It was inevitable that the question is the bootloader locked? would pop up within minutes of Moto's RAZR announcement. The answer should come as a shocker to no one: Yes. According to Moto's Twitter, the bootloader will indeed be locked. It's not necessarily Motorola's choice, though, as the tweet specifically states that "the bootloader was locked per the carrier" Oh snap -- it was all Verizon's fault.

2011-10-18 13h29_03

What does this mean for future Big Red devices? Who knows -- perhaps they'll be putting the smack down on manufactures moving forward. Then again, that statement may be Moto trying to dodge a few bullets. I guess only time will tell.

[via Reddit]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • notsuprised

    what a suprise!

  • L boogie

    Hmmm, when did Verizon initiate locked bootloader policy? Was expecting the usual Motorola shenanigans, but this? Something's definitely not right with this scenario.

    • Jim

      It’s all about control. You see, as consumers when we pony up the $300 they’re asking, we think the phone we are buying is ours to do with as we wish. From Verizon’s view point, we are coughing up $300 for the privilege of having one of their revenue generating units over which they have control. A locked boot loader means you can’t remove their revenue generating bloatware. It also means you can’t tether without paying for a farcical service.

      • Rhayader

        That's not entirely true though -- even for devices shipped with "locked" bootloaders, the modding community is great at finding ways to unlock it. I know from experience -- I have a Droid Incredible 2, which shipped with a locked bootloader. Thanks to the Revolutionary tool developed by the awesome Android modding community, I was able to achieve S-Off (in other words, unlock the bootloader) and then root.

        A locked bootloader is a hurdle, but not an insurmountable one. For any popular device, hackers immediately get to work on finding ways to circumnavigate any obstacles put up by the manufacturer and/or carrier.

  • Deltaechoe

    And this sirs, is why you should always get a Google experience phone

  • Heywud Jooblowmeh

    As per "unnamed source within Motorola"
    Article dated April:
    Confirmation: Motorola to unlock bootloaders for future Android devices
    "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."

    I guess you can blame Verizon for this.

    • Deltaechoe

      I don't know if that's entirely true considering that Verizon has let the xoom on their network. This goes to show that Verizon will make exceptions to their policy of not supporting unlocked devices if pushed hard enough. I would say the blame lies with both motorola and Verizon

  • Darkseider

    Locked bootloader on a device like this screams FAIL. Before it is even released it is DOA to device like the G2X, Sensation, Nexus Prime, GS2, Vigor and Amaze. All offer equal or superior specs and performance but most off the ability to do with the device as you see fit. Moto had a HUGE hit with the OG Droid and have since completely dropped the ball since. Ooh well...

  • Zach

    Guidelines? What guidelines? There are many Android devices out there with unlockable/unlocked bootloaders, and we don't hear about any additional problems with security or "safety". Sounds like a load of BS to me.

  • lazyboy0172

    really cutting it close with that "late 2011" timeframe, aren't ya moto?

  • sgtguthrie

    Nice... MOTOROLA locks them down, and htc doesn't release kernel source in accordance with the GPL. Both are major fails! My next device will likely be from Sammy...

  • redd

    If its really 'Verizon's doing, what if they try to lock the galaxy nexus. I don't think it would happen but just a thought.

  • Jim

    An expensive phone on an overpriced network with restrictive boot loader policy. I'll pass.

  • imhavingsexwithmyiphone

    WHAT!!!! Im leaving verizon and droid. im gonna get an iphone from sprint and have them shove an apple in my butt as well

    • sgtguthrie

      Oh... Well that makes perfect sense. Apple phones are more locked down than any android phone, and sprint's coverage area sucks! Enjoy genius... LMFAO!!!

  • Deltaechoe

    You realize that all the major providers are starting to move toward Verizon policies slowly

  • Rhayader

    Since when is a locked bootloader a real issue? Isn't it likely that the modding community will fairly quickly find a way around that?

    • IamBeast

      A locked bootloader makes custom ROMs not run as well as an unlocked bootloader. The custom roms such as Apex RC3 and Liberty Gingerbread for the Droid X for example run a lot more slowly than Cyanogenmod 7 and it IS noticeable. The flipside is that CM7 is extremely buggy. CM7 was released for the Droid X back in the middle of June and it has yet to be any less buggy than it was since it was released day 1. None of the blur rooms are any faster either.

      • Rhayader

        That makes no sense. With a locked bootloader, installing custom ROMs is impossible, because the user cannot install a custom recovery module (which is the first step in rooting, no matter what the device). To root, the bootloader must be unlocked to begin with, or the modding community must find a way to unlock it (like what AlphaRevX has done).

        The level of performance and amount of bugs you see with any particular ROM is simply a function of your device's hardware capabilities and the software being run. How a given ROM performs has nothing to do with whether a phone shipped with a locked or unlocked bootloader.

        • Steve

          Wrong...but good try (no, I'm lying, it wasn't a good try). I have a Droid X, which has a locked bootloader. And yes, I'm running a custom ROM (MIUI). How, you ask? Magic. (I'm not getting into the details, just suffice to say you're wrong.)

        • Rhayader

          Right, I didn't realize that having a locked bootloader meant something different with a motorola than an HTC. Which I said below yesterday, in reply to sgtguthrie -- who was actually polite about pointing out the difference. But yeah you get a gold star, my "try" was "wrong".

  • PWRuser

    Bullshit, none of the 3 Samsung phones on Verizon have locked bootloaders. Fuck you Moto!

  • sgtguthrie

    I see a lot of confusion about locked bootloaders here. What htc does is lock bootloaders, however they can be unlocked by a number of mechanisms depending on the device.

    Motorola locks them, AND encrypts them. What that encryption does is make it impossible to fully unlock the device. The development community has found a way around it for some purposes such as a customer recovery. You can't change the KERNEL OR RADIOS though. This is why cm4dx etc is so buggy.

    This is why (in my opinion) we as a community should boycott MOTOROLA until they make all their bootloaders unlockable! I for one, refuse to buy a device that can't be fully unlocked by me, THE OWNER OF MY DEVICE I PAID FOR! WAKE UP MOTOROLA!!!!!

    • Rhayader

      Ahh, ok, yeah that makes a big difference -- thanks for clearing that up. Also, yeah that really sucks. I never liked the feel of Moto phones anyway, so I've always stayed away from them. But clearly anybody concerned with having true device ownership should avoid Moto.

  • Anon

    This is why I switched to Sprint from Verizon.
    Screw Verizon - get your hands out of my pocket.
    This is why I'm switching to Sammy.

    To what extent can this be blamed on Google? Are they in charge of Moto yet?
    I'm scared this is a policy shift on goog's part? Am I too cynical to doubt that goog will release the source to Ice cream sandwhich?

    • sgtguthrie

      Why yes, you are. Google already said they'll be releasing the ics source. They just usually don't do it until the nexus phone launches. As for switching to sprint, by the end of your first contract they'll likely have many of the same policies as vzw and at&t. Your coverage or data speed just won't be as good as it was with vzw.

      This situation, to me seems more like moto trying to shift the blame. Though I'm sure vzw prefers locked bootloaders, they can't make oem's lock em up. Samsung doesn't lock theirs at all.