Is it just us, or the DROID line-up is starting to lose its appeal?
There are three main reasons why we think the DROID line-up is in decline. These are: “more of the same”, “lack of hype” and “uninspiring design”.
More of the same
Ever since the original Motorola DROID came out, the company hasn't made a single change in the main concept behind the phone. Yes, a DROID is a DROID, so it has to have some characteristic features, but then again, history has proved that people get tired when they are continuously presented with more of the same. If Motorola wishes the DROID phone to live on, it will have to bring some kind of change to the basic idea of the model. I'll have to innovate it.
Lack of hype
Have you noticed that the last couple of DROIDs were announced suddenly, with almost zero presence in the news prior to that, no teasers, and overall – no buzz created around these models whatsoever. This is sad, considering the tremendous success their oldest predecessor had. Once launched, these newer models live a somewhat quiet life on the shelves, often overshadowed by some other premium phones. What Moto and Verizon need to do is to make the DROID hot again. Especially once they have brought some of the innovation that we mentioned above, they'll have all the prerequisites to build some hype around the series again.
By “uninspiring design” here we mean that almost any appeal in terms of quality construction and materials has been stripped off the DROID 4. Firstly, even though the handset features elements of the DROID RAZR's design language, this does not include the details that made the RAZR cool, namely the Kevlar back and diamond-cut accents. Secondly, the phone is entirely made of plastic, with no metal parts in its casing to give it a more premium feel. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop here, as the DROID 4 has even lost the most characteristic appearance feature of its predecessors – the protruding screen area. For us, that change is more of a loss than a win.
We're interested in hearing your opinion on the matter. Do you share our observations that the Motorola DROID line is no longer as exciting as it once was? C'mon, sound off in the comments below!
1. Birds (Posts: 1139; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
Lol, I lost interest in the droid line one Bionic ago....Just saying...Don't bash me.
30. ayephoner (Posts: 839; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)
"(we mean the DROID DROID, not the RAZR, PRO, XYBOARD, BIONIC or any other of the DROID models)"
did you read the article?
47. G2Noobin (Posts: 81; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)
Question: Is it just us, or the iphone 4 line-up never had appeal?
2. walmes27 (Posts: 3; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
Droids are still popular, its the Iphone thats overrated who on earth can text on that small as screen. yea the bionic is a ok phone but i prefer the droid razr. the rezound is not a droid, its a good phone.give it time, it might be boring to some, but i still enjoy the droid series.
7. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
I watch people on their 4S and very few people were texting like the old days. It's like texting is so old fashion.
15. Whateverman (Posts: 3237; Member since: 17 May 2009)
"very few people were texting like the old days"
The old days... As in 90 days ago? Com'on man. Siri is cool, but it hasn't really eliminated texting just yet.
22. sadaivadai (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
I did not find "iphone" anywhere in the article ... I just don't understand why you people simply include "iphone bashing" in your comments .. Please stop this non-sense .. :(
31. ayephoner (Posts: 839; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)
"(we mean the DROID DROID, not the RAZR, PRO, XYBOARD, BIONIC or any other of the DROID models)"
did you read the article?
3. Firedrops (Posts: 223; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
I agree, that the Droid line is losing its appeal, but to me, what matters more is the specs. While still definitely within the "high-end", it is often near the lowest of the high.
For example, the Droid 4 has a 1.2GHz, while by now 1.5GHz is the default for high-ends, and quads are looming just ahead. The Droid 3 had a 1.0GHz while the default then was 1.2GHz
Also, the screen. TFT screens? Really? It is/was such a reputable lineage in the Android family, I think it deserves minimally an AMOLED screen.
The keyboards and RAM are sweet, though.
I'd reckon most people would be willing to pay another $50 for a Droid 4 with a Super Amoled+ and a DC 1.5GHz, bumping its specs, and price, to true high-ends.
However, sadly the Droid line has always represented the best(in specs) for QWERTY phones, with most, if not all, other phones with qwerty having entry-level specs.
25. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
More MHz does not equal more speed, the only CPUs going with 1.5GHz are the S3 Snapdragons since they can't keep up with the based on the Cortex-A9 in the market (Exynos, OMAP 4430-4460, A5)
26. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5685; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
welcome to the gang that knows better. respect from the King!
52. Firedrops (Posts: 223; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
Not true. The 4430 goes between 1.0GHz and 1.2GHz, which was in the Droid 3, and will be again be in the Droid 4. The 4460, on the other hand, goes from 1.2GHz and 1.5GHz. It would be much better if they put a 4460, even if it's at 1.2GHz, into the Droid 4.
There is no 4440 or 4450.
Gang that knows better? Better in uninformed speculation?
53. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5685; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
what are you talking about? the clock frequency has little to do with what makes the OMAP4 better than the S3. it has more up to date architecture and a way better GPU among other things. in reality a 1GHz OMAP4 is better than a 1.5GHz S3.
you sir are apparently in the gang that reads the specs but seems to only think that higher numbers is what makes things better than the rest. :P
54. crankyd00d (Posts: 191; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
My point still stands even if you had a couple of days to look it up, even if the 4460 goes that high I have yet to see 1 clocked at 1.5 get to the market, OEMs get more emails from people complaining of bad battery life than from geeks like us crying for an extra .3 GHz, my "uninformed speculation" comes from real things I see in the real world, maybe you should try to back away from your computer once in a while and take a look around the real world before talking or you run the risk of sounding stupid...
4. davin8r (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Apr 2011)
They really screwed up by not (at the very least) improving the screen quality and/or resolution on the Droid 4 compared to Droid 3. Very disappointed.
5. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
Yes I never really like the branding by Verizon of their og Droid but i feel as though the iPhone name itself needs improvement. just think about it, really iPhone 4, iPhone 4S. Sounds like the name is getting rusty, as if the there was a giant iron metal 4 being rusted by years of rain showers. all apple did was add a new shiny metal S and only while looking at it you see the the true picture. My imagination went a bit wild... Oh Same thing with the Droid Name. It Be cool if Apple started to use the code names they use internally and market them just like they do with Mac OS.
6. remyrz (Posts: 194; Member since: 28 Oct 2010)
as I said before.. there's no innovation in this droid 4.. -__- im just tired
8. imkyle (Posts: 1051; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
Droid 1 and 2 were good and added something different. 3 and 4th are the same. If they did not introduce the Razr this would have seemed like a new and good design.
9. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
I don't even understand what the second paragraph is getting at. Was change not achieved when the droid lineup branched off into the DroidX and Droid Pro and other devices? How much more different can a landscape qwerty slider get? The D4 has lost the chin, taken on the Razr and Photon's edges, and steadily and noticeably improved the keyboard with each generation, the back panel is different etc etc. What exactly is the carryover from the D3 through D1 that you guys think will bring the D4 down? because I just don't see it. And while we're on the subject don't your 2nd and 4th paragraph contradict somewhat? You want it to be differen't, but you didn't want it to lose the raised screen housing? So then what did you want? a raised screen and...?
As far as aesthetics I think it's right on, though I too am dissapointed by the lack of some of the Razr's bits and pieces, but I imagine most of the budget went into that keyboard so if that part holds up I'll easily forgive the lack of some of the Razr's build elements...I hope at least even though it is made of a plastic shell that that plastic feels at least thick enough to feel like a well built(if not expensively built) device.
As far as the screen goes I'd hope that that's an issue with Samsung, as they always seem to not have enough capacity for either their screens or chips. It would've been nice to see them go with an LG IPS display but I'll settle for a decent LCD. Like I said before my acceptance of these compromises all hinges on that keyboard. That said it isn't like it's a step down in anyway from the D3 and I was about 1 millimeter away from buying that 3 months ago.
32. ayephoner (Posts: 839; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)
i agree jimstar.
i think what has happened with the droid line is it has just fallen down the list of "best" and "featured" for vzw motorolas. the first was the one and only. the second was just paired with the X (and had similar specs, the global having a better processor). by the time the 3 came out, it was released hand in hand with the X2, but people were focused on the bionic, and soon after the razr.
now the 4 is just doing two things. first it is keeping up with the jones. the needed the spec bump. second, it is THE physical qwerty option. this was a big deal with droid 1, since their main focus was offering everything the iphone couldnt. but now, qwertys are all but a thing of the past.
10. HyperM3 (Posts: 8; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
At least VZW has all these options. On ATT the pickings are slim. I'm very disappointed with my options at this point. Where's my RAZR or Nexus?
40. ZayZay (Posts: 571; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)
Vivid, skyrocket, galaxy s2, atrix 2, captivate glide.
44. HyperM3 (Posts: 8; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
How about phones that arent nearly extinct already? The only one there thats viable still is the GS2.
11. gallitoking (Posts: 4704; Member since: 17 May 2011)
thanks also to the Bionic ...and the Charge... the "Droid"... will follow the Optimus line....
12. OSFantasma (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)
if that were true it would have failed the first year.
23. gallitoking (Posts: 4704; Member since: 17 May 2011)
after the Doid X no other Doid have created the hype Droid used ot make...
13. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5685; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
i agree that there should be more hype and that it should have been constructed more "premiumly" but as far as it being the same then i think the "if it's not broke don't fix it" philosophy still sticks here.
14. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I think is simple droid campaign sucks. The droid does was a nice campaign but this new commercials are dumb. People need a commercial where smart actions work where voice commands work, where you show people how nice the GPS is or how cool the apps are on the market I don't care is my phone can slice cake. But if you show me a phone that turns into a computer and how cool that would be then you will have people getting it even if they don't use it.
We need commercials with people doing things to make people feel like they have to go get this to do it show people what Droid does! Before its too late
18. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
You seem to be confused. Slicing cake? Thats the add campaign for the Motorola Razr...and not even the Droid Razr, you're referencing the GSM variant that doesn't even share the Droid branding of the phone in question here.
Similarly showing how the phone works like a computer? that describes the Droid and Droid2 add campaigns almost exactly. I mean, you even said "droid does"...comeon man...
Your last idea however, sounds like copying HTC and Samsung's add campaigns, which would probably be a terrible idea that leads to nothing but lost sales for moto in the worst case scenario, and customer confusion in general in a best case.
35. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I don't think you understood the RAZR is the same device as the Droid RAZR because the name gets a Verizon tag now what I mean as computer is the new Dock yeah I think im the only one thinking its a great idea that they made that docking app
now what I mean is simple
this is a new droid commercial
can you tell whats going on? why you should buy it? what features it has? what it can do?
now see the previous droid commercial
compared the previous campaign was much better and that's the key for its popularity, features its what commercials should be about it doesn't confuse the consumer but tells them what they can do, just look at new campaign for the Nexus as calling all possibilities
42. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
Of course they're the same device(minus the radio hardware) but the device in question IS NOT THE RAZR.
The article is talking about the Droid4.
That is NOT a new Droid commercial its a Droid RAZR commercial. Understand the difference? They're talking about the line of Droids with keyboards.
I could talk all day about the Razr's ad campaign but it's irrelevant here.
49. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
What I mean is simple how other droids run their campaign will affect the keyboard droids, what good commercial campaign the droid 3 got for example?. A good campaign is important for any brand. Tell people how it makes you life better its what these ads fail to say. They seem to think they can pull anything and people will buy regardless. It's Motorola's biggest weakness they give the wrong steps in the right direction. Because the average consumer does not have a clue what their phone can do.
An example with that is the guy with a droid charge on the wp smoked me if he would have used the built in search he would have had spare time. It's not a droid weakness Android manufacturers in general fail to educate the consumer about their products witch is crucial to maintain a name
16. sgreen (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Jan 2012)
What happened to global access? I had to grab two Droid 3s before they are discontinued.
19. sgreen (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Jan 2012)
O great, now they announce that the Droid 4 will be global ... at some future time.
21. Jimstar (Posts: 259; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
bad news dude, I just read on droiddog that it and the LG spectrum have global roaming, but verizon disabled it and plans to roll it out in some months.
20. e.wvu (unregistered)
Yes, as the Droid being the first Droid for Motorola, I feel as this phone should have the top specs, design, and marketing than the other Motorola devices. I owned the first Droid and loved it, but now they seem to release the Droid series like it's really nothing special, with less marketing, not top specs, and not really much of a premium design. I think Motorola should restart the Droid series again soon, and do it right this time.
24. nghtwng68 (Posts: 85; Member since: 26 Nov 2009)
I agree. A DROID is a DROID is a DROID.
Motorola is milking the mess out of the DROID line. The DROID line promoted by Verizon, with Androind under the hood, brought Motorola back to the surface of the mobile world, but have yet to bring another line of phones to their portfolio. Very hard to tell one from the other. Even HTC has has added another line of phones to their phone portfolio.
Motorola will live and die with the DROID line just like they did with the RAZR line not too long ago. MOTOROLA DROID DOES THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER.
27. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)
In my opinion, Motorola is doing it too fast, as in, what's the reason for a droid 4 now? It's probably 6 months or so ago that the droid 3 was released, Motorola didn't give us enough time to already get anticipated for its successor, the Droid 4. So its just another slide out QWERTY Android phone by Motorola! No wows..
28. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
I said it in another comment the other day, the OG Droid is going to be done with the D4. Just look at the damn phone, it looks like the blasted Razr. Nothing about that phone reminds you of the Droid aside from the keyboard. Note to others, Droid was never the top of the line flagship, the Droid X was proof of that. The Droid 2 launched and still wasn't more powerful than the X. D4 is the last OG Droid and will be laid to rest for a while. The Razr will take center stage with the X variant flanking it, Motorola doesn't have that many phones on VZW. 2 phones on VZW that are prominent, Razr and soon to be replaced Bionic. Motorola has 3 types of phones in the Droid line, that big boy phone Bionic/X style, powerhouse but sleek and svelte and then there is the middle of the road but old school physical kb phone. What other types do they need?
Motorola seems to have a plan ready, with the advent of the Razr watch what they come out with next. So far we have yet to hear about a follow up to the Bionic, nor a LTE X Variant. The Razr's tech will be used to bring in some new sleek and powerful phones from old Moto. Come now a nice 4.5" X with Dual Core 1.5Ghz OMAP 4430, 8mpx cam with 2.0 mpx front cam all the bells and whistles the Nexus now has including ICS but also boasting IPS HD screen. All in a nice thin form factor with a 2100mhA battery. Come on now this is good stuff. Motorola can do it, if the Razr Maxx can still be thin with such a enormous battery then this bodes well for the entire line of Moto phones to come.
29. Sniggly (Posts: 7290; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
There will always be room for a high end phone with a landscape sliding keyboard. For this phone to sell, though, it needs to be less expensive than it is. It looks good, I think. Sure, it'd be nice to have the DROID DROID as you put it continue to be built like the old days, but its role as the flagship is done. Touchscreens are so good now that except for that niche audience the physical keyboard is almost obsolete. Almost everyone who uses my phone when I demo it agrees that the physical keyboard is pretty much unnecessary.
I do agree that the marketing needs to be stepped up again though. Verizon has let its marketing team let the DROID line fall by the wayside, or gone way off the deep end with commercials that are too high concept sci fi to appeal to a general audience.
I mean, compare this:
Which one makes you actually want to BUY the phone? I mean, the second makes for a great movie trailer, but the first one is an in your face, "we have a kickass phone that DOES WHAT YOU WANT IT TO DO!" message.
The marketing team needs to go back to that older marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the iPhone's presence has probably neutered that approach.
37. Tux4g63 (Posts: 118; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
This is close a legitimate response as I have seen to why the DROID line still soldiers on. I am sure that there is a lot of behind the scenes business that has been done and we can all speculate on what that might be. With Motorola and Verizon both having scored a pretty big hit with the OG DROID, it isn't too far off the mark to think they may have locked into a contractual obligation to build several more models at a minimum to further the line and design. Sort of like how a movie does well, than if it is something that can be turned into a series, studios will pay to lock up contracts and actors for a series of movies.
The line "There will always be room for a high end phone with a landscape sliding keyboard," is right on the money. In this current smartphone environment, choices are pretty slim. And if you look at the current crop of non-smartphone feature phones out there, the majority of them have a physical sliding keyboard of some sort. For many buyers who are switching up from there old feature phone, it is a half step, or the physical keyboard is reassuring in a way that although there new smartphone has all the bells and whistles, they feel comfy with one part of the phone already and know how to use it. Maybe it is a lack of options so the DROID line fills that because of being one of the last guns standing.
And if you look at psychology and studies of human interaction, one of the reasons haptic feedback was put into touchscreen phones was to mimic the physical feedback that users get when pushing a button. The first two DROID's used keyboards that relied upon rubber pads and were basically horribly reviewed because it was too easy to hit other keys besides the one you wanted. The 3rd and 4th iteration, as well as nearly every other keyboard out there learned that individual hard keys is the way to go, and they must have a resounding "click" to go along with the key push. As long as those people exist, smartphones with keyboards will too.
Please excuse my grammar and horrible run on sentences.
33. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 460; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
Your first three topics describe the iphone, not Droid Series...(more of the same, lack of hype and uninspiring design---The OG Droid, can out-perform the iphone4S anyday.....
34. AAABall (unregistered)
This is more a Verizon issue than with the DROID line. Releasing a new phone every month, no matter what it is, is confusing the consumer.
36. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 460; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
My take: Back in 2009 when the OG launched, I was pessimistic about buying anything from Motorola...about 3 months after the launch all I heard was Droid, Droid, Droid...I at the time had a feature phone (LG Touch)..Nothing fancy, but at the time a good phone on Verizon-- as back then they had no true smartphone to brag about...My friend who is a techy @ VW says to me try out the OG Droid--he said disregard the Motorola thing because it's ALL Google inside...So I listened and upgraded to my first smartphone, the OG Droid..and boy was it an experience (great indeed) and I haven't looked back--boy did it have the loudest speakerphone to date....But I must tell you Motorola has ridden the backs of Google long enough....The Droid line is not going to carry them to the next wave unless they fix what they have already released....that is kind of the path Motorola will be taking reading the articles of Sanjay....The Android Green Robot saved Motorola from being in the same boat as RIM finds itself in now....but that success want last for long unless they release products that connect to the internet, stay connected to the internet, descent battery life and cease releasing models 3 months apart in the same series of phones....only my take.
38. downphoenix (Posts: 2768; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
It is in decline, and the reasoning is simple: They are on droid 4 just a little more than 2 years after the original, they put the name on too many handsets when the name is supposed to be synonimous with the best phones out there, and many of the designs of the latest ones are copies of existing phones and lately they've had to couple it with other iconic brands.
39. NateCdogg (Posts: 5; Member since: 30 Dec 2011)
WOW and i mean WOW...is this the same forum that was singing the highest praises for the RAZR oh what two months ago??? What gives? The respected i phone hasnt had a major design change in what 5 years (i hear the groans now). There is only soo much physically that can be done with a candybar style phone.. Im just wondering why these very pages can sing the device to high heaven as revoloutionary and fresh 2-3 months ago and then flip the switch and call the same phone dated following ces. maybe this was posted just to start conversation and its been successful. Maybe if you had an attached ice cream maker attached it would impress you.
41. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5685; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
they're only talking about the original lineage.
43. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
Again people missing the point and making up crap. Motorola doesn't release a new phone each month, there were 4 Droids released from Motorola last year with the Razr being the last one, how does that equate a new phone a month is beyond me. Droid is long in the tooth, one this is the 4 iteration of the device...that's a bit long in the tooth. To revitalize the line, you have to lay it to rest and wait out a cycle or two then come back with something ground breaking. Motorola will no doubt just create a new Droid using the Razr, no need to go on with that. Just introduce it as the Razr EX or something, like how the Galaxy S line has the all touchscreen phones and one with a pull out keyboard.
45. nickjjay (Posts: 79; Member since: 10 Oct 2011)
The whole Droid name in my opinion is starting to sound stale. I cant believe Verizon is wasting all this money mearly on a name which has run its course.
46. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
Its all about the qwerty KB, which luckily has gotten better with every generation. I would like to see some more special editions though, the R2D2 looked cool..
50. ningaman999 (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)
Droid's have lost a lot of field ever since more brands became androidified. Samsung is currently #1 in quality and market share, they rose right after the Droid 2 with SGS I. HTC made a mark at #2 by starting early and especially when releasing the HTC Evo 4G. Motorola comes at #3 for a few reasons: 1. the Droid's are almost exclusively Verizon and currently other carriers are expanding in the Android World, especially AT&T. 2. Motorola is currently in the middle of being bought out by Google which later create strong, purely google based androids which is Motorola's/ Google's only way to gain supremacy in the Android world, Google's brand name.
51. SoopaManLuv (Posts: 24; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)
This is what I got out of all this (article and comments) its ok 4 Apple and tha iPhone 2 keep tha same design and redo there specs but Moto and tha DROID need 2 change more. I'm lost on that. But (as more than one person stated) the keyboard is the big selling point of the actual DROID and has it not improved from the OG 2triple the latest DROID 3? Jus saying...
55. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
Thebionic before it came out and the razr have had me captivated since i first heard of them but the droid 3, 4, x, x2 are just plain bad
56. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5685; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
the X2 is bad but the rest you mentioned are fantastic phones and this article is only about the ORIGINAL LINEAGE AKA DROID, DROID 2/GLOBAL, DROID 3 & DROID 4.
57. jmcintire (Posts: 3; Member since: 21 Dec 2010)
I see two major problems with the Droid lineup as it now stands:
1. Too many Droids in the kitchen. That wasn't a major problem originally, when there were just the original Droid, the Eris, and the Incredible. Even when the Droid X and the Droid 2 hit the market, there was still a semblance of order, as the Droid X was the large-screen powerhouse and the Droid 2 was the successor for those who still wanted their hardware keyboards. When the Charge was released (the only Samsung phone to bear the Droid moniker), it was still easy to differentiate from the rest of the lineup by being the first 4G LTE Droid. Also, its Super AMOLED Plus screen was seen as a significant upgrade to the other Droids then on the market. The confusion began, however, with rapid-fire releases of the Droid X2, the Droid Bionic, the Droid 3, the Droid RAZR, the Droid RAZR MAXX, and the upcoming Droid 4. All were Motorola phones, and they all came too quickly one after the other. The average customer would barely be able to tell the Droid 2 apart from the Droid 3 and Droid 4, unless he/she were to read the gadget blogs (apart from the Droid 4 supporting LTE and some subtle design tweaks). Telling the Droid X2 apart from the Bionic is even more difficult, both having nearly identical hardware (again, the Bionic has LTE as a differentiating factor, but only for those who live in LTE markets). Now the market is saturated with Droids, and it seems that customers who purchase the latest Droid now will see their phone become obsolete in 2-3 months rather than the normal 6-12 months between significant updates (think 2010's Galaxy S, 2011's Galaxy S2, 2012's Galaxy S3).
2. Locked bootloaders and custom skins handicap these phones out of the gate. When the developer community is happy, the blogosphere is happy, and when the blogosphere is happy, the customer base is happy, even if they don't root or mod their phones. Even among those who don't root their phones, some customers might prefer stock Android over Blur, and they no longer have that option.