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HTC to Allow Bootloader Unlocking Via Web Tool for “Developers and Enthusiasts”

You have got to give it up to HTC.  They may not have unlocked a bootloader yet, but they sure have been up front with their plans to do so in the very near future – something we can’t say for another big time smartphone maker.  In just under three months, they have gone from locking it all down, to realizing that their customers are important, and in some cases want more from their devices.

Starting this month, HTC will start to roll out a software update to a select few devices that will then provide users with the ability to unlock their bootloader.  Once the update has been received, HTC will provide a “web tool” that can be used alongside the Android SDK to unlock devices.  Obviously, there will be disclaimers and warnings about this process voiding your warranty, but those of us that have been doing this for a few years now, completely understand the risks.

Moving forward, HTC has also admitted that they will ship devices as locked, but that customers can decide for themselves if they want to unlock them.  Exactly the way it should be.  

Here are the full details:

Since our last update, many of you have asked how the bootloader unlocking process will actually work, and in particular why HTC’s most recently released devices still have a locked bootloader. Rest assured we’re making progress toward our goal to roll out the first software updates in August to support unlocking for the global HTC Sensation, followed soon by the HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile and the HTC EVO 3D on Sprint. Because unlocking the bootloader provides extensive control over the device and modifications may cause operation, security and experience issues, new devices will continue to ship locked but will support user-initiated unlocking using a new Web-based tool.

So how will this work? The Web tool, which will launch this month, requires that you register an account with a valid e-mail address and accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty. Then plug in your phone to a computer with the Android SDK loaded to retrieve a device identifier token, which you can then enter into the Web tool to receive a unique unlock key via e-mail. Finally, apply the key to your device and unlocking will be initiated on your phone.

We’re excited to bring bootloader unlocking to developers and enthusiasts, and we feel this new Web tool will meet your needs and continue to provide customers with the best experience. Thanks to the community for supporting these efforts!

Again, I just want to give it up to HTC for creating this new bootloader policy and procedure.  While they may be struggling to update the Thunderbolt to Gingerbread, they clearly understand the importance of having a developer community behind their product.  +1 to that.

Via:  Facebook

Cheers Jason!

  • Anonymous

    So glad HTC is going to be giving us the option to Unlock, although i probably wont be doing it, its nice to be able to if i want to.  Nice work HTC…Now fix GB for the Tbolt…please

  • http://twitter.com/praticuschaotic Jon Doe

    Less talk and more rock, HTC. I don’t want to hear about how you’re going to unlock my device, I want it done.

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  • http://www.andrewsayshello.com Andrew

    This is probably enough to make me go with HTC on my next phone rather than Motorola.

  • http://twitter.com/slickbmw Brandon Wood

    Now we need an HTC on Verizon with an unlocked bootloader please

  • Dave

    This is a rather fair way of doing it. Thank you HTC!

  • Peter Bartholomul

    VIDEO SUPPORT IS FINALLY SUPPORTED ON SKYPE FOR THUNDERBOLT AND A BUNCH OF OTHER PHONES!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Joos519

      Please clarify, your sources?

    • Joos519

      Please clarify, your sources?

      • Jim Dandy

        If it’s true, we’ll all hear about it in a minute. Trust me :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705034 Jeff Simpson

    words words words words words

    Motorola said they were going to unlock bootloaders, too, and it was just words to try to fix their PR nightmare. Until a manufacturer actually comes out and does it, I’m not going to get too excited about any of the hype.

    • Anthony Mancini

      Didn’t Motorola unlock the Atrix bootloader?  Just sayin

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  • http://quiklives.tumblr.com quiklives

    I think this is the perfect way to go about it, actually. If they want to ship them locked, I think that’s fine – it clearly must accomplish something for the average consumer – and providing an unlock process that you have to do yourself is perfect. It sounds incredibly easy compared to most of the things we do to our phones, so no worries for anyone actually interested in modifying their phone, but just enough of a gateway to make sure people actually mean to do it.

  • RW-1

    Note that nothing has been mentioned about VZ bound devices ….

  • Lmrojas

    Everyone is forgetting the great developer community. Im sure once they figure out how HTC unlocks the bootloader, they will figure out a method to unlock it with with out having to go through HTC. HAVE FAITH IN THE COMMUNITY! 

    • Anonymous

      That would be awesome!

  • Interstellarmind

    for all those ragging on tbolts, i belive kellex’s daily driver is a tbolt?

    • Anonymous

      In the latest consumer reports the Thunderbolt is the top rated Verizon phone.

      Its funny how many of the people writing negative comments don’t own the phone… :)

  • ricky siebold

    ughhhh… idiots will never be happy.   Here’s the deal… a giant company has listened to us.    They have decided to unlock bootloaders.   Guess what!!! Their lawyers probably have been fighting them and telling them not to do it!    So if you want to go the route that they are giving you (that they don’t have to) you’re going to have to have some disclaimers!    When we root we void our warranty!!! Just because the manufacturer doesn’t know that you rooted doesn’t mean anything different.   How will this play out with hardware failure?    I don’t know, but it’s an amazing step by a manufacturer.   To complain about it only proves immaturity, lack of reason, and all around douchebaggery.   it’s an option, take it or leave it.   I guarantee it’s the same “unlimited data means unlimited data” idiots that are upset by this.    Could you effing imagine what would happen if Apple gave an official way to jailbreak their phones???? pfffft

    • http://twitter.com/droid1967 Droid 1967

      You are an offensive jerk.  people have a right to be concerned about whether the hardware will be warrentied if its a hardware failure that is not related to unlocking the bootloader.  I really think they will be fair in this regard.
      They really wouldnt gain anything in unlocking the bootloaders if they have hardware failures and dont warrenty them. they will get a worse rep than having locked bootloaders.  I dont see the lawyers causing a problem with samsung or lg so i dont think this is a lawyer problem.  the rest of your post is so obnoxious its not worth addressing.  And im sorry you are never happy.. by your statement since i havent seen a bigger idiot than you in a long time.

      • KevinC

        The fact is, when most people unlock their bootloader to load a custom ROM, they overclock their CPU.  This causes strain on the hardware, heating it up much faster, and is not recommended if you want your hardware to last long.

        Running an overclocked phone SHOULD void your warranty.

        • Anonymous

          I agree, hardware failure, such a bad screen or sunken power button should be covered, but bricking a phone from flashing a ROM or radio should not. The hard part is to prove how a phone was bricked.

      • Ven727

        Well if you are concerned don’t use their method or don’t unlock the bootloader at all. All that the post is saying is that the company is giving option and instead of rejoicing for the victory people have still found something to bitch about.

        • Superior

          thank u. People get what they want and automatically start crying

        • Superior

          thank u. People get what they want and automatically start crying

    • http://twitter.com/RichNahra Rich Nahra

      I agree.  complete douchebaggery! (never heard that before your post)

    • Kevin

      did you fart at the end there?  just checking.

      • Breakmyfootoff

        Awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ryan57ford Ryan Chapman

    Wow, makes me rethink my D3 purchase that is arriving tomorrow in the mail…

  • Anonymous

    Now if only some other phone manufacturer would do this exact same thing; cough, cough, Motorola…

  • http://twitter.com/nashmax73 TomAss (TA)

    HTC, for the win….

  • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

    cool. but personally, I think i’ll stick with the one-click root once Revolutionary comes out of dev-preview

  • http://profiles.google.com/ewhitak Eric Whitaker

    Well they probably noticed that there bootloaders were becoming unlocked via devs

  • Vonny571

    Count me as an “enthusiast”!

  • EC8CH

    HTC says they will work to unlock their bootloaders and they do this…

    MOTO says they will work to unlock their bootloaders and they do…  Oh did you guys think we were serious?

  • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

    you said +1 to that and they posted this info on facebook, if that isnt a soccer ball to the top of their head

  • Anonymous

    Vigor here I come!  

  • Cameltoe4me2

    htc and verizon have void my contract for not keeping upto date on the TB.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    What’s that famous saying? “talk is cheap” just ask Sanjay Jha

  • Anonymous

    I will be supporting the company that supports me as an Android enthusiast. HTC will be getting my dollars when I finally upgrade my Day #1 Orig Droid. I only hope it holds up until the Vigor is released.

    • Granted

      Oooh, “day 1″ you say, haha! The fact that you felt the need to write that, haha!

      “Oh you have a Droid? Cool me too!”, “Yeah but is your Droid a “Day 1″ Droid”,
      “No.”
      “You loser! Only the cool kids have a Day 1, you’re so gay… come rub my nerdy pentile, and then I’ll penetrate, and unlock your buttloader.”

      • Anonymous

        that was not my intent at all. i say “day 1″ because i count on my upgrade to last the life of my contract. that’s why i haven’t upgraded yet, despite being eligible for one since july. i can’t afford to change phones every couple of months. 

  • Interstellarmind

    HTC ftw.

    this seals the deal: my next phone WILL be an HTC smartphone.

    hoping the htc vigor will be it.

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

    If HTC offers a slide-out keyboard phone with an unlockable bootloader, I will ditch my D3 in a heartbeat. I’ve had it with Moto and their games.

  • Rubenalifuenmayor

    HTC is making that Vigor look that much better!

  • Stelv81

    Word up HTC!

  • Anonymous

    Now if only Motorola would follow suit. Then they would have a chance of being a contender again.

    Its a shame too… They are coming out with the Bionic and it will be at the bottom of the list unless Motorola gets with the times. The Droid 1 was the first and last competitor.

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

      Moto is sinking their own ship, and all I can do now is laugh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Reyes/1191692681 Carlos Reyes

    I wonder once we use the tool to unlock they will have a data base to notice who has unlocked their devices and if we try to do a warranty claim eve after we lock them back and change all setting to stock will our claims would be denied.

    • virtualhuman

      It’s pretty clear they intend to, what with requiring accounts, unique identifiers and codes.

  • Anonymous

    But can you relock it for resale?

  • Jow

    Will they also give you root?

    • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

      no matter how hard companies try we always seem to be able to get that so lets hope it should not be too hard

  • jimbob

    If I ever stop being lazy and root my TB, I’m sure this update will come out a day or two after that.

  • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

    Yea just what I want my phone company to start unlocking phones while they can’t even push out an update give me a break focus on updating then people won’t worry as much as unlocking

    • Granted

      Here are some commas and periods, for you to use.. ” …,,,, “.

  • Darkpsycho22

    My HTC Incredible 2 better be on that list!

  • Anonymous

    awesome stuff there

  • Anonymous

    awesome stuff there

  • Nvious1

    Does any else feel like the Thunderbolt is the bastard child of the HTC family?  No GB yet and no mention in unlocking…?

    • BillT

      Only every blog and tech pundit and non-Thunderbolt owner out there…along with more than a few Thunderbolt owners.  It gets old and repetitive, but that is the way of the tech blogs – repeat and pile on.  I personally rooted immediately and never looked back.  The phone has been great for me and I understand that LTE is a battery drain – technology working as expected.

      • BillT

        Not only is it the bastard child, it is already being replaced by the Vigor.  Check out the leaked road map where they literally say that.

        • Anonymous

          Lol… Can you fully unlock your Motorola phone like we can the thunderbolt? Unless you have a D1 the answer is no. How many Motorola 4g phones does Verizon have?

          The Bionic will come out and will be locked down as always…

          At least HTC is replacing a good phone with a good phone. Motorola has been going backwards since the D1

          • http://twitter.com/BHagey1 Brandon Hagey

            Love my TB :D

    • Anonymous

      No I don’t feel that way. I am running Gingerbread and my Bolt is unlocked. You can’t fully unlock the Motorola lineup…

      You must not be aware that you can unlock the Bolt. Plus you don’t have to make an account signing away any rights.

      • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

        Why does everyone always worry about moto or bring them up give it a rest…I understand you got a POS thunderbolt but damn

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

          Many Thunderbolt owners are butthurt and mad at themselves for jumping the gun.

          • http://twitter.com/BHagey1 Brandon Hagey

            Name a phone i should want more then the thunderbolt?

            Dont worry ill wait.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Reyes/1191692681 Carlos Reyes

      rooted my phone the day i received it but didnt flashed any roms till gb was released full of bugs but once it was worked out no more issues and if any user error right know im enjoying 2.3.4 sense 3.0 gtalk with video and some other things here and there that i really enjoy. 

    • MD69

      Ur right, we are the Cinderella of smartphones.  Here’s hoping the Prince will come rescue us in the end and we finally get some GB and front camera love, along with this new bootloader thing.  We can only dream.

  • Anonymous

    vigor’s actually looking much, much better than bionic these days.  and if that leaked roadmap with release date is correct, it’ll be coming out two days before my upgrade.  this fall’s gonna be awesome.

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

      What does that have to do with this post?

      • Mikey

        That He’s Gonna Go With HTC Because He Has An Upgrade 2 Days Before It’s Expected To Release. Obviously The Unlocked/Unlocking Bootloader Is Going To Incline Him To Buy The Vigor. His Post Made Complete Sense To Me And Has Everything To Do With This Post.

  • http://twitter.com/_beardly Parker Yates

    Great news! Hopefully, the Thunderbolt gets added to the list sooner than later.

    • Anonymous

      That would be nice. But in the meantime why not unlock it now since you already can?

      • http://twitter.com/_beardly Parker Yates

        I would if I knew how stable the CM7 ROM was.

        • http://twitter.com/BHagey1 Brandon Hagey

          Extremely stable

  • Anonymous

    Nice!!!  Way to go HTC…now just fix the short battery life issue…

    • http://www.searingarrow.com AlienSix

      That would be fixed if they used bigger batteries in their phones

    • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

      that was fixed when the EVO 3D and the Sensation came out. i get 12+ hours on my 3D with no power management going on

  • Murphy

    You guys just popped my Likes cherry…

    • Granted

      Wow if you equate liking something on a website to sex… well I pity your thoughts of an actual sex life.

      • Murphy

        You’d be surprised :-)

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

        Hey twat, it was obviously a joke.  

        • Hank Godwin’s Lack of Friends

          Do you enjoy being an alpha-class d0uche?  Does it get you off or something?

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

            Awh, Granted changed his name.  Did I embarrass you? You should have at least went with a name that makes sense. Maybe something like “I’m a twat that can’t decipher between a joke and a serious comment”?

  • Jason Lee

    LIKE A BOSS, HTC!

  • Austin

    Hey Kellex I need to talk to you

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

      No.

    • Baked14

      You don’t always get what you need.

  • Manny

    I was thinking about getting the Nexus Prime but if the HTC Vigor is coming out with Ice Cream Sandwich I’ll definitely be getting that.
    inb4 Motorola bankruptcy

    • http://www.facebook.com/TJHRULZ tjhrulz

      Motorola bankruptcy

  • Anonymous

    Great idea HTC. That’s a very fair compromise and we love you for it.

    • TheAndroid1

      Really?  “accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty”

      Basically, anything goes wrong with your phone (could just be the battery or any other hardware problem), whether it’s software related or not, they won’t replace it.  I really hope they clarify this.

      • Anonymous

        That’s my concern too but maybe there will.be an unofficial solution like we have now for future phones. If other manufacturers like Samsung can sell phones with unlocked bootloaders from get go and still let us retain warranties for hardware issue then why can’t HTC.

      • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

        that’s always been the risks when rooting your phone, just because it’s HTC doesn’t make any difference. rooting your phone voids your warranty regardless of your method

        • TheAndroid1

          Right, but you used to be able to unroot/unlock the bootloader without HTC knowing.  After HTC does this, there is the possibility that carriers start cracking down.

          • Adam Elghor

            so what at least you have the choice now!!!!

          • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

            Good point, I haven’t thought of that. Now I’m sure I’ll be sticking with Revolution

        • Possomcrast1

          your funny i ve had about 13 rooted phones fixed on verizon

          • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

            Cool. I was told Verizon had a strict policy against rooted phones

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

            It is you’re.  

            When you root, you void your warranty, simple as that.  

          • Anonymous

            However at the moment we can unroot and we have our warranty back.

            With their new account based system once you root you will always probably be screwed.

            I appreciate what they are offering and its very fair.

          • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

            It’s not as simple as that. It is illegal to deny a warranty for modifications that could not had effected the point of failure. An example is auto manufactures can’t deny you the warranty on your AC unit because you installed a cold air filter, and put new wheels on the car. 

            A software modification SHOULD NOT void your hardware warranty, just like installing linux on a dell shouldn’t void your laptop warranty. 

          • Anonymous

            Sure it should.  All the people who overclock are likely shortening the life of their device which can cause failure of a number of parts.  So unless HTC is going to trust people to promise not to overclock they need to cover their a$$es.
            If you can still get insurance on the phone then it will be a fair deal IMO.  So you aren’t totally screwed for a legit drop or similar.

          • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

            Just like auto dealers have to trust you didn’t put a super charger on your car. But lets be real, I don’t think there is an epidemic of people frying their phones due to overclocking. Thermal limits are put on the chipsets for a reason, and even less people overclock than root. 

            A phone should be no different than a PC, people could overclock their PCs, and I suppose fry the CPU or the northbridge perhaps (has anyone ever actually accomplished that?) Which would void your warranty…but the freedom to install whatever software you like on your PC wouldn’t 

          • Superior

            SAME HERE…………LOL

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      You love a phone manufacturer? Weird bro

      • Anonymous

        He’s a phone bro. Look at his picture. Nothing wrong with that. 

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  • KevinC

    Awesome news.  Hopefully Motorola will follow suit.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      They say November only time will tell

      • snabb

        November is the month they released the Droid 1 (unlocked bootloader))