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Motorola: Dodgy Android Apps Breaking Our Phones

Is your Android-based Motorola phone running like a piece of junk? Is it so sluggish that a snail could complete Angry Birds before the screen regenerates all your icons? Chances are it's because of the dodgy third-party applications served up on Google's Android Market.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Technology Conference, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said that 70-percent of its smartphone returns are caused by the openness of Google's Android platform and essentially sloppy work conducted by third-party app developers. He indicated that there's a lack of quality control at Google, and because of Android's multitasking nature, unoptimized apps are lurking in the background, feasting on precious battery and processing power like fat leeches.

"Anyone can put an application on the Android Marketplace ... without any testing process," Jha told delegates, adding that the ability to multitask is both a blessing and a curse. "Seventy per cent of devices are coming back because they have downloaded a third-party application, and the effect that has on performance."

To help combat this problem, Motorola launched its MOTOBLUR overlay which allows customers to keep up with social networks, back up data, and manage applications to maximize battery power. The problem is that MOTOBLUR is only (currently) available on eleven Android handsets ranging from the Atrix 4G to the DEVOUR. Other consumers must download third-party task killers from the Android Market or Amazon Appstore that don't always do the job.

The fact that many apps insist on running continuously in the background for no apparent reason is a definite performance problem for the Android platform. Amazon's Appstore app can linger behind the scenes even when "killed" multiple times. Slacker Radio is another resource hog, but one of the biggest offenders is actually Google itself, with Google Voice and Google Music gulping down resources even though the apps and their widgets aren't even loaded. Double instances of Google Maps can even show up shortly after the device is rebooted and the app never opened.

Android device owners looking to gain extra battery time can see what's draining juice by heading to Settings / About Phone / Battery Use. Multiple widgets and numerous icons are known to weigh down the processor especially after closing a game or another video-intensive application.

  • jknouse
    And, most of those bad apps come from the wireless companies. lolz
  • dan117
    It's because of motoblur...
  • wcooper007
    Whats amazing is that verizon makes sure to install advanced task killer on all there phones and it actually causes the phone to run worse and chew up more battery than without it becuase Froyo and above all have outstanding built in app killers so if your running that crap on your new droid phone kill it remove it like the plague
  • feeddagoat
    really, third party apps did it? Its not as if they didn't have a good stab at it themselves. The atrix is painful to use it made a blackberry curve 8520 feel slick. Maybe they should stop developing third party guff themselves and stick to stock android.
  • TheKurrgan
    Uh.. Frankly most of motorola's problem is MOTOROLA! With the exception of the original droid, all of their phones have been slow. Its just the way they roll. Atrix is the case in point: Dual Core Tegra, 1GB Ram, and the device is far less smooth than its competitors that are not a Tegra, not dual core nor do they posses 1GB of ram.
    Motorola blames google.. Well, ok sure.. stay on 2.2 and dont take advantage of the new process management in GB / Dual Core cpu much less the GPU but expect the older release to support your fancy new hardware you barely tested.
    Also, Motorola's version of the Android system is pretty darn far from googles AOSP.
    So, lets take stock..
    Its googles fault because:
    Motorola modds the crap out of their platform (Thats ok, thats what its all about, but geez)
    Motorola FORCES BLUR and several other useless apps we CANT get rid of w/o root.
    Motorola is woefully behind on updates typically.
    Motorola releases their premier device before it was ready to be first to market and it suffered.
    Google allows anyone to develop apps.
    USERS install bogus stuff without thinking
    USERS dont want to learn how to use stuff. (Get an iPhone if your that much of a tard)
    So lets add it up on the fault counter:
    Motorola 4, Google 1, users 2.
    Sounds like Moto is deflecting just a little bit arent they?
  • exactly its that garbage addon UI Mptoblur that is messing things up.
  • megamanx00
    Maybe if you stop installing crap like motoblur you wouldn't have that problem :p
  • Maybe if you'd know how to spell and use the English language ("there" as in "all there phones??) there would be more response. Blur is only partly at fault, I hear. Motorola is little diffferent from any other manufacturer in that making a buck is more important than the customer's pleasure.
  • Jerky_san
    Yeah I frankly wish motoblur would fall off a cliff and die.. if I could get a nexus 2 for verizon I would of.. freaken hate how my android experience changed so greatly from the original droid. I don't use facebook or any of the other crap. When I click email on a droid X I can't change between my email accounts. I must first go to "Messaging" and then I can see all my accounts. But if you say view all accounts it includes your text messages in there as well. I wish I could just run stock android with no motoblur. When I tried my boss's atrix it was even worse with motoblur than mine..
  • Why doesn't Google (or the phone manufacturers) just come out with an "efficiency app" that will allow a user to evaluate their application portfolio - to include third-party integration with the handset OS, memory and battery usage - and then offer the best way to optimize the phone. If there are some apps on there that are poorly built that are causing problems, let me know so I can junk them (forcing the app developers to retool for efficiency). If there are apps that are draining memory and battery life for no reason, let me junk them. Basically, give us users a way to understand the problem apps and the ability to effectively vote for more efficiency. Then, as we the users make those "product returns", let these results be seen by others who are hunting for apps in the marketplace. Perhaps offer some kind of rating system that scores apps based on power consumption, memory usage, and overall integration with Android OS. Bottom line, no one should have had to return a bricked Droid X last week because they had some third-party apps that conflicted with the Gingerbread update to the point of locking up the device. Somehow this needs to be fixed before the experience pushes the pioneering and enterprising Android crowd over to Apple iOS.