Update Damaged Core Phone Functionality - Motorola

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Sep 19, 2015
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#23
Thank you SMD and others who explained the Android system -- I have a back up phone that is Android but not a Moto -- and I just looked at the operating system and it is a 6......

Moto seems quite slow -- is this a known problem with some of the less popular manufacturers of phones that use the Android system?
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#24
Thank you SMD and others who explained the Android system -- I have a back up phone that is Android but not a Moto -- and I just looked at the operating system and it is a 6......

Moto seems quite slow -- is this a known problem with some of the less popular manufacturers of phones that use the Android system?
It's just like any other computer. Some have faster CPUs than others. Moto made a lot of inexpensive, lower end phones, so you may have one of them.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#25
It's just like any other computer. Some have faster CPUs than others. Moto made a lot of inexpensive, lower end phones, so you may have one of them.
Oh I meant Moto is slow with the updates to the operating system if it took them so long to put in the 9 -- my backup phone is lower end Samsung -- not a great phone but not a lot asked from it.

I do not have auto updates on operating system or apps.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#26
No, most of the OEMs take a while. If you want faster updates you need to get a phone directly from Google or a phone in the Android One program. But most of the capabilities you use are in the apps, so it's not a big deal that the underlying OS is old.

There's a lot of risk with not installing updates when they become available. Many of them are to plug security holes. And your phone is your most critical computer. It is used by financial institutions for authentication (via text messages), as well as having full access to your email.

I think the readers of this site (unless they're developers) would be best served by using auto-update.
 
Aug 30, 2019
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#27
Do you think you want to email the contact back and ask what that means?
They never intended me to see that message--it was accidentally included by the employee they asked to respond. In context with the smiley, it was clearly them having a laugh.

A chubby gay man? How on earth could this guy know that? I hope you get some help from Motorola or figure out a way to live with your "new" phone. This kind of thing seems to go on constantly with technology ... fixing/changing things just because they can. I'm with you, it's beyond annoying. Good luck.
Gmail automatically includes a profile photo--two of their leaders on that email, including the one who made the comment, also has Gmail. It shows up for them when they read my email. As mentioned, I also have a photo on my support forum profile on their site, which the one who made the comment likely would have seen when he assigned a tier 3 tech to reach out.

It does go on constantly, and it bothers me that we don't get the same consideration for consumer protections that we do when it's a physical product. This is not different from a car manufacturer pushing a key fob manufacturer's update that makes the unlock button only unlock the passenger side door (forcing the driver to climb across seats, contrary to expected, conventional use), with a double-tap to pop the hood: they advertise it as a new feature, while users are negatively impacted in a manner that would have swayed the decision to buy. Whether it was intentional or not, they'd be expected to fix it because it's obvious damage to the purchased usage.

I read the comment. I think it is quite true. To hit both buttons to put it in vibrate is probably very hard if not impossible to do with skinny jeans. It had nothing to do with you. I doubt they bothered to hunt you down online to find out details that you mention. If you ask for more help from them, I would leave this out in any correspondence.
They didn't have to hunt--Gmail puts it right there in front of them. Two of their emails were also Gmail, including the one who made the comment. Rogerio Fragale, who made the comment, also has a photo, in front of the Washington Monument. That's just how Gmail works. I also have an account on their moderated support forum, which does have a photo that he likely would have seen before assigning a tier 3 tech to respond.

I've been trying to get assistance for the last 2 months now. It's also worth noting that their "solution" doesn't actually address the issue: the shortcut is merely a toggle to turn on vibrate. It doesn't also reactivate the ringer.

Importantly, it also still provides no method of adjusting the volume level from a pocket. Before this update, I did that daily (I'd say regularly, but I have a very irregular work schedule): set to vibrate before work, set it loud when I got home so I could hear it if I walked away from my phone, set it to low before bed so it could wake me without startling me/waking my BF at night, and a variety of other levels based on the context of the environment--e.g. maximum volume while cooking so I could hear over the vent fan. In its current state, it is impossible to do this unobtrusively/discretely. It requires unlocking the phone and tapping at the screen as of the Pie update, and there is no method for me to make it work correctly again.

But it was Google/Android that made this initial "enhancement" or change correct? How did Samsung force a toggle? Is it just economy of scale, ie Samsung sells more android devices and google has to listen to them and Motorola being further down the food chain cannot get anything done?
samsung.jpg

This is from a friend's phone. Samsung added an on/off toggle to control the function of the volume keys.

When an Android update is released, manufacturers adapt the code to their devices--they make sure it works correctly with their hardware configuration, and make feature changes to fit consumer use. Some make minor changes, others make large, system-wide changes. Samsung does a bit of both; Motorola makes smaller changes. Manufacturers make these changes in-house; they need to because they're all using different hardware and have different design styles that updates are conformed to.

Motorola, for example, does change features that tie into the hardware: one of their unique functions is that you can shake the phone to use the camera flash as a flashlight, so there's no need to unlock the screen to use it. They have developers that make alterations like this for reasons of user experience. In this case, it's a feature related to how the hardware buttons control volume(s).

So does the issue need to be brought to the attention of Google do they can make a patch?
That wouldn't help in this case: if Google had a patch ready this very second, Motorola wouldn't necessarily push the update to their phones. They can (and often do) opt to skip updates for any number of reasons.

If they did decide to push the patch, it would first go to their developers to make sure it will work on their phones, then it will be adapted to make sure it doesn't affect their added features (like the shake for flashlight function), and their own process is to first send it to a volunteer test group to see if there are unintended consequences, negative feedback*, etc, before deciding to go live for everyone. There's a good chance that if they push the patch, it may not be for another 6 or more months--a long time to be without important functionality!

*Their tier 3 tech had said on the phone that negative feedback about this particular function was common. They opted to distribute the update anyway.

Importantly, they provided no method of using alternative software: they're in sole control of the OS version on phones. There's no way to roll back to a functional version of the OS, or for me to choose another different version. They also have the device locked down in such a way that it's very risky--and with this particular phone, it's a large risk of permanently destroying it--and difficult to use a 3rd party alternative.

Unfortunately, that means Motorola is the only entity that is capable of fixing the issue.

Android 9 was released a year ago. (Android 10 is scheduled for next month.) A number of people complained about this last year, so I doubt they are going to patch it at this point.
For me, this is a part of the problem. Motorola had about a year to see this negative feedback, and they utilize volunteer test groups to get additional feedback: they ignored it. In that year, they could have done a variety of things differently: they could have skipped the update to Pie completely; they could have waited until Google addressed the complaints and just pushed the potential future patched version; they could have changed the functionality themselves, through the same development teams that add features already (as Samsung did); they could have decided to put this version of Android only on their newest model so that people who already paid for phones wouldn't lose an important capability.

The last part is the crux of it: if a new phone didn't have this ability, I simply would have chosen a different device. I paid for a phone that had the capability of adjusting volume level from my pocket; almost a year later, they disabled this function, so my phone is now inferior to the one I purchased. If you test drove a car with power steering, and a year later the manufacturer decided to shut it off, most consumers would be upset at the bait and switch.

Will the 10 release fix this problem?
I don't know. Google may not even consider it a bug. They could have deliberately removed the functionality for some unstated reason.

Motorola took 10 months to update the Z3 to Android 9, so even if they do change this in Android 10 it may be a long time before Motorola releases it.
From what I can find of people using Android Q previews, they haven't changed it. At least, not completely: they made it so you can adjust the ringer volume without going into the settings menu, but it's still completely incapable of adjusting the ringer volume from a pocket.

Which just means that for my next phone, I need to do a little research to see which manufacturers have fixed it in their implementation. But this phone is only a year old; they're too expensive to just throw away after such a short period of time, so that doesn't help me for the next couple years.

AT this point, I think they are the ones who need to make the fix. They are providing the underlying operating system code that made the original change, they can patch it, then Motorola pushes it to their set of devices.
Motorola decided to push an update that they were aware removed a feature people paid them (Motorola) for, and had the necessary information from nearly a year of real-world feedback to understand that consumers were upset based on the release on other devices and in their own user test group. They opted to push it without the necessary modification to ensure usage isn't compromised. They knew that it was removing features, they knew it negatively impacted consumers, and they had the ability to prevent that impact but opted not to do their due diligence. That should make it their responsibility to provide a fix.

Additionally, Motorola has sole control over the software version on the phone. Ultimately, only Motorola can fix my device.
 
Aug 30, 2019
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#29
On Friday, I forwarded it up to their first level parent company contact. If they don't have a response, then I will forward it back to the other two executives.

This update has maxed out my stress for the past couple months. I have an expensive device that can't do something very simple, that I've relied on multiple times per day. It turned a simple and discrete function, into a cumbersome chore that's missing its most important aspect. It's incredibly disruptive to my day and how I use the product.

And it came close to causing a problem for me at work; a colleague was working an overnight webcast on Thursday, and he'd had some difficulties while testing earlier in the day. I told him to text me if he couldn't resolve his issue and needed further troubleshooting help when I'd gotten home. I didn't hear my phone vibrate on the desk next to me: it wouldn't have been an issue if the volume had been up. I noticed nearly an hour later that he'd sent an all-clear, but if he'd needed help, I wouldn't have known.

There seems to be so little care (on the part of their executive team) for the fact that a company thinks it can disable any features it wants no matter how important they would have been to the purchasing decision. That there's no guarantee that a product will continue to be as capable as it was on the day of purchase because of a decision made by someone else, unrelated to wear and tear.
 
Jan 17, 2019
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#30
At least you got an update. I bought a new Moto X Pure from Motorola less than two years ago, and it came with Android 6. It took them over a year to push an update to Android 7.1 for the phone. I couldn't download the update. Update said "no updates available." Called Motorola tech support, and the suggested I do a factory reset and rebuild my phone from scratch and "see if you can do the update then." I decided to live with the currently installed version.

Later I learned that Motorola had pulled the update because it was crashing the phones. They never bothered to tell their tech support people. Three months later I finally got the update. But they tell me there will be no more updates for that model.

To add insult to injury in June I needed to replace the battery. Motorola told me they no longer make a battery for that particular (2 year old) model! They told me it "might" be possible to use a battery for a different Moto X, but the battery would need to be bent slightly to fit in the case. Bending a lithium battery is a BAD idea. I mentioned this to the tech, and they helpfully sent me a link to their store page so I could buy another $700 phone. As if...

The icing on the cake was that I wrote a brief email to their Director of North American Marketing using the address listed here, and it bounced back with a message that the mailbox was blocked.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#31
At least you got an update. I bought a new Moto X Pure from Motorola less than two years ago, and it came with Android 6. It took them over a year to push an update to Android 7.1 for the phone. I couldn't download the update. Update said "no updates available." Called Motorola tech support, and the suggested I do a factory reset and rebuild my phone from scratch and "see if you can do the update then." I decided to live with the currently installed version.

Later I learned that Motorola had pulled the update because it was crashing the phones. They never bothered to tell their tech support people. Three months later I finally got the update. But they tell me there will be no more updates for that model.

To add insult to injury in June I needed to replace the battery. Motorola told me they no longer make a battery for that particular (2 year old) model! They told me it "might" be possible to use a battery for a different Moto X, but the battery would need to be bent slightly to fit in the case. Bending a lithium battery is a BAD idea. I mentioned this to the tech, and they helpfully sent me a link to their store page so I could buy another $700 phone. As if...

The icing on the cake was that I wrote a brief email to their Director of North American Marketing using the address listed here, and it bounced back with a message that the mailbox was blocked.
Amazon has batteries for virtually every phone in service on its website. The Moto X Pure battery lists for ~$15-20 on Amazon.
 
Aug 30, 2019
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#32
At least you got an update. I bought a new Moto X Pure from Motorola less than two years ago, and it came with Android 6. It took them over a year to push an update to Android 7.1 for the phone. I couldn't download the update. Update said "no updates available." Called Motorola tech support, and the suggested I do a factory reset and rebuild my phone from scratch and "see if you can do the update then." I decided to live with the currently installed version.

Later I learned that Motorola had pulled the update because it was crashing the phones. They never bothered to tell their tech support people. Three months later I finally got the update. But they tell me there will be no more updates for that model.

To add insult to injury in June I needed to replace the battery. Motorola told me they no longer make a battery for that particular (2 year old) model! They told me it "might" be possible to use a battery for a different Moto X, but the battery would need to be bent slightly to fit in the case. Bending a lithium battery is a BAD idea. I mentioned this to the tech, and they helpfully sent me a link to their store page so I could buy another $700 phone. As if...

The icing on the cake was that I wrote a brief email to their Director of North American Marketing using the address listed here, and it bounced back with a message that the mailbox was blocked.
It's not "at least"--an update is useless if it removes core functionality. I'd rather have no update than one that breaks essential capabilities.

Your story is sounding a lot like the Motorola I've come to know over the past couple months. The whole concept behind, "if you don't like what we did to your device/our inability to fix it, just buy a new phone or look for 3rd party apps that fulfill our responsibility" really bothers me about the smartphone industry. "Oh, your airbag broke, but we don't have parts anymore, sorry. But here, have a look at our new cars." "I'm sorry, we decided to update your hammer into a screwdriver because more of our customers wanted a screwdriver. This is intended, so we're not going to fix it for you." It's a consumer protections Wild West.

I forget to mention: the first two contacts on the list on this site are now the same address, but @gmail.com instead. It took a bit of hunting to find that change. Only the CEO contact is still @motorola.com.

Amazon has batteries for virtually every phone in service on its website. The Moto X Pure battery lists for ~$15-20 on Amazon.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy anymore. Now that manufacturers have switched to embedded batteries*, a regular user can't just buy it on Amazon. It requires tools and knowledge to not damage the phone when replacing the battery.

*Tech companies did this intentionally to make more money off of repairs. Their claims about waterproofing and keeping the phone thin are a facade to make it palatable to customers. This has been going on for years, as they make "small" design changes intended to impede repairs. Here's a 2017 article on a portion of the problem.

Other manufacturers (Apple is the most notorious) collect greater fees from licensing repair technicians/businesses by ensuring they're the only ones who are permitted to repair their devices, and punishing users/independent technicians for performing repairs. Motorola also licenses technicians, but they found another market to exploit by their model: they now sell repair kits, including the parts. All to do something that has been, and should be, as easy as changing a lightbulb.

It bothers me that the law hasn't kept up to prevent practices like the ones that have affected both of us.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,154
2,438
113
Maui Hawaii
#33
Unfortunately, it's not that easy anymore. Now that manufacturers have switched to embedded batteries*, a regular user can't just buy it on Amazon. It requires tools and knowledge to not damage the phone when replacing the battery.

*Tech companies did this intentionally to make more money off of repairs. Their claims about waterproofing and keeping the phone thin are a facade to make it palatable to customers. This has been going on for years, as they make "small" design changes intended to impede repairs. Here's a 2017 article on a portion of the problem.

Other manufacturers (Apple is the most notorious) collect greater fees from licensing repair technicians/businesses by ensuring they're the only ones who are permitted to repair their devices, and punishing users/independent technicians for performing repairs. Motorola also licenses technicians, but they found another market to exploit by their model: they now sell repair kits, including the parts. All to do something that has been, and should be, as easy as changing a lightbulb.

It bothers me that the law hasn't kept up to prevent practices like the ones that have affected both of us.
Amazon will sell you a kit to replace the battery containing the battery, tools, and instructions. Anyone can buy it. Just go to the amazon site and look. ~$16.
 
Jan 17, 2019
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#34
Amazon has batteries for virtually every phone in service on its website. The Moto X Pure battery lists for ~$15-20 on Amazon.
They say it fits a Pure, but it doesn't. I ordered one, and took it to my local independent service shop so they could replace it. They called me a couple of hours to tell me, "Man, this just won't fit in the case. The original battery is curved, and this one is dead flat. We'd need to try and bend it."

Fortunately Amazon let me return it.