Following yesterday’s initial report on Motorola quietly dropping previously promised Ice Cream Sandwich updates for the Atrix 4G, Photon 4G and Electrify, recently installed software lead Punit Soni has released a statement on the situation and has confirmed future availability of the recently announced $100 rebate program for customers affected by the move to drop the update:
“Motorola Mobility continues to review how each device can deliver the very best experience possible, and at times, this can mean making tough choices – especially as it relates to Android software upgrades. Today, we need to let you know about some tough choices related to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades. Specifically, ATRIX 4G, Photon 4G and Electrify will not receive the ICS upgrade, but continue to be supported with maintenance releases to ensure optimum performance for the consumer.
We are committed to being more transparent than ever on our software upgrade strategy – even when we’re delivering news consumers may not want to hear. We are doing everything possible to continually improve our communication with you and make sure you are a satisfied customer. That’s why we recently announced our $100 rebate program for owners of these and other devices launched in 2011 and beyond that won’t get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This program starts in the U.S. this fall, and we are working to expand it to select regions around the world. Please watch for updates at motorola.com/tradeup.”
While the official statement is a nice gesture along with the $100 rebate, it does not help those that bought the aforementioned devices as late as April of this year on the basis of each device receiving their respective updates to Ice Cream Sandwich.
The most frequent excuse being cited for the lack of updates is that because all devices affected are Tegra 2 based, Nvidia has refused to offer updated drivers, which is false, as other selected Tegra 2-based devices such as the Xoom and Galaxy R, ZTE Mimosa X, Sony Tablet S, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Asus Transformer, Asus Slider, Acer Iconia A100, A200, A500 have all received Ice Cream Sandwich and some are also on track to receive Jelly Bean, lending more credence to yesterday’s report.
With the statement, it’s clear that Motorola is making an effort to change the way it does things, but it looks like its integration with Google has led it to suffer growing pains, pains which have unfortunately affected owners of Motorola devices developed and released before the purchase, with Google preferring to focus on the RAZR lineup from now on at the expense of the owners of the original Atrix-based devices.
While many would also be tempted to undertake unlocking the bootlaoder on these devices and flashing custom ROMs as a way to further extend longevity without an official ICS update, Motorola released further updates for each phone earlier this year which essentially disable low-level access to the bootloader and render any workaround for flashing and unlocking useless, with remaining stock shipping with the software updates and warranty exchanges also featuring the revised (and still locked) bootloader.