So, technically using software to unlock digital carrier blocks on your phone in the US is a violation of everyone's favorite draconian copyright legislation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Unlocking your phone yourself could be seen as breaking a "technical measure," akin to cracking a DRM package (which, in most cases, is illegal). The Library of Congress can grant specific exemptions, like it already does for rooting and jailbreaking, but the latest one in 2012 was passed over without renewal.
The devices you buy from US mobile carriers are almost always locked to a single network, and unlocking them has been a legal gray area for the last few years. Now Congress is finally taking action to remedy that. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act has been passed by the Senate, matching a House bill passed in February. As you can imagine, consumer rights groups are pretty jazzed.
The legality of certain phone modifications in the United States, particularly those that allow phones to be used on wireless carriers for which they weren't originally intended, is currently on a congressional see-saw. Every three years, the Librarian of Congress has to approve or extend an exemption of the infamous Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow or deny consumers the right to unlock (read: carrier unlock, and in some cases rooting/jailbreaking, but not unlocking bootloaders) their phones by circumventing digital rights management.
In October of 2012, the Library of Congress elected not to renew DMCA exemptions that explicitly allow end users to unlock their cell phones at will, thus ending a six year tradition. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. The quest to do something about it began almost immediately. And by "almost immediately" I mean "nearly three months later and at almost the very last minute."
Still, regardless of when the outrage gained steam, the fact is it did.
Yesterday, HTC dropped a teaser on their Facebook page: a vector outline of a phone with an HTC logo and a big "5" in the center and a caption of "This Sunday you'll discover something fast." With 5 days to go until MWC began, we took a few stabs at what it could mean. Today, the company has followed up with a "4" teaser image on their Facebook, with the caption of "This Sunday, you'll hear something authentic."
I'm going to go out on a limb here and do some speculation, so take everything with a major grain of salt.
Shortly after CES ended, we heard word of a new phone from LG that would be the first to sport NVIDIA's impressive new quad-core CPU, the Tegra 3. Other specs were rumored to include a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 16GB on-board storage (plus a microSD slot), a 2000mAh battery (!), an 8MP camera in the rear, and a 1.2MP front-facer.
Congress is a lot like a slot machine - once in a while, something good comes out. A new bill introduced by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts would require cellular carriers in the US to disclose to end users upon purchase of a mobile device any tracking software present on said device, or any such software that might be installed at a later date by the carrier, manufacturer, or OS provider (that would be Google for Android).
Right now at MWC, Eric Schmidt is showing off a brand-new, Google-developed Android app: Movie Studio. The app, as the name may suggest, is a video editor. It's designed specifically for Honeycomb tablets, and as a video editor, that sort of makes sense. It's pretty rough trying to edit video on a smaller screen, though not impossible (which is to say, I imagine an XDA port for phones will happen as soon as an APK gets leaked).