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An Open Letter to Motorola
Below is the text of a letter I posted on the Motorola support boards. Reposting it here in case it gets deleted.
First, let me start off by saying that I love this phone. It happens to be the best phone I've ever had, and overall, for me personally, it has been a very worthwhile purchase and a fabulous phone. Sure, it has its issues, and the upgrade to 2.2 wasn't as smooth as I would have hoped, but overall for a phone that is as complex as the Droid X is (and being involved in software development, I can appreciate complex), it runs very well and very smoothly. My involvement in this customer forum has also been great. Matt, you've been as upfront and open to us as you can be, and although I wish information would be communicated a little more freely (i.e. the timing of the Froyo update), I don't see that as being your fault and rather commend you for being so responsive to us, even when you disagree personally with us, or Motorola disagrees with us.
What I am asking here is not anything that hasn't been said before. This is not meant to be a complaint, but rather a suggestion on how Motorola's customers can better be served. I only ask that you Matt can take this to the powers that be at Motorola. I am sure that one simple letter will not change the Motorola policy, but I'm writing this in the spirit of genuine interest. I believe that Motorola should, in the spirit of the openness of Android, unlock its bootloader and provide tools to allow its user base to simply be able to flash back to factory default at any point.
Google designed Android as an open platform. That platform gave Motorola the freedom to develop its own software and spin on the OS. While I like some of the Moto tweaks (the keyboard, for example), and dislike others (The Motoblur concept in general), the freedom to do so and to create a product off of a well-defined base OS like Android was made possible by that spirit of openness. Yet I feel that Motorola is not extending that same openness to us, its users. By locking the bootloader and preventing us from flashing back to factory stock, Motorola is locking us in, and indeed preventing us from fixing our devices when things do indeed go wrong. Many people are quick to blame rooting or flashing devices as the reason for all ills, but I can site at least five cases of people I know who had problems with the update who have no idea what root is, let alone how to do it. Two had problems where the update failed and were then unable to use their phones anymore. They took it to Verizon stores and the techs tried to flash them back to 2.1, which obviously bricked their devices due to the new bootloader encryption. The other three had issues after the upgrade that were solved by a reset. People like myself, who are technologically saavy, are the people who become evangelists for a good device, and help those who are less saavy when they run into problems. It's why the original Droid was so successful. Because it was truly open, the development community flocked to it and embraced it like they had not embraced a CDMA phone before. The development community then began to evangelize by word of mouth, and the whole Droid craze began.
What I see Motorola doing now, unfortunately, is alienating its development following. I've had many a conversation with owners of the original Droid who are convinced that their next phone will not be a Motorola phone, because they feel that Motorola is not supporting the development community, where other companies that are major Android manufacturers, in fact, do. The fact is, Motorola makes great phones, and it's a testament to that fact that I write this, as I am hoping (probably beyond hope) that Motorola will listen. As it stands, as much as I love my Droid X, Motorola's lack of openness will in fact be a factor in my next phone selection in a year's time. I'm not saying I won't buy a Moto device next year, but it will definately be a factor and not in Moto's favor.
In the end, all I ask is that my thoughts, and the thoughts of nearly everyone else in the tech community, be taken into account and given consideration. It's not because we are Moto haters and want to see the company do bad, or want to cause trouble for the sake of causing trouble, but rather because we do like Motorola phones, we loved the original Droid, we love the Droid X, and because we love the openness of Android. Please, consider your policies regarding your Android handsets in the spirit of an open operating system, and make us developers be excited about your phones and tell everyone we know that they should buy them.