Unfortunately, Motorola has decided to leave a gaping hole in their Android device offensive. Motoblur is a great technology. I have a Cliq/Dext and I love how when I press menu something happens in less than a minute. However, I don’t like the fact that even G1s have a later version of Android than me. Also, I have heard that Android 2.0 solves a lot of the problems that I had with Android 1.X. However, I have no way of knowing that because Motorola has chosen to have the Droid be the only “Google experience” Android device. What this leaves for users like me is frankly unclear. As a developer, I know it will take at least 3 months for integration work for a new Android platform to take place before they can do an update for my phone. However, its been more than 3 months since Donut and no OTA from Motorola. This could mean one of many things
1. Motorola has slow developers or they had a problem updating Motoblur to 1.6.
2. Motorola has no intention of doing incremental updates and is working on an Eclair 2.0/2.1 update around February timeframe.
3. Motorola is still using the old phone development model and is going to wait a year before they come out with a version .1 of the Cliq and do an update for all devices then.
Of all these possibilities I hope it isn’t 3. This would indicate that Motorola’s Jha may be missing the market. The pace at which things change is quickening for everyone. I can see how it is hard to appreciate that users would be impatient with a device that isn’t updating every 6 months when people used to keep phones for 3-5 years with no update. However, this is a critical failing. Bluntly, customers want the latest and greatest and they want it for free. This is actually why the on-line pornography business is going to implode. Any sector that had its hopes set on a stagnant market with the same customer demand for years in software is going to die out. Google is demonstrating this to the world everyday. If you don’t accept the Goggle model of continuous, free updates then you are dead in the water as someone else will. That someone else will have your customers the next time you are late with an update. Every day there are thousands of competitors out there looking at your products and business model and trying to see how to “Googlefy” it. That is
1. Create a better user experience for it that is as easy to use as Google search.
2. Make use of more data that is “smarter” about how it does things than your software is.
3. Come up with releases as frequently as they can
4. Provide it with no costs or at the most a low subscription model (And even subscription models are disappearing as well)
What these means for companies like Motorola is actually pretty devastating in the long run. The only way to beat Google is to do like Google and hope that you can still bring in revenue in a fashion similar as possible to your current revenue schemes. Not everyone can offer it for free, but, if you provide 3 out of the 4 things I called “Googlefying” then you stand some chance of a long term strategy. To be fair, Google hasn’t quite figured out a revenue scheme for all the products it creates, so you may actually be beating them to the game there.
Hopefully, Motorola is working on a 2.0/2.1 release that will probably be a minimal version of Motoblur since Eclair includes so many of the features of Motoblur. If not, I will likely keep my phone for at least another year, but, to be honest I won’t be able to afford to keep an outdated device for much longer than that.