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Motorola Tries to Issue an Update to Their Locked Bootloader Policy, Everything is Still Up to the Carriers

Almost two months after Motorola first announced their semi-confusing stance on locked/unlocked bootloaders, they found some time to clarify things by speaking with the bootloader petition crew again.  In their previous statements, Moto said that their intent was to enable relockable bootloaders on all devices starting in late 2011 “where carriers and operators will allow it.”  The new stance isn’t all that different, and almost looks like a public finger pointing at carriers for getting them into this situation that has garnered so much negative press (at least in the developer community).

According to Irwin Proud (the petition guy) who had an hour long conversation with Christy Wyatt (VP of Mobile Software), Motorola has plans to change the bootloaders of devices that are “scheduled to receive updates in the second half of this year.”  This sort of verbiage almost points towards Moto looking not only at unreleased phones, but also at devices like the DROIDX2 or maybe even the original DX who currently have locked bootloaders.  (If this sounds unlikely, you aren’t alone.)  Their goal is to build all future versions of “flavoured Android” (whatever that means) with “the same unlocked source code” (again, whatever that means).

Later in their interview, Christy apparently talked about a pretty significant and potential drawback  of this new approach which had to do with problems that would arise because of the stringent testing that carriers put devices through.  Again, seems to us like they want to deflect most of the situation to the carriers, but did mention the fact that the XOOM’s unlockable bootloader was well received by them and that they are doing as much encouraging as they can to get these changes to go through.

Irwin also wanted to assure everyone that Moto sounded genuine during his conversation with them, and that he is confident that they will live up to this “arrangement.”  As much as I hate being the negative Nelly and usually try to stay positive with these things, I can’t help but think this will continue to be one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” sorts of things.  And I say that because of Moto’s consistent stance of “where carriers will allow it” which we know is not a good sign for us.  Manufacturers can parade around all day talking about this or that policy, but we all know who has ultimate control.

Via:  AusDroid

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  • Rickkane

    I just came up with a theory on their locked bootloaders.  How many people are still holding onto their OG Droids because they are now running GB and have blazing fast phones with amazing battery life, custom roms, etc, etc?  Lots right?  What happens if they unlock the droidX or droid2?  How many more people will hold off upgrading their phone if Moto unlocks them?  Probably a lot too.  I think Motorola is shocked by how many people are still running an “antique” OG Droid, and their locked bootloader is an attempt to make the latest and greatest phone that much more appealing. 

    • Good theory. Keep the phone locked down and stop updating it, or put crappy updated software on it to force them to upgrade. You let us build our own OS, we could keep these useful and fresh for 5+ years.

    • Anonymous

      The reason people keep their og droids is because all the new phones are locked down. If new phones were also unlocked many people would upgrade. 

  • Anonymous

    Problem is, what to buy on Verizon if you want an unlocked bootloader?

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  • Anonymous

    Verizon allows htc to have unlockable bootloaders so why not Motorola?

    • RW-1

      Which one currently out there is unlocked?

  • Nick

    Samsung seems to be the last carrier that has any real dedication to the spirit of android (if their donation of an G sII to Cyanogen is any sign at all).  

    If you need to replace your phone,  go to swappa.com and buy someone’s used device. I’m thinking of picking up an original incredible for shits and giggles. Either that or a fascinate. 

  • Anonymous

    No problem here, if its locked, no purchase from me. If it can be unlocked, ill give them another chance and consider that device.. the ball is in their court

  • This is exactly what I predicted, Motorola (like HTC) made a public announcement to stop the flood of complaints on FB and Twitter, but they aren’t planning on changing anything.  They have been blaming the carriers for locked bootloaders since the beginning of locked bootloaders.

    Other than a few token phones I predict in the future that almost all Motorola phones will continue to have locked bootloaders.

  • Hyphnx

    Motorola basically shot themselves in the foot. They tried to revolutionize the mobile phone industry and it back fired.

    I really hope the Samsung Galaxy S2 has LTE. I really would hate to get the Bionic.

  • digsoreos

    “Later in their interview, Christy apparently talked about a pretty significant and potential drawback  of this new approach which had to do with problems that would arise because of the stringent testing that carriers put devices through.”

    I had to laugh when I read that part about “stringent testing that carriers put devices through” after going through the GingerBlur update with the DX and suffering more dropped/unconnected calls, more 3G-1X fluctuations, significantly poorer battery life (from 100% to 53% in less than 3 hours), degraded touchscreen responsiveness, lagging virtual keyboard entry (stock multi-touch as well as Swype and SwiftKey X). 

    Let’s hope VZW acknowledges some of these issues and requests an update to GingerBlur that fixes them quick.

  • tinyurl.com/3p4aqqw

  • RW-1

    I’m ready now to start sending VZ checks similar to this one:

  • John

    Dear Moto,
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…………. _.·´
    -soon to be ex moto customer

  • RW-1

    BTW, not that it matters, or maybe it does, but now one can purchase an unlocked iphone right from Apple direct, and have it on ATT (yuk)… I’m sure it is an unsub price …

  • Anonymous


  • RW-1

    More PR BS … and you guys are sucking it up like there is no tomorrow.

    NOW they are playing the carrier card.

    I have two views on this.

    1. Moto (sic Jha tool) has no balls. Just tell them that is the device take it or leave it.

    2. We have yet to see an HTC unlocked device ON VZ…

    Which is what I said previously, if you make a device which VZ and other carriers decline to purchase (failed testing my a$$), then what happens next?

    Manufacturers need to be manufacturers, no one tells a PC maker to lock their PC down for internet use, and the same should apply for mobile devices!

    Carriers need to be carriers, give me calls, data and keep your mitts off my device.

    That said, I’ll tell you WHY carriers want the control, because the system here is that WE allow them to, due to the fact that WE don’t want to pay FULL PRICE for these devices.

    I hate to say it, but if you get rid of subsidy from the carriers, then it isn’t THIER phone that YOU are paying off by having a 2 year contract at all.

    It’s going to be another year or so before I replace my OG it appears, and even them I’m not sure what I’ll go with …

    Carriers, frack them, money grabbing bastards….

  • Rizzidy

    F Motorola.  

  • Rizzidy

    Let me help you out Kellex,

    F Motorola. 

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  • Cb2000a

    This is crap.  HTC and Sammy can decide to unlock theirs and Moto passes the buck. 

    • RW-1

      Read my post above, you can decide to unlock it, but show us one on VZ running now, unlocked by HTC …

  • Anonymous

    … i dont use the possibility of an open bootloader, but i havent ever bought any device with a signed or encrypted one, so dont forget this crowd moto

  • Anonymous

    “Up to the carriers” is such a cop out. If this were the case, than every phone would be locked down, yet somehow, only Motorola suffers from this issue. Funny, that…

  • Anonymous

    Here we go again. He said, she said, verizon said, att said. Back at ya, again.

  • We need the guys that hacked sony to do a number on the bootloader – Man can’t imagine how scared Sony is.

    • Anonymous

      lets get a pot going!

  • Nope

    Funny I guess HTC just bypassed the carriers and said no more locked loaders.  Stickin with HTC…… F.O. Moto

  • Anonymous

    SOOOO,  You’re saying we have a chance at not getting a device from Moto that’s not going to be unLocked from the carrier??? 

    SOOO, we’re still in the BALL PARK??? 😛 

    Ahhh, Moto you sneaky, sneaky SOB’s 😛

  • Anonymous

    Regardless of who has the ultimate control, it’s just more bad news in general for Android.  I honestly can’t see much difference these days between Android and Apple.  I still have an outdated Motorola Droid because it has the two things that originally attracted me to this ‘open’ platform: Stock Android and an unlocked bootloader.  These two things are becoming increasingly difficult to find independent of one another, much less together.  As with Apple’s tightly control eco-system, Motorola, HTC, Samsung and LG are all trying to accomplish the same thing while ruining everything that was great about Android.  I know they took hits for it for stepping on manufacturers toes back when they first did it, but now more than ever Google needs to do another ‘Google Phone’.  Users need at least one option annually that is true to the spirit of what this platform started as and what so many of us really want out of it.

    Seriously becoming disillusioned with Android.

    • Anonymous

      You’be already had two Nexus devices as well as the G2, G2X… and already the rumors are flying on the Nexus 3… if you are disillusioned it is only because you choose to be…you are already getting the annual device you ask for… and then some.

      • Anonymous

        It’d be nice if I didn’t have to switch carriers to get it.  Or it’d be even nicer if Android just stayed true to the spirit of the ‘open platform’ it started out to be.

        • Lets be real though. It’s all about the almighty dollar. Manufactures/carriers are given an inch and take a mile. As soon as they herd ‘open sourced’ they piggy backed Google and are now trying to craft Android as their own. The line is really becoming Blur’ed between Android and iOS. I would say this is the point where Google comes in on their red, blue, yellow, and green horses and reminds people who the hand that feeds them is before iOS vs Android debate becomes nonSense and become one in the same. I honestly would support Google if they suspended Android until further notice due to abuse, or gives an ultimatum to everyone. Or better yet, pull an Apple and manufacture their own phones and make them Android 2.4 and up exclusive, they can afford it, I would support it.

        • Anonymous

          Yes,I understand, but my point is that it is not “Android” that is the problem. You can get a plain vanilla open device on 3 of the 4 carriers, and the nexus S is available with a CDMA radio. So the problem doesn’t sit with Google, or even the manufacturers but with VZW.

          And BTW, even with a locked bootloader, there is still no comparison between Android and iOS… can you replace basic functions on iOS? Replace the launcher? The dialer? And so on? Calling Amdroid as closed as iOS is just plain silly.

          • Anonymous

            Jay, you’re splitting hairs.  Hyperbole aside, some of the same criticisms that were heard on this board a year ago are starting to become standard for Android.  Are you seriously reducing the appeal of it to replacing the launcher and dialer?  The biggest criticism that I heard about Apple and iOS, and by comparison what made Android so wonderful, was in respect to Apple’s tightly controlled eco-system.  That is precisely the sort of environment that the big 4 Android hardware manufacturers are trying to create and it leads to the sort of nonsense we see now, on the regular.  Phones being released in mid-2011 with version software that’s a year old.  Software updates that are extremely slow coming, if at all.  Locked boatloaders. etc…. 

            While I never said that Android was “as closed as iOS”, I stand by the idea that the differences are quickly blurring.

          • Anonymous

            No, I am not reducing it to the launcher and dialer, just using them as the most basic of examples.

            Yes, the biggest knock on Apple is their tightly controlled… everything.  That we can agree upon, but I disagree in that the hardware manufacturers trying to “brand” themselves is the equivalent.  If that were true, Android would wind up much more like WP7, where even though you have a “choice” of vendors, and each have made their products (somewhat) “unique” what you have wound up with a bunch of phones that are basically the same.

            With Android you have devices all across the spectrum, from vanilla open devices, to completely locked down, you have low end, mid range and high end devices.  You have literally hundreds of configurations to choose from. What you initially asked for in your initial comment, “at least one option annually that is true to the spirit of what this platform started” is already there. (The fact that VZW opts to not pick up that option is as I said an issue with VZW and not Android).  So what is the problem?  You have your vanilla, unlocked device.  Others have the Sense they want, other (though I can’t figure out what they are thinking) have TouchWiz.  You have HTC promising open devices, and you have Motorola promising “safe” (though, yes, I think it is a lark) devices.  If that much choice is “blurring” the difference between an OS that can be so flexible to be on so many devices in so many ways and iOS, then you are running with blinders on.

            Don’t you find it the least bit ironic that what most people “suggest” Google do, is to tell people what they are “allowed” to do with Android in order to keep it more “open”?  I agree that the manufacturers need to step up their game with updates and such, and it is wise for Google to push them to do so.

            Is the system perfect?  Of course not, as you point out, there are issues with release timings, updates, etc.  But it is a very fine line that Android has to walk in order to be an operating system that is actually workable and adopted, as opposed to projects like LinMo which is closer to (in theory anyway) the panacea of a “true” wide open system… that no carrier will adopt and nobody is actually making handsets for. 

      • Djstar2k2

        actually ur not getting all u want so get liquids view.  imo here we go: left tmo and my beloved G1 for the og droid(knowin that G1 hardware wouldnt get updated beyond 1.6 donut).  the og droid  was the true successor 2.0 eclair and free google nav, better processor and gpu, cam flash more ram a dream(yes i played w/ the tmo clique 1st b4 i jumped and hate blurr slurring up my android).  cope the droid and a month or so later the nexus one….damn the marketing for her sucked but spec wise a true game changer. but low and behold no keyboard so thats a deal breaker to me but what a beast.  then here comes the G2 im geeked but then the specs come out! wtf really? bad ass keyboard and vanilla but no ffc and outdated processor! why sign up for 2yrs for somethin pretty much out dated( she has not seen gb update and reach end of life already wow).  so now the nexus s nice but damn no keyboard( on screen will never match a solid keyboard and again a dealbreaker for me) and i dont like sammys builds but the processors are nice. but it was rushed no notification leds no removeable storage? really? so again outdated specs on the new os(except for nfc) hell not even a dually on her damn.  then the gx2 again no keyboard and no notification lights come the hell on its 2011.  so there i feel you wrong its a struggle and a fight with the android i love so much so im runnin out off options and im kinda pissed.  why cant you get online a design ur own android phone from any oem you like just like you can a car from gm?  or at least make them vanilla and let you choose to install the skin you wont if you so choose.  even tho i cant afford a 600 dollar phone lol 

        • Anonymous

          I understand what you are saying… but this is not a question of whether or not a manufacturer has come out with a phone that matches your desires.  His request was that Google issue at least one unlocked, stock device per year.  That has been done.  Now whether you like it or not is a whole different ballgame.  Just because the Nexus S (for example) isn’t the phone that you want, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an unlocked, unskinned, dev phone available… it is there.

          Your solution, while a certainly nice sounding panacea just isn’t going to happen.  There is not enough profit in the phone business for custom built… which is why those that have tried to bring such things to market fail.But the hundreds (literally) of options Android gives you with low end, mid-range and high end phones, varying prices and qualities that you can choose the tradeoffs that work for you, is probably as close as you are going to get to that “showroom floor” as you will get any time soon.

    • Djstar2k2

      as i want go as far to say icrap n uncle googs android is one and the same its become upsurdly difficult to get get all u wont in one place.  skin vs vanilla, kb on screen kb, 3g vs lte, unlooked vs open, and its one wonder after all the money uncle googs, oems and carriers have made cant the end user get the choice they loved with the G1 and the og droid?

  • Anonymous

    If moto unlocks the bootloader on the bionic I will buy easily, but if they encrypt it then I will wait and see what the gs2 is like(if it has LTE) or wait for something else. Moto really needs to get their heads out of their asses and see what the other companies are doing(HTC and Sammy) and see how many millions of phones they are selling and how many return customers they are getting.

  • Wyveryx

    Sounded sincere…. rofl

  • GotSka81

    I would believe what they say if EVERY phone on verizon had a locked bootloader…but obviously that’s not true.  Why would Verizon target Moto to lock their bootloaders and no one else?  Yes, I realize the Thunderbolt is locked, but remember, it’s not encrypted like Moto.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll believe it when i I see it

  • Anonymous

    Didnt Verizon say they would allow unlocked bootloaders when HTC announced them? Motorola is just full of sh!t. They will have to blow me away with hardware to get me to buy another phone from them.

  • Golumzshit

    Moto is so hated here, we might as well call this site “HTC-Life”.

    • Anonymous

      Moto did it to themselves. They were at one time very loved when the original Droid came out. We had high hopes of more to come with each new Moto phone and all they did was ruin things with locked down phones and Blur.

      I’m sure there are many people that are not aware or care about what they have done. But those that were around for the Droid 1 have been disappointed ever since.

      I have left Moto and will not return until their bootloaders are unlocked.

    • No we don’t, HTC is a no-go for me, it has crappy built quality and the loudspeakers have been horrible ever since, and I had 8 HTC devices! Waiting for a Milestone 3 that will be unlocked by end of year.

  • whydidnt

    If I’m not mistaken, the Samsung Droid Charge does not have an encrypted locked boot-loader.  So it’s a little disingenuous for manufacturers such as Motorola to say it’s up to the carrier. There is more to the story, such as a financial incentive to lock it down more, or something like that. Perhaps that’s why the Charge is more expensive than the Thunderbolt, despite similar specs. 

  • Joshu2

    Wow, you guys are so pessimistic and full of hate. Yes I can agree you have a proper reason to be, but man it’s like a trend to hate Motorola. It feels like 2007-2008 all over again, except Motorola isn’t going bankrupt at the moment.

    • Jokey

      I like moto way better build quality than any manufacturer I just want the bionic

    • Anonymous

      don’t hold it against them. give them another year and they’ll be heading down the toilet again! 😉

  • How come Samsung and LG devices are unlocked on Verizon then huh Moto?

  • Anonymous

    Carriers’ worries about rooted phones and non-standard ROMs causing problems on their networks is just so much BS. How many thousands of phones are in that state now, with no ill effects to anyone’s network, except the carriers missing out on overcharging folks for things like tethering. How blind and/or cocky Moto must be to ignore the things that made the original Droid such an overwhelming success.

    • Anonymous

      oops. replied under wrong post

  • Davros

    Of course she sounded convincing. You don’t get to that corporate level without being good at lying while looking someone directly in the eye.

  • They call Blur “flavoured”. At least that’s what I think they meant. I call it “bland”.

    Motorola won’t be able to blame it on the carrier anymore once the first stock unlocked HTC device hits Verizon. Now if that doesn’t end up happening and other carriers do get them, then we can truly blame Verizon for phones remaining locked.

    I’m of the same impression. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not as much ‘flavored’ or ‘bland’. It’s more like when someone discovers a new herb or seasoning and goes headlong putting into everything they cook, kinda like cilantro. You try picking it out, and while you might remove some leaves or stems, you’ll never keep that nasty flavor from overwhelming and making an otherwise delicious meal taste nasty. The only fix is leave the damn cilantro out of it in the first place.

      • Perfect analogy.

      • Chris

        dead on! eff moto till they let me cook 😉

  • Donstpete

    Moto continues its slide to complete “fail”. Again ! (remember the Razor?). Packed the OG Droid yesterday and picked up an Incred 2. No regrets.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t the bootloader lock on the Inc2?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this sounds half-hearted to me. Other major manufacturers say their devices “will be” unlocked. Motorola says, “we want to, carriers may not let us.” Sounds like a disingenuous PR move to me. But…I hope I’m wrong.

  • Anonymous

    LMAO This sounds like that friende or family member that borrowed some money from you. then says wait till tax season I am getting a BIG return,

    Tax season comes and the government has garnished friend/family member return due to back child support or some other BS excuse that he didn’t tell you about LMAO!!!

    Moto is quickly becoming that “friend, you don’t want to be friends with” 😛

  • Anonymous

    I just posted a huge response to this over on phandroid so I’ll make this one short and sweet…

    If they stand by this I may actually consider getting another moto phone in november when I’m due. I loved their chassis construction (I was going to say build quality but their headphone jacks and usb ports suck balls after a few months) because the aluminum and gorilla glass gave it some weight, made it feel sturdy, and assured you it could take a beating, which it definitely could. 

    I’ve seen people with cracked screens and chassis beat to hell, yet as a whole it still worked perfectly. I even dropped mine a few times on asphalt from about 3-4 feet (once directly on the screen) and all it ever got was a slight hair-line scratch in the screen and a small chunk out of the corner. 

    My buddy cracked the screen of his incredible by leaning on a desk too hard when he was moving it. I have one now and it feels like a toy compared to the OG Droid. (this was actually short in comparison even though it doesn’t look like it lol)

    • Anonymous

      i know where you’re coming from being an OG Droid owner who just switched to the T-Bolt.

      i had my phone in my front jeans pocket and was leaning over a table stretching to grab something. i heard a popping noise and thought the screen had cracked. luckily it was just one side of the battery door popping off.

      i was amazed since it’s a PITA to pry off the door under regular circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    If your boot loader is locked or unlocked it makes no difference, unless you are a developer and can write code and make a custom rom. Fact is, no matter what phone you are on odds are some developer will make a rom that will go around the bootloader or utilize the unlocked boot loader. Look at the DX, it is locked down, yet is probably the most rom’d and themed phone out there! I am all for unlocked devices and freedom of choice. But come on people, Moto makes the best phones and EVERYONE knows it! Just saying.

    • faber

      wrong. im running cm7 with custim kernal on my nook. basically same hardware as a dx and runs way better then my x. we want full access to our devices including running custom kernal. someone just noe got cm7 on the dx and it was probably damn hard to do….and thats with problems and no kernal acess. if moto wont unlock we,ll go elsewhere. if verizon wont unlock….yep; going elsewhere. that simple.

      • Anonymous

        Wrong? Who is your carrier? oh yeah that’s right, your comapring a Nook, an e reader. I am talking about phones. Give me a cell call from your Nook, and I’ll change my mind! LOL

        • faber

          wrong again. nook has same hardware as my phone, bigger screen and runs better….why? custum kernal. cant do that on locked moto.
          you think this many people are pissed about locked bootloaders because the bootloader doesnt matter….come on man, what are u a moto employee?

          • Anonymous

            No I don’t work for Moto. Provoking people gets good responses. I would love a phone that has an unlocked bootloader. I hope Motorola does this for the Bionic.

          • faber

            me 2. though at this point im done with them anyway.
            at least if its unlockef though something else can be booted. every single rom forvthevdx contains some blur becausevof the locked loader (except for the one guy that judt booted cm7). all those dx roms are almost like themes and not roms….they are a result of developers busting ass to make motod crap better. im surprised aby of them develop for moto stuff at all, and some have flat quit, like the guy that did fission. i dont blaim them.

  • The Echonaut

    Link is 404’d.

  • Sounds like we’re a kid trying to play our parents.

    • Anonymous

      Which one?  Just tested them all.

  • Ship it locked with an easy unlock option.


  • Anonymous

    I’ll just have my Droid forever.

    • Anonymous

      No doubt…and if my OG ever breaks I can pick one up for $50!

  • Anonymous

    I’d point the finger at the phone companies too…

  • Anonymous

    Samsung doesn’t seem to care what carriers think and it hasn’t stopped them from releasing phones on all carriers.

    • Anonymous

      Except of course, where is the Nexus S for VZW? And on what other carrier was the Galaxy S neutered by putting Bing Search and maps on it?

  • EeseRr

    I have a question. Has Motorola or Verzion gave us a reason why they lock their bootloaders?

    • Anonymous

      has any company that locked their bootloaders?

  • Mr.Joe

    Too bad Virgin locks their phones up.

  • Mr.Joe

    Too bad Virgin locks their phones up.

  • Coaster36

    Its to late for me. Theyve already lost to HTC. 

    Bye Bye moto.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed, once HTC gets something more polished than the TB out or Sammy puts out a LTE G2 I’m dumping Moto as I doubt they are being sincere.

    • Recent HTC devices are just as locked down.  HTCs recent policy change is essentially identical to Motorola’s policy.

      If you are choosing HTC over Motorola over the locked bootloader issue I think you will be disappointed.

      • Rizzidy


        Have you been living under a rock?

    •  With what?

      Maybe if HTC stops using snapdragon turds and enters 2011.

    • Rickkane

      I’m about 99% sure my next phone will be HTC, or some other Dev friendly phone.

  • Anonymous


  • Looks like a wild goose chase to by moto time to develop an even uglier version of blur that slows down their devices. I’m not buying this. Sammy here I come for the SGS2!


    When I see it, I’ll believe it.


    When I see it, I’ll believe it.

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like Motorola is leaving it up to the carriers, but it also sounds like the carriers are in agreement with them and letting do what they need. This leaves me with high hopes for some amazing unlocked Motorola hardware by the end of the year.