This is a guest post by Ricardo "arcee" Cerqueira who takes things apart for sport, on a quest to understand how they work. He currently works on Android devices at Cyanogen.
As people started receiving their Nexus 6Ps, some began freaking out over a new message that comes up on the screen when booting into fastboot mode: “QFUSE: ENABLED,” with wild speculative theories coming up regarding what it does and doesn’t do, what kind of limitations it’s imposing, and wondering if and how it can be “disabled.” So... what’s this qFuse thing, anyway?
Think of an eFuse as the mind’s eye representation of a bit that only flips one way, or something that can only be done once on a piece of writeable flash. Read More
Oh, boy... what a mess this is. Earlier this week, a Motorola employee with access to the company's official YouTube account replied to a (now deleted) comment about their locked bootloaders with "if you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks." Issues about eFuse aside, that's a pretty poor thing to say from a customer service perspective. Apparently, Motorola recognized that fact after somebody posted on their Facebook page they'd be taking that advice:
Does this mean they're doing away with eFuse? Maybe... maybe not. But at least we know they're exploring the possibility, and that a more modder-friendly Moto isn't completely out of the question. Read More
Well, we didn't see this one coming. Hackers over at XDA-Developers have discovered that there is a hardware chip limiting the hackability of the G2, undermining the owner's ability to customize the Android OS. The chip acts as a rootkit and over-writes modifications to the /system partition after rebooting.
This is a very unsettling development. Heck, I thought we had a nice dynamic working in the Android manufacturer sphere: Motorola tried to lock down everything and HTC just made sweet devices. Guess that was too naive a viewpoint to take, as with this HTC have shown themselves capable of being just as stifling as Moto. Read More
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the bootloader of the Droid X, and more specifically, whether the ‘eFuse’ will render your phone inoperable if you choose to replace the boot loader.
If you’re not up to speed with the story, it all started with this post a few days ago on MyDroidWorld, which claims that the Droid X boot loader is fitted with eFuse technology, which can physically brick the phone if you try to alter the boot loader in any way. Altering the boot loader is needed to install a custom recovery, which is then capable of doing full Nandroid backups and restores, as well as allows for installing custom ROMs. Read More
UPDATE: Per our informer below in the comments, this may be limited to only some Verizon retail locations. But, there is confirmation that several actual Verizon locations would not sell unsubsidized devices in the link we’re sourcing.
Numerous persons are confirming in comments and side-notes on DroidLife that some Verizon stores are refusing to sell unsubsidized (full-price) Droid X’s to customers who are showing up and waiting in line for the device this morning. They are reportedly being directed to place orders online and have the phone shipped. While this is arguably little more than a shrewd business tactic, it certainly doesn’t make Verizon look any better given all the bad press the Droid X has been getting. Read More
On the MyDroidWorld forums, site founder p3droid has recently shared some new and disheartening information about the Droid X. While we reported that the Droid X is locked down with an encrypted bootloader, it now seems Motorola has taken an extra step to ensure no one starts tinkering under the hood.
In the event that the bootloader, kernel, or ROM are noticeably compromised, your Droid X will try to brick itself.
How does it work? While p3droid’s technical explanation will be far more informative than my brief summary, the technology at work here is known as eFuse. It has a simple purpose: to check the version of the bootloader, kernel, and ROM of your phone against those which eFuse is programmed to look for. Read More