At a financial conference today, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha has put the blame for poor phone performance squarely on third-party software, saying that's the doubled-edged sword of an open Android Market -- apps aren't vetted for quality, which means crappy ones get through and sap your processor and battery along the way. He goes on to claim that some 70 percent of returned Android devices are brought back for this very reason -- apps are decimating performance, and in turn, the user experience.
We can imagine there's some truth to Jha's claims, but Motorola's custom UI and services have always felt heavy -- you just get this vague sense that the last lag, stutter, or strange behavior you experienced probably wouldn't have happened were the phone running either stock Android or a considerably less intrusive skin than Motoblur. Interestingly, though, Motorola actually plans to try to fix the problem through Blur: it's been quietly using its platform customizations to collect stats on app usage and how different processes affect processor utilization and battery life. The eventual idea is to turn that crowdsourced knowledge into a database, warning users when they try to install or run a known offender -- an app that has a reputation for turning phones into hot, slow, short-lived pieces of garbage.
It's a pretty fascinating idea, but we'd only ask that Jha and his team keep an eye squarely on their own software quality as they work through the process -- especially as long as locked bootloaders are kicking around and making it difficult for users to go Blur-free.