Some U.S. variants of Motorola's 2017 Moto Z2 Force flagship will be stuck with Android Oreo for the rest of their lifecycle according to at least one company representative who posted an update about the long-expected firmware via its customer community forum.
Specifically, the only apparent exception to that rule seems to be Verizon customers, with the update required to support the upcoming 5G moto mod and still planned. No timeline has been provided regarding exactly when that update will arrive for customers on the carrier but handsets on other networks will continue to receive their full two-years of security updates.
Motorola says "sorry" but doesn't explain what the problem is
A representative for the Lenovo-owned company says that Motorola "regrets any inconvenience or disappointment" that the failure to deliver on Android 9 Pie for customers outside of Verizon may cause. It also "cautions" that its customers should essentially take its update plans with a grain of salt since the plans are subject to change.
What Motorola has not done is to explain exactly what the problem here actually is beyond vaguely pointing to a "variety" of reasons.
The plan seems to wash away any hopes that the currently Verizon-exclusive moto mod add-on bringing 5G to the now two-year-old gadget will arrive on other carriers as their respective next-gen networks roll out. In fact, the company does seem to say that's the sole reason that Verizon's Moto Z2 Force is receiving the update at all.
Speculatively, it may not be unreasonable to assume that the differences in networks between the carriers in the U.S. are insurmountable within the confines of a single add-on mod that's meant to be sold universally. But that really doesn't seem to make much sense since the gadget -- and subsequently, 5G -- aren't necessarily required to update the devices to Android 9 Pie, to begin with.
Support for that mod is expected to arrive before fall and it's worth noting that Motorola has specified that it is the "US Moto Z2 Force models" that won't see the update. That could mean that it will be released in other regions where the device was made available for purchase.
Regardless of what the reason for dropping the update might be, customers who bought into the one-and-a-half-year-old or so device with hopes of holding out on upgrading until the next iteration of the world's most popular mobile OS are not happy. Fans of the brand have taken to the message boards to berate the company for failing to deliver on what they perceived as a promise.
The news comes just after another potentially disappointing announcement from Motorola indicating that its Moto Z4 mid-range handset wouldn't be seeing more than a single firmware update -- to Android Q. Security updates will almost certainly still be delivered beyond Android Q's launch later this year and the following update for the Z4.
The company has no plans for any further "Z" series devices in the immediate future. 2017's Moto Z2 Force is currently the most recent of the "Force" line of gadgets and there are no plans for anything beyond the Moto Z4 for 2019. That doesn't necessarily mean the company plans to kill off the line but, given the trends at the company in terms of updates, it isn't out of the ordinary either.