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Hey Moto, how does it take 9 months to roll out Android Nougat?

Motorola Germany has said the Nougat update for the Moto X family will be delayed until May: nine months after it first arrived. How is this even possible?

Published onFebruary 2, 2017

We all have a love/hate relationship with updates. We want them fast, but when they arrive broken, we’re mad. We want them polished, but when they take too long, we’re sad. We can all agree there’s a sweet spot where we’re OK with an update taking a while as long as it arrives stable, functional and within a reasonable amount of time. So it’s no wonder folks are flaming up about Moto Germany’s recent tweet delaying the Nougat update for the Moto X family until May 2017: nine whole months after Android 7.0 first appeared.

OEMs need to stop promising updates they can't deliver

Now, it has to be acknowledged that the Moto X family is no longer Moto’s flagship line – that crown passed to the Moto Z family a while back. But Moto Germany also tweeted to admit the Moto Z Play update would also be delayed until March (two days after saying it was ready). Some other parts of Europe are already getting the update but Verizon’s Moto Z Play update is also delayed until March. Even the Moto G4 update has been delayed until February in Germany.

Leider verzögert sich das Rollout des Android 7 Updates für die Moto X Serie voraussichtlich bis Mai. Wir bitten um eure Geduld.
— Moto Deutschland (@Moto_GER) February 1, 2017

The reason these delays are so obnoxious is that Motorola has one of the most stock-like manufacturer skins of all, and the Moto X Pure Edition is so close to stock Nougat it’s not funny. And yet, Motorola, under Lenovo’s ownership, now seems incapable of rolling out Nougat in anything even resembling a timely manner. Even for the Moto X Pure Edition, which is still waiting.

According to some appearances on GFXBench, when the Moto X Style – or Pure Edition in the U.S. – does finally get the update, it might be to Android 7.1.1 which was released on December 5, 2016. But in the Moto Z Play delay comments, Moto Germany confirmed that device will updated to Android 7.0, not to 7.1.1. If the Moto X family follows suit, it will be nine months to get to 7.0 (or five months to get to 7.1.1). Taking anywhere near this long to essentially roll out stock with a few Moto apps and tweaks on top is nothing short of appalling.

Comments on Moto Germany’s announcement tweet are unsurprisingly hostile, especially in response to the company’s continued claims that Moto wants to “provide the best software for our users. Unfortunately that takes some extra time”. Sure, that may be the case, but practically every other other manufacturer has already rolled out Nougat updates with much heavier skins than Moto’s.

@Coolkingler1 We’re very sad to hear that, Said, and hope we can reconvince you with a very user -friendly version of Android 7
— Moto Deutschland (@Moto_GER) February 1, 2017

It wasn’t all that long ago that Motorola beat even Nexus devices to the most recent Android update. So if the second generation Moto G was capable of beating the Nexus 5 to Android Lollipop two years ago, how can Moto Germany possibly need nine months to achieve the same thing? The only answer seems to be that, short of some mass developer exodus, Motorola no longer prioritizes Android updates like they once did.

Even with the Marshmallow update, the Moto X Style got Marshmallow just five weeks after the update rolled out to Nexus devices and the Moto X Pure Edition was the first U.S. device to get the update less than a month later. This all happened a full year after Lenovo acquired Motorola, so what’s changed in the last year?

Lenovo misjudged what it would take to revive the Moto brand

Android Nougat does seem to have presented a lot of issues for OEMs trying to get the update out, with multiple delays, sudden rollout halts and bugs aplenty. But can it really be that radically different than previous Android releases? Maybe, but if that was the case it shouldn’t be too much to expect an OEM to throw additional resources at the problem. Again, plenty of manufacturers have managed just fine.

Moto’s restructuring under Lenovo, the issues Lenovo has had with the brand and Chinese New Year all may have a part to play, we just don’t know. It may take a while to get to the bottom of this bizarre situation, but rest assured, the more voices that are raised in objection to poor customer service like this, the greater the chance OEMs will do things differently next time. So even if you’re not waiting on the German update, go hit that comments section and let Moto know this is not OK.

What’s the longest you’ve had to wait for an update? Do you consider update performance when buying a new phone?

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