Motorola's Wyatt pins Android software update delays on hardware issues

Hardware differentiation and software skinning is a key cause of the delays behind Android smartphones receiving the latest software updates, a top Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) executive said.

Christy Wyatt, senior vice president of Motorola's Enterprise Business Unit


Speaking to a group of reporters Wednesday in New York City, Christy Wyatt, senior vice president of Motorola's Enterprise Business Unit, said that developing code to support hardware other than the lead "nexus" devices Google creates has proven difficult.

"When Google does a release of the software ... they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped," she said, according to PC Magazine. "The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it. Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It's a big machine to churn."

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly close to closing its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, but Google has insisted that even after the deal closes Motorola will still have to compete with other Android licensees to produce "lead" Nexus-branded Android devices. Wyatt said Motorola can't be more precise on when it will be able to deliver software upgrades to its devices, explaining: "I would have to know that every single operator I have is going to want to upgrade every single product, and sometimes they'll want to control the timing ... it's just not easy to make that blanket statement."

In September Motorola moved Wyatt, who had been corporate vice president of software and services product management, to her new role in the company's enterprise unit. Wyatt said Motorola will look to promote its smartphones and tablets for enterprise use in places such as schools and hospitals. So far, Motorola's tablet business has failed to take off--the company shipped 1 million units in 2011. However, Wyatt said Motorola is just getting started. "It's still early days," Wyatt, referring to Motorola's work in cracking vertical markets. "There are tons of interesting things we can do with our existing hardware today." 

For more:
- see this PC Magazine article
- see this Forbes article

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