updated 09:50 pm EDT, Thu May 26, 2011
HTC CEO promises Android bootloaders clear
HTC tonight followed up on its policy rethink with an official statement on Facebook that it would no longer lock bootloaders on its phones. CEO Peter Chou acknowledged criticism and vowed that customers could more easily modify Android devices' firmware from now on. He stopped short of saying whether the change would be retroactive or if it would be limited to upcoming hardware, but made clear that keeping loyalty was important.
"There has been overwhelmingly customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones," he said. "I want you to know that we've listened. Today, I'm confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience."
Alarm had been growing after the company started locking down phones in March beginning with the Incredible S. The device was due to be the start of a trend as phones like the Sensation, and presumably the Evo 3D, have also been locked down. Rooting or otherwise hacking the firmware on a phone with a locked bootloader isn't impossible but often requires much more work.
Google's Nexus phones have always had unlocked bootloaders. HTC's promise, however, is part of a larger trend that has seen both Motorola as well as Sony Ericsson reconsider their stances and join Google in letting customers have more freedom over their phones.