Earlier this year I reviewed the Moto E from Motorola. I felt that the 2015 iteration of the Moto E offered quite a lot for its price, and that it was definitely a device that one should heavily consider when searching for a smartphone priced at around $100. While my recommendation has generally stood since that time, there have been some recent events that made me unsure if I should continue to recommend the 2015 Moto E. Specifically, they related to whether or not the Moto E would receive an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The trouble began in October, when Motorola published a list of the smartphones they planned to upgrade to Android Marshmallow. The 2015 edition of the Moto E happened to be absent from that list, despite launching with Android 5.0 and only receiving an update to Android 5.1. That would make the Moto E one of the quickest devices to be given end of life status, and it would seemingly break Motorola's promise when marketing the phone to keep it updated after purchase. Further investigation into Motorola's marketing materials revealed fine print that specified that it would only be guaranteed to receive one software update. Given than 5.1 mainly existed to resolve bugs that were introduced in 5.0, many felt that this was still breaking the promises made.

Thankfully, it appears that Motorola does plan to upgrade the Moto E to Marshmallow after all, although only in certain regions and only certain versions. Today they have updated their list of devices with planned upgrades to include the 4G LTE version of the Moto E in Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, with China excluded. I'm surprised that the United States isn't on that list, as it's unusual to see a product or update come to Canada but not the US. It's important to note that this refers only to the 4G LTE version of the Moto E which was powered by Snapdragon 410, with the Snapdragon 200 versions still off the update list. In any case, it's good to see that buyers in a number of regions will see an update to Marshmallow after all on their Moto E.

Motorola via Android Central

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  • euskalzabe - Tuesday, December 08, 2015 - link

    Once the update is made, it barely matters at all what region they release it to, so this makes zero sense - unless there's carrier pressure, which seems unlikely in this case. Either way, since the first news of lack of 6.0, I was done with Motorola. If they release 6.0 I'll update my Moto E LTE, otherwise I'll go with the Cyanogenmod 12.1 that should have a stable 5.1.1 release soon (see here https://download.cyanogenmod.org/?device=surnia&am... Whatever happens, my next phone in 2016 will be a Nexus. I'm done playing OEM bullsh*t. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    I hear you, next one for me is going to be a Nexus as well. I'm tired of playing these games. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    Same here. A year ago when I bought an M8, one of the biggest driving factors in not getting a Nexus directly from Google was that I'd be paying the ~$400 worth of device subsidy to my carrier built into their monthly pricing over the next two years while still paying full price on my phone. That was more of a premium than I was willing to pay. Now, while I suspect that switching from my current plan and a new subsidized phone to VZWs new plan and BYOD will probably be marginally more expensive; the difference will be much smaller.

    PS Replying to "That Commenter" in advance: However well they work for you, I live too far from a major city for TMobile or Sprint's coverage to be acceptable.
    Reply
  • tarqsharq - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    I've been using my last two Nexus devices (5 and now a 6) on Cricket Wireless and it has been pretty great. With the Autopay discount I was paying $35 a month for a 2.5gb LTE plan with unlimited calls/texts in the USA using AT&T towers. After discount it's $45 for 5gb and $55 for 10gb currently I believe. The LTE speeds are capped, but I have no trouble using Youtube/Netflix on my device.

    It is owned by AT&T and is designed around low cost phones paid in full or BYOD.
    Reply
  • Ashinjuka - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    FYI, BYOD on a "Verizon" plan gets you the $20 line access same as if you did a device payment or full retail through Verizon. You only pay the full $40 line access if you get the phone through the 2-year contract discount, which you would have to do before moving to the Verizon plan, as once you're on it, you can only get new phones on device payment or full retail. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Monday, December 14, 2015 - link

    I just retired my two year old Droid Maxx. It really was a great phone but update wise, it went from 4.4.2 when I got it to 4.4.4...and that was it. It's been on the list to get 5.x for a long time but I have to believe that will never happen. Guess the lesson learned is that you have to be happy with what comes on the phone when you get it. Don't expect any future update to fix it or make it better than it started. what you see is what you get. Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    Both of the Nexus devices this year are pretty good. I'm hoping Google makes a "Premium" version of the Nexus 5 next year. The 6P is very nice, but I'd rather have a smaller phone. Reply
  • Gogogoran - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    It's their most budget phone. I have a Moto g first gen that launched with 4.3 an got all the way up to 5.1.1 before finally no longer getting updates. That's a slightly longer upgrade period than nexus guarantees. The Moto E is very much the exception to Motorola's excellent upgrade track record and it should surprise no one that it's a 100 dollar phone that's the exception. Nexus only recently came with a 2 year update guarantee. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    You're right, it's not really surprising. It's the same throughout the industry.

    Even so, the upgrading and updating of the Nexus is looking more and more like something that's worth the money. Even with Motorola's industry leading(*snicker*) two year OS upgrade policy, you're still missing monthly security updates that Nexus devices receive. With how much data is on phones these days, that's worth more then a few bucks at device purchase time. No one wants to get bit by the next unpatched heartbleed or stagefright. Throw in the unlocked bootloader on the Nexus and why would you ever fight with another OEM?

    Maybe I'm just expecting more now that the smartphone market has matured?
    Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - link

    This is great news for picking up a cheap API level 23 device to use as an alternative to a dedicated GPS device (because for the same price, any dedicated GPS is going to be both much slower in terms of UI, and likely have a much poorer TN display). Going for something with Marhsmallow rather than Lollipop means even without further updates (it'll never have an account signed in so security is of minimal concern) updates to mapping apps will be available for the longest time possible. The other front-runner was the Xperia Z3 which has AOSP 6.0 support, but requires you compile Android yourself to produce a flashable image. Reply

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