26
May
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Ladies and gentlemen, minutes ago HTC announced that they have been listening to us all along and will reverse their stance on locking bootloaders! The statement comes directly from the CEO Peter Chou and reads:

There has been overwhelmingly customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we've listened.

Today, I'm confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience," Peter Chou, CEO of HTC

Devices with locked bootloaders can still be rooted and usually partially unlocked. They could even enjoy custom ROMs (see the Droid X ROM community), but because the system kernel cannot be replaced, these ROMs cannot be considered complete - they can change things on the surface but not under the hood. For example, CyanogenMod, the largest custom Android ROM, requires devices with unlocked bootloaders because it uses a custom kernel.

All devices HTC produced recently came with locked bootloaders of various complexities - the Incredible S/2, the EVO 3D, the Sensation and Sensation 4G, etc., even all the way back to the EVO 4G. Smart hackers were able to crack most of them, most notably the Thunderbolt recently, but some still remain undefeated to this day (Incredible S/2).

This made a lot of users quite unhappy to the point of starting vocal campaigns to get HTC to change their ways. Many vowed to boycott HTC devices until the company comes to its senses.

There is no word yet whether this new position would mean the HTC Sensation and EVO 3D would start shipping unlocked or whether existing devices would get updates unlocking them retroactively, but the message HTC sent to the Android community is loud and clear - "We're back, baby!"

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Congratulations to everyone who fought the good fight - victory is ours today. Now if only Motorola followed next...

Source: HTC on Facebook

Quietly Listening image via @FormerlyUncool

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Telanis

    That's sexy as hell.

  • Nick

    Hell YES!!!!!!!!!!

  • mskks64

    AMAZING! now we need Moto to!

  • Jbonics

    Hats off to htc you guys rock. Htc here I come

  • Jon

    This is so exciting!

  • dougefresh

    Awesome, HTC. Save the Sensation. I will so buy that phone.

  • feedDunk

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

  • Android Ninja 4

    This is amazing, im so glad HTC is an actual respectable company that listened and is making sure they are focusing on there customers more and not just making money. I know that i personally wrote to HTC about them locking the bootloaders, and this just makes me feel like i got something done. Thank you HTC for caring about your customers and not just making money.

  • Ron H in Schenectady

    I'm really amazed that they listened AND responded positively to our requests. Looks like I'll be sticking with HTC!
    Incredible > Thunderbolt > ?

  • Arunasena

    Community POWER!!!

  • Elias

    Well... A few hours ago, I was just proposing some sort of boycott to htc products until they figured out we don't want locked up phones. But I guess it's not necessary anymore. Welcome back to the game, htc. :-D

  • Skillit

    One sweet day for Android.

  • Al McDowall

    Hey Guys, you know I love AndroidPolice and over the last couple of days, I've seen the signs of the weight these pages carry, which is good to see.

    However, I think your reporting of this turnaround by HTC might benefit from a little more humility or generosity.

    While I appreciate the fact that ideally they wouldn't have locked down the bootloaders in the first place, the fact that they took notice of the comments levelled at them and changed their policy says a great deal about them as a company.

    I just think that rather than lording it over them ('Victory is ours..' 'Those of you who fought the good fight...' ) it might be more fitting to recognise their openness.

    Maybe I'm in the minority! Anyway, great work as always guys - and my thanks to HTC for ensuring that my next phone will be one of theirs again (third in a row)

    • Kane

      If it weren't for all the buzz, complaining, writing of emails, phone calls, petitions, websites, and everything we as a community did to fight this, do you really think HTC would have done this?

      The only reason they've reconsidered is because they were getting flooded in bad press, while its competitors, such as Samsung, continued to keep their devices unlockable. Sure, I'll give HTC credit - they've moved pretty damn fast with this decision and aren't as stubborn as Motorola, but they're still not all as altruistic as you are making it out to be.

      • Al McDowall

        Hi Kane,

        No, I totally understand that this change of mind is due to public pressure. I guess it's a bit like when you beat someone in a game. You can either commend them for playing well, or scream 'You SUCK!'.

        Obviously, that's an exaggeration but I guess I'm more commend-y than scream-y :)

        • Edd

          Kind of agree. All I want to do is say a massive and heart-felt thanks to HTC, and not gloat. Love you also tho, AndroidPolice!

  • Kane

    I really want to know how far back they will go with this decision, especially with the EVO 3D/Sensation.

  • Jaymoon

    Guess I'll be getting a EVO 3D after all...

  • syncope82

    HTC EVO still may be screwed....motorola has still yet to unlock droid 2 and droid x..and it's been MONTHSS since their announcement and fiasco

  • Rizoh66

    Thank you for not making me go with Samsung!!!

  • Pat

    This is a great day for HTC and Android
    Moto did not make such a strong statement
    It will still take some time to work out but I have high expectations for the Sensation 4G

  • Josh H

    I think that the fact they responded to this and changed their policy in basically 3 days is a very good sign that the Evo 3d and sensation will be unlocked rather quickly. Motorola's response was b.s. they added the part about unlocking "where carriers allow it" which to me means "were going to keep em locked.. but blame someone else"

  • Dan

    Well... now maybe HTC could start to update the Desire to Gingerbread or for example repair their Peep App that is broken since March...

    I love the HTC phones but I'm not as content with their services anymore

  • L boogie

    Now ship those new bad boys out with the unlocked bootloaders, HTC I'm ready to have fun with the sensation 4g/ evo 3D though they will never see the light of day on verizon... Glad to see that the community as well as HTC came through to make Android much more enjoyable

  • L boogie

    HTC; quietly making more Sense

  • MrBlack

    My first (and only) Android phone has been HTC, and I fell in love right away with the quality of the hardware. Glad to see that they'll be supporting devs and all of us who want our phones to truly be ours. They've kept my business for sure.

  • Crunchy

    I've got an HTC Wildfire - don't laugh it is my first "smartphone" and I had read that the desire gobbled up your battery...now I'm not so sure I should've forgone the extra "horsepower"...anyways i'll upgrade soon.

    Question: I've read alot of comments about the market place and google etc but what about sites like get-jar?

    I had seen, on CNN i think, a report talking about angry birds, which my Wife wanted, and D/L'd from there. It works fine but I have to power the screen off then on to make it start...is it something malicious?

    Thanks for your replies....you catz seem knowledgeable...more than I am anyways. I feel bad for bothering my brother in law (he's a tekki) for every little nuance of my tech-life:)

  • karim

    Awesome to see the power of the community prevail. Im trying to get the same thing done for the acer a 500 and acres locked bootloader policy!

  • JayMonster

    Someone pass the salt so i can east my words. I must admit i am thrilled, but associated that HTC not only reversed course but how quickly. Makes me wonder how true the excuse of carrier pressure really was, because if VZW really wanted and expects locked devices i would think it would have taken a lot more to get them to change course.

    • Matt

      vzw wants to drink your soul, and htc finally told them to go chomp a cock. FACT: if Terminator hadn't come out, the VZW company name was going to be skynet. HTC was probably listening to all the bad press motorola was getting for locking their stuff down then got an ultimatum from skynet and at first agreed but didnt want to and after customer outcry decided to ditch the dark side.

  • Honu

    HTC knows where their interest is...
    I will never buy an unlockable device... simply has that, i thing a lot of people that are buying Android would do the same... Android OS attract différent people than iOS.. tweaking, updating, looking under the hood is part of our pleasure..

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      "I will never buy an unlockable device" - you surely mean the opposite.

  • Jim

    Wonder how the phone carriers will find a way to make this a moot point & them locking it down however they do it instead

    Phone carriers aren't afraid to screw us over

  • matt

    Dont think for sec sprint wasnt involved. Sprint by far gives dev stuff a chance. They favor our side more times than not most time. Unlimit data, tethering all stuff with google. Give it rest hollywood isnt playing on this piracy stuff. No movies streamed if rooted and nfc dunno what will happen there. I be honest...im not sure i wanna flash risky stuff to my bank account lol. Some things u just dont put in same pile. Porn and wifes family wedding,graduations,holiday movies do NOT belong in same box. Not even same tv or player unless you wanna good cussing. Then again nexus is one bringing so who knows. Google dont give damn lol if they can get by with it they give it go. They know they will be sued but if its possible they give damn.

    • number1

      what did i just read?

  • jyan

    There are a few folks that got emails back from Peter's email address saying it is going to be unlocked for the EVO 3D

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1098270&page=7

  • GergS

    HTC is back in the running for my next phone... although that is probably another year away :P

    G1 -> N1 -> G2 -> ???

  • Taubin

    I guess my next phone WILL be an HTC phone after all. Good on ya HTC

  • Daniel Greer

    Damn glad to see this. It's been a good week so far for Sprint's customers and Android as well. Sprint seems to be relenting on their stance of not grandfathering in the one year upgrade for people who were Gold Premier customers, but got shafted when they changed their qualifications. This was good to hear, but basically a moot point, since the only upcoming phone they were going to have(Evo 3D), that I was interested in, was going to have a signed bootloader. Things are looking up quite a bit after this news from HTC. Just keeping my fingers crossed that the Evo 3D doesn't get overlooked. I have yet to see anything confirming that existing phones or any that are slated for near-term release will benefit from this reversal. I'm not a developer, so I don't have any real idea what would be involved in modifying software from a signed condition to an open one. Is it a simple matter of applying the key and BAM, you're done? Or is it as complex as having to rewrite portions of the actual code? Here's hoping for an easy fix, because the new Evo is one sweet device that I definitely want to get my hands on!

  • RyuKen

    Thanks HTC, you guys are listeners and open to feedback. I already preordered thru Sprint Store. I will get the gold version of the EVO 3D. (just to let u guys know there is a gold ribbon version).

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Yup, red and gold versions indeed.

      • RyuKen

        Will do u guys like red or gold?
        Please elaborate...

        Will gold is:
        color of boullions
        beautiful
        precious
        etc.

        Will red is:
        good luck
        bloody
        colorful
        etc.

  • RyuKen

    Just wanted to mention that recent tests on Gingerbread 2.3.3 is vulnerable to attack when using Google Sync, Picasa, etc. Does any one know if Sprint or HTC will use Gingerbread 2.3.4 (which fixes this bug) in the new EVO 3D? This would be better or else clients would have to update the version. Please help if u could give feedback on this matter.

  • mjones

    Wow - unreal. I didn't really think they would do it. I think the #1 thing on most people's list is to have an unlocked device. This would have been a death blow to HTC & I am glad to see they reversed course.

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