Dear Motorola,

The announcement of the 2013 Moto G in December 2013 brought with it the promise of a low to midrange handset that ran stock Android, was of exceptional build quality for the price, was reliable, and was always updated with the latest security fixes and Android versions. It was indeed a breath of fresh air to a market that, at the time, was in dire need of high quality low to mid range handsets.

I purchased my 2013 16 GB Moto G (XT1034) in Sept 2014, and I have enjoyed this phone immensely. In fact, it has been one of the best and most durable phones that I have ever owned. I purchased the 2013 model instead of the 2014 model because I could get the 16 GB 2013 model on Amazon for the same price as the 8 GB 2014 model. I have always preferred native storage over SD card storage for Android devices, and as such, the more native storage the better. I also favored the smaller size of the 2013 Moto G, and I preferred the higher pixel density that the 2013 offered over the 2014 model. However, the clincher in my decision was that the 2014 and the 2013 appeared to have the same GPU, the same CPU, and the same 1 GB RAM.

I have been seriously impressed by my little Moto G, and I have recommended the Moto G (along with other Moto phones) to friends and family. Being that I am the resident phone geek in many of my circles of friends, I often get asked for product recommendations, and any time anyone would ask me what type of phone to get, I would most always recommend a Moto G, X or E, depending on the budget of the person asking. I would explain to them that Motorola phones bore the closest resemblance to Nexus devices. I would also explain that Moto phones had truly useful ad-ons, they looked great, were customizable, and the build quality of the devices was fantastic for the money. In addition, I would explain that non-carrier locked Moto phones seemed to always receive timely operating system updates, and I even appreciated the fact Moto held off on Lollipop for the Moto G until the memory leakage issues could be resolved. Additionally, as a member of the Motorola Feedback Network, I appreciated the fact that the Stage Fright vulnerabilities were remediated quickly. In fact, I was seriously thinking about going ahead and replacing my Moto G with the 2015 model with 2 GB RAM. Not any more. Unless Motorola changes course, no longer will I recommend Motorola devices, and I plan to get a Nexus 5x to replace my Moto G, once the screen on my Moto G finally dies.

Why? As you may have guessed, my sudden change of heart about Motorola is the direct result of the recent decision not to upgrade the 2013 Moto X, 2013 Moto G and any of the Moto E devices to Android 6.0. Why would Motorola make this decision? It clearly has generated bad press and ill will towards the company at a time when the competition among device makers is tougher than ever. Was the decision ultimately about the financial bottom line? Was the decision because of some sort of technical limitation? No matter the reason, the end result is bad for consumers. Please understand, my frustration with Motorola is not necessarily about having the latest and greatest operating system. Fortunately, one of the really cool things about Android is that because of the Google Play Store and Play Services, most apps that need to be constantly updated for security purposes, like Chrome, are always kept up to date. As such, I am fine running an older version of Android. However, as you know, there are many security vulnerabilities for Android that Play Services cannot fix through the Play Store, that have to be pushed as an OS update. The latest round of Stage Fright issues is a prime example. It goes without saying that the smart phone, and not the PC, is actually the hub of people's digital lives. People store an ever increasing amount of sensitive data on their devices. As such, Motorola, I implore you for the sake of the security of your customer's sensitive data to please reconsider providing the Marshmallow update to the 2013 Moto X, 2013 Moto G and all of the Moto E devices. If Marshmallow is really not in the cards, please continue to provide security patches to your older devices, as not everyone upgrades to a new device every one to two years.

In an effort to be constructive, I would like to offer up a few ideas. For starters, commit to a monthly security patch routine. While I understand that some of your devices are at the mercy of the carriers for updates, a majority of your more popular devices are not. For the phones that you can directly update, please commit to at least a monthly patching cycle, and please make it more than just empty words. While I understand that patches require developer resources and testing resources, the fact that the Moto X, G and E phones run basically stock Android should work in your favor. Google is now releasing monthly patches, which should make things easier on your developers. You could also leverage the Motorola Feedback Network even more for testing. If the folks at Cyanogen can get this right, I am certain you can too.

Please do the right thing for yourself and your customers before it is too late.


— Steve

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