HTC had a pretty dismal 2011. First, the company started releasing phones with a locked down bootloader, which led to the company receiving heavy criticism and making an impact on its sales. Secondly, HTC literally spammed the market with Android phones that were hardly different from each other, and all of them failed to make a significant impact – sales wise.
Thankfully, HTC has realized their mistake and will be releasing fewer Android phones this year. For the first problem, HTC released a web-based bootloader-unlocking tool last year, which allows developers or advanced users to unlock the bootloader on their handset. Still, the official tool from HTC only supported a handful of their latest handsets, which was quite a major issue.
However, HTC has been updating their bootloader unlocking tool for the last couple of months and have added support for quite a few handsets including the Droid Incredible 2, Rezound and Flyer. Today, the company has again updated the bootloader-unlocking tool to add support for some of its older handsets that includes the original Droid Incredible, Desire Z, ChaCha, and the T-Mobile G2.
While an unlocked bootloader on these old handsets might not help the developers or modding community much, it is still good to see HTC adding support for older handsets.
Over the last couple of days, there have been quite a huge uproar about the highly locked down bootloader on the Asus Transformer Prime. Nearly no one expected Asus to take such a drastic step and lock down the bootloader of their tablet. The company even received heavy criticism for this move.
Thanks to all the media attention this topic has got, Asus decided to release an official statement about the matter. The company announced via its Facebook page that even though the bootloader on the Prime is locked down, the company will soon be releasing a tool, which will allow developers and advanced users to unlock it.
Below is the official statement from Asus about this whole issue-:
Regarding the bootloader, the reason we chose to lock it is due to content providers’ requirement for DRM client devices to be as secure as possible. ASUS supports Google DRM in order to provide users with a high quality video rental experience. Also, based on our experience, users who choose to root their devices risk breaking the system completely. However, we know there is demand in the modding community to have an unlocked bootloader. Therefore, ASUS is developing an unlock tool for that community. Please do note that if you choose to unlock your device, the ASUS warranty will be void, and Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism.
The company has also decided to remove ‘GPS’ from the spec sheet of the Prime because of all the complaints from its user about its poor positioning system. Readers can find more info about this here.
It was just yesterday that HTC had updated its bootloader tool to add support for the myTouch 4G Slide and the EVO View 4G. Readers will remember that I had complained that the HTC Rezound bootloader was not unlockable using the official tool from HTC.
Now, just a day after, HTC has updated its web-based bootloader unlocking tool to add support for all HTC Android handsets announced after September 2011. Yes, this includes the HTC Rezound as well!
Below is the official statement from HTC -:
HTC Android devices launched after September 2011 are unlockable. The website will be updated accordingly to reflect this in the coming weeks. We continue to work on models launched prior to September 2011, please check back often for the status of older devices.
Thankfully, as it is evident from the above statement, HTC is also working on adding support for handsets it had launched with encrypted bootloaders earlier in the year like the Incredible S, Desire S etc.
Hopefully, this also means that the bootloader tool will be able to unlock the bootloaders of all the upcoming handsets from HTC as well, without the need for an update.
Until 2010, HTC was the favorite Android handset manufacturer among the Android developers, because of their relatively easy to bypass bootloader and their modding potential. However, since 2011 HTC has started encrypting the bootloader on their handsets, thus giving developers a hard time to gain root access and flash custom ROMs on their handsets.
The Taiwanese handset manufacturer received a lot of criticism for this, and finally released a bootloader unlocking tool for its handsets. HTC handset owners can use the web-based bootloader unlocking tool from the company to unlock the bootloader of their handset, and then root it or flash a custom ROM on it.
Sadly, the unlocking tool from HTC only allows users to unlock the bootloaders of certain of their handsets. In the last couple of months, HTC has released quite a few new handsets including the Rezound and the MyTouch Slide 4G. Today, the company update its bootloader tool to add support for the My Touch Slide 4G and the EVO View 4G, which is the Sprint’s version of the Flyer. The company did not add support for the Rezound though, which is a shame.
Hopefully, HTC will release phones with a relatively easy to unlock bootloader in 2012.
Sprint and HTC are all set to release a software update for the HTC EVO 3D. The new software update aims at squashing bugs, and to improve the overall performance and stability of the phone.
Here is the full change-log of the update, thanks to Android Central -:
- Fixes the device lockscreen stuck in “half-state”
- Ability to transfer all contacts over Bluetooth
- Fixed the date mis-match issue between contacts and Facebook when synced
- Fixed the random GPS coordinates issue
- The lock screen now displays three digit temperatures correctly
- Fixed the Spiderman demo lockups
- Allows more pre-loaded content to be uninstalled by the user
- Spiderman, Watch and Qik have been updated to the latest version
Sprint will start rolling out the software update (v2.08.651.2) from today via OTA. EVO 3D owners can also manually check for the update, by going to Settings->About Phone-> Software update, and selecting the ‘Check for updates’ option.
HTC Sensation owners in Europe, here is some good news for you. The promised web-based bootloader unlocking tool from HTC has just gone live.
At the moment, the web-based tool only supports the European version of Sensation running on software version 1.45.401.2 or greater. The 1.45 numbered software update was recently released by HTC in Europe, and bumps up the Android OS version to 2.3.4, along with squashing some bugs.
The bootloader unlock page mentions only 3 handsets from HTC, the EVO 3D, the Sensation 4G and the European version of the Sensation, whose bootloader can be unlocked. Of all the three handsets, the European version of Sensation is only one, which users can unlock the bootloader on right away. Users will be able to unlock the bootloader on the other two handsets, post a software update, which should be rolled out sooner than later.
Users who are interested in unlocking the boot loader on their handset, should keep in mind that by doing so, they will void the warranty of their handset. Also, while HTC allows users to unlock the bootloader on their handset, it does not provide a way to lock it back.
Interested Sensation (EU) owners, should head over to HTC’s Developer website for more information.
In the last year or so, all the Android phones shipped by Motorola came with an encrypted boot loader. Motorola has been heavily criticized for shipping their phones with locked down bootloader. The company promised that they will ship phones with unlockable boot loaders sometime later this year. Sadly, the company has not made any visible progress on this front.
For the Photon 4G owners though, the good news is that the boot loader on their handset can now be unlocked. The awesomely talented developers over at XDA forums have managed to unlock the encrypted boot loader of the Photon 4G. Interested Photon 4G owners, can head over to this thread over at XDA forums for more information on how to unlock the boot loader.
Photon 4G owners should keep in mind that if they unlock the boot loader of their handset, they will void the warranty of the handset. They should also make a backup of their data on the phone, since the phone will be wiped clean of all data during the unlocking process.
Since the Photon 4G shares similar internals to Verizon’s Droid 3 and the upcoming Droid Bionic, it may help developers to unlock the boot loader of those handsets as well.
Until last year, HTC were the developer’s favorite Android handset manufacturer because their phones did not ship with a locked boot loader. However, since 2011 HTC has started shipping phones with a locked bootloader, which received a lot of criticism from users and developers, alike. Thankfully, HTC heard the criticism of their customers and decided that they will provide them with a way to unlock the boot loader.
Today, HTC has released more information about how the bootloader unlocking process will work, and why their latest handsets are still shipping with a locked down bootloader. Since an unlocked bootloader provides extensive control’ over the device and custom ROMs may harm your devices, HTC will continue shipping devices with a locked bootloader.
HTC will release a web-based tool for users interested in unlocking the bootloader, by this month, which will aid them in unlocking the bootloader. However, if a user unlocks the bootloader on his HTC device, he will void the warranty of his device.
HTC will release a software update for the Sensation, followed by the Sensation 4G on T-Mobile and the EVO 3D on Sprint, which will then allow users to unlock the bootloader on these handsets using the web-based tool. The company aims at releasing the software update sometime this month.
For more information about the bootloader unlocking process, readers should head over to HTC’s Facebook page.
Back in the beginning of June, HTC declared some of their high-end devices would be receiving updates to unlock the bootloaders, the first round to include the T-Mobile Sensation and the Sprint Evo 3D. Well, it would seem that Canada is getting the first device to ship with an unlocked bootloader. Rogers Wireless, a national carrier in Canada, will have an exclusive launch of the Evo 3D in the coming months alongside the LG Optimus 3D.
A Rogers spokesperson has commented on their support site, Rogers RedBoard, indicating that the Evo 3D will be available “this summer” and will have an unlocked bootloader.
The Evo 3D was announced by HTC back in June, recently became available through carriers and was billed as the first “glasses-free 3D smartphone”.
HTC indicated that August would be the initial transition date for devices to receive updates in order to allow for users to flash their own firmware images (ROMs) that aren’t cryptographically signed. While Google explicitly allows (and partially encourages) their “Nexus” line of devices to be easily unlocked, generally, this voids the warranty of a device and should be left as an option to experienced developers and power users. Custom ROMs are the bread and butter of Android when it comes to customization and developing; they allow for much more control as to what software comes pre-installed, supported languages, as well as many performance and security updates that are rolled into a single package. Having more devices that can receive timely updates means more users will be purchasing hardware and putting money directly in HTC’s pocket.
Whether the software update will be available to existing Evo 3D users before Rogers customers have it in their hands is unknown, but a small victory for Android developers is imminent.
Listening to feedback from the homebrew and modding community, HTC decided not to lock the bootloaders on their phones. The policy announced by HTC CEO back in May makes it easy for users to tinker with their phones. For all the openness claims of Android, unlocked bootloaders are great news for the community.
In an update issued on their Facebook page, the company said that they will be shipping software updates for the HTC Sensation (worldwide) in August that would enable unlocking the bootloader. The company said, T-Mobile HTC Sensation 4G and Sprint EVO 3D will be getting the updates soon as well. According to the statement, devices should be capable of unlocking bootloaders by September and more devices will be supported as maintenance updates are released.
Recently in a statement to Ina Fried of AllThingsD, Bill Cox said that Microsoft is okay with enthusiasts porting Windows Phone 7 Mango to older devices (HTC HD2 in this case). With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has reached out to the community realizing their importance in growth of the platform.