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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  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    A few points here:
    - What you describe as one LTE versions are actually 6 different variants: XT1514, XT1521, XT1523, XT1524, XT1526, XT1527
    - The 5.0 stink is not quite fair because it was one of the first devices to ship with that version while everyone else with the exception of Google was (best case) shipping 4.x
    - Motorola (unlike others) officially supports unlocking of the bootloader so custom ROMs can be installed easily
    - There're plenty of custom ROMs available including official builds of the outstanding CyanogenMod with OTA updates so who gives a crap about what Motorola is officially going to support?

    The Moto E is for me definitely one of the best Android smartphones on the market. The only improvements I'd like to see are NFC, 802.11ac, higher screen resolution, OLED and gorilla glass in the exact same form factor; then it would be perfect. The Motorola phones are nice feature wise but too big for my taste...
  • ajitsingh - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    @Daniel I agree with you on all the points except the third one. Motorola doesn't support unlocking of the bootloader. When you will go to its website for retrieving the key to unlock the bootloader, you will see the warning message clearly mentioning that the moment you will get the key in your mailbox, your warranty will be voided.
    Motorola treats your warranty as voided even if you only have the key and have not unlocked the bootloader. So, it is not an official support.
  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    The void warranty is US-only AFAIR, it's definitely not valid in Europe. Anywhoo, they offer an unlock key while many other companies definitely do not which is a lot worse.

    If you want to play safe and care about the warranty: Keep your device locked and on Motorola software as long the warranty lasts and unlock it only after.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    AFAIK the same issues are present in the Netherlands / Europe.
  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1... has some legal background of why a vendor cannot simply declare the warranty void but have to prove that a defect was caused by the unlocking of the device. Of course the usual the customer has to prove that the defect was not caused by the customer after 6 months still applies...
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    As usual when talking about this stuff, there is the issue of warrant vs. warranty. In the EU, there is the legally mandated warranty stuff. Which means 24 months of coverage after purchase. But that applies only to the vendor. If a device breaks in that period, you can issue a claim and get it repaired or get a new one. But that only happens within the first 6 months after purchase, because after that the burden of proof shifts from the vendor to the buyer. And then there is the manufacturer warranty, which is a voluntary service provided with large restrictions. If the manufacturer states that their warranty is void after unlocking the bootloader and they can proof that the bootloader was unlocked (by idiocy of the user or having a hardware switch inside the phone) they can deny you coverage. Now, that will not necessarily effect your lega status vs. your vendor, but that is another kind of warranty.
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    Isn't it out of warranty already? Most manufacturers provide a one year warranty, which presumably most purchasers of this phone will have had it for before they decide they want to go down the CM13 or similar route.
  • schizoide - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    I have a verizon moto e, and verizon does NOT allow bootloader unlocking. So there is no way for me to flash cyanogenmod-- an official update is the only way to go to android 6.0 on my device, ever.

    Now I got it for $10 on a lark on black friday, so I'm not all broken-up about it. It was a heck of a deal. But I would definitely like to be on marshmallow.
  • SniperWulf - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    Unless you have the verizon variant. Then you're SOL.
  • faizoff - Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - link

    I bought the moto e lte version last month for $10 as my very first android device. I'm honestly very surprised at the amount of value this thing has. Very smooth OS and gives me a chance to experience a different system. Did the same with the lumia 640 lte that I snagged for $10 as well. Sometimes I marvel how far along we've gotten with technology where I'm holding two computing devices that can do so many things in the palm of your hand and barely cost anything.

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