27 September 2015

Moto G 2nd Gen Android 5.1 Update

Currently the Moto G 2nd Gen is on Android 5.0.2 and there is a maintenance release gradually being rolled out, however the release isn’t available to the XT1068 (network unlocked international variant) as of 25th September 2015. Maintenance release only fixes the StageFright issue and doesn’t provide an update to Android 5.1. While Motorola’s initial response to the StageFright issue is very good with providing information about the issue and a proper workaround their follow up has been very poor.

Motorola have been very slow in making the maintenance release available. So slow in fact that it is taking over a month so far to get the release distributed which is unacceptable. StageFright fix was released by Motorola for testing by mobile telcos on 10th August 2015, which isn’t applicable to the XT1068. Should only take at most a week to to distribute security fixes. Even then that is a bit too long when it comes to fixing security issues on a mobile device.

When it comes to finding out information about Android updates for the Moto G 2nd Gen it is very difficult to obtain the right information. Very hard to navigate Motorola’s website for software update information, and even worse when you do get there more often than not the information is inaccurate. The UI (User Interface) for the update section of Motorola's website differs widely between different countries. Why can’t Motorola use a single UI for the update section that applies to all countries?

Very quickly discovered that the Motorola Community forums are not an appropriate place to obtain update information, in particular on Android 5.1. For one thing while there should be some Motorola employees working in the forum occasionally. There is no clear evidence of this happening. Google get that part right on their forums where you can clearly see any posts made by Google employees. With Motorola anything goes, it is a real jungle out there. Any new thread created seems to get mysteriously removed if it is related to Android updates.

With my own experience of contacting Motorola about software updates for the XT1068 I discovered that their Customer Service department can’t communicate with their Software Update department and vice versa, for some strange reason. At one point the service representative was trying to help me with obtaining software update information for the XT1068 via the IMEI number but couldn’t because of the communication issue mentioned above. Seemed as though at times the responses were very robotic in nature as though I wasn’t communicating with a real human.

Currently the Moto G 2nd Gen hasn’t received the Android 5.1 update yet. It is the only Moto series smartphone (apart from Moto G 2nd Gen with 4G) to not receive the update. Below is a list of Moto smartphones where the update is either available or is currently being rolled out:

Some users are fed up with Motorola not sorting out the critical app management and memory leak issues (there are no workarounds) for the Moto G 2nd Gen. Has been mentioned on the Motorola Community forums. In fact there is a hot thread which is in the top ten that covers this issue, which Motorola aren’t taking seriously and the maintenance release doesn’t fix the issue. Many users find that the Moto G 2nd Gen on Android 5.0.2 is unusable.

Upon close research of the issue it was found that Motorola caused the issues (it isn’t an Android one) by fiddling around with a setting called minfree, which they shouldn’t have messed around with. As the old saying goes, If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!. Android 5.1 properly fixes the issues for the Moto G 2nd Gen which Motorola have yet to make available. Motorola MUST provide the Android 5.1 update for the Moto G 2nd Gen.

Android 5.1 (released on 9th March 2015) introduces dual SIM support. The New Zealand version of the Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068) can take 2 SIM cards. Motorola’s software for handling dual SIMs is unofficial (not supported by Android). It is astonishing that the Moto G 1st Gen with 4G (the variant with dual SIMs) has an update available to Android 5.1 before the Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068). Where are your software update priorities Motorola?

To make matters worse (by putting the boot into Moto G 2nd gen users) Motorola have made the very embarrasing move of updating the Moto E (1st and 2nd Gen) a budget smartphone to Android 5.1 before the Moto G 2nd Gen which is a mid range smartphone. Absolutely appalling behavior by Motorola which is unacceptable. Once again this shows that Motorola don’t have their software update priorities sorted. A manufacturer should NEVER make software updates a higher priority for a budget level device over a mid range one. There may be light at the end of the tunnel with Android 5.1 currently undergoing testing on the Moto G 2nd Gen.

New Zealand consumer laws are not recognised by Motorola. In the warranty document for the Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068) no New Zealand consumer law is mentioned and a limited warranty is applied to New Zealand, when in fact a full warranty applies (24 months) under the CGA (Consumer Guarantees Act. Samsung is a good example of a manufacturer that correctly mentions the New Zealand consumer laws and the correct warranty period (24 months) for their smartphones.

Considering the fact that the Moto G 2nd Gen is unusable with the software causing critical memory leaks and improper SIM support etc, Motorola have failed to comply with section 6 (goods are of acceptable quality) of the CGA. Motorola can easily meet their obligations under the CGA by providing an Android 5.1 update for the Moto G 2nd Gen.

An ultimatum will be given to Motorola which will be that their head of the Software Update department responds to the blog post within 2 days (reasonable timeframe), with the following requirements being met:

  • An in depth explanation as to why the Moto G 2nd Gen hasn’t received the Android 5.1 update yet
  • Explanation as to why Moto G 2nd Gen users have been treated very badly compared to other Moto users when it comes to software updates and customer support in general
  • What Motorola WILL do to ensure that the Android 5.1 update arrives for the Moto G 2nd Gen before the Android 6.0 update is rolled out to selected smartphones
  • Steps that Motorola will take to ensure that a lower level device doesn’t receive a software update before a higher level device in the future
  • How Motorola will improve its communication with its customers

If Motorola fails to respond properly in a timely manner then the Moto G 2nd Gen Android 5.1 update issue WILL be escalated. Some possible options to take as part of the escalation include coverage of the issue on Fair Go (screens on public TV nationwide and internationally) and the Disputes Tribunal.

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