Users Sound Off on Droid Android 2.1 Update Delay
The delayed Android 2.1 update for the Motorola Droid is starting to tarnish the successful launch of Verizon's first smartphone to run on Google's open source mobile operating system, according to posts at Motorola's Facebook page. Backed by a big-budget marketing campaign by carrier Verizon, the Motorola Droid generated a lot of buzz when it went on sale in November: it was the first Android handset on Verizon, the first device to ship with Google's free, turn-by-turn mobile navigation app Google Maps and, ironically, was the first out of the gate to feature Android version 2.0. Given the fanfare leading up to the launch, it's not surprising that the Droid is one of the most popular Android phones on the market, shipping more than one million units in its first 74 days of availability, according to the mobile market research firm Flurry, which also credits the Droid with increasing developer interest in Android mobile applications. However, the shine of the Droid is starting to dim as owners eagerly await for the OS update to version 2.1. In December, a patch to version 2.0.1 was issued over the air to subscribers, offering a number of fixes and improvements. Droid owners have been expecting the 2.1 release, which has been available on the Google-branded Nexus One phone since January. The update was set to begin rolling out in stages to 250,000 users at a time on March 18, but then the Android 2.1 upgrade was halted by Motorola, which did not disclose details on the delay.
While Droid owners wait for information on the new rollout date, reports surfaced today of its overseas counterpart, the Motorola Milestone, only available in Europe and Asia, getting an over-the-air update to 2.1. At press time, Motorola's Facebook page had close to 500 comments on the March 25 posting from the company. It that says the Droid rollout is "taking longer than expected... Though we don't have the new deployment date to share just yet, we do promise we are working to get you updated information and will relay it as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience. We appreciate it!" Some customers at the company's Facebook page commented that, while not ideal, the delay is tolerable. But others are threatening to boycott Motorola phones in the future, and some posts are pleading for more details on the setback, citing the Motorola Milestone upgrade to 2.1. "Who's fault it is really does not matter at this point. It's horrible PR for V and M and will affect customers future purchasing decisions. There is no reason for the lack of transparency. Now that 2.1 has rolled out to parts of Europe and Asia there is even less wiggle room for vague assurances. This was my first Moto since the Start and will probably be the same time gap for my next after the Droid due to this," writes one commenter.
Another post echoes this sentiment. It reads, "I came back to V and M because of the Droid (I dumped the iPhone), but I am starting to disagree with my choice... Please let use know what the problem is, and if it is a problem with the OTA update just make it someway to do this update with a computer." For the mobile handset maker, any loss of potential sales would come during a critical time in the company's bid to regain a competitive edge in the lucrative smartphone sector. Motorola is mounting a come-back that's largely pinned to the successful performance of its new family of Android devices. Android version 2.1 includes the following: pinch-to-zoom available when using the browser, Gallery, and Google Maps applications; there are new Weather and News applications and widgets; there is support for voice-to-text entry; there is a Gallery application with 3D layout to view and share photos via Picasa; animated wallpapers; free Yahoo Mail support; an update to Google Maps and several other minor tweaks as well as fixes, such as fixing a bug where e-mail sent through Microsoft Exchange was getting stuck in the outbox. By press time, a Motorola spokeswoman had not returned calls requesting comment.