Motorola: Android is a fantastic platform, why change it?

Motorola has defended its decision not to bestow its smartphones with a custom software overlay, suggesting pure Android offers it benefits over its rivals.

Despite the likes of Samsung (TouchWiz), HTC (Sense) and Huawei (Emotion) all adding heavy custom UIs to their leading Android phones – a trend also followed by LG and Sony – Motorola has backed its decision to offer a largely unmodified Android OS on its phones.

“Android is a fantastic platform, why change it?” Simon Collinson, General Manager of International Markets for Motorola Mobility, said speaking with TrustedReviews recently.

Defending the company’s move – which is seen by some as being risk averse – Collinson claimed that stock Android actually gives Motorola an edge.

We still talk about pure Android and we are quite unique in that sense,” he told us. “We believe Android is a great platform and we don’t want to get in the way of that.”

He added: “What we tend to do is have a number of ‘plus one’ features which compliment Android but don’t get in the way. That’s why we’re able to upgrade really quickly.”

These short update times are one of the main bonuses of not handing Android such a heavy skin. Fragmentation is a big issue in the Android space, born largely out of slow adoption of OS updates.

“Recent independent studies showed that Motorola was the fastest vendor to upgrade to KitKat, not just by a few days either but by a very long way,” Collinson said. “I think we were an average of 19 days quicker.”

The Motorola head added: “That’s not because we have more engineers either, in fact we’ve probably got less. Because we have this philosophy of pure Android, we can quickly bring it up to speed.”

Although Motorola’s decision to stick with pure Android helps separate it from the sometimes clunky UIs of rivals, we can’t help but think that if everyone followed the same path, stock Android would quickly lose its charm and differentiating factor.

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