By Stephen Schenck | January 19, 2011 4:59 PM
It’s no secret that Motorola is hostile to its customers trying to personalize their smartphones with custom ROMs. Last summer we saw developers struggle with the protections Motorola put in place to keep phone owners from modifying their systems, eventually coming out with some work-arounds. It should be no surprise, then, that the next wave of Motorola handsets will be similarly locked-down, but some of the company’s recent comments on the matter have ruffled the feathers of a few once-Motorola-fans. On its YouTube page, Motorola responded to questions about the phone’s bootloader, advising potential customers to “buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks”.
The comments have caused a backlash from YouTube users who see the company’s attitude as overly dismissive and outright rude. In Motorola’s defense, it’s being clear about the capabilities of its devices, and there really are plenty of options out there for users interested in phone modification.
Perhaps why the company’s statements come off so poorly is because of their context; comment boards and sites like Twitter let customers interact directly with companies in ways that were unheard of just a couple years ago. By getting personal responses back from a company in one of these public forums, you can feel like you’re dealing with actual people who are interested in your thoughts and concerns about doing business with them. A cold “we don’t care what you think; this is how things are going to happen; get lost” message like Motorola’s is so antithetical to this social media interaction that it comes across much more harshly than perhaps it should.
I was thinking of picking up an Atrix, but this reminder of Motorola’s attitude towards its customers really has me rethinking things. It’s not that I want to develop software for my phone; I just like to keep my options open, and be able to do what I want with the hardware I own. Have any readers who have been considering a new Motorola phone let any of this change your mind?