The DROID Turbo is a great example of carrier customization done right
Most of you already know that I buy my own phones. Every daily driver I’ve used long-term was purchased with hard-earned money out of my own pocket. Sure, I review phones that carriers, friends, manufacturers, marketers, and Pocketnow sends my way, but daily drivers, those are special. One of my deciding factors is how much bloat comes pre-loaded on a device. Most carrier labeled phones are ripe with bloat, carrier customizations, and cut corners. The DROID Turbo, on the other hand, is a great example of carrier customization done the right way!
On a phone that’s already got limited storage space, filling up a good-sized percentage of it with things most of us will probably never use is commonplace. That means over time we can’t have the apps that we want on our devices, and eventually we make our way back to the same carriers who suckered us into buying us our last bloat-filled phones to purchase a replacement.
The DROID Turbo, however, is the exception to almost every rule! Imagine a Motorola Moto X, it’s a pretty decent phone to begin with, but there are some areas where it could be improved. Using the Moto X as a starting point, let’s add to it a bigger battery and a screen with a higher resolution. Then let’s make it more durable are better able to resist water damage. Boom! DROID Turbo! But that’s not what happened.
We – you and I, the end-users – didn’t tell Motorola what we wanted. In this case Verizon did. That’s right, a carrier went to an OEM and said “hey, build us something different”. Instead of defining specs that would be “decent” or “good enough” to satisfy customers for a year or so, they came up with something impressive. The entire DROID lineup has historically been what I’d consider “ahead of the curve”, but the Turbo takes that much, much further. Some of us are even saying the DROID Turbo is the phone that the Nexus 6 should have been.
Unfortunately, Verizon is in somewhat of a unique situation. The DROID line is a brand of smartphones that’s specific to that carrier. T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and other carriers don’t really have a “flagship” brand of phones specific just to them. Instead, they piggyback on the latest flagship from HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, but customize them with bloat and charge ridiculous amounts for them. Remember, the cost of the phone isn’t what you see on the base price tag, it also includes the monthly subsidy that you pay every time you get a bill. If you want to know the real cost, simply take the “purchase price” of the phone and add to it your early termination fee. That will get you a good idea.
T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint: Verizon has just shown you what can be done – what should be done. Customers are moving to unlocked phones to escape the grip the carriers have been imposing on us for decades. Your competition just released a phone that blows away anything you have to offer. It’s your turn now. We’ll be waiting – and watching – to see what you can come up with. Don’t let us down!