Signed bootloaders, Android devices, and you

Discussion in 'Technology' started by khaid, May 25, 2011.

  1. If you've been following the Android device scene, you've probably been noticing some grumblings in the background about a growing trend about bootloaders getting locked down with a signature check. What this means is that you can kiss custom recoveries and custom kernels goodbye. If the signatures on each don't match what the bootloader is looking for, this your device will never boot. It's still possible to gain root access (superuser permissions) but that's the extent of it.

    Motorola enjoyed huge success with the Droid. But then they decided to turn on the efuse switch on the Droid X, Droid 2, etc... locked bootloader galore. This also followed on the Atrix which does signature checks too. But then a little while ago, Motorola decided to start a poll on facebook to see what the customers wanted in their devices.

    Hilarity ensues (make sure you press the more button too see it all)

    Motorola probably felt the heat at that point. Not too long after, they released a statement

    Notice they mentioned the Xoom in there. That was an odd out case.. but it's somewhat forgettable since it's sales were low and Google announced that they aren't releasing the Honeycomb source.

    Then we have the other heavy hitting OEM, HTC. They started the Android device storm in 2008 with the G1 (HTC Dream). Cyanogen's love child. Then continued on with the Nexus One for Google, Evo, and Desire HD. Now we're in 2011 and for some reason, HTC also decided to join the signed bootloader team. The bad news started with the Thunderbolt and then followed down to the Incredible S, Sensation, and Evo 3D.

    In the case of the Thunderbolt, it did get s-off because that situation was pure luck. I believe some people got their hands on a pre-production device.

    Basically, to this day, none of the Motorola devices after the Droid got their bootloaders unlocked. The same will most likely happen with the HTC devices. The future is looking dark. Hopefully, the OEM's will see the kind of harm this will do to Android's open source nature, and of course, their loyal fanbase.

    On the bright side Samsung didn't lock the Galaxy S II bootloader and Sony is even opening up a website that assists you in unlocking your bootloader. And due to recent events with google and sprint looking like they're in bed with each other, I hope Sprint gets google's next nexus phone first so I can avoid this whole fiasco altogether. :)
  2. Samsung is the way to go. Those motherfuckers practically rooted your phone for you.
  3. Shame about HTC, their build quality is top notch these days. Sense 3.0 UI is also much better than Samsungs Touchwiz. Not like that has too much of a bearing on this thread, of course.

    I'm going with a Galaxy SII when I can get one... hopefully on a reasonable plan.
  4. The stock firmware is also such crap that you practically have to root the Samsung phones.
  5. There was a point when rumors were going around that Samsung was going to have a locked bootloader policy. It was a scary time. Glad the SGSII debunked that.
  6. Well there goes my fearmongering.. god dammit. I feel like fox news.

  7. Muhahaha, my fear mongering is not done yet. Thanks Verizon!

    VZW will probably be hit with the bad press campaign next.
  8. Bunch of apologies and mishaps lately. Must be a disease going around

  9. Looks like Motorola is taking their first step very soon. They're reportedly unlocking the bootloader on their gingerbread update.