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T-Mobile Responds to G2 Controversy, Calls Rooting Crowd “Small Subset” of Users

By now many of you are aware of the rumor floating around suggesting that the  T-Mobile G2 has a security measure built in that will unroot the device and restore it to its original code upon rebooting.  Well it’s no longer a rumor and has been confirmed by T-Mobile to our friends over at Androinica

As pioneers in Android-powered mobile devices, T-Mobile and HTC strive to support innovation. The T-Mobile G2 is a powerful and highly customizable Android-powered smartphone, which customers can personalize and make their own, from the look of their home screen to adding their favorite applications and more.

The HTC software implementation on the G2 stores some components in read-only memory as a security measure to prevent key operating system software from becoming corrupted and rendering the device inoperable. There is a small subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level, known as “rooting,” but a side effect of HTC’s security measure is that these modifications are temporary and cannot be saved to permanent memory. As a result the original code is restored.

The openness that we all love about Android seems to be slowly fading away because of phone manufacturers and carriers.  First Motorola and their locked bootloaders and now HTC and this.  Very disappointing news on a Friday morning.

Via: Androinica

  • Everett Fitzgibbons

    lots of comments about rooting versus not rooting and the “what-if” scenarios of people hacking. The solution is easy. Instead of catering to the criminal element with lean penalties, impose greater harm to those who threaten the well-being of the many. We shouldn't hold the manufacturers responsible for securing their innovations – cripple the ones who abuse it!!! Fighting crime at the top never worked and isn't working in our society now – hurt the demand instead!!!!

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  • Powerthree

    There needs to be class action lawsuits against the wireless providers because they are tampering with our devices, not theirs. We are not leasing these phones, we are paying good money for them, and they are hacking, modifying and deleting on our phones against our will. I thought this kind of activity is considered a crime!

  • Michael

    I have read this that HTC is selling you a phone with no ability to upgrade versions of Android so if its kernel is version 2.2 you can't take it to 3. I mean if certain components are built into Read Only Memory then what happens if your new Android version needs to update a component in that read only memory?

    So I highly doubt that this phone is unrootable.

    This phone has either a very secure flash memory that they are calling ROM or they have thought of a way for updates to bypass any component that becomes obsolete with a new version of Android.

    In either case what is stopping someone from exploiting HTCs method of updating this (secure Flash) Read Only Memory or building into their version a way to bypass these components like HTC would have to?

    Or if these components are everlasting then I would never want a phone with that feature.

    It means that if a security flaw is found for this phone it could NEVER be patched.
    You could NEVER upgrade Versions of Android.
    If you can update version of Android then the components that are in ROM will become LEGACY code like a frankenphone. an analogy is hard for this but here it goes. It would be like all of a sudden milk producers decided that it was best if gallon containers went away and every one used 1 1/2 containers. Well then one chain decide no that they were sticking with the Gallon containers but because of pricing they weer still going to charge you 1 1/2 pricing and tell you that you were getting 1 1/2 of milk but the other 1/2 gallon you just weren't going to get.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phimphone-Dunseith/100000102781462 Phimphone Dunseith

    The PS3 had read only memory and it was unlocked. No matter how smart HTC engineers think they are, there is always someone smarter then them.
    http://hackaday.com/2010/01/27/ps3-exploit-released/

  • mikeym0p

    Sooner or later, after all of the manufacturers lock down their phones. They're going to turn rootability into a marketing ploy xD

    They'll sell the fact that you can root the new phone and none of the other phones.
    I hope it never ends up like that

  • Adam F

    Honestly, I am thinking about this differently; what if manufacturers are doing this to keep the rooting and modding community sharp? I bet you this new method gets a work around in a few weeks. This is just another eFuse debacle.

    • BAoxymoron

      yeah it might make us more sharp assuming there is a work around(doubt that seeing as how system software is seemingly a type of OTP ROM or PROM all though it could possibly be EAROM aka just not easily rewritable) but when knives get sharper and sharper more people are scared off and in the end it hurts the community… for example many of my friends refuse to put roms on their droid x and droid 2 because if the rom breaks they can't get to a recovery menu and that isn't worth it to them

  • BAoxymoron

    Doesn't this violate the DMCA exemption that EFF requested(which was approved) and if so doesn't that mean a class action law suit would be entirely warranted?

  • spursrchamps2007

    So after reading a ton of these comments and people saying ohh watch out HTC you're losing customers to the iphone chill. What makes android so great isnt the fact we can root our phones, its what Android is willing to do on even the stock side that Apple isnt (flash alone being a huuge example). In the end will HTC lose some sells to this to other manufacturers yes, is it going to kill android no. The truth is our stock versions kick apples ass, and with the flood of high quality apps coming in, its only going to push android that much higher above apple. In the end the new customers that have been coming over, probably dont even know about rooting, when they first come, rooting is just an added benefit. Yes I love faster load times, custom roms, longer battery power, and radio frequencies that aren't out yet, but if i lose these will i kick android to the curve, absolutely not. If HTC chooses to do this it is their choice, just like it is your choice whether to buy their phones or not.

  • http://thisisjohncoffey.com GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    Just as quickly as Android rose to power, its demise seems imminent. Especially with big names such as Motorola, HTC, Verizon, and T-Mobile on board with this complete abuse of customers' rights. When will Google step in to stop this? {{v_v}}

  • burpootus

    Vote with your pocketbooks, don't buy a locked Android device.

  • IHAVEDX

    What these moves are is planned obsolescence being sold to the public as a security necessity. The eFuse and other protection force those with malicious intent and end users into the same “bin” at the phone manufacturer level. A properly implemented security model on the android phones (which IS possible) would allow users to enable and disable different levels of security across application and allow for secure root access to the phone. Instead they have deemed end users to be untrustworthy and have forced the use of exploits to gain root access to their hardware. While it is true that a malicious app could just as easily use the exploit that gains me root to get root to my phone could be used for malicious intent. Fixing such vulnerabilities is a side step of the issue of whether or not users should have access to the hardware they own. They are sidestepping the issue why a proper tiered security model isn’t implemented to allow users to have legitimate access at root to their phone. The only reason I can see is the planned obsolescence built into the profit models for the phone. With methods in place that keep the user or community at large from providing updates to the phone, it forces the phone into an obsolescence schedule that is managed by the manufacturer. While your 2 year contract might not be up for 8months, the phone manufacturer can decide to stop offering security updates or bug fixes for a phone. In the past the community has stepped forward with custom roms, patches, and fixes that extended the life time of the phone for several years still. These new “security features” that are being pushed could have merit if coupled with proper tiered security controls on the phone. As implemented they are nothing more then a thinly veiled attempt to enforce planned obsolescence.

  • Jdellingson7

    Well thats fine that its a small percentage of your clients, but maybe big enough to make a dent in your sales. I personally will not be purchasing any phone that has been locked down. Any if anything learned these lockdowns have only made the rooting community stronger and smarter

  • d111795

    I personally don't see any benefits of rooting. Accelerated hardware? Not needed anymore. Custom ROMs/themes? I sure as hell don't care; I'll stick with the interface the phone already has. And those are basically the only two things you can get out of rooting.

    Plus, only a limited amount of people really care about rooting, and when some average user hears about rooting, tries it, makes a mistake and bricks their phone, the're going to be pissed off. And the carrier/manufacturer support team won't help them. By doing this, they are actually making a smart customer service decision.

    Also, I don't believe Google meant rooting and completely changing your phone's software when they said “open/customizable”.

    • http://thisisjohncoffey.com GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

      You've been drinking the Kool-Aid. If you don't wanna root, that's YOUR choice. Don't downplay those of us who care about these things. {{-_-}}

      • Jdellingson7

        Do you fit the average user category? ha ha Dude c'mon. Rooting isn't rocket science and you have to try really hard to brick your phone. At least give me the freedom of choice to screw up my phone, since i paid for it.

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  • C3PIO

    It will be real nice see how the sales of this device fall down , personally I dont care because first I will never be on tmobile and second Im careful buying this type of things because is MY MONEY and MY PHONE so Im aware now that NO HTC for ME!

  • Burner

    Time for a internationally supported class action suit!!!!

    Smartphones are very similar to PC's and their pricing yet many of us here tweak our PC's without all this

    hassle from manufacturers.

    The wireless Android market is producing a concerning trend with these security tweaks stopping rooting. Question is when will we see a similar marketing control with our PC's? Maybe it's time to have some of the legal types in the Android community to file a internationally supported class action suit.

  • WhereIsTony

    Ok people some perspective here.

    “They” did not sell us on android being fully customizable. Point to that ad

    Rooting is still going to happen-but it is going to be a process harder with each phone. Always has been.

    Its not like rooting was the only thing that makes android better than iOS.

    • Chris Nimon

      I think stock Android is better than IOS to, but the point is that they made fun of aphole's being so locked down and touted their open system, and then go and lock it down (in several cases) even harder than IOS.
      Sure back in 2.0.1 there were only a few of us that were willing to root because of the difficulty but now with the 1 touch rooting apps it is becoming a lot more mainstream. The small group of rooters is becoming a much more significant percentage of overall users.

  • http://www.facebook.com/objection89 Miguel Angel Portela

    This sucks. I can see myself having my original Droid even two years from now at this rate. I don't mind, but missing out on LTE will suck.

  • Wyveryx

    While this move is total crap, they do seem to miss the point of WHY we like to root and just HOW dedicated many of us are in achieving rooted status.
    The “small subset” will break through this and then look at the manufacturers and thumb our noses at them.

    It's our devices and we WILL do with them as we please!

  • Pandemic187

    This is the beginning of the end. Congrats, HTC…you may have lost a potential customer to Apple.

  • Garrett

    Google ought to put its foot down. This is the manufacturers being control freaks and should be stopped.

    • WhereIsTony

      Telling manufacturers what they can do goes against the open nature of android.