Motorola Continues Growth Despite Persistent Android Update Segregation

What you should know

  • Motorola has become the third largest phone vendor in the US, after Apple and Samsung, with a market share of 11% according to Q3 data by Counterpoint.
  • The company managed to capture a significant market share left by LG when it exited the cell phone market in July 2021. Motorola’s success is attributed to its value-for-money handsets, including its flagship and foldable phone lines.
  • Despite its success, Motorola lags behind in terms of its Android software and security updates rhythm. The company offers 2 years of patches for its budget phones, 3 for most of its other handsets, and 4 years of security updates for select models from the foldable Razr line.
  • Software updates are crucial as they bring new features to phones and provide security patches that protect against vulnerabilities. However, the average phone owner in the US may not be aware of or care about the promised software update count that comes with their phones.

Full Story

Motorola has made a splash in the US phone market. It’s now the third-largest vendor, trailing only Apple and Samsung. That’s a big deal, Moto, how’d you pull it off? Well, it seems Motorola made the most of LG’s exit from the cell phone market in July 2021. They’ve managed to fill the gap and grab a significant chunk of the market share that LG left behind.

Fast forward a couple of years and some change, and Motorola now holds a hefty 11% of the market share in the US. That’s according to the latest Q3 data from Counterpoint. To put that into perspective, they’re hot on the heels of Apple, who holds 53%, and Samsung, who’s got 25%. And get this, Lenovo, Motorola’s parent company, sold more phones in the US than the entire “Others” category combined for the first time.

So, how did Motorola manage to do this? They’ve been offering value-for-money handsets, including their flagship and foldable phone lines. They’re giving customers more bang for their buck, like bigger screens on their Razr clamshell phones with foldable displays, or higher refresh rate displays than anyone else. And all this at super affordable prices.

But that’s not all. They also have a range of budget and midrange handsets that stand out from the competition. These phones offer perks like exceptional battery life or stylus editions that don’t cost an arm and a leg. You can find these in the sub-$500 and even the sub-$300 segment.

However, Motorola isn’t perfect. They still have some catching up to do, especially when compared to Samsung and Apple. Their Android software and security updates could use some work. It’s not that they’re lagging behind in terms of security update frequency, but new Android versions can take a while to arrive.

Ever since Google announced extended Android version and security updates for its Pixel line of phones, competitors have taken notice. Samsung, for instance, now offers four Android version upgrades and five years of security patches. Google, of course, is the champ here. They’ve committed to providing seven years of software support for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Motorola offers two years of patches for its budget phones, three for most of its other handsets, and four years of security updates for select models from the foldable Razr line. This seems like a smart strategy in terms of resource balance. But if Motorola wants to take on Samsung in the US, they might need to invest more resources to make their phones competitive in terms of software update frequency.

So, how important are phone software and security updates? Well, if you ask the average phone owner in the US, they might not know or care. But updates are crucial for many reasons beyond just bringing new features to your phone. They also provide security patches that protect your phone against vulnerabilities.

Should Motorola offer more frequent updates to set itself apart in the value-for-money category? It could. But does it need to? Not necessarily. Their market share is growing as it is, and their update schedule doesn’t seem to deter fans. However, if they want to take on the most popular Android vendor in the US, a bit more effort in update cadence could go a long way.

What do you think? Would Motorola’s lesser software support scheme compared to Samsung or Apple make you think twice before buying one of their phones in the upcoming 2024 roster?

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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