Motorola picked yesterday to announce what devices are set to receive Android 7.0 Nougat, the same day that Google announced the new Pixel devices and Android 7.1. The usual suspects are in the queue to receive the penultimate version of Android, including most of the 2016 portfolio of devices. Customers using the fourth generation Moto G, Moto G Plus and Moto G Play will be receiving the update, together with the Moto X Pure Edition (third generation), Moto X Style, Moto X Play, Moto X Force, Droid Turbo 2, Droid Maxx 2, Moto Z, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Play, Moto Z Play Droid and of course the Motorola-made Google Nexus 6, which has recently started receiving the software update. The Moto Z and fourth generation Moto G are first in the queue to receive the update to Android Nougat with Motorola scheduling it for some time this quarter.
However, the real story here is not that Motorola are updating a number of devices to a more modern version of Android, but that Motorola are not updating a number of recent devices to Android 7.0 Nougat – such as the 2015 version of the Motorola Moto G and the 2016 Motorola Moto E3 Power, or indeed any other Moto E device. Motorola has taken pride in offering a near-stock, fluid Android experience since the days of the original Moto X as released in 2013, and one of the perceived benefits of this approach is that it makes it easier for manufacturers to update the operating system. This is because when Google release a new version of Android, manufacturers still need to integrate the changed platform with their own custom interface. Android as found on the Motorola devices is different to the same-version Android that runs on Nexus devices, but Google encourage manufacturers to keep devices up to date with both regular monthly software patches (something Motorola ignore) and new versions of the platform. Arguing that customers buying the entry level Moto E device, or even last year's Moto G, won't notice or benefit from a later software platform does not follow Google's guidelines. If anything, it keeps old, entry level products that one step closer to being considered obsolete and harks back to the way Android devices used to be: sold with one version of Android and typically kept on this version.
This is a pattern we've seen with several manufacturers over the years, typically Chinese companies selling a device that subsequently does not receive a software update. In any case, if you own any of the aforementioned Moto-branded devices, you'll get the update sooner or later, just be patient.