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Last Updated: April 27th, 2011

Motorola has had a dark past when it comes to bootloaders. Apart from a couple exceptions (most notably, the XOOM), all of the major Motorola devices have had locked bootloaders, and thus, Android customization enthusiasts have been shut out from such tweaks as custom kernels.

Recently, there has been quite an outcry directed at Motorola and their bootloader policy, in the form of petitions and hijacked polls, and it looks like they have heard users' requests. In response to questions from Irwin Proud, the man behind the petition, Motorola has indicated that they plan on changing their tune.

“In terms of your question – we completely understand the operator requirement for security to the end user, and as well, want to support the developer communities desire to use these products as a development platform.  It is our intention to enable the unlockable/relockable bootloader currently found on Motorola XOOM across our portfolio of devices starting in late 2011, where carriers and operators will allow it.”

*Hold for applause* Yes, it looks like the company notorious for their developer-unfriendly attitude has heard the requests of the Android community and is ready to embrace handset freedom. There is one major caveat in their statement however, and it is a big one. "Where carriers and operators will allow it" basically means that the devices that are fully open depend on whether the carriers want such devices on their networks. Given that they are the ones who benefit from reduced service costs of fewer bricked devices, kickbacks from bloatware partnerships, and tethering plans, it seems unlikely that carriers are going to support this move by Motorola.

Nonetheless, in a time where the current developer-friendly manufacturer, HTC, is starting to show signs that its devices will be getting increasingly restricted, it's nice to see an attitude shift from Motorola.

via DroidLife

Zak Stinson
Zak is a neuroscience student residing in the bread basket of Canada. When not reading or writing Android news, he has been known to partake in dangerous backyard science experiments he is nowhere near qualified to perform. He also loves Thai food.

  • David

    Maybe that Facebook poll actually accomplished something here. I'm just hoping the carriers go through a similar customer listening experience before this comes to light.

  • steve

    Their language is pretty vague too, the way they have it worded could mean either only starting with their portfolio of devices launched in late 2011 or releasing the "solution" for their existing portfolio in late 2011...

  • crazy4xoom

    But Xoom Wifi does not need carriers so whats the big deal.

    • dont bother

      it isnt only about the xoom...are you paying attention? sheesh

  • j

    too late i'm getting a galaxy s2

  • sgtguthrie

    Well, if they do start this in late 2011 and VZW will allow them to, that could possibly bring me back to Motorola when my Thunderbolt needs replaced. I guess we'll see! I personally will believe it when I see it!!!

  • Grayson

    Oh really? Hmm, doesn't seem to be working out so well for the 2011 Motorola Atrix.

  • Shaneaus

    If it turns out to be true - I'll stand up and applaud Moto! I have learned to like the hardware of my Dx. An unlockable bootloader would have made me very happy with the device.

    We'll see what the carriers allow!

  • Gwartan

    Don't think any of the major carriers will allow it. But if one does they will get my business.

    • cosmic

      Sprint and T-mobile likely will. At&t and Verizon on the other hand will likely hold out. That said if samsung holds true to not locking bootloaders then the only reason Motorola would have for locking it is the money carriers throw at them for it.

  • TareX

    This announcement actually made me more pessimistic.... "Late 2011"? "Should carriers allow it"???

    Epic fail. I will be carrying the next Nexus by late 2011.

  • http://pandroid.mobi Dirk

    Just don't buy your phone from an operator.

    Problem solved.

    I am sure over here in Europe every operator will have the unlockable version.

    • NoHombreNo

      If you meant the "impossible to unlock" version, I agree...

  • Asphyx

    While I am happy they are going to release unlocked devices in the future I still would prefer they unlock the ones that are already out there.

    Why not give benefit to your current customers before your future ones?

    As for the carrier allowance thing they could easily solve the whole issue by leaking a key to the dev community and claim they know nothing about it!

    Whats Verizon going to do stop carrying their phones? Doubtful!