Kicking a dead horse
An open letter to Verizon and Google (including Motorola),
Where to begin? I have been a Verizon customer since the mid-90s.  I have lost count of all the devices I have had over the years but I can tell you that it has been hardware innovation as the primary driver.
All my devices right before Thunderbolt hit the market (see attached Photo -Thunderbolt cutout at bottom right)

Since the original Droid I have owned the following devices:
·         iPhone 4S
·         HTC Thunderbolt (1st day)
·         Samsung Galaxy Nexus (1st day)
·         Motorola Droid Razr Maxx (1st day)
·         Samsung Galaxy S3 (1st day)
·         HTC Droid DNA (1st day)
·         iPhone5
·         Motorola Droid Razr HD
·         Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx
·         Samsung Note 2
·         Samsung Galaxy S4 (current phone)
·         Yes, I am a phone geek.
In examining the list of devices above it became apparent to me that at about the point of the Galaxy S3 I was not changing phones because of “better” hardware, I was changing phones that fit my lifestyle. In short, the hardware was very capable but the form factor and most importantly the software capabilities were driving my device decisions.
In today’s “Smartphone” industry the hardware capabilities have now reached a point where adding a faster processor, 25 Gigapixel camera or a 4K display will not significantly improve the user experience. What will improve the user experience?  Software innovation and platform ecosystems Hardware choices are important; screen size, battery size, etc. but with the exception a very few spec-hounds, device choices will be driven by Software innovation. See iOS vs. Android as a real world example. This is why this letter is to both Google AND Verizon.
Verizon has had a long standing policy on not providing bootloader unlocked devices. I suppose from a corporate policy perspective I can see why, revenue. First, they didn’t want users to use these devices as hot spots unless they paid for the service, revenue for pre-loaded applications also known as “Bloat”. Verizon may also use increased customer support costs, security and network compatibility as other reasons for this policy. Now, with Verizon’s new (in relative terms) plans they charge by data used including hot-spot data use. As a consumer I like the change even though I am on a “grandfathered” plan I can’t take advantage of it. I digress… that leaves security and bloat.  Security concerns are a misnomer, if someone wants to hack your phone and they have the skills they most likely will… unlocked / rooted or not. In fact I would go as far to say that a custom ROM from a reputable developer is MORE secure than stock. Now we are down to bloat. Well Verizon at least allow us to uninstall it. Wait, what? No? Sigh…
Now that we have the discussion framed correctly let me get to the meat of my rant.
Verizon: As the age of software innovation blossoms the need for a faster OS update cycle will be important for you to remain at the top of the market. Providing more timely OS updates faster than your track record will benefit you and your customers.  Next, you should offer devices with unlocked bootloaders so users can update the OS themselves. The later not an optimal solution (see Galaxy Nexus) but it is a step in the right direction. Your track record on providing new devices on your network also is poor. Recent examples of slow to market Verizon devices include HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. In my opinion, that delay to your network is tolerable IF you updated OS more often and began to provide devices with unlocked bootloaders. Let’s think in terms of software innovation and ecosystems. If I could go to another wireless provider and get all of the above and get the same or similar network availability and performance… why would I stay with Verizon?  That is a question I keep asking myself and many other customers of yours are also pondering. I know my marketing demographic is small but we are profitable and we usually define the ecosystem of the future. Moreover, as software innovation and ecosystem compatibility becomes the trigger that spurs a network choice and device upgrade including new devices… I think that you get the picture. Verizon rethink your 2005 policies and become the market leader / innovator that brought US to you in the first place.
Google: Show some backbone with Verizon. Neither of you can prosper without one another. See Apple and Verizon. Did Apple change anything to get on Verizon? Not much if anything. Your Android ecosystem is becoming what it can be: Android 4.3, ChromeCast, Glass, Nexus devices and all the rest.  With the acquisition of Motorola you are in the position for the “clutch 3 point shot”. I love what you did with the Moto X (heck the new Droids look awesome too) but why no SD Card? In today’s world 16GB is NOT going to cut it (especially if you factor in the Verizon bloat). You should make 32GB standard with 64GB option with OR without SD Card support. I suppose you will say use “The Cloud”.  I can’t help but use cloud, but I want internal or SD Card storage for many things… and it has to be said… did Verizon put you up to this? Every byte of data, up or down is being counted and charged to me by Verizon and more there is the more they make.  Please keep your hardware focus on form factor, SD Card support, battery life and best radios in the business.  
Rant over… I hope I will get some forward thinking people to make changes now so we don’t cripple the innovation that we all desperately desire.
Best Regards,
Andrew Taylor (AKA: Drew66,@DrewSixSix)
End note: Thanks to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile for my inspiration to write this piece.
 #verizon #motorola
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