Motorola flips again, promises Android O for Moto G4
It must be a confusing time for Moto G4 Plus users. Original marketing material for the 2016 budget smartphone promised an update to Android 8.0, codenamed “Oreo.” Earlier this week, Motorola (which is owned by the Chinese tech giant Lenovo) released a list of devices with an Oreo update coming, but one phone was conspicuously absent: the Moto G4 Plus. The omission sent the Android community reeling, as several Moto G4 Plus owner flocked to sites like Reddit to voice their concerns. It looks like Motorola has heard the outcry and is now planning to release Android 8.0 Oreo for the Moto G4 Plus.
In an official statement, Motorola said:
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.
Amidst accusations that Motorola attempted to remove all references to the promised update, it looks like the Lenovo-owned smartphone manufacturer is trying to do right by its customer base. It’s good to see a company listen and respond to its customers, but there are a few caveats here.
First, Motorola stated that their “general practice” is to offer “one major OS upgrade” for the Moto G line, which flies in the face of the marketing material. The promise of Android Oreo, then known as Android O, was a pillar of the G4 Plus’s marketing campaign, so it seems like a low blow for Motorola to advertise a feature they may have had no intention to deliver.
The other large hangup with this promise is the timeframe. By calling it an “unplanned” update, Motorola is essentially saying that pushing Android Oreo to the Moto G4 Plus is not a priority in the slightest. Considering Moto’s recent track record, expectations should be lowered and well-tempered; G4 Plus owners should expect the update sometime in 2018, likely in the second half of the year. Keep in mind that the announcement made no mention of the Moto G4 or G4 Play; it's likely those devices won't see anymore updates.
Offering the update after so much backlash from the public is a nice gesture, but unless it’s released in a timely manner and backed by excellent support, the gesture will likely ring hollow and further tarnish a once-golden brand in the Android world.