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Motorola’s Punit Soni Introduces “Test Drive” – Allows Users to Test New Software Updates, Starts With Android 4.2

Apologies for the extra long title, but it all needed to be mentioned up front. So yeah, Motorola’s Punit Soni just announced a new program called “Test Drive.” It’s probably similar to the Motorola Feedback Network that allows users to join in “soak tests” of updates before they are pushed to the public, but this name is much snazzier. 

To kick off Test Drive, Soni mentioned that Motorola will start with Android 4.2, the most recently announced version of Android. Test Drive will allow a “few hundred” consumers to test out preview builds of the software ahead of time, so that they can provide feedback and help speed up the entire process.

They don’t have a date for Test Drive to start, or a way to sign-up yet, but it’s coming. As soon as we hear more, we’ll be sure to pass it along.

How happy are you with Motorola these days? This and the RAZR M’s fast Jelly Bean update should be helping things.

Via:  Motorola

Cheers Timothy and Justtyn!

  • MFN allows you to test FINAL software, so any bugs have to be addressed in a future patch, or if severe enough they’ll delay the release to fix it; for the most part though, everything is baked in with MFN builds. This sounds like you can preview TEST builds and provide feedback to improve the software as they build it, rather than the other way around. If this is the case, it’s a major win for us.

  • ddevito

    Google should just end the nonsense and go 100% stock. The Droid brand is exclusive to US Verizon anyway, so who needs software differentiation anyway? It’s a waste of time. We need a [real] Verizon Nexus anyway. it’s a win-win-win for Motorola, Google and most importantly….


    • Bionic

      Android is open. That means they have no say in what OEM’s do as far as makng skins.

  • Droid Burgundy


    Moto will get updates over the Gnex? :/

    Living proof of the reality of the world we live in… The Verizon Gnex is not a Nexus, and Moto just may be owned by Google after all!

    • ddevito

      whoa whoa whoa, slow down bro…relax.

      No, this doesn’t mean that. The GNex will still get updates earlier – this is pre-soak test stuff – early builds.

      It’s all good now but just wait until these folks start using these builds – they’ll be bitching and complaining…

    • Bionic

      I laugh at anyone who kept saying “no no google isnt gonna interfere with moto” i seriously laugh at anyone who ever believed that, lol

      • cizzlen

        Lol I know right? Can’t blame ya Google

  • ddevito

    What’s funny is that the Moto fanboys here all think they’re getting an invite. What a joke. You’ll get 4.2 in 2013 like all the other bloatware OEMs

    • Bionic

      you obviously are not priveleged to the information abotu the contract that was recently negotiated.

    • p0k3y

      The two android phones that I have had are Motorola – Droid 1 and RAZR 1. But the recent decline in their phones and their arrogance to refuse to unlock bootloaders are really the last straw for me. The next phone I get will not be a moto for sure. Plus, they are still just planning to update phones to JB, Who knows when they will get to 4.2? Finally, who are going to be in the lucky “hundreds” to be guinea pigs? This is just laughable at best.

  • ddevito

    Soak test 2.0 – nothing to get excited about here

    • Bionic

      i beg to differ

    • Punit Soni

      Its a little earlier than that.

  • ddevito

    It’s all fun and games until a new OS is released and Nexus users laugh at everyone else.

  • Brandon Woods

    I’ve always liked you Motorola. But after my Bionic, it’s going to be hard to not consider other options. In fact I’ve already pre-ordered the GNote2. In a year, I will reconsider. I recommend you announce a 5.5″ phone line between now and then.

    • Bionic is getting Jellybean in early 2013?

      • Bionic

        yes it is

  • aBabyPenguin

    Yep, my next phone will be Motorola. I can wait a few more months for a device from this promising new Moto.

  • As a old school motorola supporter, its nice to see the updates. I have had only Motorola devices all the way back to a black and white screen flip phone. Nice to see moto getting some fans back 😀

  • Shadowstare

    Damn you Motorola. I was all set to pick up this HTC or Samsung phone and you go and do something FREAKING AWESOME and screw up my decision. If Motorola Phones can actually be supported by Google and even Verizon for a full 2+ year period, that is one heck of a bonus to picking a Moto phone over any of their competitors. Consistent updates for the win.

  • Bionic

    Hopefully my current feedback network account will simply transfer over to the new system. I’m sure Motorola will e mail us and let us know.

  • possomcrast1

    Everything they’ve done recently is great. They just need to improve their cameras (which I believe is a software issue) and my next phone will more than likely be MOTO. Their displays could be much better but I believe they are improving.

    • hkklife

      Just give me a 5″ Moto Phablet Maxx with at least 32Gb of internal storage + microSDHC, S4 Pro, and a better camera and I will be thrilled. I can live with 720p but 900p or 1080p would be even better.

  • nightscout13

    Will I be able to test drive 4.2 on my Xyboard?

  • chris125

    So pretty much what they have been doing with the soak tests?

    • ddevito

      +1 thank you – I’m all for rooting for moto and all but seriously this isn’t news

  • batteryisking

    Yes, like the direction that Motorola is heading. Have had the Maxx and now the Maxx HD, both solid phones, the HD is very nice build, call and screen quality with excellent battery life. .

  • If Motorola keeps this up, they are definitely going to regain their lost Android market share. I’m already a believer and I was extremely anti-Moto for the past 2 years.

    • Verizon

      The only thing screwing Motorola now is the ridiculous agreements they have made with Verizon. If they would release phones with unlockable bootloaders and across multiple networks (like Samsung did with the GS3) then they would be on top of the world.

      • will bartlett

        the gs3 was technically not unlockable until that thingymajigger got leaked for it.

  • MotoRulz

    Googles influence is really starting to show..

    • ddevito


      • MotoRulz

        ICS for Bionic, JB for RAZR M, test drive just to name a few things. Now you can downplay their influence all you want but based Motorola’s past history it would seem as though Google had everything to do with those things..

        • ddevito

          talk to me when they ship with unlocked bootloaders in the US on Verizon

          • MotoRulz

            My comment was about Google’s influence on Motorola. They will need to grow a pair before they have enough influence to get unlocked bootloaders on Verizon

          • That has nothing to do with Motorola… name me a new phone since the Galaxy “Nexus” on Verizon that’s been bootloader unlockable officially. Galaxy S III, Note II, and now soon the DROID DNA are examples to show you it’s Verizon you have to deal with. They are kind enough at Motorola to make a Developer Edition so you at least have an option.

          • aholeinthewor1d

            they are kind enough? developer edition of a phone is pointless..unless you are a dev and can make your own roms/kernels there is no point in getting one because not many people have it so the whole rooting community wont be too big at all..even though verizon makes them lock it they could always lock it like samsung or htc used to where devs could always bypass it

          • LiterofCola

            Some people will never be pleased

      • Bionic

        come on dude, you are smarter than that.

        • ddevito

          If there was Google influence blur would be obliterated.

          • Bionic

            tell me you are not this naive. you are telling me that you of all people heard nothing of the recent contract negotiations between motorola and verizon in which google stepped in, sent in its legal team to back moto, and totally took it to verizon at the table? you’re telling me you hear none of that?

            And have you seen the new blur? its basically stock with smart actions.

          • ddevito

            It’s not a Nexus. End of discussion.

          • Bionic

            No, its not. But yanno whats coming? A motorola nexus first half of next year. Bet on it. Dont believe me? Bookmark this discussion and if there isnt a motorola nexus by august next year, ill never bother you again.

          • ddevito

            Trust me when I say I want you to be right. I’d toss my gnex out the window in a heartbeat.

          • Bionic

            well trust me, im right. There is a guy i follow for news because he has sources within moto itself. Everything he says comes true and he says a moto nexus is coming in 2013. They are also working with intel on a quad core beast phone.

            Motorola is only going to release 2 or 3 phones next year, one of them being a nexus but all of them being beast phones.

          • Bionic

            not only that, but one of the things won during those negotiations was unlocked bootloaders for a couple moto phones in 2013. Not only that, but verizon is facing pressure from the FCC AND FTC because locking bootloaders was basically found to be illegal.

          • LiterofCola

            You sound like an iOS fanboy

  • ayyy

    Here I was thinking 4.1 anytime soon on the Maxx HD was impressive, if 4.2 is available for testing I’ll be ecstatic.

    • not quite what they’re saying. They are just stating that they are starting a Test Drive program, with its first task to test mostly-finished builds of 4.2 for whichever devices they feel like. Essentially, an official “leaked” build.

  • Sandcrab3

    This has previously been called the Motorola Feedback Network. Not clear if Test Drive is replacing that……

    • I’m thinking the MFN is final release to thousands. This sounds like Beta testing the semi-final builds. As a dev community we’ve basically been doing that already using Cheescake to find builds on their test servers. Motorola apparently realized that they had a free base of users who want to run test software, so why not let them? Also, it will likely keep people from getting off the upgrade path.

  • Second Chance

    Well maybe I see Moto back in my pocket soon, tired of the battery life of my VZW Galaxy Nexus

    • John

      I was too until I threw a 3800mAh battery in there. Now, I get 1-2day & 4+hr screen ontime on average. This will easily help me get through the last year on my contract. Ya it’s bulky but you actually forget about it after a couple weeks.

      15$ on amazon(w/ nfc too)

      • jsf6262

        …and your phone is an inch think. You forgot to mention that.

        • John

          That was part of the “bulky” comment. You don’t realize it after a couple weeks. It’s what I have to do until I’m out of the stupid contact next year.

  • Verizon

    Will be signing up for this as soon as it is available. After the first day with my Razr Maxx I knew I’d be a Moto customer for a long time.

  • I thought the HTC Elevate would be something like this, but its kind of fallen flat and seems more like a focus group than having anything to do with software testing.

  • Daniel Maginnis

    you guys are on it today. i was just reading the post, cuz it got sent to fb 15 mins ago.

  • Dan

    My next phone will be from motorola. Listening to their customers recently and maintaining the focus that battery life should be one of the most important things in a phone. I like their future.

    • john

      They are not listening. They are only speaking — see the details about atrix 4g and photon users not getting ics update

    • Punit Soni

      Thank you.

  • mustbepbs

    That’s it. I like where Motorola is heading and they’ve shown they can change. My next phone will be Motorola. Eff you Samsung and your crappy radios.

    • +1 for the comment, +10 for the avatar photo. well done, sir.

    • John

      No issues with my radio on my gnexus. Full 4G a majority of places I go & never drop a call.

      • Verizon

        I went through 5 different GNex. I had poor reception and muted call issue on ever single one of them. When offered the Razr Maxx I jumped on it and don’t regret it for a second. Full bars in places the Gnex had 0. Best call quality of ANY phone I have ever had. Samsung makes some nice phones, but Moto just beats them in call quality and reception on Verizon.

        • John

          Crazy. Ya I’m not denying Moto makes better shi t. Just saying no issues with my Samsung device. I guess it’s obviously a YMMV sort of thing. Glad you have something dependable now 🙂

          • Verizon

            Yea, I’ve had horrible luck with Samsung devices on Verizon. I wish I could have had the same experience you did. I loved the Gnex’s software, screen and dev support, but at the end of the day I have to have a phone that works as a phone. lol I’ve used the Razr Maxx in places that nobody gets reception including the side of a mountain at about 10k feet. This thing blows my mind sometimes.

          • Craig

            I’m running Jelly Bean on my Razr HD Maxx and I love it. I can’t praise Motorola enough for a well built phone. I had the Galaxy SII and SIII and sold them. They look great on paper but the radios are just not up to par.

          • Verizon

            I’ve been eyeballing the Maxx HD. It is such an impressive phone. I’m really interested to see what they come out with next year though.

          • Mikeg1969

            I hate that you had a bad run with Sammy, I came from a RAZR Maxx to the SIII. While I appreciate the quality build of the Maxx and all the Moto phones I had before that, I swtiched because of not being able to get good solid signals on 3G or 4G in my area. I was suprised to find that my SIII is getting some 4G reception in areas I couldn’t get with my Maxx and having a better time with maintaining a good signal too. I went through 2 Maxxes before selling it and getting an SIII and am happy to have switched.

        • ayyy

          I had the same issues, especially the muted call issue. Went through 3 brand new Gnex phones. Ended up going back to OG droid that was more reliable at 3 years old. Now on Maxx HD and the experience is night and day. Not sure what the issue with the Gnex was but it was brutal. Excellent device otherwise.

          • michael arazan

            My GNex had minor bugs that the .4 update took care of except my camera app “could not connect” all the time until JB finally fixed it. I had a D1 and went to a GNex because I didn’t like what motorola was doing with all their phones and skins were atrocious. If moto comes out with a Nexus next year I’ll be buying it.

    • Buy This

      I realize there must be something to this since many other people have chimed in with similar complaints but FWIW, my first G-Nex was from VZW’s like new program to replace my Bionic, which DID have terrible 4g connectivity, and I have zero issues as far as signal and functionality. It’s hands down the best phone I have ever owned and I have no intention of upgrading anytime soon. I wish other people had the user experience I had.

      • BubbleSort

        4G connectivity was fixed in .903 I believe. The bionic is a solid phone, besides for it being generally ignored.

    • nightscout13

      I’ve always appreciated Moto radios. They truly are superior.


      Motorola FTW!!

    • Guest

      Everything they’ve done recently is great. They just need to improve their cameras which I believe is a software issue.

    • Chris Malkiewicz

      Agreed!!! As far as the Droid Razr and Razr MAXX… Just give us one phone! I still think its silly to have two options!

      • Evan S.

        While I agree that the the way the did the original Razr and Maxx so far apart was cruel, the HD and the HD maxx at the same time was really just what everyone else is doing. There are, after all, a 16 and 32 GB Galaxy S3 option, and many of the other companies are the same way. Simply put, you have a BETTER option, or a CHEAPER option.

    • Castortroy

      So glad i purchased a razr hd…best build quality ive seen on a phone and radios, battery are superb.

    • ddevito

      I hope they do – but come on face it – Google wanted their patents. This is simply Soak Test 2.0 is all, nothing to get excited about. You’ll still be 6+ months behind Nexus users

      • Punit Soni

        not if I can help it.

        • lvlorpheus

          I hope to see the new Googarola do just that. If you are you and come back to check this post, will Googarola ever have a unlocked phone sold via the Play Store that will run on Verizon?