Android updates don’t always matter much to the average consumer at face value, but long-term support does play a huge role in how long a device is relevant. After years of neglecting Android updates, Motorola is confirming a new update policy that only makes matters worse.

Speaking to Android Authority, alongside the launch of the new Motorola Edge 20 series, the company confirmed a new update policy that stands out from others. Instead of offering a flat policy that changes based on the model, and in turn, the cost of the device purchased, Motorola will provide Android updates based on “merit.”

Update: Shortly after publishing our coverage of this new policy, Motorola issued a retraction to Android Authority. The company claims that the representative that provided the statement was speaking inaccurately and that, instead, the Motorola Edge 20 series will see two years of bi-monthly security updates and at least two major Android updates.

Motorola also sent the following statement to 9to5Google, reiterating the update commitment.

Motorola edge 20 pro, edge 20 and edge 20 lite will receive at least 2 major android OS upgrades and 2 years of bi-monthly security updates. These devices are protected by ThinkShield for mobile, which offers additional security protection. Essential features can also be updated via the PlayStore, which allows us to provide key updates more often. Users can expect ongoing support for software features like new My UX experiences, new camera features and new Ready For experiences, dependent on hardware compatibility.

Our original coverage is left intact.

Motorola explains that Android updates will be made available to phone models basically depending on how long people use them after the one major update that is guaranteed on all models. If Motorola sees a certain device running on a “longer life cycle,” the company will “obviously review” if further OS upgrades are needed.

Each device has its own merit in terms of where it needs to be updated and how many updates it does get. We do commit on the one OS update, and obviously we continue to review that. If we do find that the device has a longer life cycle in the market, we’ll obviously review to see whether it needs more OS upgrades.

This isn’t the worst idea in theory, but it’s very easy to poke holes in it.

For instance, this policy depends on the majority, so people who switch/upgrade their devices early could ruin the long-time use of a phone for others. Further, it’s just a paradox. Motorola is essentially saying that it will update phones the longer people keep them, but people will be more likely to upgrade their phone if they feel it’s been abandoned.

While that makes sense for Motorola’s bottom line, in the end, it means the company is willingly creating needless e-waste and pushing customers into spending more money that they otherwise wouldn’t have to. Don’t like it? After much flip-flopping and trying to save grace, it seems like Motorola’s answer is very definitely “tough.”

Meanwhile, you can get up to four years of support from Samsung phones nowadays and at least three years from Google and OnePlus.

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Ben Schoon

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