Should Motorola get rid of MOTOBLUR completely, not just the name?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 10, 2011

Whether you are for or against Google’s mobile operating system, Android will be around for quite a while. One reason for that is due to the fact that phone manufacturers are able to do pretty much whatever they want with the mobile OS on their own devices. We’ve seen as much from pretty much every manufacturer that’s currently utilizing Android as their mobile platform of choice. LG, Samsung, HTC and Motorola may have used stock Android at one point or another in one device or another in the past (or in the future, in some cases), but each of these companies expect to differentiate themselves the most, and attract the most customers from their proprietary software. Each of these manufacturers has their own custom user interfaces on their devices, and while many of them may share similarities, they’re different enough to either attract or dissuade potential customers. For Motorola, the name MOTOBLUR has finally been axed from the company’s portfolio, but was that enough?

Since the unveiling of MOTOBLUR, the line in the sand dividing those in favor of the custom UI and those against it has been pretty well defined. But, as it goes for many things, those who dislike the UI have been (usually) the most vocal about the removal of the software. We’ve seen the MOTOBLUR proprietary skin go through some changes, some more subtle than others, but while Motorola has made every effort into making their customized software unique and not so “bullish” to the customer, it seems that the majority still want MOTOBLUR gone for good.

A new announcement from Motorola confirms that the company is indeed getting rid of the name MOTOBLUR from their dialogue. However, as I’ve been seeing in comments all over the Internet in relation to this story, it doesn’t look like it’s enough. The majority seem to want MOTOBLUR gone for good, and allow for a more vanilla Android approach to make its way to the fore.

The view of BLUR is that it’s too up-front, or too “in your face” when compared to other proprietary operating systems, and especially compared to the stock Android experience. Furthermore, some seem to think that the BLUR software actually inhibits the standard functions of the phone itself, interfering with the general usage of the device. With all that in mind, it would make sense that the majority (or the loudest) of the customer base wants BLUR removed from the picture completely.

But, what about those who actually like the proprietary software? In that camp, it looks like people enjoy the fact they can resize widgets, and make them fit within the home screens as they see fit. Simply put, it just adds to the customization of the OS, and that’s never a bad thing. Additionally, it looks like people enjoy the fact that BLUR takes social networking into focus, and brings messaging with the likes of Twitter and Facebook right into the messaging application on the phone. It’s not an integrated feature of the mobile OS itself, but it’s a step in the right direction.

It seems that Motorola has listened to the vocal individuals out there, and has at least removed MOTOBLUR’s name from the picture. However, just removing the name of the software, but keeping the software on the devices doesn’t seem like a huge change. Or, even a change at all. Yes, MOTOBLUR looks different than it did when it was first announced, and this isn’t the first time that Motorola has shown off a new, high-end device and not mentioned BLUR’s name directly (the Droid X was announced without a mention of MOTOBLUR). So, we know that BLUR is still part of the equation, even if the name isn’t bandied about.

So, does that mean Motorola has really done anything at all here? Or, can we expect to see Motorola start to remove more and more features of BLUR’s software, before ultimately reverting back to a completely stock Android experience sometime in the future? Let me know what you think in the comments below. BLUR or no BLUR that is the question.