Motorola just recently held a 30-minute Hangouts session with Punit Soni, the company’s VP for Product Management and software guy. In between answering questions from Motorola fans and users, Soni constantly reiterates the pervading philosophy behind Motorola’s software decisions, that of giving users the purest Android experience possible.
Among the top Android device makers, Motorola is perhaps the one with the least customized user interface to boast of. That might have been a by-product of being under Google‘s auspices when the Moto X and later devices were developed, but it has actually become a selling point for Motorola’s products. Punit Soni says that Motorola wants the real Android to shine through. At least, Android the way Google sees it. Sure, Motorola has injected some of its own custom features that have, indeed, brought it some piece of fame, like Active Display, Touchless Controls, etc, but never at the cost of distracting users from a vanilla Android experience. This, as well as offloading crucial parts of the system to Google Play Store, has allowed it to push out Android updates faster than others who have to go through various tests and certifications to make sure that their modifications work in newer Android versions.
This philosophy has also guided the way they add features to existing functionality. One could consider it a more level-headed, almost laid back, policy. Features aren’t added just to give more features, even if they are sometimes useful or popular. The new features must not detract from that Android experience. But more importantly, it mustn’t also have a negative impact on the existing system. One such example is Active Display. It might make sense to load more features, more shortcuts into this now-popular lockscreen functionality, but those could, in fact, negate the power-saving benefits of the feature. That said, Motorola isn’t shy about injecting a bit of whimsical fun, as its boot animations attest to.
That might be well and good for a company that was once under the direct purview of the Android creator. But soon Motorola will be answering to a different master, one that might have different, if not contrary, ideas of what a successful Android device might look like. Not that Lenovo has much experience in that area. Worst case scenario, Lenovo will be enforcing a new paradigm on Motorola’s future devices. But that would hardly be a smart business move, considering how popular Motorola’s smartphones have once again become. For his part, Soni is quite confident about his new overlords and is looking forward to having Lenovo’s broader hardware and market expertise at Motorola’s service. But then again, no one really speaks ill of his soon-to-be employers.