An interesting article popped up on my feed yesterday. As I was browsing tech news, an article from ArsTechnica reported that the now Lenovo-owned Motorola doesn't plan to commit to monthly security updates for their recent Moto Z or Moto G4 devices, stating that creating security updates every month is “difficult”. Instead, they plan to take the more efficient route of bundling security updates into patches every few months or so.
While I don't doubt that it would be more efficient for Motorola to conduct security updates in this manner, it's hardly a benefit to the consumer. The bottom line is that providing monthly security updates is good, efficient way to make sure that people using their smartphones are consistently protected from the latest exploits and issues.
On the other hand, I suppose it’s only proper to commend Motorola for being transparent about it, rather than delivering false promises of consistent updates. But it’s still weird that they’ve opted not to do monthly security updates, considering that many other Android manufacturers have pledged to do so. Google does this with their Nexus line of smartphones; Samsung started committing to them recently (for their flagships, at least); and LG recently hopped on board as well.
It’s easy to understand how Google gets these monthly security updates out on the Nexus (given that it’s stock Android), the fact that Samsung and LG are able to do the same with their custom UI kind of makes me question why Motorola, who has a near stock UI anyway, doesn’t want to commit to the same. And, while honest, it just doesn’t look good.
Security is kind of a big deal now for smartphones, particularly once details of the Stagefright exploit came to light. Even if most people don’t particularly care to delve into the specifics, I think more people are becoming aware that our smartphones are no more protected from malware and security breaches than any other advanced electronic device. Any added security we can get for our smartphones is generally viewed as a good thing, and while Android may not have the best (or second best) track record of being able to provide consistent updates, monthly security patches are a welcome addition. Choosing to wait months just to bundle these patches together just feels like Motorola doesn’t care much about the consumer.
It's weird to me how well Motorola’s resurgence under Google went, and then seeing Motorola today. I still think that the Moto Z is a cool device, and I’m still impressed with the hardware and performance of their lower end and mid-range options. But knowing that they don’t take security as seriously as other manufacturers do seriously puts a damper on my desire to buy a Motorola phone anytime soon.
I hope that they eventually change their minds about it. It seems like a lot of consumers aren’t happy with this revelation - as they should be. I could see this being a very bad thing for Motorola if they don’t change their stance on the matter sometime soon.
Readers, what are your thoughts about Motorola’s stance on security patches? Do you feel that bundling patches is effective enough for you as a consumer, or will you only go with phones that promise more frequent updates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!