Today, Motorola just floored users with an unprecedented offer: if you bought a phone from Motorola that launched in 2011, most of you will receive an upgrade to Jelly Bean. If, however, you're using a phone that Motorola decides will have a degraded experience, you will receive $100 in credit towards an upgrade. This may mark the first time that a manufacturer has broadly promised compensation for a lack of updates for all of its devices.
Bad news, owners of older Motorola devices. According to a tweet from Motorola's official Twitter account, if you own an aging Moto phone—including the Droid 3, Bionic, and Droid X2—you will not be receiving a bootloader unlock tool. While newer products like the Photon Q, as well as developer-centric devices like the RAZR Developer Edition and the not-quite-Nexus Xoom are supported, Moto has no plans to add any of its older lineup to the supported list.
Well, well, well, look at what Motorola has done today: it released the long-awaited, often-promised bootloader unlock tool! Unfortunately, the site doesn't appear to be finished just yet, as some of the more important parts - such as FAQ and Supported Devices list - are currently kicking back a "permission denied" error. Boo!
Update: The list of devices initially supported by the unlock tool has been published. Here it is:
- Photon Q 4G LTE - Sprint
- Motorola RAZR developer edition - Europe
- Motorola XOOM - Verizon
- Motorola XOOM Wifi - Worldwide
Motorola is promising to unlock more devices in the future.
Despite Verizon's best efforts to keep their own variant of the Galaxy SIII locked down, ingenious users haven't been deterred in rooting, flashing custom ROMs, and even bypassing the device's locked bootloader to use custom kernels. The fact remained, however, that VZW's SIII had a locked bootloader which, in general, is a hassle for developers and tweakers hoping to customize the SIII to its fullest potential. It was this fact that made Samsung's promised Developer Edition SIII appealing to many.
The original Transformer was one of the first tablets to capture the imagination of the Android community, and three iterations later the family continues to be popular among modders and ROM enthusiasts. The latest and inarguably greatest member of ASUS' tablet family, the Transformer Pad Infinity, now has infinitely more options when it comes to aftermarket ROMs and modifications. The company released the TF700 version of their bootloader unlock tool, and interested users can download it from the ASUS support website.
When last we heard from the RAZR HD, it was posing for blurry cam shots. The new Motorola device, which is rumored to be packing a 13MP camera, LTE, and a mega 3,300 mAh battery, has gone through the FCC's fine-tooth comb and come out the other side. According to the filings, the device, which we know uses the code name XT926, is packing CDMA bands (800/1900), so we can likely expect this device to land on Verizon before too long.
Verizon has taken some flack lately for being the only US carrier to lock the bootloader. Workarounds have been implemented, but Samsung's taken it a step further by announcing a developer version of the device. Today they...well, they haven't quite made good on that promise, but they have created a landing page for the device on their site that announces the 32GB Pebble Blue version will be "coming soon".
Those wondering whether Motorola's recently-announced Atrix HD will carry a locked bootloader can exhale – in a string of tweets earlier this evening, Moto confirmed that, yes, the Atrix HD's bootloader will be locked and signed.
That being said, Moto indicated that their "goal" is to provide a way to "unlock the bootloaders on our devices to those who wish to do so," adding that more details are "to come."
@kulow_atx Motorola ATRIX HD at AT&T will have a locked bootloader to meet requirements; (1/2)
— Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) July 10, 2012
@kulow_atx our goal is still to provide a way to unlock the bootloaders on our devices to those who wish to do so, more details to come(2/2)
— Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) July 10, 2012
What this means for the end user is that (for now) customization of the Atrix HD will be severely limited.
Last night Samsung released the kernel source code for the Verizon Galaxy S III. While it's good that Samsung is making good on timely source releases, this particular bit of code didn't do a whole lot of good in way of GSIII development because of the VZW GSIII's locked bootloader. Fortunately, Team Epic has changed this with a new workaround called kexec hardboot (kernel execution hard boot) that should allow users to effectively "sideload" custom kernels without having to actually flash them on the device by bundling the kernel with the custom recovery.
Of the four major US carriers to receive the Galaxy S III, Verizon is the only one to lock down the bootloader. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Nevertheless, enterprising hackers over at XDA and RootzWiki have successfully managed to circumvent the lock, achieve root, and flash ClockworkMod recovery. If you're on Verizon and anticipating owning a Galaxy S III, congratulations: your phone is yours again.