The Moto G6 and G6 Play will be available in the U.S. in late May, and from our brief hands-on time, they're already shaping up to be the new phones to beat in the budget space. Motorola has always delivered excellent price-to-performance with its Moto G series, but now that same price will also land you a premium rounded glass and metal design, akin to the Moto X4.
While neither phone seemed to have any trouble keeping up with the software interface in my limited testing, one thing that gives me pause is whether or not that software will receive regular updates throughout the next few years. Motorola hasn't been particularly known for its timely update cycle, so I'm not exactly holding my breath for the Moto G6 to get updated to Android Pie later this year. But Motorola's spotty update record is precisely why I can't help but think that the Moto G6 absolutely should have run on Android One.
To be clear, this is solely about longterm support, and not a matter of stock Android superiority. In fact, Motorola's in-house software is still fantastic, leaving most of Android 8.0 Oreo alone while bringing some useful additional functionality like Moto Voice and Moto Gestures. Frankly, I'd love for Google to adopt Motorola's double-twist gesture to quickly launch the camera, or the double-chop to activate the flashlight. But none of that has to go away with Android One.
Take a look at the Nokia 7 Plus, for example. Despite running Android One with almost completely stock software, that didn't stop Nokia from including its long-beloved pro camera app from back in the days of Windows Phone. So what's to stop Motorola from doing the same? In theory, the Moto G6 could run Android One and still benefit from Motorola's quick launch gestures, voice commands, and the excellent Moto Display. With software so close to stock Android, the only real difference would be having the promise of at least two years of support and software upgrades to the latest versions of Android as they come.
Ultimately, many of the potential buyers of the Moto G6 won't care about getting software updates; this phone is targeted more towards value shoppers than tech enthusiasts, after all, and it already offers plenty of value to the buyer with its excellent performance and build quality. But a year or more down the line, it's likely that the Moto G6 will start to fall behind on software features as new versions of Android pass it by.
Will the lack of Android One cause the Moto G6 to flop in sales? Of course not — the Moto G has long been Motorola's best-selling lineup, and with or without Android One, the G6 will sell like hotcakes because it's a fantastic value that will be widely available in both unlocked and carrier variants. Still, I would love for Motorola to dabble in Android One as more and more budget options move to the software standard.
Would you have preferred the Moto G6 to run on Android One? And does its exclusion make you reconsider buying one? Let us know in the comments below!
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Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.