Update Damaged Core Phone Functionality - Motorola

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Aug 30, 2019
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On July 9th, Motorola pushed the Android Pie update to my Z3 Play. This update completely disabled the ability to control ringer volume with the phone's physical buttons--they pushed all ringer volume controls into a menu. The phone is no longer capable of adjusting ringer volume from a pocket with the screen locked: this is basic phone functionality, and I never would have purchased a device incapable of this essential functionality as I used that function multiple times per day. I've been keeping my phone on vibrate because it's unusable in this state, and have missed calls because of it.

I went to their help forum and they said there was no means to revert to a functional version of the OS, and no fix they could offer to return the functionality. I used both Google and Motorola's feedback systems integrated into the phone to request a fix. With no answer, I sent feedback multiple times per day to ensure the issue was being raised in their metrics; I also used the contacts listed on your site to seek further assistance. I contacted Rogerio Fragale first--he had Kevin in Tier 3 support reach out.

Kevin confirmed that they're commonly receiving complaints about this issue, but indicated that because Google intentionally damaged the feature, Motorola likely wouldn't be fixing it. He also confirmed that it's impossible to use any kind of work around: apps aren't capable of restoring this functionality because they will not work while the phone is locked. He also indicated that it was "just my opinion" that my phone should be capable of functioning the way it was purchased, indicating they weren't considering consumer feedback at all.

I then contacted Rudi Kalil, with no response. And Sergio Buniac, with no response. Ultimately, only Motorola can fix the problem: even if Google fixed it, Motorola decides whether or not to push that update; they also prevent the use of third party OS versions, and have put in place lockdowns that create great risk of permanently damaging the phone if that's attempted; they're also unwilling to provide a used phone of the same model that hasn't received the update because "it would be forced to the Pie update anyway, because we have no means to prevent it".

Other companies have done their due diligence that Motorola neglected: my friends with Samsung phones have shown me that Samsung created a toggle to prevent this from negatively impacting their consumers. Motorola pushed the update without any consideration of the damage, and easy-to-find feedback from Google's Pixel consumers complaining about the issue as well.

Ultimately, the phone in my possession is inferior to the phone I purchased, and Motorola is refusing to fix it. I'm getting angrier and more frustrated each day that I'm unable to use my phone the way I need to--the way I was able to for nearly a year. What else can I do to make them return functionality I paid for?
 
Aug 30, 2019
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What can be offered here is the Motorola contacts: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/motorola/

I suggest you simply ask the first executive (Primary Contact) politely if they truly cannot fix this . . .
Yes, I went through that list. The first had Tier 3 support contact me--they confirmed there were many complaints, said they can't do anything to fix it, and had no internal process for them to request one from development.

Have you thought of writing to google? This sounds like an Android software issue -- does Motorola even have a software team?
I used Google's feedback system, but they're not the ones who can provide a fix: Google can't push a patch to Motorola devices. The Pie update came a year after Google launched it, so even with pressure from Google, there's no way to ensure I get such a patch in a timely manner.

Motorola is solely in control of the phone's software version. Which also means they're solely capable of reverting software versions, as that would be an acceptable fix as well. Other manufacturers have fixed Google's mistake--Samsung didn't push the update to their devices until they coded a toggle.

Motorola is also the one ultimately responsible: they could have followed suit with other manufacturers and created a fix before pushing the update, or they could have opted to skip the Pie update for phones already on the market and only added it to a new model, so it wouldn't have impacted capabilities that were already paid for. They chose to force an update that has damaged the functionality of the device, so they're the ones who should fix it.
 
Aug 30, 2019
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Have you searched any online forums for other users to find out of anyone has a suggestion? I found this on a Lenovo site:

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Moto-Z3/Low-volume-after-Pie-update/td-p/4423870
Thanks--yes I have. The issue in that link is related to a bug; my issue is in relation to the update intentionally disabling a basic phone feature. There have been a significant number of complaints, and the common workarounds to the hidden volume controls still require the screen to be unlocked to adjust ringer volume. The only "fix" I could do as a user involves rooting the phone and replacing the OS--but Motorola has designed the Z3 to be locked down enough that it has a very high risk of destroying the phone if I try.

I did finally get another response from Motorola this afternoon, and the employee accidentally included part of the chain between leadership. Motorola's Customer Satisfaction and Operations director made what was intended to be a derisive comment about skinny jeans (I'm a chubby gay man. Not hard to figure out where that came from) to the VP and General Manager for North America, and the CEO.
 

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Aug 30, 2019
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I don't believe that comment was meant as an insult -he said it can be done with the phone in your pocket if the pocket is big enough - it was meant that you can't do this if the phone is in the pocket of a pair of tight jeans. How would they even know you were a gay man?
The fact that I'm gay is relatively easy to find online. However, the part that I'm chubby was in front of them: contact was via gmail, which has a photo. And my profile on their support forum has a photo.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Thanks--yes I have. The issue in that link is related to a bug; my issue is in relation to the update intentionally disabling a basic phone feature. There have been a significant number of complaints, and the common workarounds to the hidden volume controls still require the screen to be unlocked to adjust ringer volume. The only "fix" I could do as a user involves rooting the phone and replacing the OS--but Motorola has designed the Z3 to be locked down enough that it has a very high risk of destroying the phone if I try.

I did finally get another response from Motorola this afternoon, and the employee accidentally included part of the chain between leadership. Motorola's Customer Satisfaction and Operations director made what was intended to be a derisive comment about skinny jeans (I'm a chubby gay man. Not hard to figure out where that came from) to the VP and General Manager for North America, and the CEO.
A chubby gay man? How on earth could this guy know that? I hope you get some help from Motorola or figure out a way to live with your "new" phone. This kind of thing seems to go on constantly with technology ... fixing/changing things just because they can. I'm with you, it's beyond annoying. Good luck.
 
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Apr 3, 2016
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I read the comment. I think it is quite true. To hit both buttons to put it in vibrate is probably very hard if not impossible to do with skinny jeans. It had nothing to do with you. I doubt they bothered to hunt you down online to find out details that you mention. If you ask for more help from them, I would leave this out in any correspondence.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Yes, I went through that list. The first had Tier 3 support contact me--they confirmed there were many complaints, said they can't do anything to fix it, and had no internal process for them to request one from development.



I used Google's feedback system, but they're not the ones who can provide a fix: Google can't push a patch to Motorola devices. The Pie update came a year after Google launched it, so even with pressure from Google, there's no way to ensure I get such a patch in a timely manner.

Motorola is solely in control of the phone's software version. Which also means they're solely capable of reverting software versions, as that would be an acceptable fix as well. Other manufacturers have fixed Google's mistake--Samsung didn't push the update to their devices until they coded a toggle.

Motorola is also the one ultimately responsible: they could have followed suit with other manufacturers and created a fix before pushing the update, or they could have opted to skip the Pie update for phones already on the market and only added it to a new model, so it wouldn't have impacted capabilities that were already paid for. They chose to force an update that has damaged the functionality of the device, so they're the ones who should fix it.
But it was Google/Android that made this initial "enhancement" or change correct? How did Samsung force a toggle? Is it just economy of scale, ie Samsung sells more android devices and google has to listen to them and Motorola being further down the food chain cannot get anything done?
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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But it was Google/Android that made this initial "enhancement" or change correct? How did Samsung force a toggle? Is it just economy of scale, ie Samsung sells more android devices and google has to listen to them and Motorola being further down the food chain cannot get anything done?
This was a "feature" that Google added to Android 9.

Companies modify Android to different extents when they port it to their phones. Samsung has always made extensive modifications, while Motorola (which used to be part of Google) tends to modify it less.

Google often changes and removes features when it creates new versions of products. It's the unfortunate penalty one pays to use their technology (but you tend to get more innovation in return).
 
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Neil Maley

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This was a "feature" that Google added to Android 9.

Companies modify Android to different extents when they port it to their phones. Samsung has always made extensive modifications, while Motorola (which used to be part of Google) tends to modify it less.

Google often changes and removes features when it creates new versions of products. It's the unfortunate penalty one pays to use their technology (but you tend to get more innovation in return).

So does the issue need to be brought to the attention of Google do they can make a patch?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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This was a "feature" that Google added to Android 9.

Companies modify Android to different extents when they port it to their phones. Samsung has always made extensive modifications, while Motorola (which used to be part of Google) tends to modify it less.

Google often changes and removes features when it creates new versions of products. It's the unfortunate penalty one pays to use their technology (but you tend to get more innovation in return).
I am sorry I am so ignorant but I am learning here. When you say Samsung does modifications— does Samsung do the programming/ changes themselves ie in house or do they tell google/Android — nah we do not like this — change it for our phones - or does Samsung wait until there are enough complaints to either make the modification themselves or demand google issue a patch.

For Android system phones there are a lot of different options with respect to the manufacturer — and it seems that the phone manufacturer makes a big difference.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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I am sorry I am so ignorant but I am learning here. When you say Samsung does modifications— does Samsung do the programming/ changes themselves ie in house or do they tell google/Android — nah we do not like this — change it for our phones - or does Samsung wait until there are enough complaints to either make the modification themselves or demand google issue a patch.

For Android system phones there are a lot of different options with respect to the manufacturer — and it seems that the phone manufacturer makes a big difference.
Yes. The Android operating system is open source software (based on linux) led by Google. Each manufacturer can (and does) make their own modifications to support their hardware, customize the user interface, etc. Most of the Google specific capabilities (search, chrome, assistant, store, gmail...) are in a set of apps that Google separately releases.
 
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smd

Mar 14, 2018
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So does the issue need to be brought to the attention of Google do they can make a patch?
Android 9 was released a year ago. (Android 10 is scheduled for next month.) A number of people complained about this last year, so I doubt they are going to patch it at this point.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Will the 10 release fix this problem?
I don't know. Google may not even consider it a bug. They could have deliberately removed the functionality for some unstated reason.

Motorola took 10 months to update the Z3 to Android 9, so even if they do change this in Android 10 it may be a long time before Motorola releases it.
 
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Aug 29, 2018
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I used Google's feedback system, but they're not the ones who can provide a fix: Google can't push a patch to Motorola devices. The Pie update came a year after Google launched it, so even with pressure from Google, there's no way to ensure I get such a patch in a timely manner.
AT this point, I think they are the ones who need to make the fix. They are providing the underlying operating system code that made the original change, they can patch it, then Motorola pushes it to their set of devices.