Android Influencer: Motorola Senior Vice President Steve Horowitz


You can thank Motorola’s Senior Vice President of software engineering, Steve Horowitz, not only for helping with Android in its nascent stages, but for helping develop those neat always-on listening features that made Motorola’s phones worth lusting after again.  

Which is why we were excited to briefly talk with Horowitz about what’s next for things like Touchless Control, and why Motorola won’t make its own interface on top of Google’s stock Android. 

Greenbot: One of the Moto X’s best software features is its always-on listening capability. When will we see a similar feature come to the Moto 360?

Horowitz: Moto 360 is the result of a great collaboration between Motorola and Google’s Android Wear team. Although not “always on,” it supports sophisticated voice control. In fact, voice is key to interaction with Moto 360 since you can’t easily fit a keyboard on your wrist! We’ve also introduced a new Bluetooth earbud called Moto Hint. This product offers an entirely voice-driven experience and you’ll see us work really hard over the coming months to ensure all these devices work seamlessly together and complement one another.

Greenbot: Why stick with stock Android for this second-generation Moto X? Why not go the same route as other Android OEMs and make your own interface overlay?

Horowitz: Rather than trying to “improve” Android or compete with its functions, we see our job as complementing it with great design and experiences like Moto Voice, Moto Display and Moto Assist. We’ve proven that our approach has fundamental and sustainable advantages over other Android OEMs, such as performance advantages and the ability to get upgrades out quickly. These things really matter to people. The fact that we’re the only company with this strategy also serves as point of differentiation. It really allows us to focus on things that matter most to our consumers rather than changing things just for the sake of change.

Simplicity has many, many user benefits. Our pure Android approach to software results in an end user experience that is faster, simpler, and more robust than ever. It also allows us to deliver important OS software updates with new enhancements, security fixes, and functionality faster than anyone else in the industry by a huge margin.

Greenbot: What’s your personal favorite command to shout out to the Moto X?

Horowitz: I’m a big fan of “Note to Self.” As with many of us, I’m in the car a lot and I always have ideas or things I need to remember. With Moto X, I can stay focused on my driving but still capture my thoughts and never forget anything!

Greenbot: Are there any Easter eggs that we can shout out to the Moto X that we might not be aware of?

Horowitz: Not that I am aware of. Let us know if you find any! However, there are plenty of useful commands that aren’t Easter eggs. If you have a Moto X, try telling it to take a selfie.

Greenbot: What is the one app that you just can’t live without?

Horowitz: I really like Wunderlist. I use it to organize all my ideas, tasks for work, home, etc. It has great sync capabilities and works across all the devices I use from Moto X, to tablets, to laptops.

Greenbot: Which Android device are you currently sporting? And which Android Wear device?

Horowitz: New Moto X, naturally, with a cognac leather back, and a black Moto 360 with a black leather band.

Greenbot: When did you become an Android user? What was your first Android device?

Horowitz: I became a user before Android was “Android”! I was leading the engineering team at Google during the initial creation of Android and used several different prototype devices before we ultimately shipped the software on the original Android G1, back in 2008.

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