03
Aug
android-wrench

Earlier this month HTC released details about their roll-out plans for its bootloader unlock process and the devices that would be supported. Today, in answer to some of the questions posed by HTC’s Facebook fans, HTC released an update on how the bootloader unlocking process will actually work and why HTC’s newest phones are still shipping with a locked bootloader.

As mentioned in their earlier post, HTC is continuing to make every effort to release OTA software updates within the month to enable unlocking of the HTC Sensation followed soon by the HTC Sensation 4G and the HTC EVO 3D. However, HTC has clarified that because an unlocked bootloader provides "extensive control over the device and modifications may cause operation, security and experience issues," new phones released by HTC will have their bootloader locked (this is actually a good thing, so long as a method for unlocking it is provided, but keep reading).

If a competent user wishes to take the drastic step and unlock the bootloader, HTC will support this by way of a "web-based tool," launching later this month:

The Web tool … requires that you register an account with a valid e-mail address and accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty. Then plug in your phone to a computer with the Android SDK loaded to retrieve a device identifier token, which you can then enter into the Web tool to receive a unique unlock key via e-mail. Finally, apply the key to your device and unlocking will be initiated on your phone.

In essence, all HTC devices will ship with locked bootloaders which will be unlockable (fully supported by HTC) using the web-based tool. Existing phones will need an OTA update in order to gain this "unlockability" - as expected, they won't just suddenly all get unlocked automatically.

Since we are already in August, it is anyone’s guess as to precisely when HTC will roll-out the OTA update unlocking the bootloader and the web-based tool to complete the process.

Here is the updated statement from HTC on Facebook:

**UPDATE 8/3/2011**

Since our last update, many of you have asked how the bootloader unlocking process will actually work, and in particular why HTC's most recently released devices still have a locked bootloader. Rest assured we're making progress toward our goal to roll out the first software updates in August to support unlocking for the global HTC Sensation, followed soon by the HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile and the HTC EVO 3D on Sprint. Because unlocking the bootloader provides extensive control over the device and modifications may cause operation, security and experience issues, new devices will continue to ship locked but will support user-initiated unlocking using a new Web-based tool.

So how will this work? The Web tool, which will launch this month, requires that you register an account with a valid e-mail address and accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty. Then plug in your phone to a computer with the Android SDK loaded to retrieve a device identifier token, which you can then enter into the Web tool to receive a unique unlock key via e-mail. Finally, apply the key to your device and unlocking will be initiated on your phone.

We're excited to bring bootloader unlocking to developers and enthusiasts, and we feel this new Web tool will meet your needs and continue to provide customers with the best experience. Thanks to the community for supporting these efforts!

Source: Facebook

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • Rudy

    I knew there was a catch

    • jgalan14

      Well they actually the first OEM to this so im surprise that they even doing it :D

      • miha

        What about SE??

  • LAmDroid

    much respect.
    I agree w continuing to ship them locked. Im surprised the Unlock method is that easy. There should be at least a 20 question brainteaser to answer correctly before being allowed to unlock. OK, maybe a Root/Unlock related questionaire so at least it ensures ppl kno the basics of what they're getting themselves into.

  • http://ukstokes.com/blog ben

    So in other words, if you unlock your bootloader via the web based tool, HTC will know about it and can later use that as a basis to refuse to repair it under warranty. Personally I would still go the Alpharev route and install a hacked bootloader. That way if the worst does happen and you brick your phone, at least HTC has no record of you tinkering with it.

    • Josh

      The whole point of this though is that it voids your warranty and always has. Now they just have proof that you voided it. If you brick your phone because of a mistake playing with it, fully knowing the risk, you should shoulder the blame, not HTC or your carrier.

      I look at this as the best case scenario. We get the freedom we want, while they get their ass covered. Everybody wins.

  • Rincewind

    Any idea if it will work with models such as the Aria (Liberty) and older stuff?

  • JBO

    I think that the way they word it as "all or part of your warranty" means they still fully intend to honor warranties for known hardware defects on unlocked phones. So I think that's better than a blanket statement of "it voids your warranty in full period end of story"

  • Aleksa

    What about HTC Wildfire s? Will it get it's bootloader unlock? PLEASE ANSWER! :D

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