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October 18th 2011 3:41 pm

Some questions about the Motorola Droid RAZR

I went to Motorola's launch event for the Droid RAZR today and came away with a few questions:

1. Why release the Bionic if this was coming so soon after? Given how delayed the Bionic was, should have just canceled it?

2. Why is it running Gingerbread rather than ICS? Will it get an upgrade to ICS? If so, when?

3. Why was Eric Schmidt at the launch event? I saw him sitting in the front row (with a beefy security guard sitting right behind him), but he didn't speak and he dashed out as soon as the announcements were finished. There wasn't much talk about Google at all during the entire event, I'm actually not sure Google was even mentioned at all, to be honest.

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1. I'm sure the Bionic was released due to contractual reasons with the carrier.

2. Google made a HUGE point that the Galaxy Nexus was the FIRST phone shipping with ICS (more contractual obligations?). I wouldn't be surprised if Motorola starts shipping ICS on this device as soon as they're permitted to by Google.

3a. Just like the Samsung/Google event in Hong Kong, the Motorola launch event was as much for business partners as it was for the press. My guess is that Mr. Schmidt went directly into partner meetings after the presentation was completed.

3b. I'd further guess that Google as quiet in general because they had their own ICS launch event schedule for 12 hours later. That plus wanting give the impression that Motorola was still independent from Google was probably why they didn't participate in the event. At the Galaxy Nexus event Google mentioned that the Samsung and Google teams "lived" in the same building during the design of the Galaxy Nexus and worked as one team. If anything like that had been said about the Droid RAZR, it would have damaged their attempt to get Federal deal approval of their Motorola acquisition, as well as feeding the fears of Google's other partners.
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It's not running ICS because Motorola hasn't had enough time with ICS to screw it up with their "Blur" skin. That's also why the update to ICS will be "sometime in 2012" instead of sooner. Motorola will have to take the time to monkey with ICS to put Blur on it.

At some point, Android is going to have to make a decision to lock down the OS, because the manufacturer skins are causing problems rolling out timely updates to users.
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1. Too many phones. I don't think the manufacturers know what to do with them. That is why we get these screwy releases.

2. Because the've spent months of R & D layering motorola crap over Gingerbread, and they need time now to port that crap to ICS.

3. Schmidt was maybe there because Motorola Mobile is now a Google company.
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I can only imagine the buyers remorse that Droid Bionic owners are feeling right now. Motorola should do whatever they can to get ICS on the Bionic as fast as possible. That or heavily discount it on the eve of the Razr launch.
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It's so unfortunate that Motorola is releasing a phone 9 hours before the Nexus Prime or the Galaxy Nexus, whatever it's called, is released. I mean, this phone has physical buttons, and once Ice Cream Sandwich is released very shortly, this phone will be automatically obsolete.

As a consumer who knows a bit about Android, I would be so wary of buying a Gingerbread phone right now and not knowing how long it's going to be until I can get the ICS upgrade.

While the MotoACTV is kind of cool, I definitely think this was a huge blunder by Motorola. This would be like Apple releasing the iPhone 4S in August and then announcing the iPhone 5 now.

I just really hope they bring some news out soon that guarantees launch day updates to ICS, or the Galaxy Nexus just started looking a whole lot nicer to Android customers looking for a new phone - there should be no reason to buy the RAZR over the Nexus if all of the rumors are true.
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My guess is Google will announce Ice Cream Sandwich / Nexus Prime tonight, and then be like "Oh, and that Droid RAZR you saw like 10 hours ago? Yeah, that's shipping with ICS." Something along the lines of that.
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They definitely should, considering that they bought Motorola. In all honestly, the Nexus should have been launched along side the RAZR.
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That would be hard considering the device will launch in a matter of weeks. An OTA update maybe, but that will really depend on whether or not Moto had early access to ICS. (If Google is even finished with the update)
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I'm not official but here's some possible answers:
1) The Bionic was probably under a contractual obligation form both Motorola and Verizon, so it would probably cost Motorola more money to can the device, and break the obligation, than actually releasing the device.

2) The phone, while it's still on Gingerbread, it has a LOT of ICS like features baked within the MotoBLUR skin or whatever they call it nowadays, and they aren't on the Bionic either. The lockscreen can go straight to the camera, there's location specific profiles (i.e. phone will automatically switch to vibrate to a set location like school or work), and a few other things that were on settings menu. (I saw these settings on Verge/TIMN FYI). Besides it would be difficult for the device to get ICS this early, and before the Nexus phone and source code is released...unless Motorola had inside access to ICS, and Google insists that's not the case.

I personally think the skin "enhancements" are a bit too close to ICS to be a pure coincidence. Maybe the RAZR is a rejected Nexus device?

3) Guess he's there to check on Google's to-be-investment? I can't even guess why he's there
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1. Maybe they wanted to take some of the steam out of other smartphone releases. I.e. "This powerful phone is available now. You really don't want to wait until the release of the next one - do you?"
2. It will probably get ICS especially if Google's purchase of Motorola mobile goes through.
3. Moral support?
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I've been wondering about the timing of this event considering that as cool as the Droid RAZR looks I think it was basically eclipsed by the Nexus.
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This is the BEST looking Moto phone to date with the Droid 3 maybe being the only other phone in the running.
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