Motorola stuck very closely to stock Android when they designed the software for their 2012 devices, the RAZR HD and the RAZR M, but when the company was acquired by Google, it seemed only a matter of time before they did away with custom UI overlays completely and shipped the AOSP experience on their devices. According to Jim Wicks, Motorola’s design chief, in an interview with PC Mag, that time has come:
Consumers love what the Android OS can do for them, and they want to have the most recent releases faster… From a software and UI perspective, our strategy is to embrace Android and to make it the best expression of Android and Google in the market. It will be the unadulterated version of Android, and I feel really good about our embracing Android and being the best Android experience.
Not only will Motorola ship devices without any custom ‘enhancements’, they’re also aiming to remove any bloat, both in terms of the useless applications that carriers include with their phones, but also physical bloat – unnecessarily large screen sizes, and thick bezels. I know some people love the extra screen real estate you get with devices such as the Galaxy Note, but there is also fairly strong demand for phones with smaller screen sizes, which are largely relegated to low-mid end devices. Motorola and Google are aiming for a philosophy of ‘better is better’, rather than ‘bigger is better’, and are trying to make a high-end phone for those of us who would rather a phone that’s ‘just about right’. Obviously, what’s ‘just about right’ is subjective, but there’s plenty on the market in the 4.5+ inch range, so it’s likely that Wicks is referring to the 4 – 4.3 inch range of devices.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Motorola will come up with, and Wicks has given an estimated release for the second half of this year.