In a response to the FCC following a formal complaint, Verizon Wireless has outlined the company’s policy on locked bootloaders. An irate Droid-Life reader became fed up with the carrier’s consistent locking of bootloaders on its flagship devices and decided to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The reader claimed Verizon’s policy was in violation of the “Block C license,” an agreement the company made when it purchased its 700MHz LTE spectrum. Within the agreement, it is stated that Verizon should not be allowed to “lock a phone,” which many interpreted as a statement that should include a phone’s bootloader. Read on for more and a copy of Verizon’s letter. More →
Throughout the years, numerous companies have made the decision to lock the bootloader on a smartphone or tablet, making it impossible for savvy users to run custom kernels and have complete control of the device. The Android community is perhaps one of the most vocal user bases in the world when it comes to the practice of locking bootloaders. When HTC and ASUS began to lock their bootloaders, thousands of users took to social networks and had the decisions overturned. Motorola began locking the bootloader with the company’s DROID X and DROID 2 smartphones in the Spring of 2010. Since then, users have bombarded the company with petitions, emails, posts and comments in an attempt to overturn the policy… and it worked, somewhat. Motorola announced that with carrier approval, it would begin to unlock devices in the later part of 2011. However, unlike HTC, Motorola caved to the carriers and devices such as the DROID RAZR were released locked with no unlocking tool having been made available. Users at XDA-Developers are at it again with “OPERATION: Make Ourselves Heard (#OPMOSH),” a movement to have Motorola’s policy reversed. Similar to the methods used towards HTC and ASUS, users are encouraged to email company executives, sign petitions and let their voices be heard through social networks. It remains to be seen if users’ efforts will pay off, however. More →
ASUS took to its Facebook page on Tuesday to ease tensions from an increasing number of customers unhappy with the locked bootloader on the quad-core Transformer Prime tablet. The company also confirmed that it will begin rolling out an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update on January 12th. It was reported yesterday that the highly-anticipated Eee Pad Transformer Prime featured a locked and encrypted bootloader, making it impossible to flash custom ROMs and kernels. Irate customers took to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and voiced their opinions. The company announced that it is working on a bootloader unlocking tool, however with an unlocked bootloader comes consequences; Google video rentals will be unavailable and the ASUS warranty will be voided for unlocked devices. ASUS’s full statement follows below.
After its announcement, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime became one of the most anticipated devices of 2011. The tablet was the first to feature NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core chipset and built upon the success of ASUS’ previous tablet. After suffering from Wi-Fi connection issues, numerous delays and a newly discovered GPS bug, an xda developer forum member discovered that ASUS locked and encrypted the Prime’s bootloader. The tablet’s bootloader features 128bit AES encryption, making it impossible to flash custom ROMs and kernels. In the past, carriers have requested that devices on the company’s network be locked, however, the Prime is a Wi-Fi only device, leading consumers to wonder why it has been locked. Previously, HTC used a similar method of locking their devices but abandoned the practice after customer outrage. More →