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Letter From Verizon to FCC Details Their Stance on Bootloaders

verizon fcc bootloader

Android and bootloaders, a topic we can’t seem to get away from. Starting back with the locking of the original Motorola Milestone and then kicking into overdrive with the DROID X, the battle of consumers vs. OEMs and carriers has been an ugly one. As many of you know, a locked bootloader denies an end user the ability to take full advantage of their device. For those that choose to hack on their phones, install custom ROMs, etc., this is the piece of the puzzle that can ruin it all.

Companies like HTC, Samsung, and even LG have been pretty open for the most part when it comes to bootloaders, however, there is one that remains hell bent on keeping them as secure as possible: Motorola. In fact, we have the history of their stance on locked bootloaders documented here. But is it all Moto’s fault? Initially, they were the target, but after publicly placing blame on carriers for their bootloader locking, it’s clear that there are numerous parties involved. 

So Moto’s number one carrier partner here in the U.S. is Verizon with their “DROID” brand, making them another major target of complaints for developers and hackers of smartphones. Big Red has mostly remained silent on the bootloader situation, that is until now. In a letter from a Verizon executive analyst to the FCC that was obtained by us, we get a pretty clear and unsurprising idea as to why they may request that OEMs lock the bootloaders on phones that will run on their network. And for reference, this letter was in reply to a reader of ours that issued a formal complaint to Verizon and the FCC, stating that they are not allowed to lock the bootloaders of phones.

You will notice a reference to violating the “Block C license” which was a part of Verizon’s purchase of the 700 MHz LTE band. It has all sorts of legal jargon in it that essentially states what Verizon is allowed and not allowed to do with its new network. A few months back, a point was raised that it includes a reference to not being allowed to “lock” a phone which some took to mean bootloaders, hence the reasoning for the initial letter to Verizon and FCC by our reader. I argued that “locking” in this situation has absolutely nothing to do with bootloaders and instead network access. But I digress.

So what is Verizon’s policy? According to this letter, they choose to have OEMs lock bootloaders because they want to continue to reach a “standard of excellence in customer service” that they have set. They feel that if they allow their phones to be unlocked, that they could potentially lessen the experience for users who choose to unlock as well as others on their network that do not. Since they take approved software seriously (and some times too damn slowly), they don’t want to see “unapproved” software running on a large number of handsets on their network.

Never once to do they mention security, something we thought for sure would be mentioned. They did, however, mention that they try to provide the best solution “for as many customers as possible,” which could mean a couple of things. My immediate thought is that they feel that the ROM and unlocking community is so small that choosing this route will not affect the majority perception of them and that they can live with the bit of backlash.

Again, it’s not a surprising stance, but this is one of the only times that we have ever actually seen them mention “bootloader” in anything official. One thing is clear, that the developer community has made a significant enough splash to at least garner an official response from Verizon to the FCC. That never hurts, right?

Cheers Coderedpl!

  • CORYK333

    Sort of related & i’ve asked it before, but if us rooting & romming nerds are such a small group/minority, why are the top apps in the market usually “ROOT ONLY” apps???? I never understood that.

  • Jeremy Turnley

    If the Droid-branded phones weren’t always completely bug-ridden, requiring multiple bug fix updates (often to the point of needing them to get basic functionality working), this argument might hold a bit of water. The Tbolt, the Bionic, the Droid X, all of them needed several updates. If that is the quality of service they are priding themselves on, they need to take a step back and re-evaluate what they are as company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Alvarado/1013888969 Michael Alvarado

    it should be our choice it our devices if verzon wants to keep the phones on lockdown and not let us change the software on them then you know what i’ll take any phone i want for free 

  • LAmDroid

    i love how they always emphasis how there will be such a significant negative impact and in the same breath of air dismiss “that group” as few and insignificant.

    make up your minds, either the community matters, or it doesnt.

  • Interstellarmind

    But then…, what about HTC unlocking its bootloaders?

    (Not trying to troll here. I’m genuinely asking.)

  • EDNYLaw

    This is a standard Verizon response. I’ve gotten this same letter twice from Verizon after filing a complaint with the FCC in my capacity as an attorney. This is nothing new from Verizon and in my legal opinion violates the presumption requirement set forth in 46 C. F. R. Section 27.16(f)

    • CORYK333

      OBJECTION….HERESAY!!!!! (i just always wanted to say that in a court room, but i guess an android site will have to do. Im immature.)

    • QtDL

      Thanks for the response. I’m always eager to hear what legal professionals have to say regarding these topics. For the rest of you that enjoy legal jargon – read 
      46 C. F. R. Section 27.16(f) below. 
      http://netarchitecture.org/pdfs/FCC-Rules-47cfr2716-700-MHz-conditions.pdf 

      • EDNYLaw

        If you love legal jargon check out the complaint I sent to the FCC, it’s filled with it and all the technical stuff was reviewed by Nitroglycerin33 the maker of the awesome Eclipse ROM here’s the link http://db.tt/Z441y4yG

  • Darkseider

    Verizon isn’t protecting anyone except for their profits.  The major problem with unlocking bootloaders for carriers is selling less widgets plain and simple.  Verizon knows this which is why they have a new Moto Android every few weeks.  Shall we take a look?
    Droid, Devour, Droid X, Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid X2, Droid 3, Droid 4, Droid RAZR, Droid RAZR Maxx, Citrus, Droid Pro, Bionic

    That’s 13 Motorola Android phones two of which are NON Droid branded since Dec. 2009.  Yes I know that the Droid is technically November but it was right around Thanksgiving when it was released so the first REAL month I count as December. 

    So in 26 months Motorola has released 13 phones to Verizon with ONE, the OG Droid, having and unlocked bootloader.  So a new phone every 2 months on average from Moto to Verizon.  Now take a look at how many phones Samsung (5), LG (4) and HTC (6) have on Verizon in that same timeframe.  FOURTEEN! one more than Moto and that’s combined.  Yeah… a little obvious ain’t it?  Of those mentioned.  ALL of the HTC phones now have or have had unlocked bootloaders.  3 of the 5 Sammy phones and ALL of the LG phones.  So um… yeah.  Couldn’t imagine why Verizon’s largest supplier of Android devices is being hassled for wanting to unlock the bootloaders by Verizon themselves.  

    • Prowpilot

      Everyone gives Moto crap for releasing so many phones so fast. To me it looks like Moto got caught up in Verizon wanting 4g phones, so their delayed dual core offerings got pushed too close to the 4g rollout and everyone started complaining because they couldn’t wait for the 4g phones, because t everone who follows this site knew 4g was coming. The Razr and Razr Maxx are the only ones I could see people getting mad about, and from what I could gather Verizon was allowing people to pay the difference between the two and get the Maxx if you originally bought the Razr.

      • Josh Nichols

        Are you serious? What about people that bought the Bionic? It was replaced not even two months later. You don’t think they have a right to be pissed?

        • kidtronic

          Bionic owners should be pissed. Unless they read DL. Then they knew what they were getting into and should be ashamed of themselves. 

          • Josh Nichols

            That doesn’t even make sense. 

    • LionStone

      Don’t forget R2D2…14 :)

    • JustSayin

      Um, the Droid was a Google Experience Device as it was the first with Eclair (Android 2.0).  Thus, just like the XOOM and Nexus today, it received updates from Google (after Verizon approved) and had an unlocked bootloader because it was essentially a developer device.

  • fauxshizzl

    While I would never in any way advocate locked bootloaders, I rather like the safestrap method.

  • pastaguy

    The letter states that unapproved software may compromise other customers’ experience.  
    Verizon allows wifi hotspot through LTE devices (for a price), which use the Block C spectrum.  

    How can they control what runs over a wifi hotspot on the LTE network?  Couldn’t unapproved software run on a laptop over LTE?

  • Gary Patrowicz

    This is just verizon attempting to help moto out with sales. If verizon takes responsability than maybe they can unload the backup of motocrap on their shelves. I own a xoom fe and it is wifi only with a locked bootloader so blaming verizon does not work.
    UNLOCK OUR BOOTLOADERS MOTO!!!!

  • Sammyxp

    Really the letter comes down to Verizon’s concerns abut VZW Customer Service not knowing how to help the customer if there is a custom ROM involved. Wouldn’t the type of user that uses a custom ROM easily forgo customer service?

    • http://twitter.com/QSMinSD Q

      Not necessarily.  Ive seen a number of posts on message forums where people jack up their phones and go into Verizon and get a new one.  Just because someone followed a writeup on how to root and flash a ROM doesnt mean they’re some kind of cell phone guru

  • Zach

    They don’t mention Block C or why it is not in violation of said Block C.  FWIW I have not read Block C.  But a response letter to someone accusing them of violating Block C should probably say something about the actual accusation, and not some fluff about customer service.

  • Haproot

    Another line of BS from VZW.  Thank you try again. 

  • sgtguthrie

    I don’t disagree with locking bootloaders.  Even the Nexus line comes from the factory locked.  Encrypting the bootloaders though like Motorola, that’s a whole different topic.  Locked bootloaders are kind of like an IQ check to make sure someone can at least follow instructions before heavily modding their device.  But encrypting bootloaders so they can’t be unlocked with a little research and work is wrong!  As long as it continues at Motorola, I WILL NOT BUY their devices!!!  

  • Cdgentry

    Does it strike anyone else that Fred fails to address the charges – that locking bootloaders violates the requirements of their block c license?  We get BS why VZW doesn’t want to unlock them but never get to the issue of whether or not they are required to addressed…

    • AlexKCMO

      I find it more interesting that he addresses what Verizon is trying to do by locking the bootloaders, but doesn’t give any specific answers as to how an unlocked bootloader could harm any of the things he mentioned.

    • AlexKCMO

      I find it more interesting that he addresses what Verizon is trying to do by locking the bootloaders, but doesn’t give any specific answers as to how an unlocked bootloader could harm any of the things he mentioned.

  • Dr. Droid

    I love how the FCC basically mentions the Block C license yet ignores it throughout the letter, and yet they just deiced to talk about customer service.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mechanizedapathy Shawn Brandel

      This isn’t the FCC talking.

  • Aznboiii369

    So basically big red said that it was their choice to lock down the phones as stated “We always review our technology choices to ensure that we provide the best solution for as many customers as possible.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/sjtilney Scott Tilney

    In other words, Verizon knows whats best for you

  • None

    For every one of us who unlock, root, flash our phones without issue, there are 10 more who screw it up.

    For every one of us who screw it up, and fix it or accept the fact we’ve voided our warranties/phone, there are 10 more who brick their own phones and expect Verizon to fix/replace it for free. And who foots the bill? OEMs don’t give out their devices for free.

    Locked bootloaders are a good business decision and Verizon is a business.

    • Jason Purp

       Where are you getting these statistics from, fella?

      • Havoc70

        He is a Verizon Employee by the BS he is spouting

        • None

          I didn’t say I agreed with their position. Only that it was a smart business decision. I also think Apples walled garden is a smarter business model than Androids “open” market. Does that mean I work for Apple too?

          • microlith

            No, but it does mean you’re pretty much a corporate authoritarian. I bet you like being told what to do on a regular basis as well.

          • None

            I’m a professional that can separate personal opinion from business practicality.  Take from that what you will.

      • None

        Life experience. People are stupid and expect other people to fix their problems when they screw something up. Oh, and at no charge.

        • http://fujibayashi.jp/ Gasai Yuno

          I agree. We have enough people installing “internet accelerators” already.

      • Erik

        he is probably actually being quite conservative… of the 100 or so million verizon customers there prob are a large majority would would listen to some friend or coworker and do something to thier phone with no real knowledge of what they are doing and will likely brick the phone and bring it to verizon wanting a replacement

    • Coldness

      “Bricking” an Android phone is extremely difficult to do without physical hardware damage. Even if an unknowledgeable Verizon rep doesn’t know how to fix a phone bootlooping or whatever issue it’s presenting, the OEM will be able to flash it back and send it out as a refurb quickly and easily. 

      • None

        You’re mostly correct, unless someone flashes an incorrect ROM to an incorrect device, or screws up hboot(in HTC phones), or screws up radios, or the dev flat out screws up on his end, etc.

        For instance, there’s a thread over on the XDA forums(in Development section) for the Galaxy Tab International 7.7 where a dev improperly routed partitions which ended up with bricked devices.  Had that been the Verizon LTE version, how many of those people do you think would have ended up at a store/calling customer service feigning ignorance of their mistake?  Regardless, you mention the OEM… the amount of people who try to warranty thourgh the OEM is slim to none.  Oh, does that mean I work for Samsung now?  I’m confused on my employers. Interwebs, help me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000017250612 Alex Drum

    my main problem with what they said is that they have amazing customer service.  lets be real, i still have yet to be lucky enough to call verizon or go into a store and have someone know about android phones and that os as much as i do.  not saying im extremely knowledgeable and that i write rom code or anything like that but i know my way around pretty much any android phone and i know most of the specs/special features for the phones, its really surprising/concerning that a person whose whole job is to know about phones knows less about them than a kid who reads a phone blog.  verizon’s customer service consists of helping you get into your online account, selling you phones, getting a new line set up, and turning off service to a phone you have lost.  ask a person in a stor how to switch off 4G and they will have to call their manager over and usually they wont know how to do it ether.  so if they already have no idea about the os and cant help you regardless, what does it matter if you rom you phone and change the look/feel.

  • SpikedRed1

    This letter is old news.  It was posted a while back in the Phandroid forums…

  • http://twitter.com/iBolski Ivan Samuelson

    Motorola called me back after I filed a complaint to the BBB. This letter from Verizon and what Motorola told me on the phone pretty much seems to fit together. Motorola apparently DOES want to give us the ability to unlock the boot loaders, but they want to do it safely AND they are in negotiations with Verizon and other carriers on how to go about doing this. Apparently, Verizon is the culprit making it difficult to go forward with what Motorola wanted to do in the 4th quarter of 2011 and this letter in this article pretty much proves it.

    Motorola is still in negotiations with the carriers on how to go about making this work: both to protect the customers and the carriers. Reading this letter, I can see what they meant by protecting the customers and I understand it completely. Doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I can see where they are coming from. But, I still want my unlocked boot loader. If HTC and Samsung can do it, so can Motorola. Who’s to say that HTC and Samsung didn’t have to fight a similar battle? Hopefully, Motorola (I guess now Googlerola) will somehow get this through and we’ll see unlocked boot loaders. However, it might be too late because by the time this happens, I’ll probably be on an HTC device by then.

    • AlexKCMO

      I’m sorry, maybe you can help me understand exactly what VZW means by protecting the customers, because I don’t.  Most customers who are smart enough to do it will do it on their own.  Their biggest worry is the customers who have a “friend” do it for them. 

      For example, if I buy a Rezound today, once I pass the trial period my mom will be getting my Droid X (from some crappy LG Froyo Phone).  I’m going to give it to her stock because I don’t want to deal with any issues that she might have when calling VZW.

  • Christopher Riner

    Yeah, I think Verizon has just been caught trying to pass the hot potato.  I think its pretty obvious that the major downfall of allowing unlocked bootloaders for the carrier is that they are going to have to expend extra resources in customer care for people who mess up their phone and can’t fix it on their own (or who take the time to learn to root and rom it, but won’t take the time to learn how to fix a brick).  Which I guess its not just on the carrier’s customer service end, but that it also falls into the lap of the manufacture when people try to make claims on their 1 year factory warranty.  However, usually if someone’s phone messes up, they don’t go straight to the manufacturer, they go to the carrier.  
    BUT, a lot of these people wind up just going with the insurance route and filing a claim, which is how companies like assurion make their money. Doesn’t Verizon make some of the money off of these phones, too?

    Either way, this is yet another example of how Verizon reminds me of this girl I know.  She goes around starting all this trouble and tries to make it look like it was someone else manipulating the situation, for her own benefit.  No accountability.  I would have a whole helluva lot more faith with Verizon if they would just own up and say, “Hey, look we have plenty of unlocked bootloaders out there if thats what you want, but we just can’t have them all unlocked because it would make our lives hell”

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

    How come I never got a letter when I filed my complaint with the FCC?

    • CORYK333

      Not special enough. Sorry if your mother told you differently :)
      /s

  • Trevor Blain

    Saying this letter isn’t just smoke up our collective asses, I can appreciate their stance (doesn’t mean I like or agree with it) with respect to wanting to provide “the same level of customer experience”. But really, let’s call it what it is, a halfassed attempt to stave off litigation. Let’s face it, the US is a country that court awards damages to people that spill hot coffee on themselves. Who’s to say that some nimrod wannabe ROMer goes and bricks their phone trying to load an unstable build, or doesn’t do a backup and then whines that they lost all their email and text messages for the last year, doesn’t try to turn around and sue VZW when they won’t uphold the voided warranty… and WINS? Sure, I get this is perhaps unlikely, but it’s also possible in this screwed up country. I could be way off, but I just felt like playing devil’s advocate.

    That being said… VZW, quit being dicks and unlock the F-ing bootloaders, already.

  • Mark

    Don’t forget what a gigantic deal Verizon and Moto made with the original Droid, and the entire Droid licensing thing. Back then it was about offering an *Phone killer/alternative, which in turn reinvigorated Moto, and made a lot of folks jump from AT&T. THAT is what keeps the screws on Motorola, and not the other brands. Someone here referenced how many years it was supposed to be for, but I have lost the link, so it’s only speculation unless someone else can dig it up.

  • pcriz

    This is the same letter sent to anyone that complained about it to the FCC. Hell i even got a call from some Verizon media relations lady to tell me she was handling my FCC complaint.

  • Fattie McDoogles

    It sounds to me like the solution is to lock all bootloaders… but make them unlockable. That way those who want the root and hack and such can do that and those who don’t won’t have to worry about anything.

  • John Burke

    Didn’t think I’d say this, but I agree with Verizon’s stance of not selling devices with an unlocked bootloader.

    If they sold devices with unlocked bootloaders they’d be opening themselves up to way too many potential problems & it’d be near impossible for a Tech agent to provide support for all the custom ROMs out there.

    All Verizon has to do currently is:
    “Sir / Mme, what’s your device?
    Ok, now go to Settings–> About Phone
    What does it say in “Phone Model”, “Android Version” & “Build Number”?
    Oh it’s not _____, _____, _____? Ok that means it looks like you’ve installed custom software. As such we cannot assist you further & have voided your warranty.
    Thank you & have a nice day”

    They do the same thing at retail store locations for other carriers. If you install custom ROMs, you’re on your own & it’s not they’re fault / problem.

    • richard melcher

      going back to the analogy of cars. Many people choose to install aftermarket upgrades to their cars engines which in turn voids their warranty. Its written in the warranty contract and the dealership is more than happy to show you your signature. I don’t see any dealerships trying to weld the hood of their cars shut so people cant modify cars and in turn offer better customer service. 

      The reason Verizon locks bootloaders is so customers cannot get around Verizon’s restrictions and load custom radios and bypass tethering restrictions. If the modding community really got into playing around with radio’s it would be very interesting to see what kind of tools we could get to play with Verizon’s network.  

      • Alex

        Are you not aware of the magnuson-moss warranty act? 

    • ddevito

      No. It wouldn’t be a problem because 95% of their users wouldn’t install a custom ROM., check that, 99%. 

      And for the 1% – we figure out a way anyway. 

    • Guest

      dude….they sell phones every day with unlocked boot loader.  might want to do a little research.

  • Michael_NM

    Customer service means control in VZW speak. But wow, thanks for protecting me from myself VZW.

  • http://profiles.google.com/adamtruelove Adam Truelove

    And in other news, the sky is blue.  In the end, this is a wise decision by Verizon that pisses off no one but us nerds.  That being said, I find it hilarious that they do this to prevent “negatively impacting the wireless experience”, and sometimes NOT modifying/ROMing a phone is the only option we have to have a positive experience.  Some phones are such garbage running stock, they need a ROM to make it a pleasant device to own (I’m looking at you Eris).

    • Hoff16

       I wholeheartedly agree. Slapping CM7 on it about a year ago was the best thing I had ever done.

  • realfoxm

    this letter doesnt really specify one way or the other. They just seem to be dancing around it.

  • Tabe

    So… They only care about this with Moto devices? Isn’t HTC including their VZW devices on their site that allows the user to unlock their phones? Aren’t all of the Samsung devices unlockable, one way or another? I want to know why Motorola seems to take locking their devices to another level.

  • http://twitter.com/AMPthe13th Adrian M. Petty

    With the current atmosphere, their arguments don’t stick. If loading a custom ROM gets to the point that file sharing has reached (ie everyone knows how but not necessarily safely) they will have a leg to stand on but be too late to do anything about it. I’m just glad my VZW Android phone rocks an unlocked bootloader!

  • zapote21

    And should this be the consumers choice??  lol  God forbid I give VZW $700 for a phone and then want my bootloader unlocked.  Well, dear VZW… Just so you know, I root, unlock, hack, install custom software and otherwise knowingly void my stupid warranty as soon as I open the box…  Because you can NEVER provide the “excellent” user experience with Moto Blur crap…  Thanks…

  • http://twitter.com/DustinK27 Dustin K

    They are scared of us TETHER FREAKS! 

    • Greg Morgan

      Now that might actually be a real reason. Don’t want us being able to tether even though everyone still finds away to do it.

      • Teng247

        you dont need root to tether, just look at Koush’s usb tether app, that works w/ non rooted phones.  

        • Boblank84

          and you especially don’t need the bootloader unlocked to tether… 

          • Droidzilla

            This. If Verizon is requiring the bootloader signature to be encrypted just to stop tethering, it’s an epic fail. Maybe there’s something more awesome that we haven’t found that allows us to take advantage of their infrastructure with a custom kernel . . .

  • EC8CH

    I wonder if they stated why they are blocking Google Wallet if it would sound just as absurd….

    oh wait…. it did.

  • Sp4rxx

    I would switch, but with 98% of my friends and family on Verizon, I can’t afford to – though the only other option would be Sprint since AT&T’s network is absolutely horrid.

    It makes me wonder why (still) it’s only VZW sticking to their guns on this one.  It doesn’t seem to be a problem for Sprint or AT&T or even T-Mobile (not to mention the services of pay-as-you-go).  I get the philosophy of “if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?” …. but seriously, if they REALLY cared about the customer experience, they WOULD unlock the bootloaders on their phones.

    To answer the philosophy, HELL YEAH I would jump!  Especially since I would have all of the OTHER bodies to bounce off of and most likely live!.  They seriously need to jump off the cliff.

    • http://twitter.com/Justinwrites Justin True Anderson

      I would switch, but all the others blow.

    • Diablo81588

      Sprint is garbage also. Trust me, I’ve used both.

  • moelsen8

    verizon’s a piece of sh1t

  • Azndan4

    If Motorola is not to blame then why do HTC, Samsung, LG, and Sony all have unlockable bootloaders on Verizon’s network?

    • Shnyda

      It is all about the Contract cycle, nothing will change until Motorola’s agreement with Verizon ends and/or is renegotiated.  Motorola needed sales and lots of them and was willing to do almost anything to get guaranteed business from Verizon

      • NOYFB

        Still who is Verizon to decide what my experience should be with my phone!? I buy the phone for a reason, Its none of their business what that reason is. The Phone is not theirs anymore once I pay for it and I shall do what ever I please that offers me satisfaction in the device. 

        • http://www.facebook.com/motorolazine Motorola Zine

          Yes, thats offer your satisfaction in device but still in the Verizon Wireless rules like ccontract with Verizon Wireless.

        • Hmm…

           That was exactly the argument used for jailbreaking fruit fones, and it WON! Why the same argument for unlocking hasn’t been looked at in court yet, I don’t know.

          • Balls

             haha fruit phones, i call it that too

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      Droid branding. That’s my guess. Think about the money they save by having Verizon brand and heavily market their devices. For a company that is actively losing money, every dollar counts.

      • sgtguthrie

        It’s not just droid branding, the Samsung Droid Charge isn’t locked down…

        • Droidzilla

          Probably more the “flagship” status, and all of the Verizon marketing that comes with it. The Droid Charge didn’t get the push that the Droid RAZR did, and the Droid Incredible didn’t get the push the OG Droid did.

          • sgtguthrie

            Incredible wasn’t really either. Simple as Unrevoked. I’d say moto just thought it was a good idea, then couldn’t reverse it because vzw liked it.

          • Jwhap

            Wasn’t the incredible one of Verizon’s more popular phones?

        • Cstokes81

          Samsung Charge is not a Droid device the droid legal name is owned by Motorola only.. phones that are called “droids” get the nickname because of the o.s. The charges legal name is the The Samsung Charge.

          • sgtguthrie

            Um, no. Get your facts right. Droid is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and leased by VERIZON for use in branding. Verizon assigns the Droid name to a device, not MOTOROLA. So I repeat, there is the HTC DROID Incredible, and Samsung DROID Charge. Look on vzw’s website if you don’t believe me. Also, that’s why the Razr outside of the US is just called the Razr, not the Droid Razr like on vzw. Or the milestone name is devices not on vzw’s network.

            If you’re going to correct someone, at least know what you’re talking about or Google it!

          • Luke929

            Actually, the DROID brand is owned by Lucasfilm, and is licensed by Verizon, not Motorola.  They can give the DROID name to any phone they wish, from Motorola (RAZR, X, Bionic, etc.), HTC (Incredible and Incredible 2), to Samsung (Yes… it IS the DROID Charge)

    • r0lct

      HTC does lock bootloaders, they just allow you to unlock in exchange for a voided warranty.

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    • http://financial-alchemist.blogspot.com Turley Muller

      Motorola is to blame I think. If other vendors have unlockable boot loaders on VZ and other carriers, and Motorola is locked on all carriers, then whats the common denominator? Motorola. I think its possible that Google told Motorola not to release an unlock. MOT had said they were planning on offering a solution, but after Google bought them, they changed their minds. 

      • angermeans

        I’m curious about your last sentence. Why would Google “tell” Moto to keep them locked. I really just want to see why you think this. Is it something you read (if so please pass on the source as I would also like to read)? Is it just an opinion (if so why?) This is just an interesting stance and I would like to know how you came to this as I have yet to ever see this come out anywhere and to me I always felt that Google was on the side of “open” and this would surely be quite the opposite. I still seem to think that it was Moto the whole time. We can see their stance on this in the “Razr Developer” phone in which they wont provide any kind of warranty and must be purchased whether or not a developer has already bought a Razr and at full price. Anyways this is interesting and I would like to know a little more if you dont mind spending the time to respond, my friend. It does make a little sense though as the when the whole Google purchasing Moto thing went through they stated they want to make sure they stay two completely different entities and even Andy Rubin has made it clear that he has no idea what Moto is doing. This would make sense in that this would be one major differentiator between the two companies. I hope for the many Moto fans that this is not true and Google saves the day, but this is an interesting idea you bring up and could be the outcome.

      • Eraursls1984

        Motorola is to blame, because they like money and VZW offers TONS of marketing and from that comes high sales numbers. Why can’t motorola just turn down that deal making them extra money, its not like they are a company driven by profit? That being said I do hope things change with a former Google guy as CEO. If that happens then I bet one of the other manufactures steps up for VZW (LG? They need a sales boost)

    • https://plus.google.com/114483312559013915960/ Timoh

       Locking is done by all of them, they can also be unlocked with or without a unlock tool. The key is encryption folks. It’s highly unlikely that VZ specified they had to encrypt anything. A simple lock most likely would suffice.

      Encryption, guys, focus on that word and the effort put in to accomplish it. It may be that VZ doesn’t want unlocked phones but Motorola encrypts all of their bootloaders, even the ones that aren’t run on Verizon’s network.

  • Poker_vol

    I can understand their argument, don’t agree with it, but understand it.  What I don’t understand is why they force Moto to lock, but it’s ok to have an unlocked Samsung, HTC, etc. phone on the network? Either it’s ok or it’s not…..

    • LionStone

      Yea that would have been a better angle to take.

  • http://twitter.com/Ike_Farmer Chris Franzen

    how then do they explain EVERYBODY else unlocking their phones that are sold by verizon?

  • EC8CH

    Don’t see any explanation there why locking bootloaders DOESN’T violate the Block C license…

  • http://www.facebook.com/LuisElTiburon Luis Rojas

    Total rubbish, Im not going to complain to Verizon if I install a ROM that doesnt let me connect to their network. I will complain if I have a stock Droid X that drops signal, reboots every 5 minutes, gets laggy after a few hours. All of those could be fixed (and the pseudo custom ROM’s fixed most issues) by ME throwing on custom software and getting rid of the MOTOCRAP. 

    • lacokanosta

      Buy htc next time.

    • Michael Christenbury

      Problem is you are smart. The problem starts when some asswipe ignorantly flashes a ROM with the help of a friend or something and he doesn’t understand the implications of it. Then he gets pissed when his phone doesn’t work right and calls Verizon and complains that his phone is broken. He then demands a new phone. 

      • balthuszar

        ^^^this

        • schwinn8

          The two complaints VZ has to support their locking are that it could affect “how the phone connects with the network” and/or “could also negatively impact the wireless experience for other customers.”

          The latter is a red herring, because they already have the authority to drop devices that are causing network problems.

          The former is, at best, a minor implication that the user may call in to complain about their phone/service. As noted below, VZ can easily tell them they hacked their phone, so that’s the problem, and then tell them to return to stock. Computer companies do this all the time – they refuse to support you unless you have only the “stock” OS on the computer… they won’t troubleshoot your software. There is no reason VZ can’t do the same thing here… and, in fact, this would be widely accepted by people… anyone who hacks KNOWS that this could cause problems. Anyone who says they “didn’t realize this” is lying, because EVERY hacking instruction set says this in big print. And if “your friend” did this for you, so you didn’t know, then you need better hacker-friends… because they should have warned you of this potential (I ALWAYS do).

          Bottom line, VZ already has a way out… this is just an excuse by them. Fact is, I have never heard of ANY custom ROM-phone being pulled off a network for “hurting the other users”… so either they aren’t using this ability, or they are just spreading FUD.

          • balthuszar

            if you want to pay someone to sit by all day/night and answer phone calls from people who borked their phone by hacking it…then so be it…i sure don’t…i hacked my ogd, and borked it on numerous occasions…do i miss hacking? in the rom sense? no…but i have rooted my razr, only to be able to use some apps and to delete bloat…when i had my ogd, if i hacked some rom onto it, and it borked it…i wouldnt have dreamed of calling vzw because i did something that i “shouldnt have” and thus i have to suffer the consequences…that doesnt mean everyone else feels the same way, and i dont feel like paying a phone rep to sit around and answer phone calls from people that hacked something onto their phone and borked it…having said that, i believe you should have the freedom to hack to your hearts content, but it’s not a right

          • schwinn8

             Clearly, you didn’t read my response completely. Like I said, this happens on PCs all the time. People call Dell, HP, and other such support lines because their software isn’t working. The PC vendors  already take these calls, and tell users to restore their computers to original spec. And this is on a platform INTENDED to install other software applications. The point is, if it can be done there, then it can be done here.

            The DIFFERENCE is that here, you are NOT supposed to replace the OS. Once people learn the risks of this, and learn to READ directions (and realize that these things can happen) they will stop calling. You knew this, so why can’t everyone else learn this?

            You “can’t fix stupid”… but you shouldn’t cater to it either.

          • balthuszar

            everyone else can’t learn this because they are stuck on themselves, and think the world owes them something…it only takes one moron to ruin it for everyone

          • schwinn8

            Agreed that others aren’t capable of learning such things. Again, don’t cater to their stupidity. Make them learn. As I described, it works for the PC vendors, where there are MANY more owners… so it can work here. It may suck at first, but eventually, they will learn.

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

        Easily handled by Verizon. First question – are you running a ROM that is not stock? If yes, then sorry we can’t support your phone until you return it to stock.

        • Fenrisakashi

          It still generates a CS call which costs Verizon money, the customer is still pissed and will blame Verizon which spreads by word of mouth which is bad for Verizon and costs them money. 
          The average consumer just wants their electronics devices to work they dont care about bootloaders or ROMs. This is fully evident by the iPhone sitting as the current market leader.

          Would I ever own an Iphone? Never. But I’m not the average consumer.

          • Blootzm3

            thats why I left motorola because stock motorola never works and has too many bugs… you can have your hardware moto the phone still wont work the way its supose to. nexus did it right and left the door open to fix any probs softwarewize. ergo benefit of unlocked bootloader oh and are you up to date with 4.4 ics anyone running stock wont be, and may never be .

          • kidtronic

            It’s entirely more likely that the aforementioned asswipe would call his friend and complain that he broke his phone if he did something to it and all of the sudden it stopped working. Even the most ignorant of asswipes would make that connection. Verizon gets countless CS calls a day that most of us would consider laughably idiotic and a waste of time but that’s what CS is for. To deal with idiots. Plus, most of the bad mouthing the asswipe did would be directed at the manufacturer. 
            If the average consumer just wants their electronic devices to work and don’t care about bootloaders, chances are they would never attempt to root their phone or flash any custom software. The process is intimidating enough in itself to scare off the uninitiated. So unlocking a bootloader wouldn’t have any real effect on anyone but the people  want it unlocked. Everyone else doesn’t know what a bootloader is.

        • Droidzilla

          They could probably even look that up; at the very least the in-store techs could.

    • Azndan4

      I had the same problems with my droid x. So much for Motorola quality.

  • http://twitter.com/TankRizzo TankRizzo

    Scumbag Verizon

  • JT

    What about the Nexus and the Xoom…weren’t both offered by Verizon with unlocked bootloaders.  Why some device?s and not others

    • Fattie McDoogles

      Thats not true. They both have locked bootloaders by default. They however are unlockable.

    • http://profiles.google.com/elliot.devries Elliot de Vries

      Makes me wonder: Do any of the reasonably current “DROID” branded phones have unlocked bootloaders?

      • moelsen8

        no, just the OGD in 2009

        • http://twitter.com/ShawnBriggs Shawn Briggs

          I have the Charge and it had an unlocked bootloader.

      • Boblank84

        droid charge

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=75200646 Stephen Cox

        As of this moment, 5 come to mind:

        OG Droid, Droid Eris, Droid Incredible, Droid Charge, Droid Incredible 2

  • http://hydrous.net/ Ethan T

    Sounds just like AT&T back when they were being forced to allow non-AT&T-manufactured phones on their landline networks.

  • Greg Morgan

    I submitted a complaint to the FCC and received the same exact letter. Probably sending it to everyone who files just so they can send something to the FCC.

  • http://twitter.com/JD317 Julio D

    WOW!!! Interesting. I sent off a complaint letter to the FCC regarding the exact same thing and the response seems copy and pasted to a T. I’m not lying either, I’m currently at work but when I go home I can scan the letter for you guys 

  • speraider430

    That’s fine, I’ll continue to vote with my wallet.  Won’t see me buying a locked down phone in the future.

    • Christopher Riner

      amen

      • jag28co

        Amen to this

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

      Exactly. I just deterred a friend from buying a RAZR Max today.

      • Hmm…

         Bad advice. For 99.9% of users, the RAZR MAXX is the best phone out there at the moment.

        • Jac_White

          In what ways do you see the razr maxx being superior to the Rezound or the Nexus for 99.9% of users?  Please elaborate.

          • kretz7

            Battery life.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000017250612 Alex Drum

            the battery honestly that is it. i love my nexus and my friend with a razor (bought it weeks before the nexus was out because he thought it was never going to come out) tells me daily he wishes he had my phone so its not that the razor is better is any way, its that the max has a huge batter and many people that buy phones are ignorant to everything about the phones except its base features, camera, screen size, battery size. but i wouldn’t say 99.9% at all

          • http://twitter.com/QSMinSD Q

            Rezound is hot garbage due to Sense.  The Razr MAXX’s 3300mah battery is a killer feature.  It’s absolutely AWESOME.

          • Hmm…

             As everyone else has stated, the battery crushes anything else. 99.9% of regular users only care about the phone dying halfway through their day. They also care about calling quality (radios, even though they aren’t aware of what they even are). On top of that, since it’s still on GB, it’s got all the bugs smoothed out. Simplicity in function is what most people want, otherwise, how do you explain the fruit phone phenomenon? We (the 0.01%) who care about modding, and the newest operating system are very much in the minority. Plus, it’s actually a great phone, and built like a tank.

          • Blootzm3

            thats why i got the nexus. better than the motorola blur..

          • majorhunadadun

            I’m trying to get my brother to buy a Maxx. He doesn’t root, rom and all that. I still would take the Rezound over any other phone on Verizon atm…

          • angermeans

            Believe me the Droid Razr is no where even close to having “all the bugs” worked out. Blur is infested with problems. Just so you know I will take a replaceable battery (I have two 1850 batteries) that I can swap out in 15 seconds thats much more than what the MAXX battery has built in. Dont buy into what people tell you my friend. The MAXX is what the Droid Razr should have been all along. If your going to release a LTE phone with a non replaceable battery then you better put a giant battery in the phone. You talk about modding yet your standing up for a phone with a locked bootloader? I personally wont buy a phone that Motorola says I need. I buy a phone so I can get the most out of it. If your implying that GB is better than ICS than that is about the only place you will get that 99.9% you keep preaching, but it will be that 99.9 disagree with you. If you honestly buy into the crap that Moto stayed on GB for the MAXX because “all the bugs have been worked out” than your crazy. They simply just havent gotten around to getting the update out and you have to be the only person I’ve ever seen claiming a phone being on GB is a plus to a phone being on ICS. 

          • Hmm…

             Did you even READ my post??? Your response is such a non sequitur that it sounds like you are just out to bash Moto, or are just illiterate. The readers of this site are the tiniest fraction of regular smartphone users. For everyone else (the 99.9%), the MAXX is a no-brainer. Even among US, there are plenty of people who dumped their precious Nexus for a MAXX. It is idiotic to jump to the conclusion that I am saying GB is better than ICS, however, for the average user who doesn’t care in the least what form of Android they have, but just want it to work and last all day, the MAXX is far and away the best choice (frankly, the only choice for 4G atm).

          • Cstokes81

            Rezound! Is no comparasion to the razor maxx or the Nexus it is not even in the running.. the nexus is nice but it lacks the battery life, device design, removeable memory and the 8mp camera. If the nexus didn’t have the high Res and icecream os it would b beneath the razor maxx

        • bjn714

          Agreed, although I will not be giving up my (4th) Nexus.  I like it too much right now to hate it.

        • angermeans

          99.9? Thats a little high dont ya think? More people than you think want a phone without a horrible screen, non replaceable battery, locked bootloader, ugly cut off corners, and Blur on their phones. It might be ok to you, but to many it isn’t. The only ones buying into this crap are the ones that buy into marketing because no one in their right mind will take the Razr or Droid 4 over the Rezound or Galaxy Nexus especially since they have great screens that even new Android converts can tell is light years better. Don’t be so vain.

          • Hmm…

              99.9% of Android users do NOT CARE about bootloaders, or blur, (or even
            know what they are), or be bothered with replacing batteries. Frankly, for them, the minimal blur on the RAZR is a
            plus. What they DO care about is whether or not their phone has a
            battery that lasts through the day, and whether or not they have good
            call signal. The screen argument just doesn’t fly either. The RAZR has
            one of the best screens Moto has put out in years and all reviews agree (including here on D-L). To say its horrible
            and that anything else is “light years better” only shows your own
            prejudice, and continues your constant bashing of Moto, which wore thin
            months ago. Just because one thing is slightly better does not automatically make the other thing horrible crap. You are the deluded vain one indeed to claim everyone who bought a
            RAZR or the MAXX is not in their right mind, just because you don’t like it personally.

      • Fenrisakashi

        Nice job talking your friend out of a good device because it doesn’t have a feature they will likely ever use.

        • Hlo

          You’re the same kind of person that will be bitching when jelly bean comes out that you still don’t have ics on your $600 smartphone.

          • Fenrisakashi

            Hahaha Dude I dont even care that it doesnt have ICS. DOes it make calls? Can I browse the web? Does it run the remote control apps I need? Yup. Ok I’m good to go.

    • angermeans

      amen to that in fact it is going to take quit the phone to get me to buy even any skinned device. OEMs are ruining Android and I want what I bought into back when the OG Droid and Nexus One came into existence and that open nature is what has kept me on Android for all these years. If we are now just going to see a dozen high end phones from each OEM all with incremental spec bumps like the last 6-8 months and then see them not even being supported 6 months later then no company will get my money. Greed does nothing but make these OEMs money and I’ll just as soon jump on the Windows Phone 7/Nokia train once an LTE device comes to market on big red.