updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue April 26, 2011
Motorola to unlock some bootloaders like Xoom
Motorola in a response to an Australian's campaign has promised that it will act on a long-demanded request to unlock the bootloaders on its Android phones. Melbourne-based Irwin Proud was told Motorola planned to mimic the switchable lock on the bootloader from the Xoom on its "portfolio of devices" beginning in late 2011. The changes wouldn't be universal and would depend on carriers approving the changes, AusDroid's copy of the response said.
The spokesperson claimed the company was now trying to strike a balance between carriers allegedly worried about security and backing those wanting to experiment or the freedom to customize the open platform.
"We completely understand the operator requirement for security to the end user, and as well, want to support the developer communities desire to use these products as a development platform," Motorola said.
Motorola's stance is a distinct reversal of its earlier attitude. Although the original Droid shipped with an unlocked bootloader, the company has increasingly clamped down on most of its devices to the point where it sparked fears of dead phones with boot checks that users at first thought might brick any non-stock device. The Xoom is unlockable mostly because it serves as Google's reference Android 3.0 tablet.
Google has regularly insisted that Android was open but has usually chosen not to intervene whenever a phone maker or carrier closes down the platform, leading in some cases to devices more tightly locked than an iPhone. The restricted Motorola bootloader has prevented users from easily installing custom firmware, a problem since users wanting either stock Android or their choice of interface can't usually remove Motorola's Motoblur interface.