Here in the US, unlocking policies are pretty lackluster. Sure, they've improved over time, but these regulations still aren't something we can be proud of. But up in the Great White North, the CRTC (Canada's telecom commission) is hard at work. Starting on December 1st, 2017, all mobile devices will have the capability of being unlocked for free, and all new devices will be unlocked out of the box. Read More
By now most orders for the Nexus 6P have been delivered, or at least getting close. If you haven't tried unlocking the bootloader yet, it might come as a surprise that the 'fastboot oem unlock' command no longer works. Attempting to use it with the Nexus 6P fails with a message that it is an unknown instruction. Don't worry, this doesn't have anything to do with drivers, and it isn't a fluke. Google had Huawei replace the oem command in the Nexus 6P bootloader with the new flashing command. Here's what it will look like:
fastboot flashing unlock
fastboot flashing lock
fastboot flashing unlock_critical
fastboot flashing lock_critical
fastboot flashing get_unlock_ability
There are two levels of unlocking: normal and critical. Read More
We like to (deservedly) give AT&T a lot of grief around here, but it looks like they have a case in their latest lawsuit. According to the legal documentation, AT&T has evidence of several employees having engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain unlock codes for AT&T customers that were still under contract. Why would they do that? Well, the lawsuit alleges they were taking money from Swift Unlocks, a web-based company that charges a small fee to unlock people's carrier smartphones.
The nearly-defunct two-year contract model that all carriers once used was built on the premise of making top smartphones more affordable up front. Read More
T-Mobile is really taking a run at this whole kinder, gentler carrier thing. Among its many initiatives is the Samsung Galaxy Avant, a modestly specced phone that you can unlock (to use on other carriers) with the newly released SIM unlock app. It might come to more phones later, but it's a step in the right direction anyway.
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 US mobile market is weird in that almost all the phones floating around here are locked to one carrier or another. You can usually request an unlock code from the carrier if you are not under contract or still paying off the device, but Sprint is different. It claims it doesn't have any mechanism to unlock phones for use on other US carriers right now, but that's going to change next year.
After MoDaCo's recent report that HTC's Bootloader Unlock tool didn't work for AT&T's One X variant, The Verge reached out to the Taiwanese manufacturer, and received a reply which suggested that the device has "restrictions" which prevent its bootloader from being unlockable:
HTC is committed to listening to users and delivering customer satisfaction. Since announcing our commitment to unlockable bootloaders, HTC has worked to enable our customers to unlock the bootloader on more than 45 devices over the past six months. In some cases, however, restrictions prevent certain devices from participating in our bootloader unlocking program. Rest assured, HTC is committed to assisting developers in unlocking bootloaders for HTC devices and we'll continue to unlock additional devices in the future."