There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the bootloader of the Droid X, and more specifically, whether the ‘eFuse’ will render your phone inoperable if you choose to replace the boot loader.
If you’re not up to speed with the story, it all started with this post a few days ago on MyDroidWorld, which claims that the Droid X boot loader is fitted with eFuse technology, which can physically brick the phone if you try to alter the boot loader in any way. Altering the boot loader is needed to install a custom recovery, which is then capable of doing full Nandroid backups and restores, as well as allows for installing custom ROMs.
After much discussion, Engadget reached out to Motorola for a comment on the issue, and got the following response.
Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner and legal requirements.
The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software.
If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed.
Checking for a valid software configuration is a common practice within the industry to protect the user against potential malicious software threats.
Motorola has been a long time advocate of open platforms and provides a number of resources to developers to foster the ecosystem including tools and access to devices via MOTODEV at http://developer.motorola.com.
What does this mean for the user? It means that in a sense, the speculation was right, although your situation won’t be as dire as the post on MyDroidWorld made it out to be. If you try to alter the boot loader, the phone will not boot until the approved boot loader is re-installed. This is certainly better than permanently bricking your phone, but it’s still a major annoyance for those of us who want to customize the phone.
In short: yes, you will be safe - Motorola is only using eFuse to make sure their stock OS is the only one that is allowed to run.
Hopefully, someone in the Android community will be able to find a way around this. As far as I’m concerned, when I buy a phone, I own it. If I own it, it’s mine to do whatever I like with, and that includes putting whatever version of the OS I want on it. Android is all about openness, remember, Moto?