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Motorola Photon 4G Will NOT Ship With an Unlockable/Relockable Bootloader – What Does That Mean Though?

We’ve got some additional details to throw into this morning’s Motorola Photon 4G bootloader story.  We’ll just say “details” because we’re not sure if what we’re about to tell you is a bad thing, good thing, or somewhere in between.  What we did was reach out to Motorola hoping to find an additional confirmation that this new phone would indeed have an unlocked bootloader, and received this back:

Motorola has recognized the passion around this topic in our communities.  As we’ve previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it.  However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G.

Since a “locked” bootloader has a variety of meanings, we rephrased our question and asked one more time to get some clarity:

It will not contain the unlockable/relockable feature; additional details beyond that will be available when the product comes to market.  As you mention, our intent is to enable this feature on devices later this year and we will share updates on that as they become available as well.

So, before you start hammering on Motorola, let’s talk about this a bit.  When they refer to a phone having an “unlockable/relockable” bootloader, I assume that they are saying that this device would not fall under the category of the say the XOOM or Nexus phones.  Those are essentially developer devices that can be unlocked using a simple adb command of:  fastboot OEM unlock.  There really are very few devices out there that have this ability.

On the other hand, what we’ve seen from non-developer devices, are essentially “locked” bootloaders, but ones that we have been able to bypass because they either haven’t been signed at all, or haven’t been signed well enough.  What I’m trying to say is that Motorola may not be releasing this phone with a bootloader that can be unlocked and relocked, but they may be issuing it with one that is easily bypassed like we saw on the original DROID.

This probably just threw a lot of confusion into the situation, but we wanted to at least give someone from Motorola other than a rep at a press event the chance to comment on it.  So it won’t be unlockable/relockable, but we can still hold out hope that it and the DROID Bionic won’t be locked up as tightly as the DROIDX or Atrix.  And this is me shrugging…

Motorola has recognized the passion around this topic in our communities.  As we’ve previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it.  However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G.

 

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • RonsterWVU

    Didn’t see this coming….. haha… I’ll stick with the when i see it ill believe, i’ve been saying all along!

  • RW-1

    Geez, I hate to say how gullible you are here …

    That is the worst PR inflated mess of a response ever, and a 5 year old can see that it means:

    If the carrier wants it locked, it will be locked.

    Moto doesn’t give a damn about the end user, it’s customer is the Carrier here in the US, period.

    This is another blatent attempt to garner support for themselves without having to change a thing.

    Remember, nothing has changed. Moto can say anything.

    Actions speak louder than words in this case for Motorola (I’m a cynic, HTC can announce unlockled BL’s, but let’s see it happen on a VZ unit, then I’ll sing their praises)

    Anyways, while it is indeed news, unless it has some factual instances of it happening, I wouldn’t post this stuff from their PR machine any further. Just my Opinion.

  • DroidFAILED

    FAILED!  next time you say drrrrooiiid! add FAAAAAILED!

  • faber

    fuk moto.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • Binglut9

    Lockable or not its still a great phone- black man x

  • Roothog

    Bottom line:  if the Droid Bionic or Droid 3 are less rootable than the OG Droid I won’t be buying a Bionic or a Droid 3.      If the Bionic and Droid 3 are as locked as the Droid 2,  then I will NOT be buying either.    My next phone will be fully and easily rootable.     Can you hear me now Verizon?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Johnathan-Denney/10039724 Johnathan Denney

    motorola really just sh*tted on verizon this year, every other carry is getting good quality phones on time. What about the company that believed in you when nobody else did??

  • Anonymous

    That whole “where operators and channel partners will allow it” thing. The question is, why does Moto say this, while HTC can come out with confidence saying their phones will be unlockable (anywhere)? That makes me think Motorola is the one explicitly choosing which markets they will lock down devices in.

    • DBK

      Verizon could have more stock in Moto than in HTC, and thus is more strict with them. A possibility.

  • Rizzidy

    Quit playing apologist for Motorola.  

  • Anonymous

    I doubt it, if it was as open as the DROID they would have said it would it. This will be the same locked BS as the DROID X, DROID 2, etc.  It’s nice to stay optimistic, but let’s be realistic here.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dailydroidapp AndroFan

    “It will not contain the unlockable/relockable feature; additional details beyond that will be available when the product comes to market.  As you mention, our intent is to enable this feature on devices later this year and we will share updates on that as they become available as well.”

    Translation: lol early adopters, enjoy your encrypted bootloader. 

  • Anonymous

     Sanjay Jha is laughing at everyone who still has any hope for Motorola being dev-friendly. Everything they said has been an absolute lie, and they clearly have no intention of delivering on their promises. What a terrible, terrible company.

  • Anonymous

    You really are trying way too hard to read into this to a happy ending.  I read this as “They are going to lock every single phone down as tight as they can, but in the future there will be (at least some) phones that can be unlocked by those that know the process (and have the key), but even in those cases, for the general public, it will seem like a locked device”

  • FortitudineVincimus

    so isn’t this like the 2nd story in as many days that had to be recanted??

  • EC8CH

    “where operator and channel partners will allow it”

    traslation: Hope you like locked bootloaders VZW customers

  • psykotikz

    if the bionic isnt everything i think its going to be.  im going with a different company.  theres plenty of phones in the sea and no reason to get stuck on anything.  choice is key here.

  • Anonymous

    Corporate mumbo-jumbo takes it to a new low. Sticking to my plan. No more moto junk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716789798 Lonnie Kerchief

    This statement from Motorola also pretty much means the Droid 3 is as locked down as the Droid X.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716789798 Lonnie Kerchief

    “it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it.” 

     – In other words, Verizon said no.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716789798 Lonnie Kerchief

    “it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it.” 

     – In other words, Verizon said no.

  • http://twitter.com/barski_x barski_x

    This is just away for Motorola to keeps our hopes up.
    All hope has been lost.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

    Motorola can eat a d*ck.

  • LPMeteoraremix

    Pretty much going to officially give up on motorola. After all this constant bs, they are never going to unlock the phone. Im positive of that

  • Anonymous

    Xoom LTE upgrade email hysteria – take 2

  • Kevlew70

    When are they going to train these talkin dummies who work for Verizon to either 1. Say no comment or 2. Get the official company line and repeat it. Its obvious from this fiasco as well as the Samsung Galaxy S2 misinfo that they have no idea what they are talking about.Reminds me going into verizon and working with the people on the floor.

  • http://twitter.com/ProphetBeal ProphetBeal

    To me “unlockable/relockable feature” almost sounds like they are saying that they will implement a way for us to pay to have it “unlocked.”

    • Ckochinsky0125

      I would pay to be able to unlock the phone.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Moto PR,

    The words “yes” and “no” come to mind. Their use would do you well. For example: Yes, we’re still locking bootloaders. Or… No, we don’t have a strait answer.

    • asdf

      YES! I haven’t gotten to read one of your wonderful internet letters for so long, thank you for posting. They always brighten my read…/sarcasm, learn how to construct a real comment.

      • DBK

        Learn how to STFU. His comments and “letters” are far more constructive and entertaining than most here. You don’t like em? Don’t read em.

      • Anonymous

        I’m inclined to agree with DBK.  Someone doesn’t like creativity, sarcasm, or Motorola bashing.  GUESS WHO?!

        • Anonymous

          PS.  NECRO.

    • Anonymous

      Dear MOTO,

      I ve purcased your XOOM and love it. One important thing was the open bootloader and now listen:
      For me it is just a backup feature, now i DON’T use it, but i WON’T buy an android device without this feature.

  • Kevlew70

    Maybe they plan on rolling out some other security features that will allow an unlockable bootloader when they do the mass device update to ice cream sandwich. I recall  winston 25 over at hofo saying the lock is not just for roms but a security feature for both apps(i.e netflix) and users(Like data theft). And lets not forget what a can of worms NFC will bring to security.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, there is a need for security and if that’s the true reason, a means to lock down those types of features (especially NFC) but allow OS/ROM/kernal modification then that is the best of both worlds and something we need be patient for.

  • Stelv81

    The Blur interface on the phone pictured above made me puke in my mouth a little.

    • Anonymous

      We get it, you hate Blur. Must be because that used to be the cool thing to do. I guess companies are absolutely unable to improve their products, and once one is a flop, all future iterations are doomed. Stop being a troll and make an educated decision.

      • Anonymous

        Ohhhh the username to comment irony.

      • http://twitter.com/magiman7 magiman7

        I think it is hard to improve on the stock interface which I can customize to look however I want.  The only way Blur can be improved is if it becomes customizable such that parts (or all) of it can be disabled.  Trying to create a new / better interface is fine. Forcing all users to use it is not.  Kind of reminds me of a fruity company. 

    • Anonymous

      blur widgets = yuck… blur features such as dialing a number and contacts pop up, a customizable car dock, pulsating green bar when in a call, ability to remove individual notifications, city id (which most of you hate, but I love) = awesome and much better than stock… blur 2.0 murders 1.0… couldn’t stand 1.0 actually prefer a rooted blur 2.0, delete the bloat and I would take blur 2.0 over stock any day… this coming from a day 1 OG owner/rooter/romer then to a DX.. don’t say battery life, I can easily get the timer to say 24 hours with moderate usage and that is MORE than enough for me, I took it off charger at 6:30am, it is at 70% at 4:36pm display says 1 hour 12 minutes it has been on

      I’m assuming most of you hate blur not because of the features but because you think it makes your phone slower? I don’t really get it, it has everything stock has but improves upon it.. I agree with the ppl below me, hating on skins is the “in” thing, makes no sense to me at all

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t ruin the Bionic…

  • Lmatador15

    I’m so glad I gave Moto the boot and jumped on board with HTC, but I’m still willing to give moto a second chance if they just give in to our demands!

  • Ddddddd1o

    forget motorola…… i just want the galaxy s2!! lol

    • http://twitter.com/Chasemanhattan3 Chase Chick

      For real. Galaxy S II phone went to Cyanogen.  That’s what we call developer friendly.  If this stance holds, that’ll be the phone I get…

      • Ckochinsky0125

        Me too if it has lte otherwise ill wait.

    • EC8CH

      +1

    • http://twitter.com/magiman7 magiman7

      So you like getting updated drivers for your phone 6 months after new software is released?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the clarification. This is kind of what I was thinking. The Atrix and X2 are both non unlockable bootloaders with encryption. I assume the OMAP4 phones/tablets will fall into this category. We will know much more when the Droid 3 comes out. I am still hoping this one does not have a signed bootloader.

  • Kierra

    Moto as much as these people whine about jumping ship, they love you. They are willing to submit to you, they want you. Just unlock the dang. bootloader so all whines can cease. :)

  • http://fabdroid.com Andrew Xie

    I’ve never used or ever have the intention of using the lock bootloader function on my Xoom or Nexus S, so I don’t miss that at all. Just make the bootloader unencrypted and we’re happy.

    • DBK

      My thoughts exactly. Lock it all you want, as long as it’s not encrypted like the DX. As long as it’s possible  to unlock, that’s all that matters.

  • http://twitter.com/daniel_ohh Daniel Ogilvie

    This may or may not be good and/or bad news.

    • Ron Paul 2012!!!

      It’s going to be bad for Motorola’s profits and good news for HTC.

      • T Hall

        I just liked this because your name is awesome!

        • Anonymous

          LOL awesome? No. Laughable? Yes

          • T Hall

            iWebDroidBerry7 – Lazy, doesn’t like to work, says no to incentive, and wants his government to provide for him.

          • Anonymous

            Lol I did laugh. But Im in college, work at a Verizon store, and my parrots work for the government lol.

          • T Hall

            Haha, good for you.  Sorry for giving you shit, but glad you knew I was just joking!  Best of luck with college!

        • Jeffrey Bartemus

          But my name is better though. i think i deserve a few likes

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Forte/542650247 Michael Forte

    Motorola just likes to piss us off. They got our hopes up and then pulled the rug from under us. Have fun going bankrupt if you continue messing up.

    • http://twitter.com/daniel_ohh Daniel Ogilvie

      This won’t make them go bankrupt.  The ‘average’ user doesn’t know or care enough about a locked bootloader that Moto would see a serious hit in profits.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the clarification. I don’t foresee myself purchasing another Moto device, but I like to stay in touch with what they are doing. Hopefully all this drama will be in the past very soon.

  • John

    My possible future purchase of theirs is in their hands. They better not eff it up

    • Anonymous

      Definitely worth a thought if it is not sewn up like the Atrix and DX2