Ladies and gentlemen, minutes ago HTC announced that they have been listening to us all along and will reverse their stance on locking bootloaders! The statement comes directly from the CEO Peter Chou and reads:
Update: If you've somehow ended up on this page, please note: HTC has since changed its bootloader policy - all future phones will be unlocked.
Once a great example of how open Android phone manufacturers could be, HTC has taken a lot of heat from its fan base over recent decisions to lock its devices' bootloaders (such as with the Sensation and EVO 3D), endangering the possibility that these devices will be able to support custom ROMs.
Update: If you've somehow inexplicably ended up at this article, please note, HTC has since announced the 3D will be unlocked (at some point) and their future policy is to have unlocked bootloaders on all devices.
It seems HTC has finally caved to what are likely the security demands of wireless carriers with its newest phones, and is locking down its handsets Moto-style. Latest case in point: the EVO 3D - which sports the same sort of security we found on the Sensation earlier this month.
HTC is continuing to release devices with signed locked bootloaders, as we found out today after taking a look at the latest HTC Sensation system dump. The upcoming HTC Sensation is one of the most powerful and desirable devices coming up, alongside the Galaxy S2, but while the latter's bootloader is unlocked, the one in the Sensation is protected via HTC's private key.
Unless we get really lucky, this means no custom kernels on the device (i.e.
It appears that Samsung may be following in Sony's footsteps by actually giving users what they want where bootloaders are concerned. According to this tweet from Android app developer Supercurio, a source at Samsung has stated that bootloaders on future Sammy devices will be unlocked as long as Google doesn't require otherwise. If true, this means really good things for the dev community, who will never have to deal with the trials and tribulations that tech-savvy Motorola owners have had to face.
Owners of the Sony Xperia X10 around the world are rejoicing, because after a long wait, the previously locked bootloader has finally been cracked. What does this mean, you ask? In a nutshell, it means that the X10 can now handle custom features that other Android devices have had for some time, like kernels that allow for overclocking/undervolting, native USB/Wi-Fi tethering, removal of the 32fps cap, and a myriad of other tweaks.
Today is starting out pretty well - minutes ago, we finally got the HTC Thunderbolt kernel source, and now Sony Ericsson decided to lift our spirits even further via a blog post announcing their commitment to the Android development community. And a commitment it is - Sony Ericsson may just be the first large manufacturer truly listening to us.
Sure, Motorola unlocked the bootloader of the XOOM, and Samsung did the same to the Nexus S, but Sony Ericsson is promising to release versions of ALL Xperia phones with easily unlockable bootloaders, at least ones slated for 2011.
In typically blisteringly-quick fashion, the hackers at XDA have managed to root a Wi-Fi XOOM in no time at all - good news, considering that the root method for the regular XOOM was bricking the Wi-Fi models. It's worth noting that unlocking the XOOM's bootloader (which is required for root) wipes the device.
The current method does require some ADB commands, but certainly nothing tricky. Still, for those who are hesitant, it's likely that an automated method won't be far behind.
Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the ThunderBolt's signed (and locked) bootloader was all Verizon's doing, but it appears that isn't quite the case - the Incredible S, one of HTC's unlocked GSM phones, is shipping with a similar failsafe system. That basically means no custom ROMs for you (at least until a viable workaround is discovered).
Proof? Look no further than the contents of this Incredible S RUU:
From what our friends at AndIRC can tell (note that they don't have a device in hand), the Incredible S includes a signature check much like the one on the ThunderBolt.
That didn't take long. A collaborative effort between numerous Android hackers just managed to crack the Thunderbolt's bootloader wide open, successfully booting a custom recovery image. They also incidentally discovered a new root method in the process. Credit goes to jcase, jamezelle, and scotty2 (and all of andirc) for working out the details, and ProTekk and Trident for putting their shiny new Thunderbolts on the line. Here's the visual proof:
Image credit: Trident, ProTekk
We'll keep you apprised on the situation with instructions on how to go about unlocking your own Thunderbolt as we get more information.