled with tons of apps and games installed. But yet, my phone has No lag issues. It is just as smooth as new and is getting better with every update.

    Other Moto users of newer G or E series can wait. Updates will be provided to you in the second batch.


  • Jim C. 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I've had a z2 force for a month now. It's my 1st moto phone. Bought it after smashing my galaxy s7. Took a bit of getting use to but I'm now really loving the near pure android supported by the Moto app. It is so fast and smooth. I do miss the great low light camera of the s7. Don't like chrome but downloaded Samsung Internet beta. Happy days. I'm in UK so I have 6gb of ram 64gb of storage. I also added an Incipio bumper case which fits OK with my battery mod.


  • I bought a Motorola G5 Plus and the speaker is WAY TOO QUIET! I ended up selling it and took a chance on the Moto G5S Plus and was glad I did. It's basically the G5 Plus with a larger screen and the speaker is on the bottom of the phone now and it is VERY LOUD! I am glad I got this G5S Plus and sold the G5 Plus. Motorola's naming schemes for their phones are kind of dumb as you can see but I love this phone.


  • Randy M 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    Trending article what's that supposed to mean? This only had 1 comment when I read it. This is a poorly researched story at best! Mods are expensive yes but Motorola has and still is giving away a free Moto projector mod. Or is bundling the battery Mod and the JBL Speaker Mod with the phone here in. Mexico. Also Moto has promised 3 years of a mod capable Z series phone the 2017 is the 2nd year hence Moto Z force 2. The amount of RAM in the US version of my Moto z force 2 is only 4 GB but it performs way better than a Galaxy S8 Of the same specs because it has far less bloatware and no TouchWiz OS


  • S V 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I love my moto z2 force , it has been smoother and faster than any galaxy phone ive had, i have most mods too, i buy them used


  • Xil 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    the Moto X 1st gen was my first followed by the 3rd gen but in less than a year i finally broke up with Lenovo/Motorola over lack of (especially security) updates. so, no more hello Moto. instead, it's bye bye Moto, hello Pixel (2).


  • Dave S 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I bought the Moto G4 Plus and regardless wether or not I get the Android O update I am extremely happy I did


    • As a previous owner of the original turbo &turbo2 plus the Zforce I'm very disappointed in Lenovo. Removing OIS on the force!

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