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Is the Nexus Program Bad for Android? [Opinion]

Last week Motorola went on the record to blame Google’s Nexus program for the delay in software updates on its devices. A device manufacturer trying to explain why software updates are delayed is nothing new, but a device manufacturer that was recently purchased by the its software supplier blaming it’s new owner caught my eye. It’s possible that Motorola was trying to give the impression that things really won’t change much once the purchase is complete or that Motorola wants public pressure to support their devices getting preferential treatment from Google; we’ll never know for sure. Regardless, I think it raised some questions about Google’s Nexus strategy and whether or not it has been good for Android as a whole. 

Many of us are somewhat familiar with the development process for creating a ROM for a device. When a new version of Android is released, developers get to work porting the latest version over to different devices. One of the obstacles in making a bug-free, stable ROM is using hardware drivers to run well in the new version. Motorola claims that it’s software updates are delayed because the source code released for Android is built only for the Nexus hardware, so Android manufacturers have to develop new drivers for their hardware that work with the new operating system. The process is similar to when PC manufacturers release new drivers for a computer when a new version of Windows is released. The difference is, when Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, they work with manufacturers before the release to ensure that systems that ran the previous version will be upgradable. Google only partners with the manufacturer who won the Nexus bid to develop drivers, meaning the source code is designed explicitly for that device.

The question is, should Google be working with all of its hardware partners to ensure that when a new version of Android drops they all have device drivers? Motorola also listed carrier approval for new software and developing their custom software that runs on top of Android as obstacles in releasing new software, but the former is out of their control (though Apple seems to be able to get approval rather easily) and the latter is apparently essential to being competitive in the market. If Google worked with device manufacturers to ensure that updates were more easily rolled out it would help manufacturers keep their customers happy and help Google fight OS fragmentation and achieve their goal of getting everyone on the latest build of Android.

If Google began to work with it’s OEMs to get drivers on all devices prior to the latest release of Android, several things would have to change. First, manufacturers would probably have to either limit the number of devices they release in a year or only work with Google on a select number of devices. It would also require a massive amount of coordination between Google and the OEMs, but it’s not like Google has a shortage of cash. Perhaps Google could charge the OEMs to be a part of the Nexus program, which would enable them to have access to the source code along with the chosen Nexus partner. If they allowed other OEMs to access the source code early for a fee it would certainly deal with the fear that Google needs to start charging for their operating system to compete with Apple.

Some might argue that Google can’t give non-Nexus partners access to the source code earlier because it would defeat the purpose of the Nexus program. I think that line of reasoning is wrong for three reasons. First, very few vanilla Android devices are released every year. Android OEMs believe that the software experiences that they offer are superior to vanilla Android. If they thought otherwise then we wouldn’t have Sense, MotoBlur, or TouchWiz. Second, the Nexus device would still be the first device to receive OS and Google App updates due to the lack of an additional software layer. Third, Nexus devices have not sold well historically. They’ve always been about showcasing what Google thinks Android should look like and how it should work, not sales numbers.

If Google is serious about getting everyone on ICS I think this is the sort of thing they’ll have to pursue. I don’t know how else they would pursue that goal. If the company that Google just purchased is complaining about a lack of support from Google in developing device drivers for Android, then it’s a problem for all OEMs. This sort of approach would help Google deal with the lousy update schedule for most Android devices while avoiding pursuing Microsoft’s approach of restricting what hardware OEMs can use. I don’t think the Nexus program has been bad for Android, but I think it would do a lot more good if all OEMs were given access to the source code as Google partners with one manufacturer to make the Nexus device.

  • 1TallTXn

    Moto is notoriously slow about releasing updates. Yet other OEMs, even with their own skins, manage to release updates at a much faster pace.
    Seems like the problem lies with Moto.
    Yes, Google should work to have as many OEMs getting the latest version as quickly as possible, but Moto needs to get off their duff and get the updates done.
    Test on Nexus line for a short period. Fix errors, then release to the general Android population.

  • The Nexus program gives us all access to a pure Android OS. Not The molested and over weight versions the carriers and phone manufactures offer up. It really has nothing to do with device drivers or any such nonsense. Stop over thinking the issue people. The carriers and the phone manufactures want everything done for them. Do you think Microsoft has the manufactures interest at the top of there list when working on a new OS. Nope it’s an after thought. If they did there would never be a new version of Windows released so close together. Same goes for Android OS. If Google catered to all the carriers and manufactures there would rarely be any improvements in Android. Everyone would suffer including those who root.  If you decide to make a device and put Android OS on that device don’t call mommy and ask for help to go to the bathroom. Pull your pants down and get the job done. Google has already done the work of creating and OS, that is why the Nexus program is so successful.Stop putting all the blame on Google and focus it where it belongs. All of those to lazy to make there own drivers for their own devices. 

  • SecurityNick

    One issue though is that a lot of these hardware manufacturers are not exclusively using Android.  Why would Google want to give them an advantage if they aren’t willing to solely devote their smart phone OS use to Google?  I’m not saying that they should, there’s a market for others out there, but it wouldn’t make good business since for Google to devote resources to hardware manufacturers that aren’t willing to dedicate or give up on their end.  I think that the Nexus program is fine as is.  If the problems that Moto claimed are true, then really all Google needs to do is list minimum hardware specs and let the hardware manufacturers pick their components and write drivers.  It’s actually fairly new (with ICS) that Google hasn’t included drivers for other models besides the Nexus build.  This was one of the big changes they made..and why people like the CM team are having to work harder to make builds for various devices.  So having said that, I think the Moto claim isn’t true for how updates got held back in the past.  

  • jdrch

    No, it isn’t. Motorola’s locked bootloaders are bad for Android. 

  • Monty Waggoner

    I agree, especially if we could have a shared /home partition, or something similar to share apps and data between them.

  • Cisco

    When I had my OG droid n droid incredible, I hated waiting for the next best thing which was months after it was released. ROMs were the next best thing, but developers for both android and iOS aren’t as good as the ones working at google apple and thus ROMing is very hit or miss and unreliable

    Solution: go the apple way and have strict restrictions on hardware and software skins or even have there own developer kit to make skins instead of letting devs do subpar halfass solutions

    • JackA$$

      this comment makes me want to take your android phone away

  • Rain_king46

    Nexus isnt bad for Android, Samsung is bad for android. My advice for Google would be hold off on Nexus until you own Moto and can really control the Nexus program. Moto make the best hardware anyway. 

  • My question for this whole debate is if the nexus program is so bad for Android. How is it that when Moto RZR receives ICS they will be running 4.0.3 yet the GNex on Verizon is still running 4.0.2 with no word on when it will receive a stock update.

    I feel as though Google has abandoned the GNex on VZW.

    • *Note, I’m well aware of how easy it is to root the GNex. Which I’m still considering doing but I was hoping we’d be receiving a bit more support even after the recent news about TORO builds.

      I’m just semi-lazy and don’t want to have to Wipe and Re-Flash my phone every time an update comes out by the community (who is 1 billion times faster than any OEM dev).

      I install a decent amount of apps, files, and etc. that I don’t feel like having to re-install EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I update my phone.

  • Jeff

    Motorola: We are never going to compete with other smart phones.
    Google: Hey why don’t you make a phone with our software so we can knock Steve Jobs down a peg, get into the phone market and you can regain popularity in the market again.Motorola: That’s great! Thanks for saving our failing business. Oh, by the way, now that you’ve made our company relevant again, can you start doing our work for us? Because if you don’t we will blame your open source software and Nexus program for the cause of us not being able to provide customers updates to their phones. K thanks, bye!WHAT A JOKE!

  • jEtDL

    It’s funny that manufacture’s are complaining about this and using it as an excuse on why it takes them so long to get an update out.

    But then we have developers releasing ROMs daily, porting ICS to other phones, etc… in half (or even quarter) of the time it takes manufactures to do it.

  • LinuxLover

    The Nexus program is great for…users!!!

  • Anonymous

    You don’t think Google is working with any OEM who comes to them and says “Hey, we need some help getting X phone drivers updated”? They would love to do that.

    Any noise about driver issues or anything Google is doing is making phones harder to update for OEMs is BS.  You have unpaid guys in their basement leasing servers able to hack these drivers together and get updates out not only quicker, but in a lot of cases more polished, you can’t tell me the OEMs who have access to that driver source can’t. And if they can’t, then quite frankly they don’t need to be doing anything with software period.

    These are excuses to cover the real problems. OEMs don’t want to update every phone, and when they do they have to go through carrier BS to get it done. Period.

    The Nexus program started for a few different reasons, but it has ended up existing because OEMs and carriers are doing it wrong. OEMs add their skins in a stupid bid at differentiation that add some good features, but overall just slow down the phone, replicate functionality poorly, and slather the design of subpar designers over actual talented UI experts. Carriers load the phones with as much bloatware as they can and try to cripple functionality all to squeeze out a little more money from a device that already costs thousands over two years.  All this adds up to a phone that is not good for saavy users who know what is going on, or for developers who need to write apps that target the whole ecosystem. That’s why the Nexus program exists.

    And if it didn’t, and the rest of the situation didn’t change I would probably be done with Android. After my two none stock phones I realized I can’t do it. When I had them all I could do is complain.

    • JSW25

       Except those hackers often release builds with flaws (how many have WLAN or GPS issues), don’t have to pass carrier testing, and when a problem comes up everyone forgives them (imagine if Moto or Samsung released an update that broke WLAN).

      I hate the hacker comparison.  I love custom ROMs, but be honest about the difference in what is accepted from CM and what is accepted from HTC.

  • Anonymous

    This is a good idea. Just have OEM’s agree to a grace period for each new Nexus devic.

  • Google shouldn’t have to do a damn thing to work with them.  Microsoft actually doesn’t do that much to make sure it works.  They just have pre-release and certification kits. Google needs to put these out but there when it comes to things like the WLAN those should be made by broadcom and the cpu should be provided by whoever the manufacturer but all in all google needs to work better with the third parties not the OEMs.  Microsoft does not go to Dell and ask what they are putting into computer to make it work.  Android might be open source but the pure lack of documentation is its killer.  I have built from AOSP for the Gnex XOOM and the NS4G.  The one thing i have noticed is that there is nowhere to get information except Google groups and pray the JBQ reads it and replies.  Google honestly needs to make a decent source doc library or close it like MS is.  The libs for Android suck when a new device comes out and Google complains it’s because they are p[proprietary and cannot share them for things like the CDMA radios.  When it comes to Windows you get a piece of hardware you include the drivers with it until cell phones start being looked at like computers and get the same treatment this will never change.  Cell phones are currently viewed as total end user devices.  There is no reason we should not be able to get a new driver from broadcom ourselves for the WLAN there in lies the true problem.  Android may be open but cell phones are not.

    • Also this is not a new problem for the world, this is a Linux problem, always has been.  ATI, Nvidia, Broadcom, RealTek, etc. Have always had issues putting out stable drivers for Linux. With android taking over the mobile OS market this may get better but Broadcom and the like don’t spend the time required to make better packages and the minute a new version of the kernel drops they don’t rush to check their packages out to be sure they work.  Linux is filled with work around to get the exact same piece of hardware that works when I run a MS product to work in something like Ubuntu.  This is part of the reason why there are more games on Windows.  Apple doesn’t have this because there is only their hardware and their OS.  Android needs to take notes from MS and Apple on this one and either get the code to the companies that OEMs buy hardware from or start making the restrictions for the hardware tighter.  This is one of the biggest reasons why Linux is never going to be a major player in the desktop market and if it keeps up may be short lived in the mobile space as well.

  • Anonymous


  • Rob

    Great write up Ron. I wouldn’t say the Nexus program is bad, but if it is slowing down the update of other devices it could be construed that way.

    I wish updates could come faster, but I wonder what most people (i.e. those who do not read mobile tech blogs) care about when it comes to software updates? I would assume most of the population doesn’t care, so long as it doesn’t inhibit the performance of their phone. It’s very rare that I hear an iPhone user lament they can’t wait until version 5.X comes out. Maybe this just means most iPhone users don’t care (which is probably the case).

  • OMJ

    why do they let Ron write these terrible opinion pieces? They are generally some of the worst things posted on this blog

    • If you don’t like them, feel free to skip them. They’re clearly market opinion. Or, leave some constructive feedback. I’m fine with either approach. 

  • RW-1

    Google releases for vanilla android, no one told motor to go cripple it with a skin.


  • Excuse

    Uhm if Motorola unlocked their bootloaders like HTC does far fewer people would care. Most of the people who care would be running leaked ICS without any skins. That’s the hard truth I’m coming to realize with my Bionic. I’m liking the phone, but I am sick of Motorola’s excuses.

    • Anonymous

      I seen the writing on the wall with the Droid X.  Started real good and then the buggy updates.  At times I was forced to use custom Roms because I was tired of the rebooting music problem.  Their software engineers only care about getting a pay check unlike the dev community.

  • motorola should just stop bitching and go with stock android. then there would be no problems. same with every other company. if developers can pump stable roms out to phones in days or weeks, why cant manufacturers? i guess they cant because of the actual phone companies maybe, but it shouldnt take 6 months…

  • Anonymous

    Nexus is the motivation of a lot of android users.. I’m one of them..

  • Google needs to go back selling the Nexus by themselves and not through a carrier. It’s better as a niche device. Don’t compete with your partners but offer the nerds what they want. 

  • Benjamin Mackie

    I think android phones with a skin totally have a place and a purpose. My gf loves the HTC rhyme with all its cute skinning, pretty interface, etc. I love the unskinned experience that google offers on the gnexus. Manufacturers need to start giving us more options rather thatn forcing us to use their version of android. If there was this option, then I would say yes, the Nexus program is unnecessary. But for now, without any other option, a phone built to show off the new version of android makes total sense

  • ddevito

    I thought the “With Google” branding meant more than simply using Google Apps on your phone. Whatever happened to that?

    • Bob

      Trouble in fandroid paradise Dom? OUCH. Thats gotta hurt! Just sayin.

  • ddevito

    I’ve asked this before, I’ll ask it again. Dating back to Google I/O 2011…

    What’s the status on the software update alliance?!

    • No one knows. Hopefully they’ll address it at this IO. 

  • @637e8b2157856624934ddde2417dc2eb:disqus friend’s mother-in-law earned $19006 a month ago. she been working on the internet and moved in a $516500 house. All she did was get blessed and apply the advice explained on this web page..MakeCash2.com

  • Anonymous

    I don’t buy one minute of Motorola’s BS. How is it that independent developers who do work in their spare time off of donations and have had to work around a locked bootloader and proprietary drivers have been able to get an ICS build with everything working on the Bionic except the camera and Motorola’s paid team of software engineers can’t make it happen until Q3? HTC and Samsung have both had leaked, fully skinned, fully working builds of their versions of ICS, so why is Motorola so behind? HTC and Samsung also had to deal with different chipsets entirely while Motorola’s latest devices are all TI chipset devices. Now I understand that the manufacturers and carriers demand a higher level quality than some dude in his basement, but 6 months worth of delay? I don’t buy it. When Google acquires Motorola, Motorola’s entire team of software engineers needs whipped into shape or fired and replaced with more competent people. I hear HP/Palm laid off quite a few talented people.

  • duke69111

    If they dont taylor android updates to a nexus device, how does google decide who taylor the device too?

  • ddevito

    Only us geeks care about the Nexus phones. The average person doesn’t give a rat’s ass and doesn’t care about stock Android. 

    So no, the Nexus program isn’t bad for Android, it just isn’t as significant as we think it is. 

  • Google needs to silence their ungrateful stepchild.

  • Sporttster

    Moto is disgusting. They lie about timelines, about unlocking their BL’s. Who can trust em? They are doing everything the wrong way. Release the RAZR with a crap battery and THEN a month later release the MAXX which has the battery the RAZR should have had in it.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, the Razrmaxx should have been the first Razr.  Tells you a lot on the state of affairs at Moto.  You know, the Chinese bound Razr with the HD display should have been ours.  See what I mean, nothing but confusion.

  • Rob

    If devs on the forums can get ICS working on phones. I see no reason why manufacturers can’t do a even better job at it. My droid incredible has ICS and has had it for awhile. While I agree Google could do more, I believe that statement was a cop-out. More importantly I think Google should quit half assing android. ICS is great!, but there are still some WTF’s.

    • Anonymous

      Devs have everything working in ICS on the Bionic except the camera, and that’s after having to deal with a locked bootloader and proprietary drivers. HTC and Samsung have had fully skinned and working builds of ICS leaked. How is it that Motorola can say it’s going to take them six more months? They even have the benefit of having a TI chipset like the Nexus and unlike what HTC and Samsung have had to work with. Do they even have software engineers, or do they just employ a bunch of guys to think up a slightly different variation of the last phone they released?

  • Anonymous

    Are Ron’s opinions bad for Droid-Life?

    • I hope not. 🙂

      • The driver development argument only gets Moto a half excuse. I understand trying to create new drivers and that may cause some added time for upgrades (and as it has been said G might be able to do more), but what about the smaller upgrades?  

        Going from 2.2 -> 2.3 shouldn’t require all new drivers. Going from 2.3 -> 4.0 is a different story. But then we should see quicker updates if the software release is not a major one.


  • TiredofantinexusBS

    pipe dream.

  • Anonymous

    The only way to get everyone to ICS is to not release another version until 2013.

    • DBK

      I actually agree. They will never be able to streamline all the devices onto one OS if they keep releasing a new version every couple of months. They need to follow Crapple’s lead and release a new version yearly (the one thing Crapple does right).

  • JayC

    Make each manufacturer create ONE device each year based completely around the exact specs of the “nexus” program.

  • Anonymous

    The big issue is google comes out with a new api level update every couple of quarters whereas microsoft releases a new os every 5+ years… it would be very difficult for google to do this hence the nexus only program… plus google doesnt necessarily care about any other phones other than nexus.. why should they? Its open source software they designed and made available for you to do what you will with it.. why spend money for something you wont receive anything in return? The point of android was to get more people in front of mobile ads more frequently.. android 1.5 vs android 4.0 are no different in that mindstate.. google did what its goal was

  • Anonymous

    Without the “Nexus Program” I would have regret today for buying the first Razr Moto they shot out of their ass.  Motocrapo released too many phones for the software engineers to keep up.  

    • Anonymous

      Too many phones for the software engineers to keep up? The Razr Maxx, Razr, Bionic, Droid 3, and Atrix 2 are practically all variations off of the same underlying phone and they’re all TI based like the Nexus. The only other phones they’ve released semi recently have been running Tegra 2 like the X2, Atrix, and Photon. It really shouldn’t be that hard providing their software engineers have any talent at all, which I’m starting to doubt. After all the bugs I’m still encountering after 3 updates to my Bionic and their flat out incompetence regarding ICS update timetables, I’m starting to wonder if they’re team of software engineers is a bunch of chimpanzees.

  • angermeans

    Beauty (Galaxy Nexus) and the Beast (Razr). 

  • Alexander Garcia

    ICS is over-hyped and over-rated IMHO. Don’t get me wrong, ICS is great with a lot of great little features, but it doesn’t make me hate my RAZR Maxx running “Ginger-Blur”. I absolutely LOVE the Max! I just don’t finding myself wishing I had ICS instead of what I already have. So I really don’t get what the big deal is with ICS.

    • Nyjohn14

      I understand you love your razr maxx but it does not mean that ICS isn’t any better than Gingerblur because it is and by a long shot….

      • Alexander Garcia

        I never said ICS isn’t any better. I’ve played with a GNex and it’s great, but I just don’t see myself pining for it. I actually chose the Maxx over it for a lot of other reasons and ICS wasn’t enough for me to get the GNex over the Maxx.

        • angermeans

          Why so defensive? 

    • angermeans

      It kinda sounds like your rationalizing your purchase. I’m sure your humble opinion will change when you see all that ICS has to offer. Well, that is if Motorola doesn’t bucher the hell out of it and deliver a buggy mess with no more updates in site as they have moved on to their newest phone. 

      • Alexander Garcia

        Believe me, I’ve played with the GNex in the VZW store for 20 minutes before I bought the Maxx. I’ve chosen the Maxx over the GNex for many reasons. ICS just wasn’t enough for me to choose the GNex over the Maxx. Hope my opinion doesn’t offend you.

        • angermeans

          Your opinion doesnt offend me in the slightest. All I said is that your post comes off that you are rationalizing your purchase of the MAXX by saying that ICS is overrated. Im glad your happy with your phone (its a good phone). I don’t mean this rude (and I didnt mean my last post to be rude), but 20 min in the Verizon store (on a handset that more than likely is not the best to judge a phone) is hardly give you enough experience on ICS to state that its overrated don’t ya think? Android is great because we all have a choice and have many different phones to choose from. You made your decision and I’m not going to ask you to defend it. Enjoy your phone. 

        • I would just add that I’m sure you’ll love your phone that much more with ICS. Whether it’s a Moto blessed version of a ROMd version of CM9. A great thing about Android is those choices and ability to control what version/options of an OS you have on your phone!  🙂

          EDIT: Oops this was addressed by others. I have to read ALL comments before posting. (FACEPALM)

  • Friaform

    Motorola is making excuses and are being disingenuous. When they made the announcement in October that the Droid Razr would have ICS by early 2012, they had no intention on meeting that time frame. Now this. This is the choice they made by using Android, and they should have been prepared to use the resources they didn’t have to spend on OS development to hardware support. I’m not ready to believe that it takes months to write a handful of drivers code. Not if they have allocated enough people for that job. And this goes for the other manufacturers as well. When you are paying $300 on contract and $650 off contract for a phone, you deserve to have it updated quickly and often. Time to buck up and do what’s right.

    • KevinC

      actually all they really need to do is provide updates to fix bugs.  does microsoft give free updates to their new versions of windows?  hell no.

      • Anonymous

        Is this Windows? I don’t think so. Does Android’s main competitor’s devices (iOS) receive free updates? Absolutely. The upgrade price should be baked into the price you pay when you buy your device, especially when they sell the device as “ICS-upgradeable.”

      • But when you buy that laptop at the end of Vista’s life cycle you often get the free upgrade to Win7. And all the patches you ever care to install 😉

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Let’s not, even for a moment, ever think about abandoning the Nexus line.  It is the only refuge from companies like Motorola that spend more time on skins and new phones than supporting what is already out there.  

    And to Motorola:  Are you sure that your lack of ability to upgrade your devices to ICS isn’t because you released a ridiculous number of devices last year in which there would be no way to upgrade them all in a timely manner?  And are you sure it isn’t MotoBlur that is preventing the quick upgrade?  Are you REALLY sure?  Then why has the dev community already started releasing ICS roms for YOUR products?   You know, the guys who do this PART TIME and receive little to no funding for it.  Hmm?

    • angermeans

      It is the only reason I’m still on Android as if there wasnt a Nexus line I would have left for Windows Phone 7 a long time ago. I’m completely done with what OEMs think we “need” in a phone. The skins, horrible update schedules, and bugs leave nothing but a bad taste in my mouth and Google knows if they leave it up to Samsung, HTC, and Motorola they will run it into the ground much like they did with the pre smartphone era. They are only in the game for money and it is obvious they only care about their customers until it comes to selling their next phone which nowadays is only a month and a half away. I think the Update Alliance that was started is complete proof of this. Google has to have a way to keep them honest as no one else is out looking for Android and only they really care if it succeeds. 

    • Blootzm3

      very true. motorola likes to lie and point fingers. I will never buy their product again

  • CapnShiner

    Ideally, I think the Nexus program would be irrelevant. I think that all Android devices should run stock/vanilla Android and that the customizations that OEMs and carriers do should be no different than the launchers, widgets, themes, and apps that are already available in the Market today. The Nexus devices would still be available to developers as a reference device and they could be sold to consumers as well, but it would not be such a big deal. The carriers and OEMs could still ship their devices with the UI skins and bloatware pre-installed. The difference would be that consumers would have a choice of whether or not to use them and they would not be in the way of timely software updates.

    As for drivers, this is where the companies need to work together and figure something out. I think it should be the responsibility of the component manufacturers to provide the OEMs with driver software. Qualcomm, TI, Nvidia, and whoever else makes the SoC should help create the kernel and drivers so that Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, and the rest can focus on other things. The SoC manufacturers could offer this as incentive to use their chips. The manufacturers of other components, like GPS, camera, HDMI port, etc. should do the same for drivers. It should be a lot like how hardware support works in the PC market.

    Nobody would buy a Windows PC if they had to wait for Microsoft to create drivers for everything themselves. PCs are upgradeable because the hardware manufacturers provide drivers for their components. Microsoft only builds their own drivers when they integrate them into the OS. This is why we don’t get a new version of Windows every 6 months.

    Windows on a HP is the same as Windows on a Dell, Sony, Acer, Asus, or any other brand. Why should Android be any different?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know why Intel hasn’t trumpeted the idea of “we’ll take care of the hard stuff if you use our chips” from day one. To set themselves off from the ARM competition, why not say “We’ll make sure Android plays nice with our chips if you choose us as long as you use vanilla Android. We’ll keep the software side of things sound and you guys do what you want with the hardware.” Then, Intel devices would all feel the same performance wise and have the support customers are used to thinking about when they hear “Intel Inside.”

  • Nexusman

    I would be OK with that if Google required to make OEMs sell vanilla devices that their skins could be “activated” on if the user wanted. Think about it..if every device was pure and you had a choice to activate the overlay skin? now that is open source and user freedom.

    • Doan

      OEMs would be more likely to agree to their skins already implemented, with the option of removing them.  I’d be for this option, as well.

      • Anonymous

         But then you are still screwed because some would have it, some would not and the manufacturer would not be able to push and update until they had it ready for those that chose to have the skin “on”.  Its all or nothing.  I prefer the skins GONE.

        • Doan

          In Nexusman’s post, he stated that both OEM skin and vanilla Android be an option.

          I also prefer no skins at all, but that wasn’t an option from Nexusman’s idea.

        • Anonymous

          The skin should not be something tied to the underlying OS and neither should bloatware. There should be a way that allows this stuff to be installed on the initial boot up, but not tied into the roots of the OS. If you choose to run a skin, you’ll only be prompted to upgrade when the manufacturer has the skin fully ready to run on the next version, but if you run vanilla Android, you’re prompted to upgrade as soon as a vanilla build is ready to go. Then, carriers would only have to approve the vanilla build too because the skin and bloat would just be apps and not affect the performance of the device as a whole. By default, skins shouldn’t be intertwined into the OS itself and should be able to be disabled. It’s by and far one of the biggest unresolved issues of Android. I respect skins, but I don’t respect them unnecessarily dragging down the update process or preventing an upgrade entirely.

  • GCurry

    If the problem is device drivers, then a stable Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) would go a long way to solving the problem.   If device interfaces aren’t stable, then nothing will help.

    If the problem is custom skins by each manufacturer to capture the loyalty of their base, then I’d claim it doesn’t do that, and can be dangerously at odds with “stock Google”.   The human interface is what Google should own, as did Microsoft.   The device interface(s) should be specified by Google, and implemented by device manufacturers, with a certification program like Microsoft’s.   I’m no fan of MSFT, but they learned the hard way what works.   Just copy it.

  • Rich

    Forget Sung Gay lol if it wasn’t for the nexus phone we would never have a true android experience… 

    • Doan

      Not true.  Look at Virgin Mobile’s phones.  If Virgin Mobile can do it, so can the top players.

  • Champlification

    Than make all Android phones like Nexus phones.  All vanillia Android and unlocked…

  • Doan

    “If Google began to work with it’s OEMs to get drivers on all devices prior to the latest release of Android, several things would have to change. First, manufacturers would probably have to limit the number of devices they release in a year”
    This.  Quality devices, with timely quality updates > quantity of devices, with slow buggy (or non-existant) updates.

    • Anonymous

      But the carriers are in favor of rapid release devices. Carriers like to promote the latest and greatest devices to compete, and with fewer devices, that means less advantages to market them. Here in the US, the carriers run the show. In Europe, due to the much more consistent network standards and the fact that carriers have a lot less control, you have less devices overall, devices that work on a lot of networks as opposed to being restricted to one, a lot less preinstalled carrier bloat, and a lot less carrier quality checks before an update is pushed. It’s generally a quicker and less painful process.

      • Doan

        Manufacturers give carriers control.  Take Apple, for example.  No bloat, one quality phone a year, strict control over their devices.  Any manufacturer can do this, if they stop spitting out new phones every month, and focus on one flagship model, and maybe one mid/one low-tier phone a year.

  • Hfd1113

    Google should go back to school to learn about open source. That Nexus will never be a top device.

  • Anonymous

    Would be nice if all manufacturers would just let us do some kind of dual boot of your choice of vanilla adroid and or their skinned version like moto ui or sense etc… but that would never happen.. it would bring open source to a new level IMO.

  • Scea0512

    I dont want ICS on my Razr MAXX , I hated ICS when I had my 3 Galaxy Nexus phones , ICS has a long way to go before it will be any good for a phone 

  • Dan

    The short answer is no, the Nexus program is not generally bad for Android. But, it could be improved.

    However, I believe Android would be better off if Google did some things like Microsoft does for Windows.

    For instance, Microsoft publishes a DDK (Driver Development Kit) for each new version of windows. The device and perphial manufacturers do not get souce code, just an interface that they can code against. This allows device manufacturers and OEM’s to work in parallel with the OS deleopper to that they have a fighting chance of having drivers ready for new and old devices by the time that new versions of the OS are released.

    Another thing that Microsoft does is bundle drivers with the OS. It would also be nice if the main hardware drivers, i.e., CPU, display, graphics, audio, input were bundled with Android so they wouldn’t have to be developed after the fact. This would also even the playing field. But it would also lead to bloat, since a device could end up with drivers that aren’t specificallly needed. OEM’s not only have to develop drivers for their own hardware, but possibly for parts from their suppliers, i.e., TI, Samsung, Qualcomm, etc., as well.

    No mattter how many times Google denies it, Android is fragmented. In another opinion piece, I believe you pointed to Netflix and Hulu as prime examples. I replaced my Droid X with a Droid Razr. Guess what? I cannot watch Hulu on my Droid Razr. This should not be!! If that is not fragmentation, I don’t know what is?

  • NoahRHPS

    My only problem with the nexus program are the curved screens. Aside from that, I LOVE my Galaxy Nexus.

    • Anonymous

      I’m still wondering why, as a Nexus device, they couldn’t put in the higher quality camera that the Note and the GSII have. So confused.

      • CapnShiner

         My guess is that it’s because they wanted to keep the cost down or because the hardware for the G-Nex is actually older than the GSII. Remember that it si the reference device for ICS, so it had to be designed before development for ICS even really started.

  • Anonymous

    I think Motorola shouldn’t be complaining.  It isn’t the fault of Google, or the Nexus program that they choose to corrupt the Android OS with their Blur.  They wouldn’t have nearly the problems with it if they didn’t have to twist and morph the os into their horrible skin.

    As for the “issue” with sales, the Nexus has done rather well considering the varying fashions in which the phone has been sold and the limited providers that have carried it.  The Galaxy Nexus at least from everything that I’ve read has done quite well in sales.

  • Nader Jawad

    Google had made the announcement several months before ICS had been released saying that they were teaming up with Texas Instruments and using the new OMAP 4430(forgive me if the processor number is incorrect).  Doesn’t Motorola almost exclusively use TI chips for their devices with the exception of the Xoom/Atrix?  Why would this driver issue be the actual root cause?  I would imagine this would be the problem if the GNex was running an Exynos but with a TI chip?  My money is on the time spent skinning.

    • Anonymous

      The Razr, Razr Maxx, Bionic, Droid 3, Droid 4, and Atrix 2 all run TI 4430’s. The X2, Atrix, and Photon all run Tegra 2’s. ICS is already running on TI processors in the form of the Galaxy Nexus (may have a 4460, don’t remember) and ICS is already running on Tegra processors in the form of the Xoom with Tegra 2 specifically and the Transformer Prime with Tegra 3. HTC (primarily Qualcomm) and Samsung (primarily their own design processors) have both had fully skinned build leaked and there aren’t any Qualcomm or Samsung chipset reference devices. Devs working in their spare time off of donations and without access to proprietary drivers or the ability to unlock the bootloaders have almost fully working builds for most of the devices listed. Motorola should have no problem getting ICS working on their hardware. There’s no excuse for how long Motorola estimated it to take. Even fitting a skin shouldn’t take 6 more months. The only reasonable thing I can think of is Webtop.

  • Davequinn2

    Unlock the bootloaders… Release the code… We don’t need big red… Problems solved… Right?

  • Balticzar

    All I know is ….I took my GNex back because of signal issues and touch screen issues. Didn’t really wanna go with the Razr solely because it didn’t have ICS but i’ve since come to grips with that and can actually deal without it. And I now love my Razr.
    There were tons of comlaints about the signal issues with the GNex and arguments for and against it actually did have any issues or if it was merely a “signal display strength meter” issue. But I know for a fact I was having data and call issues.
    If a damn update would have come out to address those signal issues etc. for the one month I had it (originally swapped it out for another GNex and waited an additional two weeks) I would have stayed with the GNex. Oh well. Don’t know if I’m off topic here or not but I needed to vent.

    • 2Ceedz

      Im confused.. why get a Nexus if your not going to use it to its capibilities… I personally dont understand why anyone would want to keep their phone stock if having issues… Peter Alfonso (makes Bugless Beast) supports the Nexus (for awhile now)…
      I learned a LOOONG time ago not to depend on manufacturers for timely or bugless updates, so I will not buy a phone that is not unlockable!

      To each his own… but I returned a Razr for a GNex… as the Razrs skin just totally killed the experience.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see linux working with hardware developers so why should android have to, it all gets ported over eventually and if we had to wait for google to make it ready for all devices then we would have to wait two years before we could even get to close to running it on our devices.

  • Anonymous

    They got to do something or theyll die, because this updating process is getting rediculouse. How long should we wait for updates, unlike apple all their devices don’t need vzw approval for software update. The update should not come from vzw but directly from google, if nothing is done loyal customers will shift to apple.

  • Pilot25

    Now Moto is Google.  They need to dump the Moto name and just start making a Google phone.  Dump all the other manufacturers also.  One phone with the latest software and no crappy skins screwing it up.

  • I for one wont be buying the next Nexus if its from Samsung.  Half the reason I bought it was for the car-dock which I still don’t have nor does it look likely that I ever will.  Yes.. Yes..  I realize that not all devices can come with pimp car-docks.  But my $600 Flagship, Best phone in the world device sure as HELL better.  Especially when the whole thing was an advertising point for it.

    Samsung is off the list completely.  HTC knows what its problems are now I think and well see the thin phones with the good batteries soon enough from them I believe.  I could be wrong, but don’t think I am based on what Ive heard from them lately.  Time will tell.

  • o-o-o

    @Liderc:disqus ,.classmate’s mother brought home $13199 the previous week. she is making an income on the computer and bought a $504200 house. All she did was get lucky and put to use the advice made clear on this site..MakeCash2.com

  • Preston

    The problem is that the manufacturers bow to the wireless carriers’ demands and wishes. If Motorola, HTC, Samsung, etc. went hardball on Verizon for example, and claimed they wouldn’t sell the device if Verizon put their hands all over it, then things would run much smoother. Look at the iPhone…I don’t know how Apple does it, but they are the ones in control as opposed to the carriers. Verizon knows that if they try putting their sh*t all over the iPhone, Apple will just stop using Verizon as a carrier, which would be a HUGE blow to their profits. Verizon has had so much success with Android and the “DROID” brand…the manufacturers need to slap Verizon in the face and say, “our way or we won’t sell the phones on your carrier.”

    • Anonymous

      Completely agreed, if google doesn’t do anything about the updates, they are setting android for failor bc customers will move to apple

  • the thing people tend to bypass is the fact that android is an Open source Project meaning its non-profit when it comes to its software and all there income primarily comes from app’s and nexus devices. not from allowing manufacturers skinning there product to do so. yes they do bring in the dough by licensing as well but just as developers in xda can bring you roms for practically any device the manufacturers can to and in almost record breaking time. Most of the time spent in us receiving updated software is spent at the Service provider(ie. Verizon, Tmobile, At&t ect..) i dont think it should be googles nexus program to blame but everyones really. goog’e?manufacturer/Service provider. to release a free product is tough because you have to consider all that may use it and make it as universal as it can be but if google says TI NVIDIA or w.e the manufacturer should take that into consideration before choosing something else because that will effect your ability for providing timely updates. 

    • Anonymous

      No such thing as there is no profit. Everything is about the money, stop being delusional.

      • obviously you only read the first line and completely disregarded everything else. im not going to entertain your ignorance. thnx for the reply. have a nice day.

  • Anonymous

    As a current OG Droid user (yes, STILL), and a Verizon Wireless customer, why is it too much to ask to have more than one choice of phone that has the most current version of Android? ICS has been out for months, yet Verizon still offers only ONE phone with ICS? I am not a fan of any particular manufacturer over another, but I DO want choice. It’s ridiculous that I have only one option if I want to have the most current software. This fact alone equals complete FAIL by Google right now in my eyes. Has the Nexus project hurt the landscape? Obviously yes. I don’t care what manufacturer is making the “nexus” at any one point in time, but to only have one phone available for months that has Google’s newest operating system is just stupid. 

    • DBK

      I disagree. Most of the recent phones have ICS on them now (thanks to the devs). Why is it that they can quickly update the phones to ICS but the OEM’s can’t seem to do it officially? If it wan’t for the Nexus program, that wouldn’t have been possible. It’s the OEMs, not Google or the Nexus, that are the main source of the issue. Google needs to do something about that, but they are not to blame (not entirely).

      • Anonymous

        I’m not referring to the dev community, or any other unofficial release. I am talking about a customer such as myself walking into a Verizon store, looking around at the phones, and seeing clearly that if I want to buy a phone and keep the warranty on it, and I want the most current version of Android, then my ONLY choice is the Nexus. That represents a huge fail in my opinion (remember that every one of these comments is opinion) by Google. If they want Android to continue to succeed and grow, they will figure out more ways to help out whomever they need to assist to make sure that Google’s most updated software will be in the hands of more customers, the DAY it’s released, not months down the road. 

        • DBK

          You missed my point entirely. If the devs can do it, then why can’t the OEM’s? It’s not google’s fault that the phones aren’t being kept up to date. It’s the OEM’s for releasing so many devices and for their intrusive skins (and bending over for Verizon). It’s a fail by the OEM’s and Carriers, not by Google. Google needs to step it up somehow, but this issue is not their fault. They can only do so much.

          • Anonymous

            Ah, ok, I do see your point regarding the OEM’s and carriers. Overarching that though, I do think that Google’s overall strategy is in jeopardy unless they can start managing all of these relationships in a much more healthy way. If I were Google right now, I would not be happy that only one phone, my own Nexus program, has been able to offer all of the Android customers out there my latest software experience. 

          • DBK

            Now that I can agree with.

  • Rick

    I also think if an OEM produces more phones than they can support, they are also to blame as well. Last year, it felt like a new phone was being released every other week by all the OEM’s. Now, one is blaming google for pushing out the updates to quickly.

    It is funny we got HTC and Moto saying they will not be releasing that many phones this year.

    I think the Nexus program is a great idea and I wished Google would go back and sell the phones themselves for all the carriers worldwide. My wife and I rather have a vanilla android with no bloatware and we decide what skins, launcher and apps we what. 

  • Avienrandelor

    I got back to my statement when Motorola first bitched. If its so hard why did Asus get ice k. Their tablet in two months time? Let alone release like six updates for it already. Also last time I checked even the old transformer will have it by march. Oh and don’t talk about hardware being a problem. Last time I checked the prime is a tegra 3 device out. Motorola just likes bitching to bitch. Quarter 3 for motorblur ics if there newest devices even get it? Ha.

  • Anonymous

    … look at the xoom, google provides all drivers except the gsm/cdma radio … no reason for moto to hold the ICS update …

  • Anonymous

    Motorola, and any other Android phone manufacture who blames google is so full of it. If 3rd party devs can get working ROMs on their phones after only having access to the source when google releases it, then the manufacturers have no excuses. 

  • Turb0wned

    Motorola, maybe you should stop moto bluring everything device. Also maybe you should stop coming out with a device every 2 months.

    • Maybe you should vote with your wallet.

      • Turb0wned

        How does that even make sense?

        • Anonymous

          He/she means you boycott Moto stuff.

  • Motorola is trying to justify their delays in software updates because they have custom skins.

  • Kurt5153

    All i know is my gnex blows!
    Random restarts and force closes

  • Danielpk84

    Motorola is just bitching because they are not apart of the nexus program I bet if they were they wouldnt be crying

    • Anonymous

      Moto needs to produce better phones with better battery, camera and update their devices bc both moto and google will fail if they don’t update the devices like the iPhones

      • doctorOta

        Moto has a solid middle ground camera, better than the nexus but lacking compared to HTC.  There batteries are on the better end of the spectrum when it comes to phones, and everyone bitches about moto’s update procedures but i’ve had my Droid X for 1 year and 9 months and have received 2 MAJOR version updates, as well as probably 4-5 bug fixers.  So 6-7 updates in less than 2 years isn’t bad.  They should be sped up but why am I going to piss and moan when every other company forgets their phones after one update.

  • Anonymous

    Google provides the entire operating system for free, they are under no obligation to do anything to help these noobs update their drivers and sh*tty bloatware skins. Quiet, the Nexus program is the best thing that could ever happen to Android.

  • Alan Wolfe

    “Android OEMs believe that the software experiences that they offer are superior to vanilla Android.”
    WRONG – Manufacturers add a layer of crap to differentiate themselves.  They believe this shields them from competing on hardware.

    How about this “software experience” for manufacturers.  I only build AOSP devices so I can be first to release new Android versions on all my devices less than 18 months old.

    • Take a look at the video I linked to with that comment.


    Oh Yeah btw this summer is going to be insane with all of the new Buttonless, 4.7″, quad-core, 12mp, 720p, phones comming out from every manufacturer.

    Apple is going to freak out. They want to do everything themselves. And that’s working out great with them but you can’t go against the whole world by yourself forever and stay on top.


    Carriers don’t want you to be able to install the latest ROM’s on their old phones.  They want you to upgrade and recommit.

    • Anonymous

      They are coming w a new phone every 3 months how are we supposed to buy these phones 600-800 dollars full retail? Plus you got to wait 2 years for an upgrade

  • DBK

    Ignore this comment.


    I think that Manufacturers were caught off guard by how much of an advancement 4.0 ICS was.  All of the previous versions of Android (except honeycomb) were just small evolutionary steps.  They all used the 4 buttons, and they all basically looked the same with minor adjustments for style.

    LG, Sony, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Pantech, should all be given the hardware requirements as soon as possible, if a major change is coming like with the buttonless ICS.

    But, don’t stop the Nexus program.  If that happens then Android will have no platform for advancement.

    Windows is great, because you can take windows disc.  Put it in any computer, and install the new OS on any machine.  Android lets you do the same thing, but you have to have a Rom.zip file that contains device specific files. And the phone has to be unlocked.

  • Josh Nichols

    Ron, I just want you to know I would like you a lot more if you actually posted news instead of your opinion on things that 99% of people won’t agree with you on. 

    • I’m not here to report news, so feel free to skip any posts marked “opinion.” I’m also not here to give the majority opinion. If my opinions side with the majority, great, if not, great. I’m sure here to share my thoughts and contribute to discussing the latest in Android.

      • Blootzm3

        keep posting and ignor him

  • Tom Cat

    This might be a dumb question, but why is ICS available on the razr a week after it came out via rooting, yet it’ll probably be around 6 months before moto releases an official update?

  • Rick


  • Mayze

    Stop junking up your phones with skins and it wouldn’t be near as bad. I don’t remember moto complaining when they created the OG Droid.

  • Getting the source code for the OS for free and only having to worry about drivers must be so hard.

  • Anonymous

    Given the nature of the way manufacturers skin their devices, it is inevitable that update delay and fragmentation will always exist, at least to some degree in android. I say….Eh whatev.
    Many, if not most dont care about having new updates on day one, and dont care about being on the older version as long as the phone is working as it should just as when they bought it.

    It is a very vocal minority (yes, despite the blog comments) that have any real concern about having Tiramasu, rather than Snickerdoodle when they dont root their phones, dont use custom roms, and realize that the changes in these different versions are quite often (but not always obviously) extremely minor on a skinned phone.

    So everyone just relax, if being a day one updater ss that important then stick to nexus. Those who dont buy nexus but do care about this really only have themselves to blame, you have and will always have to wait.

  • Anonymous

    another misplaced reply. i suck.

  • We Just Need To Work Together

    Google should help get Android updates to other phones, but manufactures need to make less phones and try and keep everything as uniformed as possible. Carries many Verizon don’t need to add 50 apps that just take up more space and pass updates through easily. Moto, Samsung, HTC all need Android otherwise they have no chance in the phone industry. Carriers need Android phone because they are cheeper and dont cost carriers money like iPhones do.

    • Jon

      the problem is that the carriers love to have different phones that seem unique to them. Samsung has done a great job at delivering the same phone in 3 slightly different packages via the Galaxy S line of phones. Moto and HTC should do the same. And they should all share the same battery and hardware, even if the design is cosmetically different. 

  • Anonymous

    The Galaxy Nexus is getting a much different response than previous Nexus phones. Once it drops on Sprint sales are going to be HUGE due to it being the only LTE enabled device on the network. Android needs to have an exclusive device to showcase Google’s vision. If OEM’s stopped F’ing it up with their skins, this would be much much less of an issue.

    *Sorry for the double post, didn’t realize it went through…

  • Anonymous

    Nexus FTW!

  • Anonymous

    I believe moto to be a. Company not interested in updates but interested in selling their next flavor of the week while flooding the market with products and little effort or thoughts to those who already brought one of their device. So when they find customers not loyal and leaving for companies supporting their devices they look for some one to blame

    • KniteLyf

      This is the heart of the matter. OEMs really don’t care about the phone you’ve already bought; they want to sell u your next phone! Hince money and time are spent developing their next phone not updating your old purchase. The problem lies in locking the phones down so the dev community who still cares about your phone can’t update it

      • Anonymous

         Yeah!   You guys seem to be right on the mark with this.  This is what was so disheartening to me going to the ThunderBolt from the OG DROID (and what was so surprising when I saw the TBolt is getting ICS…).  I’d heard good things about HTC with updates but boy was I let down.  I didn’t have a bad impression of Moto until recently, and wow!  They seem really transparent with what you guys are saying now.  Suddenly seem worse than HTC, Samsung, etc IMO.

    • Centeroftown

      There it is.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like Moto is just biting the hand that feeds them.  Google gives them their OS for free and then Moto destroys it by adding their skin on top.  

    I think you’re incorrect to state that Nexus devices sales are poor.  Previous Nexus devices were only available online and with only one carrier, while the Galaxy Nexus is the first one to have even been given proper treatment and it sold quite well.  

    I agree with your point that Google should be giving hardware manufacturers more time with the OS if they aren’t already, but I also think manufacturers need to stop putting their skins on android, it’s literally killing any chance we have at having the success that Apple has had.

    The “Nexus Program” is really what every manufacturer should be trying to achieve.  Until we’re all using the same version of OS, it will continue to divide the android community and the companies that build the phones and applications for Android’s use.

  • Binglut9

    Everyone is blaming skins and the oem’s but in reality the person that hurts from it is google because most people think android is like apple. This is a big problem for everyone but google holds the keys and it needs to start with them

  • Kinfolk248

    vanilla unlocked, vanilla unlocked, vanilla unlocked!!!!!! come on, say it with me guys. vanilla unlocked!

  • moozicmon

    The Galaxy Nexus is getting a much different response than previous Nexus phones. Once it drops on Sprint sales are going to be HUGE due to it being the only LTE enabled device on the network. Android needs to have an exclusive device to showcase Google’s vision. If OEM’s stopped F’ing it up with their skins, this would be much much less of an issue.

  • Will

    One step further: If you want early access to our software and custom device drivers, you must agree to three things:

    1) That the device be offered with Vanilla Android as an option to consumers, as with Nexus devices

    2) That the device drivers be open source, as with Nexus devices

    3) That bootloaders be unlockable, as with Nexus devices
    If that were the case, that’d probably be a net gain for the community.  

    • Anonymous

      THIS, I like. 

  • Jack Hoffman

    Because what Moto has put in their last 8 phones this past year (D3, DX2, Photon, Bionic, Atrix 2, Razr, Razr MAXX, D4, etc) has been SOOO different from what’s in the GNex.  Almost exact same OMAP design, just different radios and internal-only SD.

    Moto needs to own up to the fact that they can be very slow on large-scale reworking or dev projects.  The 8 month delay for a “fix release” just released for the original DX to fix issues created by the previous “fix” is abhorrent.  They have spent too much money or releasing the same phone 3 times and don’t invest enough time in software development where it counts.  MotoCast was all well and good, but should have been left to another company (SUMO).  SmartActions are brilliant, but have been more or less available as apps or custom ROMs for some time.  

    Moto needs to learn to leave some development to the community and quit reinventing the wheel, and devote more time to supporting their current platform (MotoBlur).

    If they are unwilling to invest those resources…unlock the damn bootloader.

    I bought a Nexus the day it came out and waited 6 months to do so.  After seeing the Bionic’s screen, the RAZR’s fixed battery and both having locked bootloaders, I made that choice and it was the right one.

    I miss Moto radios and build quality, but I’ll never go back until they make a phone that is at least as open as the OGD…

    • Jack Hoffman

      One more thing…

      The hardware was not the thing that made the OGD so successful for so long (only initially)…it was the fact that it was easily unlocked.

      Cyanogen, Peter Alfonso, and others did the rest…

      • DBK

        But the hardware played a big part in helping it physically last for so long. If it had HTC or Samsung’s level of build quality, a huge majority of the OGDs would be in the trash right now and the owners would be sporting D3s instead of waiting for  (and getting) the GNex and D4.

        • Anonymous

          Very true. The only reason I am able to still use and enjoy my OG Droid that I am STILL using even now, is because of its superior build quality. While I like many qualities of the Gnex, I will not buy one because the build quality is drastically supbar compared to many other manufacturers. I do like the RAZR line, but I am not happy about the thought of spending $300 on a RAZR MAXX and STILL not getting the most updated software. It’s ridiculous what Google has done to its own market right now and I agree that many significant changes need to be made. I hope Google steps up this year and takes more control of its operating system and quality control. I am not happy with any of the choices on Verizon right now and I have no idea what I’ll end up with next. I’ve been eligible to upgrade since November of last year. 

          • DBK

            Completely agree. I have the RAZR Maxx, but only because of the build quality of the Nexus. Since the RAZR is rootable, I can make do for now. I also hope that google steps it up this year. Nothing has come out recently that has really wowed like the OGD did. We’ll just have to wait and see.

          • Anonymous

            I understand it is lighter and plastic, but mine has held up very well through several drops and being caught in a recliner. Other then a micro scratch on the glass, it still looks brand new. Own one (not just pick it up) before you complain about its’ build quality.

          • DBK

            Whoa there. I never said it was bad, just not as good as Moto build quality. I’ve played with it many a time (cause I love ICS), and it does feel solid, I just doubt it’s ability to last the full two years that I would own it. I’ve never had to replace my phones (they’ve all been Moto’s) and they all still work great. I don’t want to take a chance at breaking that streak.

          • Blootzm3

            I disagree I’ve had the og,x,and bionic. on motorola I’ve hated all the problems that come with moto software ie blur and lack of updates and suport for all the problems that came at launch with them and still exists. now I have the gnex and am finaly loving the smoothness and no issue.

          • DBK

            Then you are one of the unlucky ones. I have never had any software issues or hardware issues with mine (especially when they got GB – Best Day Ever).

            As for lack of updates, many of Moto’s phones have received numerous updates since they were released. So updates weren’t really an issue. Them being locked down was, and is, the biggest issue.

          • Anonymous

            Until you use one for a while to see how it holds up I still think you are basing it on weight and the fact that it’s not “gorilla glass”.

            If you into to keeping your phone pristine then a Cruzer lite or Otterbox case will solve your problems. If you use your phone without a case then you can either have scuffed plastic or scuffed metal after 2 years.

          • DBK

            I don’t use cases and all my phones (save the D2) are as they were when they came out of the box (the D2 has a minor ding in the metal backing on one of the corners). And they definitely go through the ringer.

            I’m basing it on the feel of the material. I could care less for the weight or the type of glass it uses.

            Hey, if your GNex looks like it does now after two years (after some abuse) then I will eat my words and admit I was wrong.

          • Anonymous

            If your D2 looks the same as it did when you bought it, then it has hardly anything to do with the “quality metal”, its because you took care of it. I would venture to bet that metal with paint would be MORE vulnerable to scratches then plastic.

            My OG was dinged up, had a few scratches on the screen, etc.. but it took a 3 foot fall at 20 mph off my bicycle. Now, will my Nexus take that fall without a cover? Maybe, but I would put my money on the OG. However, for any normal drops, I don’t see the materials of the 2 making much different.

          • Pdiddy187

            I have two micro scratches around the earpiece of my Nexus (visible at a 47.987634 angle under intense light). Dropped it, whacked it on things while in my pocket, woke up with it next to me on the floor, etc. My D2 has 17,000 micros scratches and was only used for 13 months. Gorilla glass my ass.

          • Anonymous

            People don’t understand that lighter and plastic doesn’t mean cheaper. I feel these are the same people that woud get in a Lotus and say it feels “cheap” and then get in a Dodge Charger and say it’s “robust and well built”

    • Blootzm3

      amen moto has noone else to blame but themselfs if they have any integrity.

    • Adam Brandt

      HAHA, I was just thinking the same thing.  THE SOC the Nexus uses is an OMAP 4460, almost the same as the 4430 used in like EVERYTHING Motorola has released since July or so.  So the excuse about drivers not working kind of sounds like BS to me

      • Almost is like horse shoes and hand-grenades.  That is like saying the 5XXX series of radeons is so easy to get to work since there is a 4XXX series out there.  Not gonna happen, a small increment in version number means nothing about how similar the actual chipset is.

      • JSW25

         I can see that, you know since a phone is just an application processor.  You know it would be a problem is a phone also included a PMU, Cellular Baseband, RF chips, MEMS devices, Connectivity chips (WLAN, BT), GPS, Display, etc.

        I really wish people would learn more about cell phone design before making stupid comments.

    • Bateluer

      AFAIK, the DX2 and Photon were Tegra 2 based.

    • JustSayin

      Eh, the DX2 and Photon are Tegra 2 devices.

  • Anonymous

    whoops wrong place

  • Kinfolk248

    hey moto, dont release 27 different phones in 8 months that way you wont have to rig up 27 different types of blur(which sux btw)!!!! 

  • Anonymous

    No disrespect here, but I think a better question is: Are OEM skins bad for Android?

    • KniteLyf

      Yes and no.
      Yes due to update delays, inability to remove and therefore requiring a new launcher overlay to make use of hardware.
      No because occasionally they have a good idea that gets ported into ROMs everyone can use.
      If they would just make them as apps or launchers overriding vanilla that can be removed problem would be solved

      • That’s what I’ve thought about. What if Google added skins settings, so everyone could go in the Market and get the one they want. OEMs could put their skin in the phone as a default, but whoever wanted to could put a stock skin on.
        It could allow users even more customization, and help OEMs to speed up updates because you would just have to update it to stock, and separately update your skin.

        • CapnShiner

          Your idea is not a new one and even though it would be great for consumers, it would not work for the OEMs. If skins became nothing more than apps in the Market, what would stop someone from putting Sense on a Samsung phone or Blur on an HTC phone? The skin would no longer be a differentiator because it would no longer be exclusive to any particular device. The only way I could see the OEMs doing something like that would be if they could restrict access to it so that only their devices could download the skin from the Market. Maybe each OEM could have its own section of the market like what carriers have.

          • DBK

            He never said that the OEM skins should be on the market, just that they should be replaceable with other skins that would be on the market without the need to root. They should be treated as launchers and not as a UI that is integrated into the OS. That would still work for the OEMs  as well as the consumers.

          • CapnShiner

             Maybe I misunderstood. The way I read it, he was implying that the OEM skins should be in the Market.

          • DBK

            Understandable. I too agree that the OEM skins shouldn’t be on the market, for the same reasons you stated.

          • Anonymous

            I agree.  Phones could simply default to the OEM skins as a launcher app, so as far as the naive user is concerned, absolutely nothing has changed.  For those who don’t like the OEM skin that comes with their phone, they could simply disable it or switch to a third-party launcher app.

            The big advantage would be that new versions of Android could roll out much more quickly and more consistently to all phones, since all phones would be vanilla Android at the OS level.

            The only disadvantage I could see is if a new version of Android caused the OEM launcher to break.  That could be mitigated by having Google release the source code to manufacturers early, as suggested by the article.

          • Anon

             I don’t think that’s a problem.  When I wanted the TiVo app for my Droid Bionic, the Market wouldn’t let me download it because “my device wasn’t compatible”.  I had to side-load the .apk (which runs, just a little slower).

            I think carriers would be better off though in just installing the skin as part of an OS,  but letting the user choose to uninstall it if they wish.  Most users would never bother to, and it would still appease enthusiasts who want a stock operating system.

        • The issue here is that OEM offerings are not themes, they are full ROMs.  They add functionality at the system level, which can’t just be turned on and off without running two (or more) separate system files, which would require separate data partitions, and even separate kernels.  Then users would be mad that x feature they liked on one would be missing on the other, double their development time to make sure that both the AOSP system and their solution are working properly on that specific set of hardware, etc. etc.

          There are several (limited) theming solutions available through launchers, widgets, and the like for those who don’t want to root.  But, for the average consumer, they usually buy based on the fact that they like the manufacturer’s look and features.  Those who buy AOSP buy it for the same reason.

          • Monty Waggoner

            My wife bought the Charge because it was “Cute”. I let her so I could snag her 32GB Micro SD.

        • Anonymous

          Some manufactures make system level core changes and that can’t be installed from market.

          They can however follow the Android hardware suggestions, have phone come preloaded with their additions, then on setup screen it can ask you if you would like to continue with manufacture enhancements or download a version that is pure android with no manufacture enhancements.

          They can word it in a way where to the average consumer it will read as the manufacture enhancements are so much better…

          • Anonymous

            Or try to entice them with “basic (recommended)” and “advanced”

          • Monty Waggoner

            They would probably put it like “Plain” or “HTC Optomized (Recommended)”, or somethinglike that. I’ll take plain!

    • Dliuzzo110

      HoThis is the comment I’ve been waiting for. Most people don’t even know what android is or looks like cuz of these damn skins.how can you have 5 different devices running the same os that look completely different from each other. If anything skins should integrate instead of overlay

    • None taken. I’ve addressed that issue several times before, so feel free to take a look at my other articles.

    • Goog

      OEM skins might be bad or they might be good. That question is irrelevant. If there were no skins and everyone sold only stock android there wouldn’t be as many companies selling Android devices. The manufactures need something to differentiate themselves from one another. If everyone sold only stock Android then Android would eventually be Samsung and HTC only. Overtime HTC would also fall off and only Samsung would be selling Android devices. If you think that is good for Android I would say you are mistaken. 

  • Anonymous

    Maybe if each carrier released one phone per year, Google could focus on adding in the coding to tailor Android to each of those devices. But seeing as Moto is insistent on releasing 10 devices a year, there’s no way Google could tailor Android to that many devices, hence the reason for nexus.

  • Binglut9

    And one other problem are the carriers holding updates back that’s also apart of the problem

  • Anonymous

    All I hear from the manufacturers is whine whine whine, bitch bitch bitch. Ditch the manufacturer UIs and you’ve solved the bulk of your issues.

    • Anonymous

      there is a solid point in this article though, Hardware drivers. I own a GN LTE, and i have to say, even though its supposed to be a vanilla Android device, it is far from perfect. This is where apple shines. They invest countless days and weeks to perfect something before releasing it. Google needs to collaborate more with OEM’s with the software releases. 

    • Ryan Ball

      The problem without having manufacturer UI’s is the lack of variety. Imagine someone going into a Verizon store and they look at Android phones, how do you distinguish each phone if they all are running pure stock? 

      • DBK

        By the hardware. You can easily tell by just looking at the phone (not playing with them) which belongs to which company. And they are branded, too. If they had to differentiate the software in some way, then they could just throw in their own fonts, icons,and graphic. There is no need to completely skin the OS like they do.

        • Anonymous

           That’s what’s tough about the whole thing.  OEMs really do think skinning differentiates them, and to a certain extent, it does.  I’m sure some people would want TouchWiz because it is kind of like iOS, or Sense because of the nice widgets. 

          However, DBK is right too – why can’t they treat it like a launcher, and set it as the default while making vanilla android an easily selectable option?  What they’re basically doing is putting a custom launcher on android that you can’t (easily) remove and that slows updates exponentially

          • Evileclipse

            You guys are on the right track, but I think too many modders/hackers place too much emphiasis on hating ui skins. I may be in the minority when I say that ALOT of people, even(gulp), love ui skins. Since the release of the incredible 1 I have personally sold tons of people on android because of the Sense UI that is visually appealing to most consumers. Without its pretty colors and fancy animations, I honestly don’t think android would be where it is today. And mindless consumers aren’t the only ones flocking to sense roms either! If you do a little research,you’ll find they’re quite popular with modders as well. The only thing is I do have to agree that I wish they were user selectable, or deleteable. If they could figure this out, I think we could have the best of both worlds.

          • Anonymous

            I agree with this as well. I am personally not a fan of sense, but I do really like the version of motoblur that’s on the RAZR line, and I am not alone in that. I don’t mind skins and as you said, there are a lot of people who like them. What i don’t like is the fact that they contribute to longer wait times for OS updates. 

          • DBK

            Problem is, Foryo and GB on their own were kind of ugly (even though they preformed better that way). So skins were a little helpful. But ICS is gorgeous and doesn’t need the skins. It should only be an option for those that like it, but it shouldn’t be forced on everyone.

          • JSW25

             Why don’t people realize that these “skins” are so much more than the UI.  HTC added HW acceleration two releases before Google.  Motorola added panoramic pictures a release before Google as well as social integration (3 releases before). 

  • I think moto is just butt hurt because the whole dev community is still annoyed at them for not holding up their end of the bargain on unlockable bootloaders…oh and for blur being so awful.

    • Anonymous

      I was about to post the same exact thing. I’d also like to point out how ugly the RAZR looks next to the GNex up there 🙂 Such a beautiful device is good for Android!!! 🙂

      IMO Sense 4.0, TouchWiz ICS, etc don’t look any better or much different from previous versions. I’d take stock ICS any day.

      • Travisjshepherd

        That curved screen is pure sexy!

      • Evileclipse

        Opinions are obviously subjective, because I would prefer the razr and its sharp edges anyday over the soft curving of the gnex.

        • DBK

          I agree. I prefer the design of the RAZR over the GNex.

    • DBK

      I agree with the first part, but not the second. I believe Blur to be the better of the OEM skins. Granted it is horrendous on earlier phones, it is actually quite decent on the RAZR. That being said, ICS is amazing on it’s own and the OEM skins will do nothing but hamper and mutilate it. Carriers need to start realizing that it’s their hardware, not software, that differentiates them and that the one that accepts vanilla Android as it is is the one that will come out the winner. The skins do nothing but hurt them.

      • Jon

        agreed…Motorola is on to something with the amazing battery life on the Razr Max. If they focus on camera quality, battery life, and maybe a cool pair of headphones, it would probably be cheaper than spending 8 months working on updating Blur or Sense. 

        Just give us stock Android. Google is doing a great job at improving Android all on their own, and don’t need the “help”. Just give us better hardware, and only make customizations via apps, and not skins. 

        • Josh Nichols

          What? They’re “on to something amazing” because they threw a 3,300 mah battery in it not because of any optimizations they’ve done..

          • Jon

            Yes it is amazing. Have you seen how thin that phone is despite having a really high capacity battery? I wish you could see my Droid Bionic with it’s extended battery. It’s a brick. 

            So yes, I do think that it’s amazing when a company fixes an issue that effects everyone, everyday. Better battery life, that is unobtrusive, is a great thing.

          • DBK

            To be honest, they didn’t really fix the issue. All they did was put in a bigger battery so it lasts longer. Granted they manged to make it thinner (something the other companies didn’t do) but to actually fix the problem, they would need to tweak the software in such a way as to not consume as much battery power as it does. Then there wouldn’t be a need for such ginormous batteries and they could focus more on improving the batteries and not just increase their size. This does prove our point though. Moto needs to stick to hardware and leave the software to Google (or at the very least play a very minimal part in the software development).

          • Mister_Waldo

            They fixed the problem on the Bionic with the latest update. My phone goes a full 12-16 hrs on a single charge

          • DBK

            That’s good to know.

          • Anonymous

            What he means is Motorola didn’t do anything to optimize the phone to increase the battery performance.  They just added another one of their thin batteries on top of the other.  Now their battery tech is great, but it requires a non-removable battery as well.  

            I personally wouldn’t mind a non-removable battery as long as it’s 3000mAh+.

          • Jim Ortmeier

            By using a non removable battery, they have much more space for larger capacity battery. With a removable battery you need a battery plate/cradle that separates the battery from the motherboard. That cradle also moves the battery further from the board, so side to side you start to lose space as well. Not having seen the internals of a Razr or Razr Maxx, I’d guess it’s probably soldered directly to the board. Every little bit of space helps.

            While I was originally against nonremovable batterys, if they all had the capacity of the Maxx (3000mAh+), I’d probably be ok with them. Worst case you keep a spare external battery to charge it, or go the route some case manufacturers have and have a battery in the case. The only big drawback I could see is if the battery in the phone goes bad. Then you have a similar situation to what apple has with their iphones/ipods. Send it in to get it repaired or risk the warranty and replace it yourself. But it is one of the reasons for their long battery life is they have more room to install a larger battery.

            In closing, I’m sure Moto has some software that helps to optimize battery efficiency, but I doubt it’s any better than what Samsung or HTC has implemented. The biggest reason the Maxx shines is it has a larger capacity battery than what most OEMs & aftermarket companies offer for extended use. And the reason Moto has been able to do this is by eliminating the hardware in the phone (battery cradle & contacts) to make more space for a larger battery.

        • Anonymous

           Don’t forget about the crappy screens they’ve been shipping.

          • Blootzm3

            exactly moto screan build quality sucks

    • Travisjshepherd

      Moto can’t take responsibility for its screwed up, force feed the public some BS & tell them that’s the way it is. The boot loaders is VZW’s fault & now the OS itself is Google’s fault, Android is Google’s baby & Moto wants to deform & basically retard android from exceeding itself further.

    • Motorola does not care about “the whole dev community”.

      They don’t sell phones for “the whole dev community”.

      They sell phones for the average user.

      • you have a good point motorola doesnt care about the dev community. but the fact that they dont its just the same as the apple movement against android. they crippling innovation. they use dev’s to create there skinned roms why not allow other devs to make it better and allow for future implementation. remember every phone you hold had a dev behind it that made its experience the best of his/her’s ability.

        • Remember that they have to support it.

          They have to service it.

          They have to provide warranty replacements.

          “Yo Motorola so I flashed this thingamabob and my phone doesn’t boot, GIB MI ANOTHER KTHX.”

          • true which is why they should take the stand every other company takes that runs unlocked or unlockable bootloader. if it has anything other then stock do not accept it. not that anyone is stupid enough to return a phone with a custom rom on it anyways.

          • How do you determine the phone had a custom ROM if a “smart” person was wise enough to wipe all partitions including /boot?

            It’s still a returned “dead” phone which has to be sold as refurbished later.

          • that a risk. ill admit i have returned a screwed up nexus s to bestbuy that was a result of my flashing roms but with little risk comes little reward. maybe if they take manufacturer warrently off but allow service provider warrantee’s then i guess that would fix things since most service providers charge an additional monthly fee anyways. 

          • CapnShiner

             That’s why rooting voids the warranty. They don’t have to support what they didn’t create. This is why some PC OEMs put a sticker on the case to create a sort of seal that voids the warranty if broken. Do car manufacturers provide warranty repairs to cars with aftermarket parts? It’s not that different.

          • You forget that unlike seals on the cases, and cars with aftermarket parts, you can pretty much brick a phone so that no one will be able to tell it wasn’t bricked by some hardware or software flaw.

            Droidforums once had a thriving thread where people discussed how they managed to trick VZW, Motorola, or Asurion into replacing their device.

          • CapnShiner

             I didn’t forget. As far as I know, a bricked phone can usually be recovered by flashing the stock firmware from a computer. I think a knowledgeable VZW rep would be able to tell if it’s been rooted and flashed or not. Also, Asurion doesn’t care because they don’t do warranty replacements and Motorola doesn’t get involved until after VZW has already offered the replacement. The only people who need to be fooled are the VZW reps examining the device.

          • Blootzm3

            +1 your right

      • CapnShiner

         “We sell auto parts for the working man because that’s who we are and that’s who we care about.”

    • Anonymous

      If Moto had unlocked bootloaders I would be using the RAZR right now instead of the Nexus S. I have used Motorola phones for so long but had to stop using them after the Droid.

  • James Jackson

    how bout OEM’s focus less (or not at all) on their android overlays to focus on releasing updates for devices.
    ill always be rooted and ROM’d so, i could care less

    • Anonymous

      *couldn’t care less? :-p

      but yeah i agree.

    • Jeffrey Tarman

      Isn’t putting a ROM on your phone the same thing as a different “skin”?  I’ve see a lot of ROMs out there and all of them claim to be “stock” yet all of them look and act different.  If it were truly stock, then every ICS based ROM should look and act EXACTLY like the GN

      • CapnShiner

         ROMs are NOT the same thing as a skin. A skin is adding things on top of the existing ROM, meaning not just a different UI but more wasted resources. ROMs look different because they are different, intentionally. ROMs based on ICS don’t look the same as the Galaxy Nexus because they are BASED ON it. They take vanilla ICS and tweak it a bit. They are basically doing the same thing as the OEMs only better and they don’t force it upon the user.

      • James Jackson

        though i see your logic, i would still say no.
        there are so many roms created for devices and your right they do not all look the same. look at the amount of roms for the GNex.
        there was a time when the roms created added and implemented new features and/or stripped BS while minimizing changing the UI as much as possible.
        now many roms come with different/custom themes built in. take your pick on which you choose to install.
        i do think that bare or vanilla roms are being outnumbered by roms built with custom themes.
        it just more choices

    • And Motorola doesn’t make their phones for you.

      My uncle and aunt have either never ever considered rooting their Android phones (they’re on DoCoMo and I don’t remember the models of the handsets).

      Same with my sister. Same with quite a few people I know. And that’s normal.

      I’m not sure why can’t you understand that the “dev community” and the users of the custom firmware probably don’t even account for 5% of Android users.

      • DBK

        Wow, that was unnecessary. He didn’t even mention (or hint at) any of that. He simply suggested that the OEMs focus on updates instead of skins and said that he doesn’t care about this because he is always rooted and ROM’d.


      • James Jackson

        True motorola doesnt make their phones for me. however my first smartphone was the og droid.
        i dont care how small the “dev community” is, i will most likely be involved in some way until… i die. or lose interest.

        i dunno why im on this topic. i only stated that current handset manufacturers are using their resources to apply custom UI’s to their new phones, which takes away from keeping previous phones up to date with aosp releases.

        for me its a hardware game. wait for the hardware i want. install the software i want. as long as you are content with your device, then who cares.

  • Binglut9

    If this is the problem why doesn’t google just limit the drivers. For example google should release drivers for the big 4 omap, tegra, snapdragon, and exynos , then tell the companies if you don’t use hose hardware processors your on your own….they should also give the code to anyone at google io so that they have a head start. No one knows what Google’s plan is but I would think google will start to take fragmentation a little bit more seriously because I will never buy a non nexus device unless something changes

  • Anonymous

    Well said, makes since, will never happen…

  • Kinfolk248

    who makes android? google
    who makes android skins? moto, samsung, lg, etc
    who chooses to make android skins? moto, samsung, lg, etc
    the only reason nexus hasnt done well with sales is because in the past its been limited to select carriers, now that its across the board sales are jumping…
    i kinda wish google would get more like apple in some ways NOT ALL but some would actually benefit android…

    • Anonymous

      Your on the money

    • Anonymous

      I think one of the points you’re ignoring is that Google develops drivers for hardware that will go into the Nexus.  This means they’re not developing drivers for all the other variants that exist.  This means if the manufacturer decides to go against the Nexus design and use a different processor, they have to write the drivers themselves; which means the Drivers Samsung uses might be better or worse than the ones Motorola uses for the same processor.  I’d argue this is a common problem with Linux.

      I think Google should be a bit more proactive in the driver department, maybe go as far as to release a drivers for a large array of hardware as opposed to just the hardware used on the Nexus, which would standardize things and take pressure off the OEMs. 

      Imagine if HP, Dell, and Lenovo each had to develop their own drivers for the i7.  Your experience with each piece of hardware would be different with each manufacturer.  Building your own rig would be next to impossible… unless the Mobo manufacturer or Intel provided drivers.

      Maybe Google should give the hardware manufacturers (not the phone OEMs) access to early source so they could develop drivers to give to the phone OEMs.

      • Anonymous

         Different CPUs require kernel optimizations, not drivers. Drivers are for peripherals like GPS antennas and cameras. And the current situation is the same on Windows… Every peripheral manufacturer has to write their own drivers and get them  certified with MS. Linux has a slightly different approach to drivers. I won’t get into that in this post

        • Anonymous

          I was using the term Driver in a general sense.  See CM9’s progress.

          • Imagine if HP, Dell, and Lenovo each had to develop their own drivers for the i7.
            You mean it in general “drivers”I will let that slide, although you should use right terms.
            Then I would like to chime in then with the whole reason why we have this issue is because manufacturer’s of phones don’t all chose the same CPU. To compare to android that would be like I decided to make my own CPU that of course windows is not made for then I would have to make my own optimization’s for to OS to handle it. Windows 7 natively supports certain types of CPU which are the standards now, mobile these types of standards are not quite there yet. 

            imo the manufactures blaming the OS for not being built for them is a cop out, they should build their device for the OS that’s free for them to use not the other way around 

          • Anonymous

             Drivers do not require a recompile of the OS. They load during runtime. That’s my whole point. Different CPUs have different features. When Google chooses a particular CPU/GPU combo, they make Android take advantage of the extra features of the CPU/GPU. For example 3d acceleration in ICS is designed for a certain GPU. GPU/CPU on the MOTO phones may not have a same set of instructions and thus 3D acceleration needs to be implemented differently. Think of the Differences between DX8 GPU vs DX10 GPU or MMX registers. I’m not saying the differences are that drastic. Just saying that things as elementary as Reading and writing to memory addresses, drawing 3d Accelerated buttons and so on may be VERY different from one phone to the next when coded.
            The only thing I don’t understand is why MOTO is bitching about it. They were the ones who chose the hardware for their phones. They don’t manufacture the CPU/GPUs. If they wanted better compatibility, they should have chosen a platform that is closer to the Nexus and then only changed the peripherals around. They Chose not to do that and therefore assumed responsibility of porting the WHOLE OS to their hardware/GPU, so they only got themselves to blame. And we got a problem with them because neither they nor Google have any incentive to follow through with all the different platforms Post purchase, other then respect of consumers. All this results in having this as the very last thing on their list of needed updates.
            This is why I chose the GNex. This is the platform that Google will support. They are the most interested party in supporting and upgrading the OS for as long as it makes sense.

          • And how is it that they are supposed to release phones with the closest possible hardware when the exact peripherals aren’t known until the Nexus device is released (and for this round, coincidently, that’s EXACTLY what they did by using TI 44xx SoC’s in their last 3 major releases)?  

            The issue being discussed here is not the fact that OEM’s are responsible for their own drivers, its that they can’t even begin to DEVELOP those drivers until after the Nexus device is released, which wastes a ton of time that could be used for other development tasks.

            And let’s be serious here, what justifiable reason is there for the Nexus to have software released 3-4 months ahead of OEM’s instead of at the same time?  Pride?  Would Nexus owners jump ship to the OEMs if that happened?  Nexus updates would still be pure AOSP, still be supported directly by Google, so why does what the OEMs do even matter?  Or is the only reason to purchase a Nexus so the owner can turn up their nose at the “poor souls” who have a phone that runs the last major version, or (gasp!) two previous versions.  If that’s the main reason, then things most definitely need to change, or a “Nexus fanboy” will be just as despised as an “Apple fanboy” (and I’ve already started seeing it get to that point in some forums/websites).

          • Anonymous

            “The issue being discussed here is not the fact that OEM’s are responsible for their own drivers, its that they can’t even begin to DEVELOP those drivers until after the Nexus device is released, which wastes a ton of time that could be used for other development tasks.”

            I would guess they get the specs some time when development starts or even in planning phase and not when the device is released.  If it is the case that they start development when the device is released then Google has a problem sharing specs and code with hardware partners.

          • Anonymous

            They don’t. Google develops in secret with one OEM and one SOC partner. Everyone else is in the dark until the nexus is out and Google throws the source code over the wall and leaves the other OEMs to their own devices. This is 100% responsible for 2 to 3 months of delay, the OEMs are responsible for the rest with their stupid skinning.

      • Kinfolk248

        and apple and wp7 would have the same problem android is having now if they gave out the os to whoever wanted it. which is why i say google needs to take a page from apple and say, hi this is the os, driver, code whatever u wanna call it but here it is use it if you want if not dont bitch like a highschool chick! in general, nexus doesnt have some of the problem other android devices do. hence why i say google needs to write the os, say take it or leave it, if you take it build something worth a damn, it you leave it then bye…

        imagine if dell, hp, and lenovo all had skinned versions of windows on new/differ computers every couple months like phone manufactures, you know how much s*** that would cause…

        adding all that extra nonsense is like all types of extra junk to a dinner plate, its only gonna give you diabetes and kill you…lol lol 

        • Anonymous

          Like when you buy an HP and it has a custom skin and functions for the F buttons? 

          They already skin windows as much as they can.

      • Google doesn’t make drivers the hardware manufacturers do and I am not talking Motorola I am talking Broadcom and Qualcomm the chip providers.  That is the problem  That is like thinking MS makes drivers for ATI.

        • Anonymous

          I’m not sure they do based on Motorola’s reasoning for delays. 

          If they did, they could just take the drivers from them and be done with it. 

          • Anonymous

            This certainly is what should happen. It ought not be too difficult for Google to at least work with the major hardware providers on the major components; at the very least the chip manufacturers (Qual, TI, Samsung, NVidia). It’s a bit silly that AOSP will be optimised for a TI chipset one version and a Samsung one the next.

    • “the only reason nexus hasnt done well with sales is because in the past its been limited to select carriers”
      Do explain. Nexus One and Nexus S were both GSM and carrier-unlocked.

      • Anonymous

        CDMA Carriers exist, and not many average buyers want to buy unsubsidized.

        • The CDMA user base worldwide is small enough compared to GSM. It’s understandable.

          • Anon

            Not in America.

          • The USA have 43% of mobile users taken by VZW and Sprint, sure.

            The world, however, with the USA included, has about 12% CDMA users. With about 70% being GSM, 6% PDC, and 2% NMT and such.

          • CapnShiner

             That’s irrelevant. The Nexus devices launch in the US. Only 2 of the 4 major US carriers are GSM and they both have fewer customers(not combined) than Verizon, which is CDMA. Sales for the Nexus devices are limited by availability. Even outside the US, where most carriers are GSM, people have to be able to buy the device. If it isn’t sold in a particular country or if it isn’t subsidized, it may be prohibitively expensive. Carrier availability does affect sales, whether the device is unlocked or not.

          • The fact still stands: this Nexus device was launched in Europe, with the US launch following later.

          • CapnShiner

             Yes, if you want to be that picky about the details. It did launch in Europe and Asia first. You’re right about that. But how were the sales in Europe and Asia? How do they compare to the US sales?

          • I think in Europe it was targeted at Android enthusiasts (as I would have expected).

            It wasn’t subsidised, and a lot of customers weren’t pleased with the infamous volume bug (well, Samsung quality at its best).

            Alas, I don’t have any figures right now; I might, however, get my hands on the data later, around the last week of March.

          • CapnShiner

             Exactly. If the Nexus was subsidized through a carrier, like it was in the US, sales may have been better. The bugs don’t factor into this discussion because they would be present regardless of the carrier options. “Samsung quality at its best” is right.

      • Anon

         Verizon.  There’s your explanation.

        • What about Verizon? I have never seen their stores or anything related to them besides the logo on my D2G.

          • DBK

            Verizon is CDMA. The Nex S and Nex One were limited to the other carriers, which have a smaller consumer base than Verizon, thus smaller sales. The GNex is available on all carriers, and thus has seen better sales than its predecessors.

          • Aren’t you talking about the US market?

            It’s not the largest mobile phone market in the world, though.

          • DBK

            But being on Verizon gave it the attention that the other Nexuses didn’t get (as unfortunate as that is).

          • What kind of attention if I may inquire?

          • CapnShiner

             I think he’s talking about market share and mind share. By releasing exclusively on Verizon first, rather than any other US carrier, the Galaxy Nexus was able to reach the largest possible market at launch. The previous Nexus devices launched on smaller carriers. Even though the device is unlocked, it is limited by the hardware to certain frequency bands, which limits compatibility on different carriers. Whoever officially launches the device has the biggest advantage. The US market may not be the biggest(China is), but it was the first to get the Galaxy Nexus.

          • The first market to get the Galaxy Nexus was Europe and Asia, though. Verizon released theirs two weeks (or something like that) later.

          • DBK

            But Verizon was the first to get it in the US. And since Ron seems to be referencing US sales numbers, that logic stands. You keep trying to factor in global sales, but that is not what the topic is about, and thus why people are confused with your arguments.

          • CapnShiner

             I’m not talking about actual release dates. Verizon held back the release for reasons most readers on this site would probably dispute. The original scheduled release date was much sooner. I haven’t checked but if I remember correctly the Verizon launch was supposed to be before the international launch. We are also talking about two different devices. The Verizon version has different hardware because it’s CDMA and LTE. The version for Europe and Asia is GSM and, if I am remembering correctly, is limited to HSPA/HSPA+ for data.

          • DBK

            Well, Verizon’s marketing is a hell of a lot better than AT&Ts, T-Mobile’s, or Sprint’s. The other Nexi weren’t really well known outside of these communities and only garnered attention when it got released.

            The Gnex, on the other hand, garnered a little more attention outside of these communities and it got better when Verizon started to market it. Granted it wasn’t much, but it was definitely better then the marketing for the other Nexi.At least that’s how I see it.

          • I see. You’re only evaluating the US market, I presume?

            Then I don’t think I have any objections.

          • DBK

            Since that is what the original topic was about, yes. I’m glad we can agree. Now if global sales were factored in, I would agree with you.  🙂

          • Being a Japanese ciziten in Europe with an US-targeted phone is tough 😉

          • DBK

            lol Ouch  😛

          • CapnShiner

             I can imagine. But which phone do you have?

          • The DROID2 GLOBAL, bought it SIM-unlocked from eBay. It’s my first Android phone, too (coming from a Symbian Series 80 phone, the 2002-made Nokia 9300 if you don’t cound DoCoMo’s feature phones).

          • CapnShiner

             Wasn’t there a European version of the Droid 2? Milestone 2 or something? Your decision to buy a Droid 2 Global doesn’t make sense to me.

          • The price.

            I got mine for $260 or so on eBay. Milesone 2 would be €450+. It’s also clocked at a lower speed.

          • Anonymous

            Verizon’s marketing had nothing to do with it. They never released a commercial about the G-Nex!

          • C-Law

            Yes they did. I see Verizon gnex commercials on TV all the time

          • Anonymous

            My apologies. I did not realize that the “circles” commercial was developed by Verizon.

          • Anonymous


          • Anonymous

            There is an AT&T version of the Nexus S which is not sold in AT&T stores and just Best Buy. It is never advertised as the Galaxy Nexus is being advertised.  I have not seen the Nexus S 4G in two or 3 Sprint stores so I guess it is as random as the GSM Nexus S.

      • The Nexus S may have been carrier unlocked, but when I was selling it at Best Buy, I as told that if customers chose to use it on AT&T, they would be limited to 2G. So not really a practical solution.

        • Jonathan Ly

          You then have the fact that the Nexus S did become available to AT&T. T-Mo could get 3G I believe, and again that is the prerogative of the user at hand. 

          I think the Nexus program is beneficial, and in my opinion what Android should be. The skins are a boon and a bane, and sooner or later. one of them will give up. And I say it will be skins that go the way of the dodo. 

      • Anonymous

        they were only initially available online lol.

    • On the money for AN issue, but not the one in the article. I think the biggest point made is that Google should be working with all of its manufacturing partners to try and get the latest Android iteration on as many devices as quickly as possible. Ron wasn’t stating all devices should have had skinned 4.0 on day one. But it certainly shouldn’t be arriving Q3 on this year as is the date for some devices. I personally don’t mind skinned devices simply because it allows for more options. I can use it until I decide I want something new, then take it off. All that being said, not sure if Motorola is in the right by saying what they did or not. 

      • Anonymous

        “I think the biggest point made is that Google should be working with all of its manufacturing partners to try and get the latest Android iteration on as many devices as quickly as possible.”

        • Jonathan Ly

          This is why Android is great and terrible all at the same time. 

          You cannot expect Google to have its own team working on a different companies stuff. Its that company’s responsibility to work efficiently. Motorola talking about the how its difficult is like a girlfriend s***-talking the your ex because she wasn’t the one to get to do the awesome things.

          Brandon has it completely right, you should be able to “turn off” the skin and revert to stock Android. 

          Most people who like their devices stick with whats on it. The stock owner experience is truly a small subsection of the entire Android base. That being said, I think the bootloader policies of some of the companies/carriers would mitigate this issue if they were more developer friendly

          • Anonymous

            It’s to Google’s benefit to have Android running well on as many devices as possible. Also, I don’t think it’s asking too much to have Google work with at least the major processor manufacturers (Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, NVidia) to have drivers released to the handset manufacturers. I think it’s silly that one version of AOSP is written for a Samsung processor, the next for an NVidia, and the next for a Texas Instruments; especially given how Android compiles via Linux kernel.

          • Loki

            The nexus, razr, and rezound all run on a 1.2 gig dual core TI processor, with the same 1 gig of memory. If they removed the stupid skins they’d probably have 4.0 os by now

          • Droidzilla

            GNex: TI OMAP 4460 1.2GHz
            RAZR: TI OMAP 4430 1.2GHz
            Rezound: Qualcomm MSM8660 1.5GHz
            SGSII: Samsung Exynos 4210 1.2GHz/Qualcomm APQ2060 1.5GHz
            SGS/Nexus S: Samsung Hummingbird 1.0GHz (single core)

            This is just off the top of my head, and doesn’t take into account the different radios (Qualcomm, Motorola, Broadcom, etc.), screen tech, flash memory, etc.

            Where’s your source for the skins holding manufacturers back? What skin is on the Nexus S 4G that’s holding it back?

        • LinuxLover

           Problem is, they all want to diversify their product from the next guy through OS skinning. They want to avoid being nothing more than a commodity hardware manufacturer.

        • Loki

          Google should be working with all manufacturers? Google is suppose to pay their employees to work on other companies phone’s for free? If the other companies didn’t skin their devices there wouldn’t be much of a problem. Google released their 4.0 os before the Nexus was available in the U.S. market. Mods had awesome Roms available in january. I suggest these companies to hire these people who make roms for fun into their companies and they’d probably get out there faster.

    • where are the nexus sales numbers to say these numbers are jumping??? havent seen any, nor have i seen this nexus anywhere but verizon 

    • Skins have nothing to do with this and it is getting to be an old easy to point the finger at response.  Nova launcher could be called a skin.  Guess what it’s an app that’s all it is.  It still requires the base and internal framework of the OS to function.  True it may delay it since it is not pure but it is not causing months worth of delays.  ASUS even said when talking about the Transformer Prime it did not have anything to go off of until the general public did.  You can damn well bet MS and MAC get versions out to hardware developers long prior to release day.

  • John

    I think it’s a bit too late to fix this issue, unfortunately