re: Motorola CEO: Carriers Want Android Differentiation
I replaced my Droid with a Thunderbolt, and for 3 months absolutely hated it. I lost a great deal of core functionality with HTC Sense (contact manager, car mode, and gallery, among others) and battery life was terrible. Yes, Verizon had me on right where they wanted me: ready for a better phone. Instead, I learned how to root the phone, installed Cyanogenmod 7 (close to pure Android) and got a "new phone" for free. Fast, twice the battery life, solid radio...I'm looking forward to CM9 (ICS), but for now I'm quite happy with my Thunderbolt running the latest Gingerbread. Honestly, the Thunderbolt is a great phone - as long as it has a good ROM running on it.
Here's the problem: If the carriers gave us what we want (pure and current Android), their sales would fall considerably. Hardware - not much to differentiate. My 9mo old single core Thunderbolt (minus bloatware) will easily keep up with my wife's dual core Motorola/Motoblur. OS and crapplications are the only way to differentiate phones and drive sales, and there is a financial incentive to keep old ROMs on phones that were sold only a few months ago. If the only way we can get the latest OS is to buy a new phone, they have us right where they want us. The last thing carriers want is for the general consumer to be able to chose and install their own OS, and locked bootloaders are one way to keep us reliant on them.
Thankfully we have groups like Cyanogenmod producing high quality ROMs as an alternative. Unfortunately for us, manufacturers have multiple incentives to hire the developers!