Then we come to Motorola, which even on its most recent flagship – the 2022 Edge+ – is only offering two major OS updates and three years of bi-monthly security patches. And if you move down to its more affordable handsets, things get even worse. The newly announced Moto G Stylus 5G and Moto G 5G, for instance, will only get a single OS upgrade. This isn’t a one-off situation either, because during a briefing about those phones, a Motorola representative confirmed that the general policy for the entire G family typically only covers one major Android OS update.
Even worse is that, during the same briefing, a Motorola exec seemed to be making an excuse for the poor update policy by recounting a conversation they had with a car service driver. The driver owned a Moto G device and lamented that their device seemed like it was constantly prompting them to install some sort of update. Now I can certainly empathize, sometimes it feels like everything you own constantly needs to be patched. But that’s not a good reason to drop support for a gadget after a year or two. If an owner doesn’t want to install an update for whatever reason, that’s their choice, but they should at least have the option.
Perhaps my biggest concern about Motorola’s direction is a general lack of innovation and support for basic features. Take for example the Moto G Stylus, which doesn’t have NFC. I mean come on, it’s 2022. Basically every place supports some sort of contactless payment nowadays, which requires NFC. But if you buy a budget Moto phone, too bad. And it’s not just the Moto G Stylus, because the Moto G 5G announced this week doesn’t have NFC either. The company also routinely fails to equip its handsets with substantial water resistance, often doing just enough to protect against splashes but falling far short of the IP67 or IP68 ratings you get on competing devices.
The sad thing is that it doesn’t have to be like this. There are a number of things I still appreciate about Moto devices. They have near stock builds of Android and Moto Action gestures like double chopping to turn on a phone’s flashlight are often quite handy. But those small perks are easily overshadowed by the concerning trend of too many rehashes while returning too little value.