The HTC DROID DNA is the first smartphone to be available in the United States to feature a 5-inch 1080p HD display. The handset is the big red’s flagship handset for the holiday season. However, like all other handsets released on Verizon’s network in recent times, the DROID DNA also has a locked down bootloader.
HTC has a web-based bootloader unlocking system in place, but that does not support the DROID DNA and other recent DROID branded handsets from the Taiwanese maker.
Thankfully, some of the talented Android developers have managed to find a way to unlock the DROID DNA using HTC’s own bootloader unlocking tool. The ‘softmod’ changes the carrier information ont he DROID DNA allowing it to be unlocked easily.
So, if you own a DROID DNA and are interested in unlocking it, head over to this post on Android Police for a step-by-step guide. Keep in mind that unlocking the bootloader will void the warranty of your brand new DNA so decide if the risk is worth it or not, and proceed with caution.
What do you do when you ship phones with locked down bootloader and receive community backlash for it? You start releasing a developer variant of every phone you announce that comes with an unlockable bootloader.
Motorola has taken this formula to heart and has released a developer variant of all the RAZR handsets it announced earlier this year with unlockable bootloaders. Today, the company announced that it is soon going to release the Developer edition of the ATRIX HD. Like all other developer edition handsets from Motorola, the ATRIX HD bootloader will be locked by default. Once the developer unlocks it, he will be essentially be saying good bye to the phone’s warranty.
I am not really sure what is the point of releasing Developer edition handsets. Motorola could very well release a bootloader unlocking tool for all its existing devices, using which will void the warranty of the handset.
Anyways, interested developers will have to purchase the ATRIX HD at its full retail price which Motorola will announce sometime soon, along with its release date.
Sometime in 2011, Motorola promised that it will release a bootloader unlocking tool so that all the interested users could unlock the bootloader of their handset. However, 2011 and more than half of 2012 went past without any update from Motorola on about this tool.
However, it looks like Google is already working hard on putting Motorola back on track. Ever since Google has taken over Motorola, the company has taken some drastic changes including cutting more than 20% oc the work force of the company, releasing a handset with an unlockable bootloader and today, finally announcing the long awaited Bootloader unlock tool for Motorola devices.
The bad news, however, is that the tool only supports 4 devices from Motorola, and does not include any of the company’s popular handsets.
Below is the small list of devices that the bootloader tool currently supports -:
- Photon Q 4G LTE – Sprint
- Motorola RAZR developer edition – Europe
- Motorola XOOM – Verizon
- Motorola XOOM Wifi – Worldwide
As you can see from the list above, Motorola has not included any of its Verizon branded handsets. It is unclear at the moment whether the company will add support for its older devices in the near future or not. Head over to Motorola’s website for the whole unlocking process and other tidbits.
Via – Droid-Life
Verizon is known for locking down bootloaders on its handset to prevent users from flashing, rooting or modifying the handset in any way. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was no exception to this, and came with a locked down bootloader angering many of its early owners. While Verizon and Samsung did announce a developer edition of the Galaxy S3, it made little sense since it came without any warranty, and had to be purchased outright.
The Verizon Galaxy S3 developer community through its hard work had managed to gain root access, and even flash a custom ROM including CM9/10 on the device. Now, in a major break through, AdamOutler has managed to unlock the bootloader of the Verizon Galaxy S3. He managed to unlock the bootloader via an unsecure bootloader leaked by an “African-Canadian Sock Monkey”.
If you ever flash this unsecure bootloader on your Verizon Galaxy S3, make sure you never install an update from Samsung or Verizon. Doing so might just brick your device. Flash the unsecure bootloader only if you are willing to run custom ROMs on your Galaxy S3 for life.
Head over to this thread on XDA for more information and how to flash the unsecure bootloader on your Verizon Galaxy S3.
Kudos to AdamOutler for doing an excellent job and the “African-Canadian Sock Monkey” for the leaked bootloader!
Last night, Motorola unveiled its first LTE slider handset for Sprint, the Photon Q. The handset is a run-of-the-mill high-end handset with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4.3-inch ColorBoost display, and a five-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
However, the Photon Q marks one important change in Motorola’s policy. The handset comes with an unlocked bootloader. After the original Droid realased in way back in 2009, the Photon Q is the only phone from Motorola that will come with an unlocked bootloader without purchasing it outright.
The company did not announce anything else except that it will provide more details about how to take “advantage of this feature closer to availability” of the handset. The post from the company also mentions that it is working on offering the option to unlock the bootloaders to its other devices as well.
The Android community as a whole will definitely appreciate this move from Motorola. The company had earlier promised that it will release a bootloader unlocking tool for its devices sometime late last year. Sadly, that never happened until today. Better late than never, I guess.
Bad news for future Verizon’s Galaxy S3 owners. The carrier has shipped some SGS3 units to the folks who had pre-ordered the handset, and to their horror, it looks like the handset comes with a locked down bootloader. While the bootloaders of the Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile variants of the Galaxy S III are fully open, Verizon has somehow managed to convince Samsung to lock-down the bootloader on its variant of the Galaxy S III.
The whole community over at XDA is seemingly angry over this, and ace developer supercurio has suggested everyone on the forums to return their Verizon locked SGS3 and get a full-refund.
A locked down bootloader means that gaining root access on the handset is going to be tough, custom ROMs will be limited, and there will be absolutely no way of flashing a custom kernel. While sometime in the future, a developer might find a way of unofficially unlocking the bootloader on the Verizon’s Galaxy S III, it won’t solve the problem altogether. Future firmware updates from Verizon will definitely try to patch any security hole via which developers managed to unlock the bootloader.
Samsung has been known to support the Android modding community by providing them with devices, and always releasing their devices with unlocked bootloader. Looks like Samsung ultimately did had to pay a price for releasing a non-modified variant of the Galaxy S III under Verizon’s network.
If you want Verizon or Samsung to unlock the bootloader on the Galaxy S III, head over to this thread and sign the petition. Don’t get your hopes up though! Verizon is known to have a tough stance on not unlocking the bootloader on its devices.
HTC had a disastrous 2011 thanks to its non-competitive handsets and its new policy of locking down bootloaders on is handsets. The poor sales and its dwindling profit made the company realize its mistake, and the company finally realized a competitive line-up of product – the One series – along with allowing users to unlock bootloaders of nearly 25+ various handsets from HTC.
Sadly, it looks like HTC has once again changed its policy on the bootloader unlocking front. While the bootloader of the European variant of the HTC One X can be unlocked via the company’s bootloader unlocking tool, it is the AT&T’s variant of the One X whose bootloader cannot be unlocked. This news is certainly not going to go down well with existing owners of the AT&T’s variant of the One X.
Below is HTC’s official statement on this -:
HTC is committed to listening to users and delivering customer satisfaction. Since announcing our commitment to unlockable bootloaders, HTC has worked to enable our customers to unlock the bootloader on more than 45 devices over the past six months. In some cases, however, restrictions prevent certain devices from participating in our bootloader unlocking program. Rest assured, HTC is committed to assisting developers in unlocking bootloaders for HTC devices and we’ll continue to unlock additional devices in the future.”
HTC had allowed unlocking the bootloaders of nearly all its handsets then why suddenly why did the company suddenly go back on its word? As it is, the unlock tool from the company does not provide true S-OFF that hampers the development of its handsets. More than HTC, it is AT&T who is to be blamed here. This move from HTC and AT&T is definitely going to hamper the sales of the One X and its development in the Android modding community.
Until 2010, HTC was the favorite Android device maker among the third party community. Then in 2011, HTC went insane and started locking down bootloaders on its handset. This not only led to a downfall of company’s handset sale, it also affected its popularity among third party developers.
Thanks to all the negative publicity, HTC gave in and released a bootloader unlock tool so that advanced users and developers could unlock tinker around with their phone. Sadly, this bootloader unlock was only a partial solution, since it did not S-OFF the device thus making development tough for the phone.
Now, thanks to a method called JuopunutBear from the Unlimited Team, owners of selected HTC handsets can
easily get S-OFF on their handset. These handsets include the HTC Amaze, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide, Rezound, Sensation, Sensation XE and the Vivid. The method is a bit tricky though. Firstly, users need to unlock the bootloader of their handset and backup the contents of their phone’s SD card since it will be wiped clean during the process.
Secondly, and the most tricky part is that the process involves a “wire trick”, which can be quite overwhelming for newbies. The wire trick is different for each phone, but the folks at Unlimited Team have uploaded detailed video guides for each handset. Head over to their official website for more information and a proper step-by-step guide.
True to its word, Asus has released the bootloader unlock tool for the hottest Android tablet available to the consumers right now, the Transformer Prime. The Transformer Prime was the successor to the original Transformer, and is also the world’s first tablet to ship to the public with a quad-core processor.
However, owners of brand new Prime tablets were in for a rude shock when they found out that the bootloader on the device has a 128bit-AES encrypted bootloader. A locked down bootloader on an Android handsets means no custom kernels, custom ROMs etc. The locked bootloader on the Prime led to Asus receiving a lot of negative publicity and also adversely affecting the tablet’s sale. Asus then released a statement to the public stating that it will be releasing an unlocked bootloader tool for the Prime sometime in February this year.
Like with all other bootloader unlocking tools provided by other Android device manufacturers, using the ‘Unlock Device app’ from Asus will void the warranty of your Prime. And no, re-locking the bootloader when you need to take the Prime to the service center won’t make your warranty valid again.
The Bootloader unlock tool from Asus will only work on Transformer Prime (TF201) running Ice Cream Sandwich. The said tool can be downloaded from here.
Developers, let the custom ROMs and custom kernels flow!
Earlier this month, when Motorola announced its Q4, 2011 earnings, the company stated that it will release less but quality handsets this year, so as to consolidate its brand name and create brand recognition among consumers.
However, it looks like Motorola has already forgotten its promise. Earlier today, the company announced via its community blog that they will soon be releasing the Developer Edition of the RAZR, which will come with an unlocked bootloader. The developer edition of the RAZR will only be released in Europe, though. Developers need to buy this phone outright, that is without a contract, and the phone will come without a Warranty. Yes, Motorola wants you to spend $600+ on a handset, which does not come without any sort of warranty.
The blog post from Motorola does state that the company is also planning on releasing an unlockable developer device in the United States through MotoDEV. In all probability, Motorola will be announcing this unnamed device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, next month.
While its good to see that Motorola will finally start taking the Android developer community seriously, I still cannot understand why Motorola can’t release a single phone with an unlocked bootloader. Why do developers need to buy a different variant of the phone? Hopefully, Motorola will soon realize their mistake, or we need to wait and see how Google’s takeover of Motorola will change this policy of Moto.
Readers can find out more information about the Developer Edition of the RAZR here.