Over the weekend, we found out about Moto's upcoming dev-friendly version of the RAZR, its first device with an unlockable bootloader. What we didn't have, however, were any details about how the unlock process would work, how it would affect the warranty, and so on. Moto has now posted the details answering many of those exactly questions, and there's one thing for sure - it doesn't look like it's going to be as good as it sounds.

How it will work

Since this is a developer device, the process will be the exact same as the Nexus devices. It looks a little something like this (requires ADB):

  • Reboot into Fastboot Flash Mode by holding power+volume down.
  • Plug the phone to your computer via USB.
  • Open the command prompt and type "fastboot oem unlock"
  • You'll see a warning on your device - navigate to 'unlock' and hit the volume up key.
  • Reboot.
  • ???
  • Profit

It's about as simple as it gets. The fun part apparently ends there, though.

What does this mean for existing devices?

Honestly, not much. Months ago Moto promised a bootloader unlock tool for current devices, but hasn't yet delivered on that, and it looks like that's not changing any time soon.

The Warranty

The warranty is, simply put, non-existent. And we're not talking about the normal "if you unlock your device, it voids the warranty" crap, either - Motorola doesn't even offer a warranty on the dev RAZR. That means if you get a device that's DOA or end up with some faulty hardware, you're just out of luck.

That is the worst warranty policy that we've ever heard. Of all time. It's absurd. It's as if they assume that every dev RAZR sold will eventually be unlocked, therefore no warranty is necessary. Ridiculous.

Final Thoughts

It seems that Motorola is trying to give the users what we want - it's just not doing a very good job of executing the plan. HTC answered the uproar against locked bootloaders by creating a method to unlock most all of its devices, not by offering one unlock-able device. Not only that, if you choose not to unlock an HTC handset, you still have a warranty.

It's clear that Motorola is making strides to do the right thing, but it's doing so in all the wrong ways.

For questions about Moto's bootloaders, you can check out the MotoDev bootloader forum.

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.

  • jonathan3579

    You probably meant policy and not police in the last paragraph of the warranty section...unless there's some sort of pun there?
    At any rate, this is just stupid. I don't consider this a step in the right direction at all.

    • Cameron Summerson

      lol, yeah, I totally meant 'policy'. I type Police quite often, so that was habit. Nice catch. ;)

      • jonathan3579

        Haha, I assumed as much. :)

  • Manuel

    Not covering hardware faults is just silly and quite unfair.

    • WillieD

      Its also a great way to ensure Motorola has not only lower sales by offering phone without warranty but also to get those with faulty equipment to never use Motorola again, leaving them with substandard hardware reviews, further lowered sales and less reason to stay in business. Google needs to act fast.

  • Mike H

    It seems to me that Motorola is shooting itself in an already bandaged foot. We are a community. HTC & Samsung realized that brand loyalty is much more lucrative.

  • Hotmann

    "It's clear that Motorola is making strides to do the right thing, but it's doing so in all the wrong ways."

    I disagree...They want us to shut up about bootloaders so they offer up a phone with an unlockable bootloader...with absolutely no warranty to speak of.

    What this says to me is that the only relationship they care about is the one between them and the carriers, they don't care about the customers at all. This is purely a half assed attempt to get us off their backs for a while.

  • iammodo

    To.me it just seems a great way to sell of faulty stock.
    Any slightly faulty part you complain about answer could be.
    its a dev device not a daily phone.

  • Ron Amadeo

    Don't many (state?) laws guarantee you some kind of warranty?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      Consumer Rights laws exist in all states which basically ensure you can't sell falsely advertised or clearly malfunctioning products without a way for them to either be repaired (at no cost to buyer) or returned for full refund. Each state differs quite a bit in implementation though. Some states absolutely require an included warranty on certain types of products, which I believe this would probably be included. I don't live in the UK, but I know I've read in the past that there is a law requiring some very long grace period for being able to return faulty or flawed products to the original manufacturer...I feel like the grace period was measured in years. Anybody here know?

      Pretty sure this will be the single least purchased phone from any of the major manufacturers...ever

  • Mark

    Well, it actually is a pretty good assumption that every single one of these devices will be unlocked. Why else would the buyer go through the extra trouble of getting one? With that said, having NO warranty, even in the case of a DOA device, is just plain stupid.

  • andre

    Wow! Utter fail.

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com PixelSlave

    >> That is the worst warranty policy that we've ever heard. Of all time. It's absurd. It's as if they assume that every dev RAZR sold will eventually be unlocked, therefore no warranty is necessary. Ridiculous.

    Someone with background in law may want to weigh in -- I don't think it's even possible in some countries or states to sell something w/o some form of warranty.

    As for DOA -- your retailer should be able to offer some forms of full refund/exchange policy.

    Some credit cards also offer refund even if your retailer declines your return.

    Anyone, whoever thought Google is buying Motorola for its experience in dealing with "consumers" need their brain checked.

  • PeterP

    So they want to sell it in Europe? in the EC countries??? I don't think they can sell it without warranty, it would be against the law.. any lawyer please correct me if I'm wrong (but I don't think I am ;) )

  • VaKo

    In the UK the law is pretty strict on faulty goods, http://goo.gl/KlP8R for an overview. And the UK is towards the low end when you compare it to other EU nations. Legally, if it was DOA then not only would you be able to sue them, you would also be able to set your credit card people on them. I suspect they are violating EU law here or they don't mean that you have no warranty at all, just that software errors (like a bricked device) aren't covered.

  • Arsalan

    Wait, you still have a warranty is you unlock an HTC device? I was pretty sure HTC voided the warranty as soon as it was unlocked but your statement in the last paragraph contradicts that.

    • Topgun

      HTC will still cover hardware faults, not software.

  • rockstar323

    I have serious doubts a carrier will carry this. It will probably be a GSM model and sold through a Motorola website at full retail cost. $600 is a little high for a phone with zero warranty. Now if they were to sell it for around $250, possibly $300, it could work but we all know that probably wont happen.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      Since warranty and support are considered to be bundled in the price, there's no reason for that to be a part of the cost. Also, it does make sense that the price should be lower since nobody will take a cut of the sale price (which carriers do if they sell a phone unsubsidized)...of course, typically an OEM will just keep the extra rather than pass that onto the customer. Effectively, it means Moto sees this as an opportunity to scalp customers for the full unsubsidized price, with probably double the profit that handset normally gives them and no obligation to support it at all (much like they've done with most of their cellular products).
      The one doubt I have is that this will be a GSM model in the US. If it's GSM, they'll have to resubmit and retest with the FCC which seems wasteful for a model that won't sell very well. At least, this is my take based on limited info...
      You're right though, no Carrier is going to want to take on the burden of a handset with no warranty.

  • Tim

    Actually this isn't their first unlock-able device: The Motorola Droid was and after that the Motorola Xoom.

  • http://mgamerzproductions.com Mgamerz

    Doesn't a DOA arrival device have a return policy...? I mean, if I buy a phone from amazon, I have 30 days to send it back. That's not warranty, that's just sending it back. Warranty is replacement or a hardware fix.

  • Tomas – University Place, WA

    One thought on the warranty issue:

    Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.


    "Some states do not allow you to sell consumer products "as is." At this time, these states are Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In those states, sellers have implied warranty obligations that cannot be avoided."

  • John Walton

    A 30 day day warranty would fulfill most legal needs and cover them in case of a DOA.