updated 04:05 pm EDT, Tue October 18, 2011
Motorola claims Verizon needed RAZR boot locked
Motorola in responses to fans revealed that the Droid RAZR's bootloader would stay locked and prevent customers from loading their choice of firmware. In a pre-made statement, it claimed that it had to lock the bootloader due a request from Verizon. There were also "security, safety and regulatory guidelines" that had to be met, it claimed.
There are no known laws that would require Motorola preventing the changes. HTC has been allowing aftermarket unlocks on American phones that had once shipped locked. Every Nexus phone, including the ones sold through American carriers, has had an unlocked bootloader without legal trouble.
The commentary is a backtrack from Motorola's official promise from the spring, when it said phones would start arriving with unlocked bootloaders in late 2011. As the Droid RAZR and its international RAZR counterpart may be the last new Android phones Motorola ships in the year, it will have at least delayed and at most completely changed its mind on the policy. Phones on other networks and other countries, such as Sprint's Proton 4G or the XT860 4G (Droid 3), have also remained locked.
Its attitude towards bootloaders is unusual given Google's planned $12.5 billion buyout of the company. While Google has claimed it will take an arm's length approach to Motorola, its attitude towards Android openness could make Motorola ship devices with unlocked bootloaders if the deal is approved.