Motorola Phone Question

We are having continual problems with the Rev Driver Hub and want to revert to using a Motorola Phone. We are specifically targeting the Motorola Moto E5 Play (XT1921), as the price point for a refurbished unit is attractive. Current Game Manual 1 says this particular phone is legal. However, the model number listed on Amazon is XT1921-2. I have been unable to source a strictly “XT1921”. My searches turn up XT1921-2, or XT1921-3, XT1921-4, etc. I’m not savvy enough to know if the “-2” matters in FTC rules. (I realize this forum is not official game Q&A forum.)

Will this fact present another issue: The Amazon unit XT1921-2 is running Android 8.0.

Thank you for reading.

The name and basic model number match GM1, so legality will not be an issue. You are welcome to submit a Q&A for a formal decision. A robot inspector will see no basis for rejection, as RC Self Inspect reports this phone as “moto e5 play”.

The dash number indicates carrier-specific versions, which relate mostly to SIM cards, extra apps and bloatware, and phone-plan restrictions. These ‘features’ typically do not affect FTC performance, after the recommended cleanup and housekeeping.

I own various dash numbers of the FTC-legal phone models, and have not yet found one unable to run the FTC apps. My Moto e5 Play happens to be XT1921-5.

Android 8.0 is fine for FTC, through at least 2023-2024 per GM1.

I’m curious what problems specifically you’re having with your REV Driver Hub (and curious if you’ve contacted REV about them), but I want to keep this post mostly to your technical question. Whether or not you’re allowed to use an “XT1921-xxx” device is definitely a question for the official Q&A, no official statement about legality can be made here.

This is the main reason why we are moving away from smartphones. Each carrier forces model number differences (including device functionality and firmware/OS differences) and those differences are not defined anywhere. At least in Motorola’s case (I cannot comment on other manufacturers) the base model number (e.g. XT1921) is the base model released by the manufacturer - the extra codes (-2, -3, etc.) mostly represent variations by carrier. Unlocked phones, GSM phones, AT&T, TracFone, and so on have slight differences that may or may not affect a device’s use in FIRST Tech Challenge.

Be aware that even though @Westside is correct that we’ve not seen variations of the Moto E5 fail, we’ve absolutely seen variations from other “approved smartphones” fail us - notably the Moto G4 Play, the AT&T variant does not allow full Administrative Mode properly and thus installation to those smartphones using the REV Hardware Client does not work.

We are moving to the REV Driver Hub because REV owns and controls the devices and the OS and the firmware - it is a device that we can have long-term support.


Thank you for your helpful reply. You provided the clarification that I hoped to receive.

Hi Danny,
Thank you for your reply. Our preference is to stick with the Rev Driver Hub, but it’s becoming increasingly frustrating for the students. The most frequent complaint is the unit powering down unexpectedly. This phenomenon happens with and without its battery inserted (we typically have it connected to a USB battery because we cannot rely on the rechargeable battery). Months ago, we performed all troubleshooting steps suggested by Rev on its website. While we did not keep an accurate record, our collective memory agrees there was a short reprieve from the disconnection problems (about 2 months of stability). Now, we are back to unexpected shutdowns. We attempted to contact Rev today, but they are not answering the phones due to inclement weather in Texas - and they may not ship product until the end of the week. We have a tournament next week and worry about receiving product in time. Hence, we looked to Amazon for an overnight delivery of an Android phone. Meanwhile, I am planning to send Rev an email with the hope that someone will contact us with possible steps we can take to get our existing Driver Hub functioning more reliably.

On a side note, we currently have a Motorola Moto G 2nd Generation phone that we are using while we figure out what is going on with the Driver Hub. The set-up is functioning properly, but it’s not a long term solution due to the phase out of that particular phone after this season. I mention this point to support our belief that that the problem is with the Driver Hub and not the Control Hub.

Thank you for your explanation of the phones - all of the information you provided makes perfect sense.

I am a believer in moving forward with the newer technology (that being the Rev Driver Hub). At the same time, as a new team, we had such a difficult year with being unable to get a Control Hub in a timely manner and with the inability to get an Expansion Hub. While we are big fans of Rev, the supply issues have added to our overall frustration with the brand.

Best of luck with your new phone! Take very, very good care of that USB micro port.

Some older but still-useful tips re. phone cleanup and housekeeping are posted here.

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Thank you Westside. We really appreciate you linking the phone housekeeping tips!