As much as Google likes to boast about Android’s openness, the harsh reality is that most manufacturers have been playing spoil sport by locking down the boot loader. Motorola is the first name that pops into one’s mind, courtesy of their eFuse mechanism. However, back in January, after a public relations fiasco, Motorola hinted at the possibility of future devices shipping with an open bootloader. Now, it seems that Sony Ericsson might follow suit.
Sony Ericsson hasn’t received much love from the developer community thanks to their lackluster update delivery, and fortified bootloader. Even after a year of Xperia X10’s release, the folks at XDA haven’t managed to get past Sony Ericsson’s protections. Although all the Xperia devices have received soft-root, the locked bootloader has kept custom ROMs with a modified kernel at bay. Now, in a surprising move, Simon Walker, the Head of Developer Program and Engagement at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, has admitted on Twitter that he is in favor of rooting.
In another recent blog post, Rikard Skogberg from SE had explained that, “In our phones there are functionality that have to be secure such as SIM-lock and DRM. We currently don’t have a solution in place to secure that while opening the bootloader and therefore it would break legal agreements with many of our partners if we do”.
Essentially, Sony Ericsson can’t ship devices with unlocked bootloaders until they have a mechanism in-place to guarantee their commercial interests. We presume that this is what Walker also meant by “if we do it right”. Let’s hope that Walker succeeds in convincing the people that matter. After all, it certainly won’t harm Sony Ericsson to court the devs and Android power users.