The New Motorola Razrs are Missing One Thing to truly take on Samsung

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This past week, Motorola announced its newest family of Razr foldables – Razr and Razr+ (or Razr 50 and Razr 50 Ultra outside of the US). And they are quite stunning, checking just about every box. Being that it is really the only other foldable flip phone available in the US, besides the Galaxy Z Flip 5, it’s going to get compared to Samsung a lot. Motorola has done just about everything right to beat Samsung, but there’s one thing Motorola lacks.

That is software support. It’s an issue Motorola has had basically since it started making Android phones – except for that brief point in time when Google owned the company. So, what do I mean by software support? Because, yes, Motorola has been updating the 2023 Razr with bimonthly security updates. It’s not every single month, but every other month is still quite good. In fact, I pulled out my 2023 Razr last week, and it had at least seven updates that needed to be installed.

But what I’m talking about is specifically OS support. The 2023 Razr and Razr+ are still on Android 13. That is because we are one beta away from the stable version of Android 15 being released. That’s unacceptable. Yes, Razr is cheaper than its competitors like the Galaxy Z Flip 5, and that is likely one of the downsides of its being cheaper. That is, you won’t get new versions of Android as quickly.

During my briefing with Motorola this week, they did say that the 2023 Razr models would get Android 14 “this summer”. However, where summer just started (technically) this week, that’s still a three-month time frame, and Google could be rolling out Android 15 before Motorola rolls out Android 14. For many people, this could be a dealbreaker. And that’s rather unfortunate, as the Razr seems like it could be the best flip phone on the market – it’s still early, but things are looking good.

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Motorola has always struggled with updates

Back in the early 2010s, just about every OEM struggled with getting Android updates out in a timely fashion. And before Google purchased Motorola in 2012 (for $12.5 billion!), the company really struggled with selling its phones. Despite having the uber-popular Razr in the 2000s. Which, to this day is still the single phone that sold the most, worldwide.

At the time, Motorola blamed the slow Android updates on hardware. And Motorola wasn’t alone then. HTC, Samsung, LG and many others were very slow at rolling out updates. It was so slow that it became impressive to see a new version of Android released by Google in September or October and to see it on non-Nexus devices before the end of the year.

But, after Google purchased Motorola in 2012, the company used Motorola as sort of an example of how Android phones should be made and updated. In fact, back in 2013, Motorola was the first to update their device (the Moto X) to Android 4.4 KitKat. That was a big deal at the time, as it was less than two months after Google released KitKat. And to see it launch on Verizon first was even more impressive, as Verizon was typically very slow at approving updates and would usually be the last to send out a new update. After that, Motorola was pretty fast at updating its Moto X, Moto G and Moto E devices.

That was, until Lenovo bought them. In 2014, Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility for $6.91 billion, which seems like a huge loss for Google, but it actually wasn’t. You see, Google separated Motorola Mobility from Motorola Solutions which was their more enterprise arm, and sold off Motorola Solutions. Google also kept the majority of Motorola’s patents so that all Android makers could use them. Seeing as Motorola’s been around for over 100 years, they had a lot of patents.

Lenovo stuck with Motorola’s product lines for a couple of years, releasing a Moto X in 2014 and in 2015. Before kind of reverting to focusing on cheap phones, like the Moto G lineup. That did help Motorola become competitive in North America, with Samsung and Apple, who already have the flagship space locked up pretty much. But this is Lenovo, a Chinese company, and in China most smartphone companies don’t really update their phones, they just expect you to buy a new one every couple of years. And that’s kind of what we’ve seen under Lenovo’s ownership.

Things are starting to turn around to Motorola’s software

But on the bright side, Motorola is starting to turn things around. It wasn’t that long ago that Motorola promised one Android OS upgrade and none on brand-new phones. Now with the Motorola Razr family, they are offering three OS updates and four years of security patches. So it’s a start, though, still far behind what Google, Samsung and even Apple are offering right now. Google and Samsung are doing seven years of updates, while Apple is doing about six.

Back in 2019, Motorola released the Moto Z4, and promised one OS upgrade, which launched a month before Google released the next version of Android. That was pretty sad. On top of that, Motorola announced that the Moto Z2 Force for Verizon would get updated to Android 9 Pie, but not the non-Verizon models. That really upset me so much that I wrote an opinion about it here at Android Headlines. And it appeared that most people agreed with me. That article has the most comments of any article we’ve ever published on this site.

Motorola is now moving in the right direction by promising three OS upgrades and four years of security updates. They now need to work on getting these updates out sooner. Because, let’s face it, taking nearly a year to roll out Android 14 is not a good look.

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Motorola pretty much nailed it with the Razr

With the Razr+ last year, Motorola really hit every checkbox for a folding phone. Great battery life, no crease on the display, impressive performance, and that huge front display was a game-changer. With the Razr+ this year, they’ve taken that up a notch with a larger battery, a more high-end processor (Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 versus Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1), and an even larger screen, somehow.

I can’t share much more than first impressions yet, but so far, I absolutely love this phone. And it’s made me change how I think about flip-style foldables. I used to hate them because I needed to open them all the time to do stuff. But with this larger front display, I’m opening the phone so little.

Now, if Motorola can improve its software game, and get Android 15 out to the Razr and Razr+ (2024) before the end of Q1 2025, I think Motorola will have a serious hit on their hands. Especially with the rumors of Samsung increasing the price of the Galaxy Z Flip 6 this year.

The post The New Motorola Razrs are Missing One Thing to truly take on Samsung appeared first on Android Headlines.