Motorola to Honor Android Oreo Update Promise for the Moto G4 Plus After Backlash

By | 18th September 2017

Lenovo caused an uproar in the community when it announced its Android 8.0 Oreo update plans for its smartphone portfolio. The update list included most 2017 smartphones and 2016 flagships, but ended up excluding the Moto G4 Plus.

Such uproar was rightfully warranted in this case, as Motorola had explicitly promised Android N and Android O updates for the Moto G4 Plus in its marketing materials. This left Motorola no room to wiggle out of their promise on semantics alone, as ambiguous wording like “one major Android version” or “one year’s software update” were not present in their sales pitch at all.

The situation appeared all the more frustrating when one realizes that the newer generation Moto G5 can not really be considered a thorough, substantial upgrade over the older Moto G4. Here is a quick comparison between key specifications of the devices (and the Moto G5S as well) in order to highlight the major differences:

SpecificationMoto G4Moto G5Moto G5S
LaunchMay 2016February 2017August 2017
Display Size5.5″5″5.2″
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 617
4x Cortex-A53 @1.5GHz +
4x Cortex-A53 @1.2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
8x Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
8X Cortex-A53 @1.4GHz
GPUAdreno 405Adreno 505Adreno 505
Internal Storage16/32GB16/32GB32GB
RAM2GB2/3GB3GB
Rear Camera13MP, f/2.013MP, f/2.0, PDAF16MP, f/2.0, PDAF
Front Camera5MP, f/2.25MP, f/2.25MP, f/2.0
Battery3000 mAh2800 mAh3000 mAh
Fingerprint SensorNoYesYes

The improvements between the smartphones were mainly found in the design as each successive “generation” of the Moto G lineup from the G4 onwards started adopting more metal in its external hardware. But on the inside, the Moto G5 comes off as an unimpressive downgrade in key specifications from its predecessor, while the Moto G5S counts as a mere sidegrade to an existing Moto G4 owner.

A somewhat similar situation exists on the Plus variants:

SpecificationMoto G4 PlusMoto G5 PlusMoto G5S Plus
LaunchMay 2016February 2017August 2017
Display Size5.5″5.2″5.5″
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 617
4x Cortex-A53 @1.5GHz +
4x Cortex-A53 @1.2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
8x Cortex-A53 @2GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
8X Cortex-A53 @2GHz
GPUAdreno 405Adreno 506Adreno 506
Internal Storage16/32/64GB32/64GB32/64GB
RAM2/3/4GB2/3/4GB3/4GB
Rear Camera16MP, f/2.0, PDAF & Laser AF12MP, f/1.7Dual 13MP, f/2.0
Front Camera5MP, f/2.25MP, f/2.28MP, f/2.0
Battery3000 mAh300 mAh3000 mAh
Fingerprint SensorYesYesYes

The Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5S Plus gave a larger reason to upgrade with their adoption of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 that featured 14nm FinFET technology, and changes to the rear camera setup may have also been good driving factors to prefer the newer device over the older Moto G4 Plus.

But the argument still stood. Whether or not the G5/G5S and G5 Plus/G5S Plus make worthy successors to the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus should be irrelevant to the software upgradeability of the G4 lineup, especially when Motorola explicitly mentioned Android Oreo update for the G4 Plus (at least). The fact that some of the successors were sidegrades made the situation worse as it highlighted how Motorola and Lenovo were banking heavily on planned obsolescence to make current devices appear as better purchases over their predecessors.

What’s even worse, Motorola was caught attempting to edit its marketing materials to remove mentions of a promised Android O update. Newer infographics on product pages only mention Android N as a promised update, with Android O removed to make it appear that it was never promised in the first place. Motorola India also erred when it replied to a user on Twitter re-affirming their promise for Oreo on the G4 Plus. However, the error was quickly noticed and the tweet was deleted. But several users on Twitter managed to call out this mistake by Motorola.

Seeing the uproar and the damage to reputation it caused, Motorola has issued a statement to AndroidPolice after their coverage on the same:

It’s been brought to our attention that there were some errors in our marketing materials around Android O upgrades for Moto G4 Plus. This was an oversight on our part and we apologize for this miscommunication. It’s our general practice for the Moto G family to get one major OS upgrade per device, but it’s important to us we keep our promises, so in addition to the N upgrade it has already received, we will be upgrading Moto G4 Plus to Android O. Because this is an unplanned upgrade, it will take some time to fit it into our upgrade schedule. Watch our software upgrade page for more information.

Motorola’s statement mentions that the Moto G4 Plus’s marketing materials had errors when it came to talking about updates. So in order to “keep their promise”, the company will release Android Oreo for the Moto G4 Plus. But because of this supposedly being an “unplanned” update, it will take some time to arrive.

The update statement entirely skips over the Moto G4, ignoring that such a device still exists. The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are almost the same phone with a few minor differences, like the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the G4. Motorola is also shielding itself on a technicality, as it only promised Android O for the G4 Plus. Thus, it would appear that there is no obligation on them to assume responsibility for the G4. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that at the very least, their initial promise is being honored and users will get the update that possibly influenced their purchase decision.


 

What are your thoughts on the latest promise from Lenovo/Motorola? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Source for Motorola’s statement: AndroidPolice