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Monday Poll: Does an Unlockable Bootloader Matter Anymore?

Bootloaders are back in the spotlight this week thanks to Verizon deciding to lock down the Galaxy S3. Whenever this topic comes up, some of us freak, threaten to change carriers, and even go as far as creating petitions to try and force a change. Others could care less, as a secured bootloader really only affects those that choose to flash custom ROMs and kernels. For many, a secured bootloader means very little, right? Or is there a bigger population that does care, bigger than these OEMs and carriers are ready to accept? Only one way to find out and that’s through a poll. Tell us, does a secured or “locked” bootloader affect your purchasing decision?

Does an Unlockable Bootloader Matter Anymore?

View Results

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  • SomeDude382

    I DON’T want an unlockable bootloader, I want an unlocked boot ROM. There is a difference. I want to be able to run any code on my phone without hardware-based signature checks.

  • I’m glad I’m on Sprint and I love using different roms. f Verizon

  • Suralin

    Most people here don’t know the difference between having an unlockable bootloader and having a rootable device. They often assume one is the other.

  • Raven

    I don’t care about locked boot loaders if there is an easy method to root a phone, but I will definitely not buy a phone that is not easily rootable.

  • can somebody explain the rationale for the assumption that there so few people who are aware of what bootloaders are? The gap between” casual” and “enthusiast” doesn’t seem clear to me.

  • windhoarse00

    Oppression is wrong in any area of human interaction. Especially if you own the property. No one should be taken advantage of by force. You should have the option. To be used or not to be used thats the question

  • After rooting and unlocking my thunderbolt and loading roms, i realised what a waste of time it really was. Honestly i dont even see a point. this thing is so rediciously fast and smooth like butter. The thing was downloading all my google apps (100+ apps) and i didn’t even realise it was doing it until i pulled the notifications down. SMOOTH AS BUTTER.

  • Steve Schneider

    Who wants to buy a computer only running windows vista and you can’t freely change it at will, better yet it’s one of those HP’s that’s full of bloatware and you can’t remove it. How many people do you hear, “Thank god I got that 14 day McAfee trial that i can’t remove… I can’t live without it”

    It’s not about rather it matters if it’s locked or not, it matters that you’re buying a piece of hardware that that is purposely locked down so they can make money. Any moron can see that right?

    • JoshGroff

      At least with a PC, you can disable most/all of the bloat, and the memory taken up by it is negligible. (who cares if they’re missing a few gigs out of a 500GB+ hard drive?)

      If I’m unable to at least side-load Ubuntu, that’s much more of a deal breaker than having a locked boot-loader on my phone. (as long as I have root and can disable bloat, it’s all good.)

    • Ebon Hand

      I agree with you completely, but can’t you just root to get rid of the boat?

  • Rafy186

    It definitely matters especially with these OEM who take forever with their android updates. I pre-ordered my phone within the hour of it being available and as of right now I have my phone in craigslist in NYC. I already have a Galaxy Nexus which I purchased outright and have it running Jelly Bean. I was really excited with the hardware of the phone and planned on changing it to Jelly Bean AOSP ASAP. At least I extended my contact with unlimited data.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    I’m a recent addition to the I won’t buy a phone i can’t unlock world after buying the GNex in December and finally taking full advantage of what can be done.

    And isn’t locking the bootloader against the terms of the declaration by the LoC stating any hardware we purchase is ours to do what we want with?

    • Ebon Hand

      That same right gives them the right to lock their devices before they sell it to us.

  • Guest

    What I want to know is “What do you have to install to get the message that’s pictured?” and once seeing it, “how the hell do you get rid of it WITHOUT taking your phone in to Verizon?!!!”

  • John Wildman

    My only objection for locked bootloaders is that once i buy something it should be mine to do as I please. As long as what I am doing isn’t by any ways stealing something that someone charges a fee for.
    I could care less these days about flashing custom Roms or overclocking my device.I am happy with what its available today, plus i just have better things to do with my time. Whatever floats your boat, do what makes you happy. Just don’t think because you can that it makes your device somehow superior to others…it doesn’t..just makes you look really pathetic and ignorant. My 2 cents anyway 🙂

  • c4v3man

    Also an unlocked bootloader is like WiFi whenn you have a 4G LTE device. It’s nice to have, but it’s not a deal breaker. So Verizon forgot to leave the S3 unlocked, so I just can’t seem to remember my wifi passwords… Unlimited is sweet!

  • The only reason(s) I bought Razr MAXX is its out-of-this-world battery life and their NEW BOSS WILL COME AND Unlock its bootlader in few days… If Sammy or even any other small co is bringing such huuge battery + NON-Encrypted bootloader, then I will surely get one and I will NEVER BUY A MOTOROLA again….

    Even with Google as their new Boss, NOW I have lost ALL MY hopes for Motorola…


  • i think a bootloader unlock really only matters if that bootloader is what keeps a phone from being rooted. i like custom roms. for one i get updates faster. so thats how it effects me

  • TheDrunkenClam

    it’s an absolute shame that this is even a question…

  • Tony Allen

    As someone who took the plunge last fall when the Bionic finally came out.. I decided to see if living with a locked down phone was actually tolerable at all and if I could live with it.

    Well I have a Nexus now.. so yes it matters. It matters to me.

  • I feel like if you want an unlock-able bootloader you buy a phone with an unlock-able bootloader instead of pissing and moaning about phones you either don’t own, or you purchased under a false pretense (that you had no proof that the bootloader was going to be unlock-able anyway). If you really want an unlock-able bootloader buy an HTC phone or a Nexus, but don’t just “expect” that all phones should come this way. The manufacturer and the carrier have the right to do what they want with the phones they carry/manufacture.

  • Drew

    Catch is…do those who don’t care really read forums?

  • fanboy1974

    A unlocked bootloader is everything to me. Phone manufactures want to sell phones first and ask questions later. Developers care about making the phone better after it’s been sold and a locked bootloader makes it more difficult to do that. If Samsung would have said that we are rolling out Jelly Bean next week for the Samsung S3 I would have a different opinion.
    But I’m the minority. For every 10 Samsung S3’s sold only one person truly knows what a bootloader is. As long as Verizon keeps selling unlocked Nexus phones every year I’m a happy camper.

  • by slapping the face of the power user, they are abusing the free customer service representatives that help recommend these devices to the novice users.

    • Doughboy

      Well they are the largest carrier in the country, I don’t think they really need extra word of mouth.

      And let’s be honest, “power users” suck at giving advice! If I want a phone that has x, y, and z qualities, I shouldn’t be mislead by you just because you think locked bootloaders are the devil. Like If someone wants the best phone out, and you recommend them a Galaxy Nexus over the Galaxy S3 for example, well you plainly just mislead them unless ease of modding is part of their criteria.

      I hope that people generally realize this and stopped asking nerds for advice…

  • Tyler

    When i look at a phone i ask myself, is it a nexus?

  • Jeff Carter

    I wont ever buy anything but a Nexus Phone, the tinker factor is off the charts. Just too bad the radios kinda suck on the GNex.

  • If I wanted a phone that was useless, I’d buy an iPhone.

  • evilnut

    I just buy the phone I want and use it the way it is. I buy Android phones as I like the OS & ecosystem & the integration with Google services in which I am highly vested & like. I do not care about boot loaders or ROM’s or anything like that. I believe i am represent the vast majority of Andrpid users, although not the majority of the folks that will comment here. I currently own. D4 & love it just the way it was bought on day one. If I ever get ICS, that would be great, but I’m not waiting anxiously every day for it, my D4 works fantastic just the way it is. And I own the Lapdock 500 pro for it too and rarely use my laptop any more because of that.

  • Davros

    I didn’ think it mattered until I was shackled with the Droid X. The only reason I kept it was for the larger screen. I came to absolutely loathe that phone. All in all I wish I would have kept the Droid instead.,

  • InvaderDJ

    To most people, no it doesn’t. To me and probably most readers of this site absolutely. Just like with stock Android vs skinned, I wouldn’t care so much if they just gave the enthusiasts an option, but with the Galaxy S3 being locked (a phone line that has never been locked before), Motorola’s phones being locked, and HTC’s likely being locked on Verizon (and to be fair at&t as well) we have limited options.

    Especially since I suspect the Galaxy Nexus will be the last Nexus on Verizon.

  • If you can buy a computer, take it home and put on whatever OS you want, why should it be different for a smartphone? If you buy it, it’s yours to do with want you want. Locked bootloaders are full of crap. Verizon’s way of trying to control something they can’t or they’ll try to find some way to charge you for it.

    • JDub429

      I’m not sure about putting any OS you want on your computer. I think that they allow the you to put any OS on your computer it opens up the possibility that you’ll ruin someone else’s experience online. /endsarcasm

    • As a business, Verizon is allowed to take whatever legal action they like to protect their assets. In this case, they earnestly believe that locking bootloaders offers a more secure and stable network. The truth of that can be debated, but it is ultimately their choice, as they own the network that the mobile depends upon for service.

  • If I can’t run AOKP, I won’t buy it.

  • dcvolcom909

    Well rewind 1 month ago and I could care less… but with the help of droid life’s guides and a little courage I have flashed AOKP, CM9 and am currently running Vicious Jelly Bean V3 with franco kernel built in and couldn’t picture myself ever going back to even a rooted stock state. THANK YOU DROID LIFE for showing me a whole new wonderful world of customization and freedom!!!

  • Morlok8k

    I don’t really care about bootloaders. All i want is root, and that is plenty enough for me. I dont care about custom roms and whatnot, although i like that the option exists.

    I’m just waiting on ICS for my Droid 4.

    I care about 2 things for my phone: 1) Lotsa features and speed, and 2) Physical keyboard.

  • It does give a slightly bigger PITA factor but really? Sure I have a GNex, but I also have a ROM’d RAZR and D3. Thats what 2nd init is for with Safestrap etc, thanks to the awesome work by the Dev community. Sure the Kernel doesn’t get touched, OK, I can’t overclock, but that isn’t going to keep me from getting the Baddest Quad Core 4000mAh Phone when it comes out.

  • Michael Quinlan

    Do you really think that people reading and voting in an article on this site are representative of the general population?

  • I’m on Android because it’s open. Keep it open.

  • Splicer78

    Voted for unlocked however being that I ordered this damn phone long before the bootloader fiasco, i DID buy a locked phone however that was not the original plan. Mine will arrive tomoro and I will give it the 2 week limit to see if there will be an unlock possiblity (not a bastardisation of one like the DX but a fully unlocked device) and if not then I will return it for a Nexus. This will be my last cycle with VZW period

    • Better hurry before the GNex isn’t sold thnks to Apple lol.

  • Soofdawg

    This is the wrong audience to poll…the answer is obvious. Poll on CNN or something. Boot loaders are irrelevant to 99% of smartphone consumers.

    • longhairbilly

      Excellent point. If this poll were on CNN the option “whats a bootloader?” would have 92% of the vote.

  • TrevorSP

    I have the RAZR and have started to really regret not getting the gnex. Never again will I buy a phone with a locked bootloader

    • MooleyBooleyTroll

      I had a GNex and gave it to a coworker. Turned around and bought myself a Razr Maxx and do not regret it one bit.

  • EC8CH

    My OD Droid, G-Nex, and soon to be Nexus 7 say:


  • Half and half with it. It won’t affect my decision if the hardware makes up for it but if there are 2 equal hardware wise devices and one is unlocked then unlocked with no contest.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve only owned Motorola’s but I see no real point in custom kernels. I’ve played with a few unlocked devices and any differences were either not noticeable at all or very negative with custom kernels. The only real reason I personally see for “unlock or gtfo” is for ease of upgrading. Fully functional ICS on DX/D2G has been a bitch because of it and it’s still not entirely there but it is possible to get around the locked bootloader somewhat.

  • dhirensavalia

    I love the full customization of my phone. Also, I love pure, vanilla Android. I want every phone I buy to have an unlocked bootloader, but my experience with Android would not become horrid if I couldn’t get one. I just like Android and what you can do to customize it even if you can’t root or load a custom ROM.

    A person isn’t going to switch to a sub-par carrier because he/she can’t flash a custom ROM. The reason we have smartphones is to be able to do almost anything we could with a regular computer, but on-the-go (and play Temple Run and Angry Birds). If I have the fastest and most reliable cellular data signal in the country, I’m not going to go to another carrier.

    I still have unlimited data and an affordable monthly bill. I’m not going anywhere, at least not until the distant future.

  • J Dub

    I answered Yes. However, apparently, I just bought a phone with a locked bootloader.

  • moelsen8

    I’m never not going to have a Nexus as long as there’s a Nexus to have.

  • Alex

    people dont know what it is but personally, my galaxy nexus would have been bricked without an unlockable bootloader…

  • Jason Hanford-Smith

    A locked bootloader is important in the decision-making process if the phone is likely to be a relatively low-seller. I think for the SGS3, it was a good enough gamble to believe that most VZW devs who had not already jumped to the GNex, would be on it because of the change to unlimited data. In fact, ironically, I think VZW did all the potential SGS3 buyer a favour by forcing everyone to pick that phone as the “best I can get before that switch plans”.

  • Since my phone is provided by my work I have a choice of AT&T or Verizon, I’m going with Verizon. The way I see it if they sold them with unlocked bootloaders there would not be a sudden rise in people installing 3rd party ROMs, it would still consist mainly of the people who currently do this. Surely they could just add in the TOS that phones can only be returned/serviced etc if they are running the official ROM? Anyway my D2G died last week so I’m waiting to see if I can replace it with an early upgrade. I picked the SG3, I know it’s locked but it’s a beautiful phone and looks like it will get 4.1

  • Glen49

    I am very disappointed with the locked bootloader on the SGS 3 (received mine today), but am encouraged with progress so far to get around it. I have been working around Motorola’s locked bootloader for the last year and a half. It was an unnecessary challenge. I do not see a good reason to lock down a phone since the vast majority of those who choose to root are knowledgeable enough to recover from any phone miscues without whining to Verizon customer support.

  • Might as well go to an Apple fan site and ask, “Do shiny white phones matter to you?”

  • Killer4247

    I returned my razr maxx for a nexus. The maxx was better in every we except for screen resolution and design than the galaxy nexus, but I decided on the nexus because of the bootloader/ dev community/ updates. It really does matter, and I can rest assured that my nexus will make it through 2 years or more because of the fact that I can upgrade it myself.

  • mikesevenfold

    Cue the “I’m leaving verizon, open bootloader or death, and locked devices are for communists” rants….

    • Trevor

      Could be worse…….”When’s my Nexus update coming?” 🙂

      • Christopher Bement

        Hehehehe, I always say as soon as source drops! F OTAs.

        • tomn1ce

          Not with vzw, look how long it took them to release 4.0.4. let me continue by saying that I’m not into rooting my device but I’m hoping vzw proofs me wrong with JB and unleashes the OTA at the same time as the gsm G-Nexus or within the week of….I’m going to give VZW until the end of July to release it. If not I’m going to root my G-Nexus and get some good JB on my G-Nexus and enjoy all the goodness that some of you have been enjoying since JB was ported.

  • Nagini

    *Couldn’t care less

  • MyStroPro

    This whole boycott / saber rattling thing is BS. I’m calling it out now. It’s not like developers haven’t created ways around the locked bootloader to load Roms in anyway (bootstrap / safestrap for instance). Does it suck you can’t change the kernal? Sure, but I also get why you’d lock hardware that had to PASS FCC REGULATIONS to be sold to some extent.

    A locked bootloader is not a detriment to a well designed and executed device. It doesn’t affect my decision to buy a phone or not. It sucks because the Dev community is smaller sure, but my phone (Razr) still has quite a few roms with its locked bootloader.

    I hope people realize that this poll will be skewed by users that root and rom their devices. I know plenty of end users that just want a phone that works at a basic level, that don’t worry about the highest end specs or large level customization. Don’t take that statement as my condoning poor coding and broken software by the manufacturers either. I don’t condone bad workmanship, but I do see that a locked bootloader can benefit the everyday user. Most of us here don’t fall into that category.

    • casmi

      its all about choice…you dont want it but many others do.

      • MyStroPro

        “Many others” is ambiguous…. provide numbers and percentages.

        For the vast majority of owners that have a smartphone, most don’t dive into the Dev community. If they did, XDA and sites like this should have much higher click through rates and comments than they do.

        For each person I’ve met with a rooted device, I’ve seen at least 5 if not 10 that don’t have one.

        Secondly… and where did you pull the conclusion I don’t want choices? I bought the Razr because it is a flagship platform device. It’s hardware is amazing, and it sits far better in my hand than the Galaxy Nexus does. In fact, so far, I’ve never liked the design or build of a Samsung device. Personal preferences of course.

        I’m not saying it doesn’t suck and make things difficult, but it is interesting that people forget that Verizon owns one of the largest networks in America and is heavily regulated under the FCC. If this is their way of controlling the devices they have to pay for certifying (i.e. making sure that they are safe to use (heat generation for example) as well as making sure they don’t interfer with other radio signals and the like. The manufactures pay into all that as well.

        The locked bootloader affects the kernal restrictions, it doesn’t mean you can’t load a custom Rom on a device. There are methods that circumvent that lock and work with stock kernals, and I gave an example of two ways I’m very familiar with on the Razr above.

        • Well if you are hoping for a business reason, are there people who avoid devices without boot loaders?
          It’s one of their ways of controlling customer behavior, but not the only one. The Razr’s workarounds sound like they suck, as I made the decision to not buy one, I don’t have first hand experience.

          As far as regulations go, if it was a big deal on CDMA, VZW wouldn’t be selling the Galaxy Nexus. I think blaming the FCC regulations is a poor argument.

          • As far as the Razr is concerned, its no more difficult than any other device. The devs have a slightly more difficult job, as they need to hack harder to get a few features to work properly, but nothing major that I’ve seen. .

            Its difficult to say if the FCC has a hand in this or not. AT&T recently locked the HTC OneX bootloader, but left the GS3 unlocked. Each carrier has their unique tendencies and beliefs, just like any other entity on earth. You can either accept it and move on, going with the carrier that seems to be parallel to your own beliefs, or you can try to change the status quo. Your decision really, and I wish you the best of luck in either venture.

        • crookedview

          “Vast majority” is ambiguous…. Provide numbers and percentages.

          • MyStroPro

            I did… a 5-10 to 1 ratio is a vast majority. 1 out of 5 is the lowest percentage, and that would mean 80% overall do not root their device in my personal experience. Judging by what I’ve seen on other forums and communities, the average customer doesn’t root their phone — a friend does it for them to give them more features they never knew or cared about in the past just to show the potential of the system. Even still, 20% rooting in this community would be a HUGE margin and is more than likely an over-estimation.

    • I switched networks over it. Not boycott. I just want an open easy GS3 to play with. I like being able to do whatever I want with my phone that I paid money for and locked myself into a 2 year long contract. It’s silly that after all that they still say “you can’t do what you want with this.”

      • MyStroPro

        I concede that ownership plays a unique role in this argument. It’s an interesting point. Do you think the same thing applies to cars? Homes? You bought those too right? They have regulations to follow, codes and standards to meet.

        What I’m trying to point out here is that the bootloader discussion is all about kernal changes today. Kernals can (not that the necessarily will) have an impact on liabilities for the provider, even though rooting a device voids warranty. Safety concerns, regulations to follow, and so on all play a role in the business decisions a company goes through.

        You may cite that the other companies don’t do this practice. I’d claim a two fold reasoning on this – 1) They want a chunk of the Big Red market and are willing to take on the risk, and 2) CDMA networks may have differing regulations than GSM. I cannot definitize the second, but the first is obvious. Most companies in today’s marketplace are willing to do almost anything to make shareholders happy, which means the company has to grow.

        And if you bought the phone and locked into a 2 year contract, you bought it subsidized, which means really, for two years, the expense of that device is shared by the provider and your down payment. If you bought it outright, that’s a different story.

        • Jon

          Well it’s probably best to compare to a PC…as opposed to a car. And yes on a PC you can do whatever the hell you want with it.

          • mustbepbs

            As defined by Microsoft.

          • Or as defined by whatever OS you install. MS doesn’t stop you from installing Linux, or doing a hackintosh, or whatnot. Plus, MS doesn’t stop you from fiddling with the core of the OS. There are tons of registry hacks, modified kernels, etc. to install on a Windows machine. If I want to mess up my laptop and cause the keyboard not to work and the wifi drivers to break, it only takes a few clicks, nothing is stopping me.

            (I’m not trying to flame you, sorry for complaining to two of your posts!)

          • I’d say the comparison to the car stands. Sure you can run whatever vehicle you like in private, but on the roads it must have a government license, and in many major metro areas/states, it must pass emissions. The FCC says the same thing about radio devices (i.e. mobile phones), to use it in public you must follow these guidelines. Verizon, fwiw, locks down their phones due to their interpretation of those regulations. They know it will cost them some customers and a little bad PR, but they also know that should a suit be filed against them, they can claim that they made every reasonable effort to secure their network, which is huge in court. They take a risk either way.

    • I agree.
      I only rooted my DROID2 Global because I needed to get rid of the preinstalled software that isn’t even remotely relevant in the countries I use it in: Japan and Russia.

  • allan

    This poll with be skewed because of the people this site targets.

    • Bionic

      exactly, see my post below

    • MrSteve920

      No one said anything about it being a scientific, or even remotely accurate, poll.

  • Bionic

    I realize that I am the minority on this particular website. But I would say less than 10% of all Android customers even know what a bootloader is let alone care if its unlocked or not.

    Like i said earlier I dont personally care about bootloaders. But I do support my fellow Android users who want to have full access to the phone they spent hard earned money on. I support you friends, fully.

    • jeesung

      10% is probably generous.

    • Christopher Bement

      It’s a great reason not to lock the things down. 95% or more of the population has no idea it exists.

      • Bionic

        I think the main reason verizon is doing this is because they dont want customers complaining when the fuckk up their phones. Although not many do in the first place so its a moot point.

        • Jason Hanford-Smith

          If it were easy to unintentionally root, install custom recovery and then flash a ROM which then subsequently soft-bricks your phone where you have no idea where to turn other than VZW support… I’d agree.
          But I don’t

        • Lakerzz

          The locked bootloader just seems to me that phones will just get messed up easier. With an unlocked bootloader, it is much easier to ‘hack’, which in turn means less screwed up phones. (Customers that want to ‘hack’ are going to do it regardless)

          • Bionic

            Oh i totally agree. But verizon does not

          • Lakerzz

            Unfortunately . :'(

          • Sobr0801

            Of topic, but I picked up a bionic for my fiance yesterday, looking forward to messing around with the new ICS from Motorola.

          • belieberbarrage

            Not really. Some people have friends or relatives or even go on craigslist to have their phones rooted and flashed. When something messes up, more likely than not they’re going to go to Verizon to get it fixed, because they won’t know any better.

          • Lakerzz

            That’s my point, (partially). When they take the phone to someone to root, and it has a locked bootloader, there is higher chance that the phone will get messed up than if the bootloader was unlocked.

          • Nicholassss

            More ruined phones more phone sales maybe

          • Chronon7364

            True, and all Verizon would need is a legal disclaimer, which they are quite proficient at.

      • I agree. Surely they could cover their asses in the TOS some how and then leave the phones unlocked for those that want to use 3rd party ROMs?

      • jaybar

        and those who know about or want to attempt rooting/roms have many resources at their disposal to help solve any problems they have. It’s not like people are like oops I just messed up my phone by accidentally installing a rom…you have to have intention when doing these sorts of things

      • Chronon7364

        Sure, if only 5% of customers flash anyway, why not just leave it open? Seems rather benign to have so small a “power user group” customizing their own experience on their own property. And the rest of the 95% stays safely unaware or disinterested. Doesn’t sound like too great of a risk for Verizon, that 5% and all. Plus a simple legal disclaimer would keep Verizon’s asses well covered… Bricked phone=more sales.

    • chris125

      I agree with you 100%. It would be nice to have an unlocked bootloader but it is not a deal breaker. If the phone works I do not care about how many roms it has or having the latest OS updates right away.

    • If only 10% know what a bootloader is why bother encrypting it? Just make them all like the Nexus. A simple fastboot oem unlock. If VZW wants an extra step make the process like HTCdev.com and void a person’s warranty if they unlock. That way it’ll keep Joe Average in check and not playing with anything, but give power users the ability to use THEIR phone. Keep in mind it is OUR phone, we’re not renting it from Verizon.

      Verizon is their own worst enemy because they have the idiot kiddies of the Android community committing insurance fraud after they brick their RAZR’s because they can’t follow instructions or because some newbie “dev” thinks they can make a one-click root.

      An unlockable bootloader would only help the community in the long run and would actually be beneficial to Verizon. Almost all bricked phones would be recoverable by the Android community and the only people who would unlock are generally people who know what they’re doing or have some clue. Those same idiot kiddies would also be able to recover their phones when they screw something up.

      So how again is an encrypted bootloader a good thing?

      • Well, you see, you would be able to keep that phone longer by creating bloat-free Android builds on the latest and greatest version of Android. Instead of buying a new phone every 24 months, with a new 2yr contract.

        • That’s no different than things now though. We circumvent their bootloaders as it is and it doesn’t stop anybody from upgrading. Not to mention many of us power users upgrade as well because we want the latest hardware.

      • Chronon7364

        Maybe Verizon should build Penius Bars and charge a premium for savage assrape services such as fixing bricked phones with their bootloader decryption tools.

      • LiterofCola

        Maybe if they’re marketing their phones to military and private corporations that actually want an encrypted device for security reasons? What other company right now is doing such a thing save for Blackberry?

        • They could easily market a phone designed for enterprise that would be totally secure and leave the normal consumer out of it. Besides straight Android isn’t an option for the government in most cases. Thus why the NSA released SEAndroid.

    • sonicyoof

      At least not until they have some problem with Blur or Sense or GPS or whatever, then ask their techie friend who explains that the locked bootloader prevents them from fixing their phone.

      • Oh for the love of….
        A locked bootloader only prevents flashing an unsigned boot.img, mbr/ebr, etc. You can still flash a ROM over the stock system (through a custom recovery, of course), and it certainly doesn’t prevent rooting or using kexec to load custom kernels. If you want to mess around with leaks, that’s where things get antsy, as you can’t simply flash back to an older system. But, that’s about the only thing you can’t do, and even then, some smart devs have gotten around that too.

        TL:DR- a locked bootloader is not a liability anymore, its more of an incovenience.

        • sonicyoof

          Droid Pro still can’t run a custom kernel.

    • Sodev

      Ignorance is not something to use as an excuse. If less than 10% of people know what a bootloader is does that mean Microsoft should lock PCs so no one can use Linux.

      • Microsoft doesn’t make your PC.

        • And Google doesn’t make your phone.

          Doesn’t matter who makes what. If you purchase a physical product from someone, you should be able to do whatever you want with it so long as it’s not illegal. If I want to install Fedora on a One X (made up example), and want to put the time/effort into doing so, HTC has no right telling me I can’t do it. Now do I lose any warranty righs to software issues if I do so? Of course I do. Hardware warranty, though, shouldn’t be affected, unless I’m doing something like overclocking.

          If a carrier and/or an OEM put out a product, they do reasonably have the right to distribute it however they want, and consumers can vote with their money. That’s a valid argument. But from a consumer’s point of view, it is distubring and frustrating when said carrier or OEM try to tell me how I can use my product, when it doesn’t hurt anyone else. If I want to load AOSP on my Evo 3D (actual example), I should be able to do that. I assume the risk of it not working, of course, but it shouldn’t be something that HTC or Sprint can tell me if I can do or not. I think that legally (I’m no lawyer), carriers and/or OEMs can likely do whatever they want, as evidenced by many a phone. But in the interest of public relations, or consumer rights, secured bootloaders are a horrible idea. Those of us who flash ROMs and always root may well be a very small minority, but many of us run websites, tweet frequently, post articles, etc; we are a vocal minority. SOPA and ACTA would never have been stopped had we geeks never started protesting first. Did we have critical mass on our own? No, but we got others to realize the problem with it, too. Same with bootloaders. Does this even matter to the masses? No, not at all. Just like many others have said, 99% of people don’t put Linux on their Windows machines. But the average comsumer wouldn’t like Microsoft or Dell or whoever telling them that they can only install software they approve of. It’s net neutrality on a software level, at its core.

          • Bob Martin

            As a fellow Droid-life reader I am proud to announce that I have officially read your entire comment without falling asleep. That should be a huge accomplishment and compliment to you. And yes I do fully agree with you 100%

          • Lol not sure if that’s more a comment about me being long-winded (which I usually am) or DL readers, or both. But either way, +1 to you, sir.

          • Joseph Williams

            I agree w everything but the warranty part. There’s no way for them to know how you may have modified the software in a potentially damaging way (overclocking for example) . I’m happy giving them the benefit of the doubt there and surrendering the full warranty

          • I agree about giving up the full warranty, as without intrusive monitoring software (which is of course what we do NOT want…), there is no way to know about things like overclocking. I have happily done so on all my phones. I am not sure how the software/hardware distinction would sit with others, though, nor am I sure about the legality either way.

            My only concern with fully surrendering the warranty (keeping in mind again, that I’ve done it on all my devices), is when there is an actual hardware defect that sometimes presents itself. For example, on the Nexus One, many people’s power buttons slowly became unusable and would not register presses. It was an issues with the way the button was internally mounted, and one piece of metal that held it was bit-by-bit bent every time it was pressed. I used my N1, purchased new, for about 9 months, and never had issues, though I could see it slowly receding, but I knew several people on XDA who had the problem. Though they had all voided their warranties, HTC did indeed replace their buttons (at least mostly), which was nice of them but probably not legally required.

            What would you propose for that sort of situation, where there is a genuine hardware issue (commonly experienced or not, but definitely not user-caused), in regards to warranty retention despite ROM flashing or whatnot? I don’t have a great solution myself, other than the whole “lose the software warranty but retain the hardware warranty” mentioned earlier, which certainly has its flaws (e.g. the afore-mentioned overclocking), or the whole “well, you risk that when you flash things” approach, which while I’m fine with that, I’m not sure how many others would be.

          • michael arazan

            I agree, it is a good option to have and is what makes android more popular imo. I can only think people who really need encrypted locked bootloaders are people that are at risk like for government jobs and companies that work for the government, i.e. Lockheed, Grumman, etc, or corporations that have to deal with corporate espionage or something extreme. But the government already has rules and regulations on their hardware they use for their employees even to how green the hardware is. Like Apple products can’t be used by the government now because they are not green enough to be recycled like their macbooks and other devices.

          • UndrCvrTalent

            Pay full price for the phone and then you can ask to do whatever you want!!!!

          • Signing a contract is the same as paying full price, it’s just spread over 2 years. Look at prices for services that make you pay full price but don’t subsidize the phones, they are typically less every month than subsidized plans.

            But even if it werent, I am still buying the phone, subsidized or not. It is mine to own. Thus, I should be able to do whatever I want with it. It’s very different than say, renting a cable box from Comcast or Dish, where you don’t actually own it and have to return it when you cancel or upgrade. Those you shouldn’t be able to modify. But a phone is mine to keep.

        • steelcity1

          I guess it is more like Comcast locking your new PC, but I think we all get the point.

        • darkzero7

          Verizon doesn’t make your phone.

          • MooleyBooleyTroll

            Verizon doesn’t put the OS on the phone…

          • Bob Martin

            No one even said the word “Verizon”. therefore your comment is irrelevant to this argument. just thought you should know.

        • Cowboydroid

          Microsoft is actually restricting their ARM builds of Windows so as to make it impossible to install Linux on the device. Not that I would have any desire to purchase another Microsoft product, but that’s just another reason for me to stay away.

      • ddevito

        Well, funny you say that, because MSFT is indeed locking Windows 8 PCs so you can’t install any other OS.

        • false they are only locking Windows RT PC’s

          • Read on UEFI Secure Boot and Windows 8 Ready requirements first.

          • Nope anything built with windows 8 in mind, the new secure BIOS configuration will be mandatory going forward.

          • Jordan Pitts

            @Gasai Yuno Maybe you should read the UEFI Secure Boot and Windows 8 Ready requirements first before spreading FUD. It’s mandatory that in order to receive Windows 8 Ready certification, all x86 PCs must have a way to disable Secure Boot, as well as a way to enter a custom Secure Boot mode that accepts signatures from entities other than Microsoft (Windows Hardware Certification Requirements: System.Fundamentals.Firmware.UEFISecureBoot sections 17 and 18).

          • ddevito

            RT is not a PC, it’s for tablets. And you’re still incorrect. Win8 is being locked down on all devices. MSFT now wants to be Apple.

          • zane

            But you can install other operating systems on Apple computers?

          • ddevito

            Ummmmmm….no……..? Not sure where you’re going with that comment 🙂

          • Ced

            @c2c298b7388318ffe01b93932ba630ad:disqus I have seen an Apple computer do dual boot for the Windows OS

          • bitemygloriusgoldenass

            apparently you can install gento0(linux) on a macbook pro.

      • LiterofCola

        It’s not about ignorance, it’s about irrelevance. If most consumers knew about what a bootloader was, they still wouldn’t care. Although I understand what Bionic was saying, it is important for most people that frequent these sites.

    • nightscout13

      I received my GS3 today, and my expectations have not been met. I absolutely HATE the UI. The bloatware, and TouchWiz really bother me, i’m coming from a vanilla ICS Gnex. For example, the “end call” button isn’t even in the same place as where it has been positioned on all android phones! Samsung made too many changes to the UI. PLUS the stock predictive text is absolute garbage, in comparison to stock predictive on Gnex.

      • mustbepbs

        All I’m hearing is wah, wah, wah wah.

        It’s a damn cell phone.

        • nightscout13

          Regress is a bad thing. They should have built on the established success of the Gnex, instead they tried copying Apple with a “polished” UI, and now it is ruined.

          • Holy Grail

            And…..ether sell it or send it back……do something constructive and stop crying about it.

          • nightscout13

            Look, I’m not forcing you to read my comments, let alone replying to them. Feel free to move along…..

          • Nicholassss

            take touchwiz off and freeze the bloatware. You dont even need to root for that.

          • nightscout13

            The rest of the system is screwed up, not just the UI. I’ll end up rooting, and flashing stock JB.

          • Diablo81588

            Established success? Lol…

        • And this is a “damn cell phone” website. Know your audience.

    • Nah, Droid-Life is just weird in that they think their audience is actually representative.

      • Chronon7364

        Droid Life audience is representative of Droid Life audience.

  • Thraxbert

    For the DL community, and communities like it: Yes.

    For the ten thousand hundred hojillion people who buy phones every year: No.

    But I think the clear takeaway is more important: Stop buying Verizon.

  • Jigga_Z

    Originally my answer would be “Unlocked Bootloader or No Buy” but now that I have a Nexus, I’m less worried about having an unlocked bootloader on my next phone, since I know I can always flash the latest and greatest OS to my Nexus. Of course, some day the Galaxy Nexus will be out of date, but for now, I don’t mind so much if my next phone doesn’t have an unlocked bootloader, as long as it has the other specs I really care about.

    • Bionic

      I will have the Nexus 7 to see the latest and greatest Android OS. As long as I have that im good. I still want ICS on my damn Bionic tho

      • paul_cus

        That’s exactly why I’m getting a Nexus 7. Bleeding edge of Android, all the time.

  • Unlock or go home

    • Morlok8k

      apparently PCed doesn’t want to go home…
      because PCed lives with his parents…