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Why Should Companies Like Motorola and Verizon Allow You to Unlock Bootloaders?

Bootloaders will likely forever be a hot topic around the Android community, unless of course, we get some government ruling that forces carriers and device manufacturers to stop locking them. As many of you know, there are a few key players in the locked bootloader game that have their reasons for doing so. While most of us will never agree with the idea that unlocking a bootloader and throwing on custom software is going to ruin the network experience for others, it’s a conversation that probably has no positive outcome for us. Or does it? 

In the past, we have shared some thought on why carriers and OEMs should unlock bootloaders, but we have never done an official post surrounding the topic. The idea comes from a reddit user who claims to be interning at a “Fortune 500 company who makes phones” and that locks bootloaders. He is hoping to gather legitimate reasons from the Android community, so that he can step up to his bosses and lay the smackdown. Whether or not an intern can come close to making a difference on the bootloader front is debatable, but we like the idea of approaching bootloader unlock talk in a more formal matter.

So today, let’s do that. Let us talk about reasons why companies like Motorola, Verizon, HTC (some times), and others, should allow for phones to remain unlockable. Share your thoughts, express yourselves, and try to convince the industry that a bootloader is not the problem they should be worrying about.

I’ll start it off by tossing out this idea – if network experience is one of the major reasons for trying to keep a phone locked down, why get an exclusive on the Galaxy Nexus? As a device that only comes one way, unlockable, I can’t imagine a phone that could potentially do more damage to a network, assuming custom software can even do such a thing.

  • Were the ones that payed for the specific peice of hardware. they can make it against their warranty but its not right to keep us from doing anything.

  • Alan Paone

    Unlock for the user experience. The only people a locked bootloader protects are people who don’t care and don’t need protection in the first place. It really hurts the ones who do care though.

    My first android was a motorola milestone. It was an OG Droid with a GSM radio, and a locked bootloader. When I got it, Froyo was all the rage, and a quick perusal of xda showed that there was an unofficial Cyanogenmod6, I thought “Cool, The bootloader isn’t keeping us from the new hotness! I’m safe to get this phone.” The phone I bought was bricked, the guy had thought there was no difference between a Milestone and a Droid. It took a little finagling, but I had it running by the end of the night.
    The honeymoon was short lived. Because of the locked bootloader, the milestone used 2ndInit; a complicated hack that could load custom android builds, but was restricted to using kernels that were signed by motorola, either official or leaked. Because of this, even when Gingerbread came out, we were on a kernel that was meant for eclair. Most performance comes from the kernel, not android, so even though we had gingerbread, it ran like eclair. When Froyo finally started to leak (months after gingerbread’s release), it was plagued by bugs. The camera was slow and crashed often, multitasking was nearly impossible, and worst of all, the Display Serial Interface crashed several times per day, causing a hard reboot fo the phone. I was lucky and only saw an average of one DSI error daily, but some people couldn’t use their phones.
    In February 2011, motorola released Froyo for the milestone, nine months after the Droid’s Froyo update; DSI errors, crashy camera, and overheating issues included. They called it an optional update because it basically broke the phone, it was much less stable than eclair, they really just wanted to shut us up. Of course, the Droid didn’t have as much trouble with Froyo and devs decided to figure out what was wrong. It turned out to literally be a single line of code in the froyo kernel. If memory serves, it changed a zero to a one or a one to a zero. It was there for the Droid and missing for the Milestone. The fix would’ve taken a fraction of a second to type out some code. Motorola didn’t do it, and since they were the only ones who could, devs were in a tough place. Its possible to add things to a kernel, programmers can create kernel modules that add features, but they’re complex and buggy. To add our one line took 3 months, and several hundred lines of code by a dedicated, hardworking developer and it only somewhat worked. When I finally gave up on my milestone and bought a nexus S, the fix was on its tenth iteration, version 2.something. He had to do all that work to fix a bug that motorola added to the code. He spent many sleepless nights not adding features like compcache or new camera settings, just slavishly fixing bugs.

    Whenever Droid-life asks who we would like to see make the next nexus, I scream out “Motorola! Please! It would be wonderful to be able to love a motorola again”. I loved my milestone, but it couldn’t love me back because it was locked into motorola’s hateful, buggy, and unfixable software. I’m a natural tinkerer. Even if the motorola ROM was perfect, I wouldn’t’ve been satisfied, no tinkerer ever is. We need to experience our phones this way. In the nexus world, we tolerate bugs because most of the time, we added them, and we have the ability to fix them. I tell people not to buy motorola phones because my experience with them was saddening and maddening. Stop making me buy crappy, uninspired samsung phones and make something great, and if you screw up, its okay, but let me fix it myself.

  • mule03331

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t really care if my bootloader is locked or not. I had a Gnex for about 3 weeks, and had a Razr before, and a Razr Maxx after. I really didn’t see a whole lot of difference in the 2 as far as performance or the ways I could customize it. I have a few friends that are always jumping on the “next best thing” as far as ROM’s and such. When I play with their phones, they don’t really do anything differently than my stock phone does. You still have to press an icon to get an app to open, still have to hit the phone icon to make a call. About the only difference is that their icons might be green and I have the stock icons. I’m not bagging on the “gotta have the newest thing” guy, But my point is rooted, stock, Rom’med non rom’med. The phones do the same thing.

    • Alan Paone

      Rooters are the sort of people who obsess about the subtle differences. For example, I go completely insane without the sapphire toggles and T9 dialer from cyanogenmod. The 4×4 grid on my homescreen drives me nuts, even though its not that different from 5×4. My phone still works great with stock, but it isn’t exactly the way I like. Since I know I can change it, I have to.

  • I think we need to look at the motivation for locking down the boot loaders to begin with, and it has nothing to do with their network other the money they can make. Let’s look for a moment at the data that Carrier IQ or Motoblur Collect beyond the normal security problems like keystroke capabilities.

    They wanted to charge more for Tethering, but rooting a phone gets you that much. However, with Carrier IQ, Motoblur, HTC Sense, ect. they can collect data to show you are tethering by having your phone tell on you…. Or pretty much anything they want to know about what you do with your phone.

    It has a lot of marketable data about YOU that does not violate wiretap laws or require a warrant. It also allows them to provide easy access to data collected that way without the need for a warrant or court order (possibly not sure about the legality here since they can get around some it via EULAs and Contracts).

    AT&T and Verizon (eventually T-Mobile and Sprint will as well) want everyone to move to tiered data plans, you won’t have a choice soon. Run a stock rom for a few months. Then run an AOSP rom for a few months. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve noticed a difference in the amount of data is used. An AOSP ROM such as AOKP or CM uses much less data then a stock rom. It wasn’t in the form of several hundreds of Megs of Data for me when I switched my Motoblur device over to AOKP (I saw close to a 300 – 400 meg a month data use drop). May not seem significant, but when you look at a 2gig data plan that’s a big savings.

    Relying on old methods of collecting data about your usage is great, for them if you’re on Cellular connection, but as more and more of us are using Wifi, Certain information would be lost to the carrier since it wouldn’t actively pass through their network. Information which Motoblur, Carrier IQ and the like can continue to collect while you are on Wifi, and send back to the carrier.

    Now in addition, I’m willing to bet, those that make the decision do not understand what the different types of unlocking are, I’ve heard from people that should be in the know, equate unlocking the bootloader with carrier unlocking allowing you to use another service when traveling. They REALLY don’t want you doing that, instead they prefer to have you spend money using their international roaming services.

  • It’s my phone after I buy it to do with as i wish just like my desktop computer and laptop. Microsoft or dell don’t have the right to tell me what os I can put on them.

  • Richeek

    Handsets sold in retail SHOULD be left unlocked. Its not subsidized neither is it locked to any carrier.

  • Phone bootloaders should never be locked in the first place. Verizon and the like have forced phone manufacturers to hurt their bottom lines by making that accommodation. Think of the money required to develop & test a locked bootloader solution. Verizon gets all the benefit while the OEM wasted time & money doing something that hurts device usability/repairability.

  • Davros

    My biggest reason would be being able to load streamlined roms that will keep my phone current instead of being stuck with an outdated phone for 2 years.
    2nd would be for customization of the UI to better fit how I use the phone.
    3rd help stop the practice of only being able to load “their” apps when I would probably use both apps anyway. ( see also the google wallet/verizon debacle) 🙂

  • TheOiulkj

    Because I pay the same amount of money for a phone as I do a laptop, both of which use the same network. If you tried to sell me a laptop with a locked bootloader, I would smack you in the neck with my wallet then walk out of the store.

  • chris125

    Until they do away with subsidizing phones sadly the phone isn’t truly yours. If they went with a model like Europe and others do we wouldn’t have these problems.

  • aldr01d

    because is my phuking phone thats why greedy “corporations”!

  • Bob

    I could care less if my phone is locked or unlocked. Just want regular software updates for phones like the Atrix that are still on gingerbread and could run ICS without any issues

  • Cicimac

    Leaving a phone unlock able could show carriers what customers actually want and don’t want. If companies actually provided what customers want there would be no reason to unlock. Why should a customer have to carry around unremoveable apps on their phone?Wouldn’t it behoove Verizon to have their customers actually enjoy owning one of their phones? Customers want to control things like fonts, apps.customers don’t want to have to wait for updates when the updates can be downloaded right away.
    I don’t see what gives these service providers the right to control our phones in this way.arent we buying them? Isn’t this a form of censorship?
    Verizon and Motorola have to get with it and realize what consumers really want.if Motorola put any ingenuity into the apps they are trying to force people to use maybe they could create something incredible, Something we wouldn’t mind having stuck on our phones. Until that time comes, the world will find away to circumvent this system.
    These companies are making money hand over fist. Give it up greedy Verizon!,co

  • Justin Swanson

    I am going to attempt to read all of these comments but I thought I would share this.

    Most of you have probably heard of DD-WRT. It is a custom router firmware. Well Linksys by Cisco had a great little router that was very EASY to flash DD-WRT. (I don’t know the model) but it was selling like hot cakes to the power user developer community because it gave them greater control of their router. So what do you think Linksys/Cisco does? They stop selling it. Yep, that’s right. Instead of raising the price (just a little bit :P) or even working a “voiding your warranty” message into the router box, they upright and stop selling it. EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE WANTED TO BUY IT.

    Let’s compare this situation with the locked bootloaders: Phones that are easy to unlock (I am guessing) sell better than those that don’t. There will ALWAYS be flagship devices that might be exempt to this but I bought a GNex because of the developer support behind it. I wanted that. I think a lot of people are like that. (at least people who can’t buy a new device every 6 months). I purchased a SGS1 (Korean Model) and a Sony Tablet S before. I don’t use either of them anymore because of the experience I get with Custom ROMs from my GNex.

    The only argument I see AGAINST custom ROMs/firmware/locked bootloaders is user experience. The company is likely concerned that users will (to burrow from one of the greatest movies ever) “shoot their eye out”. What they fail to realize is, not everyone is out there rooting their ROM, flashing new bootloaders, flashing new ROMs daily/nightly. Only the power users will be doing that, and they are DOING IT ALL READY.

    Most of their networks (I imagine) are beefy enough to support any additional traffic a custom ROM might cause (I am assuming that you want the unlocked bootloader to flash custom ROMs). I know here in Korea they had some issues when they started unlimited 3g but I think that has been fixed. I am not aware of any problems any of the US/Euro Telcos are having.

    In closing, I wish the companies would see that phones that have a good following will likely sell very well. No one wants a device no one uses. They want a devices that makes them the cool guy at the party. I can’t imagine a lot of people can buy the new and the best, so they go with something that is proven to be good.

    TL;DR: My guess is that unlocked bootloaders will assist the sale of all ready popular phones. The only trade off is possible lose of user experience which looks bad on the company, not the idiot that bricked his phone.

    • they stopped selling all of the wrt54g/gl/gs’s because they’re old as balls. I don’t think that they pulled them because they were popular amidst the modding community.

  • Verizon can’t care THAT much about unlocked bootloaders…they still have commercials selling the GNex

  • root4life

    First this is my phone. Secondly how many more phones would they end up selling if you at least had the option of a smartphone with the boot loader unlocked. This is a good thing.

  • larry harper

    Unlocked bootloaders means less sales and less money ,read though the posts..if mine was… i could do this and that, run a custom rom..well thats what they sell you PHONES,people get tired of waiting for updates and upgrades when you can buy a new phone with it installed..look back at the OG Droid ,still lots of those working, running custom roms and heck almost as good as hardware..oc..undervolt..we mod our phones to have the latest and greatest stuff which we get long before the carriers and manufactures give us..I too would be using my trusty Droid X if i could..lol.. only reason for HTC..they have lower sales right now..apple,Moto and Sammy ..are doing ok but if the money stops flowing for any of them then they might have a unlock option…best thing to do is get off contract and buy the very best you can afford and not get locked in a phone for 2 yrs!!!! 😉

    • JustAnAngryJOE2

      While i will concur with the less sales and less money angle, i would also like to say if thats the case than the least VZW can do is keep a consistent schedule of sw updates for the devices they are selling, Heck they even acknowledge a know issue with the Gnex dropping outgoing audio and have yet to release the update that samsung provided them with almost 4 months ago.

  • Amenemhat1

    The answer is simple: Greed. If you’re phone is always up-to-date and can last all day, then corps can’t sell you more crap to buy. Locking bootloaders reinforces the 2-yr phone upgrade cycle, where in essence a device like the moto’s zoom (almost 3 yrs old) can run JB with no problem… it is not a matter of function, it is a matter of consumerism and how much money corps can usurp.

    • Tyler Chappell

      Why in the world do people keep thinking the Xoom is so much older than it is? First 2.5 years, now 3? Derp.

      • Amenemhat1

        Hence, the statement “(almost 3 yrs old)”

        • TylerChappell

          Except it is nowhere near “almost 3 yrs old”.

  • my phone is running 4.1.1 and it would NEVER see an official 4.1.1

  • It is much much harder to brick a device doing a simple “fastboot oem unlock” than it is by trying to get around an encrypted bootloader

  • When something breaks, there’s no option but to restore it with the stock firmware, my htc incredible 2 used to reboot with stock firmware/kernel, every time you pressed the power button, flashing a new kernel fixed that problem and i won’t see a real update on this phone until the end of the month.

    Thanks modding community!

  • What is the network experience? The network for my phone, Verizon, has nothing to do with the experience of my phone except that they give me service…everything else is Motorola.

  • noc007

    Why not? Seriously, I’d like to see a fully qualified reason why the bootloader needs to be locked without the option to unlock. I understand locking it be default for securing the user experience (anti-malware) and keeping most idiots from bricking their phones, but one should be able to unlock their phone if they so choose and accept the risk for their actions.

    Screwing up the carrier’s network is not a valid reason. First, if it’s possible for one rogue phone to ruin all connections to a tower or the whole network, there should be security measures in place to prevent that. Second, VZW is moving their customers to usage billing so it won’t matter if Joe Dumass burns through his block in a day.

  • Knlegend1

    Why should Companies Like Motorola And Verizon Allow You to Unlock Bootloaders? Because its your phone. The whole purpose of having an Android phone is for it’s openess. We only want Verizon’s Network and Motorola’s Radios, Maxx Battery. Verizon can continue to screw those people over who think that they need VZW Navigator that’s fine with me. For those in the know, well they should have the right to custom their phone however they see fit. Besides they’ll just find a way around it anyhow. Stop making it hard. We don’t want your bloat when almost everything Google offers is free and works a hell of lot better. Basically its your phone.

  • rockstar323

    I don’t think it’s “us” Verizon worries about having phones with unlocked bootloaders, I think it’s the “normal” consumers. I know plenty of people that have asked me to root their phone because someone told them they need to root it to make it “better” but they have no idea why. I’m sure Verizon CS has received plenty of calls from people who have screwed up their phones because someone else rooted it for them and they don’t understand what they did. Honestly, I won’t root anyone’s phone but my own. If they want to do it I will point them In the right direction and even help them out but you shouldn’t root it unless you know what you’re doing and what you’re getting yourself into. Say you root someone’s phone for them and they install a malicious app that wants SU, if they don’t understand the consequences they could open themselves up to trouble. Personally I don’t think you should unlock the bootloader and root unless you do it through ADB. The one clicks make it too easy. When I rooted my OG Droid I did it through ADB. I read and re-read all the instructions very carefully to make sure I did it right it also gave me respect for the process. Hell I’ve seen posts on XDA and Rootz with people saying, “I’m very familiar with rooting but I accidentally borked it”. I’m very comfortable rooting but I’ve made mistakes before just being careless. Just the other day I was installing a new ROM after cleaning my SD card, I wiped data and system but forgot to move my ROM onto my phone. Did I freak? No, I just pushed it to the phone in recovery through ADB, people who don’t know what they’re doing or where to go for help are stuck calling Verizon. I have friends that root and flash roms all the time that have been in similar situations and have had to call me to help them because someone else rooted their phone for them or they used a one click.

    This isn’t an argument for Verizon locking bootloaders, I think all of them should be unlockable. I just understand the problem it could cause them when someone who doesn’t know what they are doing screws up their phone and needs Verizon to help them.

    Don’t root unless you know what you’re doing and/or what potential risks you’re taking.
    ADB is your friend.
    Verizon is going to do what causes them the least amount of headaches.

  • Lucky Armpit

    I really do think Verizon’s excuses of “user experience” and “danger to the network” or whatever verbage they have used is simply a smokescreen for knowing that the FIRST things most devs do with custom ROMs is remove that horrible VZW bloatware that the vast majority of us will never want or use. My point is, an unlocked bootloader makes it easier for a user to flash a custom ROM without their bloat. I can’t imagine that enough people on VZW’s network actually use that crap software to where it’s profitable but I guess so because they keep pushing it on us.

  • JustAnAngryJOE2

    Well Seeing how Verizon has pretty much done away with Tech support and the guys at there call center are just as crappy, allowing the dev community to unlock their devices for one gives us free roam to fix our device. For those that don’t know what there doing of course that will be an ongoing issue but oh well, its not like they dont have the know how to be able to not tell when software is tampered with VZW just likes taking the easy route and make it ok to be stupid when working for them. Either way though like stated by others, unlocked bootloader= better user experience for device cause we essentially can truly customize our device to our liking, and get rid of any crapware thats actually holding our device back..EX: Pretty much any VZW 3rd party software. To be honest with an unlocked device i dont see how its messing up VZW nwk since they usually are more concerned about their high swap rate anyway. Oy all i can say is with unlocked devices one can truly get their money’s worth out of their device

  • Rob

    If Verizon can prove to me a real good reason why they are locked (like if unlocked bootloaders took twice as long to certify the software, which is probably total BS anyway) then I would understand.

    Other than that, it’s totally ridiculous. It’s MY phone, not theirs. I can understand them having issues with free tethering (for those with unlimited accounts) via rooting but that’s it. They could easily have a separate agreement saying you promise not to get “free” services.

    Hell, unlocking bootloaders makes it easier for people to throw custom ROMs on their phone – the people who actually care about timely OS upgrades would be a little quieter since they can do it themselves with more ease if the bootloader is unlocked. I know you can work around it, but unlocked bootloaders make the world a better place.

  • EDNYLaw

    First let me start off by saying I’m an attorney with EXTENSIVE federal experience. I wrote this complaint (https://docs.google.com/document/d/109uYmho_6daIpAl0ACPSFoK0qrd6K9wp5yeqM7dEaoI/edit) and sent it to the FCC which NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office pursued with the FCC and it is my belief that the FCC’s ruling on Verizon blocking tethering apps and Google wallet is founded in part on the research and analysis I did in for that complaint. So I encourage people to read it as it gets into the details of C Block regulations and locked bootloaders.

    Second, it only benefits companies and Verizon to have unlocked bootloaders. Having had many devices (OG Droid, Droid X, Xoom, Droid Razr and GNex) I can say that I will NEVER buy a phone with a locked bootloader again. Even if you take the fact that a permanent brick is possible off the table, if you bootloop on a locked bootloader you have to fastboot back, reroot and nandroid back. For inexperienced users, they may just make an insurance claim, driving up prices for all and causing Verizon technical support (I use the term loosely because they’re by and large useless) untold headaches. Even for me, an experienced crackflasher, I get a little edgy when messing with my mom’s Droid Razr as I know that if I screw it up it’s going to be at least a half hour to an hour messing with it to get it up and running. Between the Xoom and the Gnex, life is a breeze. If I bootloop I boot into TWRP and restore a nandroid and I’m good to go. I don’t worry about bricking my phone because (basically) it’s unbrickable (I say that with a grain of salt as Droid Th3ory and DHO have both managed to hard brick their GNex but they’re devs and thus a different story).

    Verizon’s excuses are getting pathetic. It affects other customer experiences? Really? Then why release phones with unlocked bootloaders at all? They have, and presumably if they get anymore Nexus phones, they will continue to release phones with unlocked bootloaders. I have yet to see any “impact” in terms of my unlocked bootloader affecting anyone on Verizon’s network. Now that the FCC seems to actually be enforcing it’s regulations (I take a little credit for that as I’ve been sending countless emails to Julius Genachowski and the other commissioners pestering them about Verizon’s abuses) I think Verizon’s stance may loosen up a little as they begin to release the hacker/modder community is bigger than they thought, and if they keep trying to limit what we can do, we’ll move to networks that offer greater flexibility. Especially in light of Verizon’s “shared data” plan that is nothing more than a marketing scheme aimed at getting people to switch to a more expensive plan and when VoLTE hits, those that switched are going to pay a FORTUNE as voice will now be data, which guess what you share with every single person on your plan now. Good luck with that.

  • it would be advantageous of carriers to unlock devices that are outside of warranty and no longer supported. They can only gain from keeping a customer. What happens if a person with a really old phone like the OG droid finds that their untouched bootloader-locked phone just stopped working. Aren’t they forced to upgrade anyway?

  • LiterofCola


  • Void my warranty and then let me do whatever I want with it.

    That’s all there is to it.

  • Nate Davidson

    I say because it’s the nature of Android, and because the things we can customize on the software side is what sets Android aside from the competition. Also, with unlocked boot loaders comes community support with a device. Devices like Motorola’s take FOREVER to get updates. If the community can provide their own open-source support, devs from the company can take these bits freely from the community to improve their own software.

  • Tristan Cunha

    I guess companies can sell whatever they think will be most profitable. Locking the bootloader is a no brainer in the short term, if nothing else it means less calls to customer service after someone breaks their phone. And they’re not even in the business of selling phones, they actually lose money selling phones to get people to sign contracts for their network.
    In the long term its all about demand, if there are enough people out there that want unlocked phones, than someone is going to serve that market. So far the Nexus phones have probably captured a decent amount of that market, but it seems like there’s a ton of interest in other phones too.
    As far as the idea of protecting the network, well, there seems to be plenty of ways to mess with the network without having an unlocked bootloader. And isn’t network security/integrity something they should be handling from their end? I don’t try to make sure everyone else has anti-virus software installed on their computers to keep them from sending me a virus. This whole “protect the network” seems like a flimsy excuse, when what they really want to do is “protect our revenue streams” i.e., pay to tether services and any pre-installed apps that generate a revenue stream
    Besides, doesn’t Verizon have to allow any device to operate on their network since they purchased their 4g spectrum? If they’re selling one device with an unlocked bootloader it seems like any other device would pass any tests to operate on their “open” network as well.

  • lawyer tech nerd

    To effectively pitch unlockable bootloaders to a company, you have to anticipate their arguments for locking them and dissect those first and foremost. The best start is to look at Verizon’s letter to the FCC:

    1. “[A]n open boot loader could prevent Verizon Wireless from providing the same level of customer experience and support.” – All customers are not the same and, as such, do not require the same level of customer experience and support. Some users–particularly those who delve into the world of phone rooting–are more advanced users of technology and are not the type of users Verizon Wireless trains their employees to adequately support, unlocked phone or not. Unless Verizon Wireless plans to spend the money to upgrade its support staff to a level commensurate with the brightest technology users of its network, this is a moot issue.

    2. An open boot loader could “potentially, negatively impact how the phone connects with the network.” – Key word, “potentially.” In addition to an open boot loader, there are thousands of problems that could “potentially” negatively impact how a users phone connects with the network. There was a several day 4G LTE outage among the midwest states only last week. An electrical storm could negatively impact how users connect, it does not mean that Verizon should go out of its way to ensure there is never a problem associated with electrical storms. Unless there is something more than an unexplained “potential” negative impact, this is nothing more than a “what if” game that has no place in legitimate discussion.

    3. “The addition of unapproved software could also negatively impact the wireless experience for other customers.” – Again, the word “could” is not the same as the word “does.” There is no proof for this assertion and, in fact, the opposite is true. Allowing for unapproved software enhances the impact of the wireless experience for thousands, if not millions, of Verizon Wireless customers. Open boot loaders has led to the rise of the Android development community, a distinct and desirable result for any manufacturer looking to enter the world of Android phones. Just as Verizon Wireless seeks to distinguish themselves from their competitors networks, so too should they seek to distinguish the possibilities for users experience of their network from those of their competitors. The “unapproved software” should more properly be categorized as the “limitless software experience” network users have waiting at their fingertips. Verizon should capitalize on all the unique benefits that an open boot loader represents (i.e., advertise and promote themselves using these benefits), while at the same time knowing it is only going to be a small minority of users who truly tap into the limitless potential of their phones. It creates a win-win for Verizon to sell more phones and draw more people to their network, while appeasing the minority developer community who allows them to market their network that way.

    The argument that it is “my phone,” while valid, is secondary in nature to neutralizing the arguments advanced by the network against open boot loaders.

  • sdny8

    Let’s talk about the only thing businesses care about money. They could actually save money by unlocking bootloaders. We know its damn near impossible for most people to brick a nexus. So pay a kid $12 a hr to flash stock imgs on a phone for a fee. Make it less than a replacement say $25-50 and you’ll save yourself $ in false claims.

  • Ian

    I hard-bricked my galaxy nexus two weeks after buying the phone. I have rooted and unlocked plenty of phones before, but this time clockwork recovery crashed while installing a kernel. My phone is completely useless right now and I am now seeing why maybe the manufacturers don’t want everyone trying to improve their devices.

  • moelsen8

    this could have been a non-issue a long time ago if they’d just release a 1-click tool to install drivers and restore your phone to stock for any Joe Moron to use if he screws it up. it should be the first or second thing customer service tells you to do if your phone’s really messed up.

    that they haven’t done this at all means they really don’t give a sh*t about what the customer wants. they’re wasting the customers’ time & money when they have to send it in or return it to get fixed, they’re wasting their own time & money in customer service (and having to flash it themselves). all for what? probably to preserve all the f*cking bloatware everybody’s rooting to get rid of in the first place!

  • Joshua Powers

    Gee I don’t know maybe because I paid for F&@!ing thing?

  • Travis Shepherd

    If I wanted locked into a stock os, and “carrier experience” I would buy an i*hone!

  • manaox

    Users can add their own features that improve their original device and improve innovation on future devices. It’s win-win.

  • Tell this to your boss.
    Unlocking bootloaders would only improve your sales, with most companies locking them down tighter and tighter, your phones will have an advantage over their locked competitors. Not only that, sales will increase due to the huge developer community buying your phone, just look at every Nexus device! Moreover, with the huge developer community behind you, your company will be able to build a relationship with the developers which will offer your phones new, exclusive features that cannot be matched by any competitor. After all, this is a business and unlocking the bootloaders will improve both sales and net profit!

    • Bsody

      While I agree with many of your points, we both know that VZW and OEMs rely on planned obsolescence of their phones. Users which have installed the latest and greatest ROMs and Mods will be less likely to upgrade as often. I kept my DInc for much longer than normal mainly because I had it running the latest software and could get by until the GNex came out.
      Dont tell that part to your boss.

      • Pedro

        I don’t think that VZW cares a whit about planned obsolescence. OEMs care.

        Every payment VZW gets NOT under contract is more money for them. For them, the ultimate wet dream is 4 years of reliable hardware service and 2 years’ subsidized contracts.

        and I will never buy another device that doesn’t allow
        fastboot oem unlock

        Tell THAT to your boss.

  • Chahk Noir

    Manufacturers and carriers should allow people to unlock bootloaders on their phones because they themselves cannot get updates out in a timely manner.

    OS upgrades are not for eye candy only. When Google releases an update that patches security vulnerabilities or fixes bugs, carriers/manufacturers take anywhere between 3 – 6 months to push this update, if ever. This is simply unacceptable when customers’ handsets are left open for an attack for this period of time.

  • moelsen8

    laptop with unlocked bootloader + network hotspot = phone with unlocked bootloader.

    probably worse.

  • JRummy16

    Even though the Android root community is small they are the trend setters and are the ones most likely to refer their friends to a certain device or carrier. For example, look at the top 100 apps on the Google Play Store. There are quite a few root exclusive apps there which shows that users who unlock their device are more likely to invest in their device than the average user.

    Once a company denies the request of its most loyal users they will in turn switch to alternatives. It might be true that this is a small majority but that small majority influences the masses to a great degree. There’s my 2 cents at least.

    • fish1552

      I think you are correct. I know I am NOT the only one that refuses to buy anything Motorola any longer. After they promised, and then back tracked on their decision to unlock bootloaders, I promised them I would NEVER buy another one until they did. And judging from people I follow on Twitter, as well as the number of followers on an account about unlocking MOTO bootloaders, there are plenty of us out there. That segment could still account for a HUGE difference in bottom line for a company

      • moelsen8

        right there with you. i think it’d be pretty crazy to see how much support from the community would swing to moto overnight if they ever changed their ways. their hardware is the best.

      • I am one of those people. I owned the OG Droid, GREAT DEVICE, a Droid X and a Droid Bionic. Each time I had hoped that moto would fulfill it’s promise and unlock the bootloader but nothing. After the bionic I went to the Nexus and I would not go back to a locked device. I missed the feeling of being able to do whatever I want. I know tell people to avoid motorola phones and go with Samsung.

      • RW-1

        Agreed, I was one who left as well …

    • I would 100% agree with you. To add to your point, the root community influences sites like Droid Life, which then allows us to continue to write about and essentially promote these devices long after they have been launched.

      Take the Galaxy Nexus for example – it launched in December, yet we still talk about it to this day more than any other Android phone. You can’t say the same for the Rezound or RAZRs even though they are great phones. With Verizon shutting them down on a community level, we don’t have a reason to talk about them, other than when they receive an update.

      I’d argue that many root-friendly and unlockable phones earn far more money for carriers and OEMs over a life span than one that is locked down completely because of the extra promotion and community support it receives.

      • Jordan Webb

        I’m not sure it’s fair to bring the Rezound into this discussion, since HTC is baws and unlocked the phones for us in the end. There’s other reasons it doesn’t get talked about, but being locked up shouldn’t be one of them.

    • droidman101

      Someones read the tipping point.

  • Besides the whole “I should be able to do what I want with my phone” argument, the only thing I can think of to why they should want to provide unlockable phones is to avoid bad press. Do you really think that if they sell a few hundred more SIII’s because its unlocked that it really matters? They are already going to sell millions of them with it locked.

    My argument is that having happy customers will prevent bad press and even provide promotion of the carrier and manufacturer. (then again maybe they don’t care about bad press either)

  • It is my device, and I can do what I want with it. No one is stopping me from unlocking my boot loader, they just make it difficult to do so.
    The potential warranty costs and abuse is certainly there, you cant deny that. Do I wish all bootloaders were unlockable? Hell yes. But I do not expect or demand it to be so.
    The carriers and the OEMs assume a large risk allowing the bootloaders to be unlocked,and to believe otherwise is simply naive.

  • Manufacturers fully admit that their products have a “lifetime”, and they will reach “end of life” before a 2 year contract runs out. If they won’t release software updates, they should at least not actively prevent the consumer from performing their own.

    On top of that, manufacturers have exhibited that they are incapable of producing timely software updates. The Motorola RAZR was released as “ICS Coming Soon” and didn’t see that update for over 6 months. Users with root access and an unlocked bootloader are able to perform an update themselves if they are willing.

  • DaVid Wallace

    They should let me unlock it because I won’t buy a device that is not unlockable. If they want my money, they will meet my terms, plain and simple.

  • bobo

    “Network Experience” for who? You or the other subscription slaves also connected to your particular tower?

    They lock it so that you can’t setup a wifi hotspot and play xbox live games 24/7 (without a separate subscription and data limits).

    • MikeKorby

      I can do it on stock w/o their plan. Argument:invalid.

  • New_Guy

    I think we all know that Verizon loves to lock down phones to get people into heavy wireless tethering plans. Since they are going with the “Share-everything” approach, which includes the wireless plan, there should be no issue any longer.

    The only other reason they could have for locking them has to do with customer service. But, since VZW openly admits that we are the 1%, it should also be a negligible issue; especially since most of us know more than the CSR’s know in the first place…

    There is basically no good reason any longer.

  • Austin

    They act like it causes uneeded repairs, but the people who unlock the bootloader are the type of people who just walk into verizon when their phone is acting up.

    • Austin

      are not*

  • ericl5112

    If we own the hardware, we should be able to do with it as we want. However, this goes two ways. If you unlock the bootloader, you should be put into a new, smaller warranty. One that only covers hardware defects such as broken power button, etc.

  • Sodev

    Having a locked bootloader is like ordering a hamburger where you cannot remove or add any condiments or toppings.

    • Captain_Doug

      And boy do I hate mustard….

  • If the reasoning is that it improves the customer service aspect, as has been stated before, I would counter by saying that if I’m savvy enough to unlock my bootloader, then I’m probably not going to run into a problem that basic customer service will answer that I can’t answer myself.
    More to the point of excellent customer service, why wouldn’t they simply have a few current staff members educate themselves on the major players in the dev community? You can’t tell me that there aren’t a significant number of techs within the company that aren’t already running custom software.

  • Sodev

    Last time I checked it was the hard working consumer developers that ported updates, such as Jelly Bean, before the OEMs and carriers even passed the paperwork to supply the updates. This might be a logical fallacy but I will go ahead and say it anyway. Imagine buying a Quarter Pounder from McDonalds and not being able to put more ketchup on it, or not being able to remove the pickles on it. Is that not the same as purchasing a phone and not being able to remove certain applications or install certain applications (that require root)?

  • CHRIS42060

    Why wouldn’t Verizon agree to it? I think a major factor is bloatware. I would be interested in seeing some figures, but I am sure they make pretty decent revenue off of the extra software they are so gracious to pack our phones with. Since most custom ROMs immediately get rid of bloat they probably get less from those app developer for an unlocked device. So why allow the Galaxy Nexus to be exclusive knowing it would be unlocked? Google probably made it clear from day one they had two expectations. 1. Unlockable and 2. No Bloat. So with no bloat Verizon is not going to lose money from those app developer as they would with other unlocked devices since there was no bloat to begin with. I am sure they also figured the newsworthiness of the device and extra advertising from Samsung and Google would help them bring in new subscribers, and existing subscribers to renew. Just a thought. Call it my bloatware conspiracy theory lol.

  • connor

    If they dont unlock bootloaders, people find ways around it. Take kexec or safestrap for example–that is almost worse than unlocking a bootloader as it uses hacks to bypass it. what is worse?

  • Suralin

    How about the development community coming up with apps and ideas that help the Android OS development overall? We’ve seen ideas from devs that have even made their way into the OS itself and sometimes even enhanced. Its an incredibly cheap way for manufacturers to lower their development costs.

  • Michael Franz

    How about saying if its unlocked its now your own support dont call the carrier. And not for nothing unlocked bootloaders will be a push for sales i think. If you say it will be unlocked you might get a sales boost form the android junkies who want to mod/hack/rom the phone. Just make a stipulation that says if it is unlocked your support is now moot. unless you return it to stock.

    Additionally, lets face it, manufacturers count on the # of devices sold, if they can sell more unlocked, why wouldnt they push the carrier to allow it unlocked

    • Michael Schnider

      Agreed. Honestly how many of us call the carriers anyway? We know what we got ourselves into…

  • Jeremy Morrison

    With an unlocked boot loader on my G-Nex I’ve actually fixed my phone myself rather then having to call Verizon and either swap it out or get support. The Nexus and yes even my jail broken iPhone4 have been the two phones on Verizon where I have never needed Verizon to help me fix an issue.

  • John Davids

    Plain and simple, I paid for it so it is mine to do as I wish. Period. I don’t need to justify to any company what I choose to do with their products once I have purchased them. And just as Kellex said, if their rebuttal is “network security” then you are sitting in the middle of a huge pile of hypocrisy allowing the Galaxy Nexus on your network.

  • Matthew Merrick

    Biggest, and really the only reason that matters: i bought it.

    to not give me complete access to a device i purchased is morally, ethically, and in some places, legally WRONG.
    ESPECIALLY when the OS is SUPPOSED TO BE open source.

  • The users who know what an unlocked bootloader is, and what to do with it, are a small number compared to the total Android users.
    The folks who don’t know what a bootloader is, likely aren’t going to mess with it.
    So what’s the harm in offering at least the ability to unlock the bootloader to those that ask?
    My ‘network experience’ is much better because I am not locked into the VZW/Samsung approved experience.

    • Exactly!

      A girl I’ve been dating has a Razr and had zero clue what ICS was when she got it. She still doesn’t even notice the difference. That is typical of the vast majority of the public.

  • Will

    Unlocking bootloaders separates hardware from software and messes with Verizon’s idea of planned obsolescence. There’s less incentive to run out and get the new hardware at 1.5 years if your current phone is running the newest software well. I can understand Verizon’s reluctance to separate the software from the hardware, because they’re in the business of selling phones. Buying a new chunk of hardware to run ICS (or JB) _better_ is less of a jump than abandoning your stuck-at-GB Bionic for a Razr running ICS.

    If bootloaders are locked, the only way to improve your software is to buy new hardware, and despite it being bad for users (and for the environment), for Verizon and handset manufacturers, that adds up.

    • Suralin

      Except Verizon isn’t in the business of selling phones. They’re in the business of providing cellphone service, which is something entirely different. Each phone Verizon subsidizes for a customer comes at a cost. To recover those costs, the cellphone providers lock their customers into a contract for 2 years, which eventually nets a hefty profit over time. Verizon just doesn’t want the crap apps they force onto their users to be removed.

      • But if the customer didn’t buy that subsidized phone, they could leave at any time, therefore losing money for Verizon. So Verizon IS in the business of selling phones, in an indirect way. Plus the fact that phones have to be manufactured to run on Verizon’s network, meaning that I can’t go out and buy just any phone and run it on my Verizon plan. Even more evidence that Verizon IS in the business of selling phones. No, it may not be their main business, but without selling phones, they wouldn’t be in business anymore.

        • Suralin

          If a customer doesn’t buy that subsidized phone, then Verizon doesn’t lose any money at all unless they don’t sell that unit before the EOL for that model.

          Let’s say Verizon buys a phone from a manufacturer for $500. They intend to either have a Subsidized price of $300 or a retail price price of $700. At the Subsidized price, you pay $300 and are now stuck in a contract for 2-years. If you’re monthly bill is $60 a month and steady for 2-years, Verizon gets $1440. So the subsidized cost + the monthly costs ends up being $1740. This is the overall cost to the customer. Subtract the cost of the phone for Verizon (ends up $1240) and that’s how much Verizon has made from you in a 2-year, subsidized contract.
          Let’s say the customer buys retail and decides to stick with Verizon for 2 years, they pay $700 + $1440 = $2140. This is why contract prices are so useful for people who have no intention of switching carriers. Subtract the cost of the phone for Verizon and it’ll be $1640.

          Let’s say the customer buys the retail and sticks for 1. It all comes out to $1420; or $920 after subtracting the cost of the phone.

          Or, you can just use a phone you got for free for 2 years – $1440 for Verizon.

          In all of these, Verizon doesn’t actually lose any money because there is no money to be lost. Verizon may be selling phones as part of its business, but make no mistake – its to lock you into their real business of selling their network services because that’s how they make their money. If Verizon is truly in the business of selling phones, they’d be demanding cheaper phones for the customer, but instead, we’ve seen new models subsidized to $299 instead of $199 a couple years ago.

      • Matt Donow

        But they sell contracts, And want to get latest software? Selling Share eveything plans.

      • New_Guy

        I thought will made a good point, but yours was a little better.

        +1 indeed

  • Hmm….

    Wouldn’t the ruling about *phones being the property of the user, and therefore legal to jailbreak, have something to do with this discussion? If we own the phone, seems like it would be legal to do whatever we want with it, just like that ruling declared. I suppose the difference is that really unlocking takes a tool from the company, but their argument that it would ruin the user experience for the entire network doesn’t hold water. How would it? Because of tethering? You don’t need an unlocked bootloader for that. If we own the phones, we own the phones.

    • Snow02

      We can do whatever we want. But nothing says they have to make it easy.

      • New_Guy

        Good point…

  • canucknnv

    Its my phone. I will do with it as I please. The devs in the community are great and make my phone better. I have no problem signing a waiver saying if I screw it up its on my dime but I don’t think its about that. They want to be able to control content. They want to control everything about my user experience. They think I need cityid 😉 and verizon hotspot but I don’t. I enjoy flashing Rom’s but I love getting rid of crapware

  • jaxxmjd

    Because if I wanted to buy hardware that I can’t use whichever way I’d like, I would’ve bought an iPhone.

    • jaxxmjd

      By the way, for those who would downrank me, this was meant sarcastically. I still woulnd’t buy an iPhone, regardless of bootloaders, etc.

    • Alex

      I think thats precice. One of androids main selling points is the freedom to do whatever you want with your device (well, it should be…). the homescreens used to be a prime example, having it adjustable to the users liking and adding widgets, but its really not enough to keep on going with that. They have to have another way of freedom on the phone, which is unlockable bootloaders. obviously this cant be a selling point since 90% of the android population has no idea what the hell a bootloader is, but still, for manufacturers, why not get an edge on another manufactuer who locks there bootloaders?

  • sciroccohsd

    Why Should Companies Like Motorola and Verizon Allow You to Unlock Bootloaders? Because they will sell more devices. The general public will still buy phones regardless if the bootloader is locked or not. But some power-users will choose a phone based on if the bootloader is unlockable.


    Because the community can support the phones more than the OEMs can when they’re bickering with carrier restrictions and worrying about new phones.

  • An easy way for them to avoid the problem with people bricking their phones is to simply design a contract that consumers have to sign saying that if they “hack” devices then they forfeit their right to a warranty. Most of the people, including myself, are aware of the possible damage we can do and we read up on how to do it so that we don’t brick our phones. If we do then oh well.

    • Here is a counter-argument to that: let’s say I do get an unlocked phone, agree to the contract, hack it and then brick it. Now I have no phone and I’m still under contract. How do they bill you for a phone with no service? So they will lose money in that process. Their intention is to stay a couple of steps ahead of the customer and always be in the position to “win” the advantage.

      • kauthor47

        You signed a document saying that you will pay your bill for 24 months or be subject to an ETF. Nowhere do the contracts say that your phone has to be active and/or functional. (I sell cell phones for a big blue company, trust me on this one)

  • Ny Reynolds

    In addition to the reason about nexus devices how about the vast majority of individuals WON’T unlock the boot loader. True bricks are few and far between. Most people who do brick their phone know where to get help to unbrick their phone and it costs Verizon and moto nothing.

  • Adam Cox

    I’m sure carriers would mind less on $599 un-subsidized phones. Since they are footing half the bill in most cases, I see no issue with locking down phones bought at a discount on contract.


      I see a problem if they lock you into contract then don’t update your phone.

      • Greg Morgan

        Agree with that. They make you sign a 2 year contract and after 6-8 months your phone is SOL’d…

        • Adam Cox

          there’s a difference. We all want the latest operating system, but as long as they are fixing bugs and/or maintenance updates, they are holding up to their end of the bargain. there’s nothing in the contract that says “we will update to the new OS in a timely matter”.

          Heck, 2 years later the droid 2 is still getting software updates. It may not be ICS or Jellybean but they are at least updating. Most of us were perfectly happy with the phones when we first got the. just because there’s a new OS it doesn’t mean we have any “less of a phone”.

          I think by now we all know when we buy a phone if it will see the next OS based on carrier & manufacture. We also know what phones to get if we want to tinker with it.

          Honestly I have no sympathy for anyone who buys a phone on launch day, then complains about locked bootloaders or lack of updates. wait a few weeks, do your research then buy a phone based on your needs, not because its the new toy on the block.

  • DedliYeti

    Do these companies have an issue with the Galaxy Nexus, which was released with an unlocked bootloader? If the GN made it this far, what is the issue with future phones?
    I personally could not live without an unlocked bootloader and the ability to flash custom ROMS. There are many options provided in a ROM that are not available in the stock AOSP that really enrich and enhance my Android user experience.
    If Verizon doesnt want to release this because it will diminish the tech support experience they can give to these users who DO flash ROMs, then why not make it to where they cannot get tech support if they do decide to unlock and ROM? I would imagine that you could get better help from the community than from tech support.

    • quiklives

      Agreed, though as stated above, there has to be a compromise reached where hardware support/warranty is still available. If my power button stops working or my charging port comes loose, it’s definitely not because I’m running AOKP.

  • sheldoneous

    Here is my question…Verizon has had unlocked devices (of droid, incredible (2), gnex) has any network problems come about? Has their network been compromised? To my knowladge no…so why they keep spouting that BS?

  • Corey Foltman

    and why release a developer version of the S3 on Verizon? It makes no sense.

  • s23

    They simply don’t want o.g. droids running 4.1 (its real) etc.etc.etc..causing delay of the purchase of a new phone on a 2 year contract. Don’t worry big red…I’m sure it will get key lime pie

    • MikeKorby

      1) do you have a mirror for that? 2) Although I see your argument, at a certain point, one cannot live off of the outdated specs on the OG, even if it was possibly the best phone ever made, IMO.

  • The biggest reason that I can think of… people are going to find a way to load custom software anyways. The problem with a locked bootloader is that it makes things harder to recover from when something goes wrong while loading that custom software.

    If the bootloader is unlocked, it’s easy to boot into recovery and flash a stock image or a backup. If the bootloader is locked, it can be a chore getting back into recovery from a bootloop or other software-related issue. Therefore, less long-term issues will arise with an unlocked bootloader because of the ease of “disaster recovery”

  • sc0rch3d

    my #1 reasoning would be…unlocking them allows the open dev community to push a phone to its limits creating the best balance of features and performance THAT SHOULD BE looked at by manufacturers / carriers for future releases. These people should also be hired and allowed the same or similar freedom at that company.

    Another reason would be to sanction a spectrum or subset of users to have a “free for all.” let the phone be unlocked and hacked and network used at will. sometimes giving a little freedom is all we ask for and willing to take the risk of slow performance or device bricking in the process.

  • Immolate

    At my company, we force interns to engage in combat to the death for our entertainment.

    Here is my position: If a carrier such as Verizon can allow any phone on their network with an unlocked boot loader, then any dire predictions of impending doom are demonstrably untrue. If the calamity were going to befall, it would already have befallen.

  • David Hussey

    Carriers and manufacturers should ALWAYS make the assumption that if a user voluntarily unlocks their bootloader, they forfeit all device-related customer service if they run non-stock software. I don’t know a single enthusiast who would complain about that caveat.

    • I know plenty of Android devs that would complain about that. Not all issues are software related. A hardware related failure should still be convered (provided something like overclocking isn’t involved).

      • So why can’t they figure out a solution to track your unlocked phone so that software-related issues are not supported, but if your volume rocker breaks, that you are still covered?

        • David Hussey

          This is what I meant by forfeiting customer service, not the hardware warranty.

        • Could verge on Big-Brother-ism.
          I’ve not had any troubles getting in-store support for my VZW devices. Some rooted, some not.
          Most of the time, the employees can’t tell if it’s rooted or not.
          It’s easy enough to flash back to stock to verify if it’s software or hardware. If hardware, take phone back for repair/replacement still running stock OS/Skin. Done.

        • pepcok

          This is exactly how they should proceed. If I manage to brick my unlocked phone, honestly – I won’t go to the service point asking for a free repair/replacement. In case someone does, the service point should have a note next to the IMEI saying “unlocked BL, let’s provide hardware support and carefully choose which software support to grant”. It will only increase their sales.

          I realize that a company that throws 5-6+ devices onto the market every year is not interested in providing OS updates for all the devices as they want to sell the new ones, but I just won’t accept the fact (example coming) that a device which came to the market late 2011 won’t get ICS while the community already provides JB builds for it. These builds could be even better if they included a proper up-to-date kernel, which currently is blocked via bootloader. For me and I’m sure for many other users, this is a showstopper.

          There are plenty of people who don’t care about community development and will buy the manufacturer’s / service providers’s new devices, but the rest should be allowed to “mess” with their devices and I’m sure that these people would accept losing part of the warranty against gaining access to proper community development work and enjoy the latest and greatest work of the devs.

        • Yep.. no one wants to know they are being tracked for any reason. Plus it would probably cost them more than they would gain.

          • I don’t necessarily mean “track” like they are constantly following your every rooted move. I’m saying provide a tool, that basically checks you off on a list, showing that you decided to void software warranty by unlocking your bootloader.

            Like, Verizon could provide the tool through your account at their site. You download the tool, and agree that by unlocking, you give up your warranty. Then when someone does brick their phone and acts a fool by lying about it to get a replacement, they have it on file that this person is no longer covered.

            I would have no problem agreeing to something like this. I know the risks involved.

          • i like that idea.

    • DedliYeti

      I agree with you here. If you are going as far as unlocking your bootloader and flashing ROMs (most people probably dont even understand what that means), you should understand that tech support will not be on the same level and that more help can be found through the community.

  • JosephMoreno

    Why shouldn’t they is the better question. We pay for devices, most of the time we know what were doing. they say its so customers don’t end there warranty, or break their device. If their attempting to unlock it they know they consequences, it’s highly unlikely they unlocked it on accident.

    • Holy spelling fail Batman…

      • JosephMoreno

        Fixed. Tried to type too fast.

        • Chris Conner

          Really…that’s fixed?

          • Snow02

            Haha. That post is a contraction calamity.

          • droidman101

            Every there, their, they’re, its, and it’s is misused.

        • Oooops, not really.

      • JSIN

        holy who gives a crap Jeremy Terrorist

    • EricRees

      Let me be the devil’s advocate here for the sake of discussion. Say someone unlocks their phone and screws it up without having to fix it, they then throw the phone in the microwave to simulate a defect and demand a return of the phone (I saw a post on the Android reddit about people doing this the other day). In that case does Verizon have room to stand on?

      • Seeing as software can be broken just a bad with the phone encrypted I would say this is just as much of an issue both ways.

        Also seeing as they have yet to find a way to prevent the usual ROM scene on any phone %100 (Or even %50) I would have to say their money and time is better wasted somewhere else.

      • New_Guy

        VZW should deny them service for the future. Intentionally tampering with or otherwise defacing a device for the purpose of defrauding the carrier to gain a new device or implied service should be an immediate breach of contract and the idiot should no longer be allowed on VZW’s network; whether LTE, CDMA, or otherwise.

        Basically: punish the mouth-breathers, not the responsible people.

        • Guest

          How do you know it was intentional?

          • droidman101

            If you put it in a microwave, you are a fraud or the most idiotic person ever born.

      • manaox

        What is the difference when they do have a locked boot loader and the device is permanently borked without warranty and so they try microwaving it? I would argue the locked boot loader actually increases the likelihood of software being able to ruin the device for the consumer in cases like the Galaxy S3 where you are causing extra confusion and frustration leading to risk.

        • quiklives

          Yep, this. Though I never fully hardbricked a device, I had far, far more go wrong on my Droid X than on my Galaxy Nexus. Locking a bootloader doesn’t stop people from messing with it, it just makes it more likely that any mistake will be unrecoverable.

      • rockstar323

        But how many Nexus’s get returned from being hard bricked vs the phones that are locked down? I’d say they see fewer hard bricked Nexus’s than other phones since it’s alot easier to bring it back to life since the bootloader is unlocked.

        • Pedro

          This right here should be the deciding argument.

          Bring a nexus device into VZW help desk, they immediately bring it back to stock. Maybe send WugFresh $1 every time they did. Send you on your way. Charge customer $10, note that customer is unlocked, be done.
          Bring another locked device? Get another device out of the back, spend 30 minutes setting it up with customer. Send bricked device to OEM. Spend moar cash than wanted. Enjoy control.

      • If Verizon was claiming this as the main reason for their policy then they might have some ground to stand on, especially if they had to replace them at their own cost (i.e: the customer didn’t have insurance and the failure was deemed a non-user issue). Personally, between insurance fees and deductibles and the low rate of success for most deliberate sabotage attempts, I don’t think they’re really losing any money to deliberate sabotage.

        Regardless, that whole argument goes out the window when Verizon tries to use the ‘customer experience’ as their primary goal.. as far as I can tell they have yet to prove that someone with an unlocked, rooted, reimaged device has made the service unusable for other customers, and the ones facing the most risk are the ones making changes to their own property.

      • Seth Crain

        But that guy would still do that even with a locked bootloader, and probably at a higher rate. And with unlocked bootloaders, its way easier to fix, rather than pretend it blew up.

      • RW-1

        How is that any different than those who water damage the phone and try to get away with a replacement? I would say that VZ would have a leg, but based upon the users choice to toss it in a microwave instead of coming back to the online knowledge sourse to seek assistance (see below, they didn’t just up and decide to unlock/root without a way to do so)
        Plain and simple, most who think they have bricked their phone really haven’t. And the community is packed full of those who couls get such phones back from supposed brickdom …
        But the truth to counter you Eric, is that where would that someone gain the knowledge to go ahead and unlock and root in the first place? They would have to find it, and I have to say that 99% of those who finally get here or on another blog, BB, etc. Typically chime in and ask questions, or get PM’d support from the community to try it.
        Heck DL itself gives excellent tuitorials for those who may not know what they are doing.
        I agree that you’ll have one person in the scenario, but overall that is such a low percentage to be discarded imho.

  • How about the fact that it’s MY phone and not theirs?

    • Hard to argue with that.

      • True, but as far as the manufacturers and carriers are concerned, it’s not a good enough reason. They’ll argue that it’s their network, and they have the right to know who/what is accessing it.

        I do agree though that it is MY phone, and I should be able to do what I want with it.

        • Chahk Noir

          Seeing how their equipment and lines go through public (and private) property, and how many tax breaks they are getting from the government, I’d challenge how much of the network is actually theirs.

          • touche

          • Overkast

            “You didn’t build that”

          • Chahk Noir


            Well, they didn’t!

        • Then why can you use an unlocked phone on their network? They can’t control that.

          • JoshGroff

            They are not a GSM carrier and a lot of devices aren’t compatible with their frequencies?

        • michael arazan

          How is installing a rom or aokp or something by alfonso, or whatever, by someone who knows how, infringing on Verizons network? The only thing I’ve seen maybe questionable is that people installed google wallet on verizon phones, myself included, so does that mean I can’t have paypal on my phone either, or another banking app ?. I don’t remember signing any agreement saying I can’t do certain things to my phone once I possess ownership of it because its on their network. BTW Verizon leases their network frequencies from the people of the United States.

          • I’m playing devil’s advocate here. Trying to present both sides of the argument, and allow preparation for responses that Verizon may give.

            I agree with you completely. I don’t feel like installing 3rd party software is misusing the network in any way, but that doesn’t mean that Verizon feels the same.

          • Mike

            At least in VZW’s case loading a different bootloader/rom can give you free tethering which at least if you’re on one of their old plans would be $30/month in lost revenue. Now that they’re using the share everything plan the same argument doesn’t really apply.

      • screw_moto

        And if it is unlocked, it should be unlockable once the device reaches its EOL.

        • screw_moto

          Sorry, I meant to write locked, not unlocked in the first part of that sentence

          • Justin Swanson

            We all knew what you meant 😉

        • exactly, my DX is collecting dust when it could be an awesome networked timelapse camera w/ flash. thanks motodicks.

      • Try telling that to Sony and the PS3.

      • PABNJ

        Actually a carriers response to that is we subsidized the cost of the phone, so it is ours. I am with you guys on this one, but I do know how the Big Red Pricks think.

        • Jess B.

          Then they should let any phone bought at full retail be unlocked.

    • portrub

      That’s what I was going to post. You beat me to it.

    • Snow02

      Yep. Plus, the most devout device advocates tend to be tweakers and increasing the likelihood they purchase your device can only help word of mouth sales.

      • quiklives

        This is the major point that stands in my mind – as others have said, the only convincing arguments to companies will be those that make them money, and I think this is relevant to that.

        Those of us who are interested in unlocking and modifying our phones are generally regarded as the resident “phone geeks” to those around us. (Even people like me, who follow guides carefully and lack a deeper understanding of the coding, are considered to be the resident experts by our friends and family who can barely figure out how to text.)

        Naturally, we are the ones that those people come to when considering an upgrade, and our recommendations must surely affect sales. The Galaxy Nexus sold well despite Verizon’s attempts to treat it like a redheaded stepchild and hide it in the back corner of their stores.

        • Justin Swanson

          I bought my GNex because it was unlockable and the custom ROMs available to me. I agree 100%

        • tomn1ce

          When I bought my G-Nexus the rep was trying to get me to buy the D-Razr……. I walked out of the store with the Nexus…

          • quiklives

            I ordered mine and avoided that particular hassle completely, but I’ve been in Verizon stores and watched the employees literally steer people away from the GNex towards the Razr displays or the iphones.

        • PABNJ

          You make a very good point, the only good reasons for unlocking bootloaders in VZW’s mind has to be money motivated. It has to either make them money, or save them money. For starters, enthusiasts such as us are far more less likely to be a drain on their tech support as we usually look else where for a solution to a problem. That is a cost savings. Embracing the enthusiast community will most certainly drive loyalty as we have a tendency to be a loyal crowd, therefore bigger profits. Now here is what VZW can do to have it both ways, sell their phones with a locked bootloader, but have a tool that will unlock it as a download on their site. Can you imagine the money VZW would make if they had a separate enthusiast forum for mods, and tricks. They would then own the Android market, and the losses they take on from the idiot-phone would be eliminated. VZW just needs to think outside the box with some fresh ideas.

    • mrjackson

      It’s not your phone if you’re on contract with it.

      • OhAaron

        My GSIII and I are not on a contract. SO, isn’t it my phone?

        • mrjackson

          Yes. And in that case you should defiantly be able to do what you wish with it, as long as it causes no problems with anything else (network or rf interference)

          • jothen2002

            Maybe if there was a better way to track the warranty issue, such as the manufacturer carrier knowing that you voided the warranty, that way you would take responsibility if anything happened? otherwise I don’t see why the carrier would care.

          • Chris Kloiber

            “qe 0/1” in recovery mode. You were rooted… Now you’re busted. Thank you Motorola/Verizon.

      • The signing of a contract is for service with the carrier for a set time period. If your logic was correct then that would mean, ppl in the middle of their contract could not replace their device with their own equipment until the fulfillment of the contract is done.

        • mrjackson

          The contract is for subsidizing the phone cost. The fact that you are stuck with the carrier is a bonus for them.

          • Michael Schnider

            Subsidized because of all the money your going to give them for the 2 yr “service”…lol

          • Yes we all understand that the phone is subsidized with a signing of a contract. But for the phone to still be “NOT YOUR PHONE” because you signed a contract doesn’t make sense. What’s stopping me after 31 days on a new activation selling the new phone and reactivating a older device. Absolutely nothing. Because i signed a contract that was for service. Getting a phone at a subsidized price is the bonus.

        • Michael Schnider

          I see people all the time saying they renewed there contract and are selling the phone the renewed for because they liked there old phone and sell them on Craigslist. In fact Verizon told me if I ever wanted a new phone to start a new line of service and take the phone I got with the new line and use it on my line….Your agreement is for the service….not the phone.

      • MotoRulz

        Your contract is for the service NOT the device, unless you have a plan that I am not familiar with.

      • marcusmaximus04

        Untrue. If you’re on contract that means that the carrier agreed to pay for part of the phone in exchange for a guaranteed 2 year commitment. It doesn’t entitle them to both that AND ownership of the device.

      • Harbo99

        But even if you are OFF contract you are still paying the EXACT SAME price for the service. There is no reduction in your monthly charges when you have an unsubsidized phone.

        • SolipsisticPsychologist

          Exactly, and this is a huge bullsh!t problem in my mind. I don’t believe I should continue to pay the same price after the contract expires. Plus you have to take into account the people who just bought the phone off contract to begin with from the start, I think they should get a lower monthly fee as compared to a subsidized user from the get go as well. Money hungry people will never understand things like ethics and reason, and morals, greed blocks everything.

    • As long as you’re willing to void your warranty by doing so I’ve got no problem with the argument. While I agree that yes it is your device, there are limitations of the hardware. Unfortunately software changes can cause hardware issues when overclocking, modifying radios, etc. This to me should be the requirement for unlocked bootloaders from the vendors/mfgs and many of us would gladly accept it (either that or a higher cost insurance alternative).

      • KleenDroid

        What issues are you speaking of? You can relock your phone and go back to stock if you want your warranty back…

        • Captain_Doug

          crazy how most people don’t know that. I think that is most everyones first question. “Can I undo this?” Your warranty is only voided if they find out.

          • KleenDroid

            Nobody would be dumb enough to take a phone in for service while rooted and rommed. It only takes a few minutes to return to stock and relock the bootloader.

          • MrC1122

            you would be amazed @ how many ppl do that…lol

          • MrC1122

            your warranty is only voided if they canprove that rooting or unlocking caused whatever damage or malfunction you are experiencing…i digress.

          • BroRob

            It can also “accidentally” fall in the pool/tub.

          • Captain_Doug

            That’s if you have insurance. The original warranty usually only covers stuff software glitches or some hardware lemons. An outside source that breaks or damages it isn’t covered.

        • 4n1m4L

          Ya, but if the issues are resulted from something gone wrong in your hacking they don’t want to cover it. Nexus one was permenantly unlocked so the manufacturer could avoid suck claims

          • KleenDroid

            I think you are confused. The Nexus can be relocked easily . It is very easy to return to a fully stock state even after problems. Real problems are very far and few between. The problem is many don’t know what they are doing.

        • The problem is if you’ve fried something critical, making it impossible for you to return to stock (ie I managed to cook the connection to the screen from turning off the thermal governor). If you’re able to get back to stock, that means it’s completely fixable on your own.

      • I’d be willing to trade the warranty. Worst case, smash it and pay your deductible. Although, bricked devices are rare nowadays.

  • kaufkin

    I’d Love to see the Panda’s Wisdom in this discussion. (Subtle hint to Mods)