If you’re in a two-year contract, Motorola’s $100 offer does little, unless they can convince carriers to offer customers two-year contract pricing (teaser: they won’t be able to convince the carriers of that).
If you missed the news, here’s the deal. Motorola is offering a $100 rebate on a new Motorola smartphone, if your old Motorola Android device won’t receive Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. Specifics to come at a later date (oh, great).
At first, we didn’t report on it. We thought it was a cheap gimmick. But, the news went viral. Here’s why it doesn’t make sense for most.
Let’s say you have a Droid 3. Motorola’s first international-and-CDMA Droid was supposed to get Android 4.0. It had all the specs… but Motorola claims off-the-record that it doesn’t have enough RAM to run their customizations (MOTOBLUR) and the Android 4.0 payload. As such, it’s stuck at Android 2.3, Gingerbread, forever.
Now, let’s say Motorola offers $100 off a new Droid to make things right for the Droid 3 owner. That owner is likely locked into a two-year contract. By the time they are off-contract, an Android 4.1 Motorola phone will be had on eBay, Craigslist, or Cowboom for around $100. And that’s assuming Motorola doesn’t expire the offer after six months anyways.
Oh, and don’t forget, if you’re on Verizon Wireless, upgrading with a new contract will now vaporize your coveted unthrottled, uncapped 4G LTE-capable data plan. When LTE hits your town, that $100 Motorola discount will seem like a slap in the face.
Let’s also say Motorola extends the discount to unsubsidized devices. Nice, but still far from enough. A user with a Droid 3 would still be better off (financially, at least) picking up a recertified Galaxy Nexus, co-branded by Motorola Mobility’s parent, Google.
Older devices are also in the same straits. Galaxy Nexus is rolling out now at free-on-contract, even the LTE Verizon variant. Even if you factor in the $100 contract discount, it’s only the same cost as a Droid RAZR M. Oh, and by the looks of it, Galaxy Nexus may eek out the 1 GHz Droid RAZR M in the performance department… though that may be more of a toss-up.
As such, Motorola’s “bet”, “offer”, or “promise” (however you spin it) to save you $100 off a new Motorola, isn’t very tempting. It’s about as tempting as when HP offered $50 off a $599 HP TouchPad as an “apology” for failing to deliver webOS 2.0 to webOS 1.0 devices… within months of Palm’s CEO promising to do exactly that.
We do applaud Motorola for taking on updates. But, the key for Motorola should be to deliver timely updates, not grandstand about getting around to delivering them someday. As a Droid Bionic owner, I’m still waiting for Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich… Android 4.1 is merely political to me… like politics, I’m just left hope and (pocket) change.