As you're probably well-aware, the only way you're going to get your hands on an easily-unlockable Motorola phone is going the Developer Edition route, as Moto has locked down the bootloaders of all its other handsets. And until now, even if you purchased a developer edition phone that Motorola explicitly advertises as having the benefit of an unlockable bootloader, Motorola would still void your warranty if you requested an unlock code. According to a post by Punit Soni on the official Motorola blog, that's changing as of today.

Requesting an unlock code for a developer edition handset will no longer void that handset's warranty. Now, if you overclock the CPU until it fries like a Snickers bar at a state fair, you're still on your own - the new policy just means that unlocking your bootloader will not inherently void your warranty. Doing stupid or risky stuff still potentially will. So what if you bought a Moto DE phone before the policy change and unlocked it, are you out of luck? Motorola claims that anyone who requested an unlock code for a 2012 or 2013 DE device will have their warranty reinstated, assuming it hasn't already expired. Motorola's even updated the product pages for developer phones with a slight change of wording to reflect the new stance:


Text previously read "It's the kind of fun that voids warranties. But then again, you've always been into that sorta thing."

In addition, Moto also has another piece of good news for developers and enthusiasts alike: factory images! That's right, Motorola will start posting flash-to-stock factory images for its developer edition phones on its support portal. In fact, you can already find them right here for the DE Moto X (GSM and VZW editions) and the DROID MAXX. You'll need to request permission to access them, for whatever strange reason, and Motorola says it will then allow you to download them within 24 hours of the request.


All in all, these are a couple of significant, positive changes to Moto's developer policy, and continue to bolster consensus that the company has a new attitude since the Google acquisition.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Testraindrop

    Googles influence? :)

  • Jason Bell

    Excellent! And now back to waiting for KitKat for the GSM DE...

  • Maison Pulaski

    Wow! I am pretty excited to see this. Makes me feel a little better about paying an absurd amount of money for the DE on VZW. Just sent in my request for the factory image download for 4.4.

  • jnwelzel

    404 on chrome for android

  • BrianLipp

    See people, THIS is Google owned Motorola. With this and them actually getting new android versions out fast (and first on Verizon, no less), the new Moto is great and do not regret getting a Moto X at all now. Now everyone who bitched and whined about Motos phones last year (which were phones they had a contract with Verizon to make and were well into production before Google even bought them) can get a big "i told you so", since it took 1 year to 1.5 years for corporate changes to really take effect.

    • NeedName

      If the Moto X had slimport, mhl, or anything in addition to miracast for tv out I would get it. . . but that's a dealbreaker for me. . .

      Nonetheless, good to see them improving. . . hope it continues! Might pick up a Moto G just because.

      • BrentKensey

        Chromecast has been great for me, although I know that's limited to a few core services.

        • Kenton Douglas

          ... there'll be a "webtop" like service for Chromecast soon built on Chrome using WebSockets ...

  • Barnassey

    Cool! I can finally use my motodev account again!

  • kashtrey

    Any idea if VZW Asurion coverage covers the Moto X DE?

    • Scott

      Doubt it.

  • Arthur Dent

    It would be nice if they'd unlock the bootloaders on the rest of the phones. Seriously, I don't care if it voids the warranty. Let me do what the hell I want with it.

    • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

      They will if there's no such thing called a "carrier" in this world.

  • q

    Yeah, all phones are unlocked where I live, so no big deal.

  • stopeject

    Can someone explain how companies can get away with voiding warranties for flashing? Madnuson-Moss Warranty Act states that consumers can use unauthorized services, and in order to deny warranty the manufacturer has to prove that the damage was caused by unauthorized service. They would have a good case if a phone was bricked by a bad flash, but defects like bad pixels on the screen or loose power connector have nothing to do with flashing and denying warranty service for them should be illegal.

    • Wyatt Neal

      I've wondered this as well. One of the big sticking points would probably be proprietary binaries and drivers. At some level, the software interacts with the driver to actually make the hardware "do a thing." While it's not necessarily going to generate stuck pixels or blown out speakers under "normal" use, it is highly plausible that using the software in combination driver, you could call into it with out of range items and blow up something the manufacture never tested.

      At least, that's what I'd argue if I was on the manufacture's side trying to not uphold the warranty.

      • stopeject

        There are very few things that can be done in a software that will lead to a hardware failure. It is like denying warranty for a computer if you install a beta driver.

        • Wyatt Neal

          While agree that it is like installing beta software, there are plenty of ways, over-clocking, under-volting, temperature control, charging voltage levels, bootloader modifications, radio modifications ... these can all be performed via software and some of them, depending on what they're doing could actually damage the device in question, just the same way you could damage a computer with them.

          Again, I still think it's shady what their doing, but I agree with a comment made by someone else I spoke with who said that it seems strange that they would all put out "illegal" warranties if any Joe Citizen could look up that law and point blank know that they were wrong. One company? Inept legal counsel. Nearly all of them? There's something more complicated in play.