Motorola Continues Locked Bootloader Policy On Droid 3 (For Now)

Listen up, hackers. This one’s for you.

Motorola’s Droid 3 is finally out and about in all of its tech spec glory, but one thing’s missing: an unlocked bootloader. That’s right, Motorola’s gone and done it again, locking Droid 3 owners in an Android cage, just like Atrix owners, Droid 2 owners, and the list goes on.

Luckily, an unlocked bootloader is on its way. “As we’ve communicated, we plan to enable the unlockable/relockable bootloader in future software releases, starting in late 2011, where channel and operator partners will allow it,” said a Motorola spokesperson to Wired. Motorola has basically made it clear that your warranty ends once you unlock the bootloader, as many “noobs” have this pesky habit of not following directions and bricking their phones. “If you brick your phone messing with it, we don’t want to have to fix it under warranty,” wrote a Motorola representative in a blog post.

Clearly, Motorola is walking a very tight rope with this bootloader policy. Competitors like Sony Ericsson have begun to nurture relationships with their respective modding community, offering tutorial videos on how to unlock the phone. Meanwhile, Motorola is adding things like eFuse, an anti-tampering countermeasure system dedicated to bricking your phone should you choose mod beyond stock software, to phones like the Droid X.

In short, customers have about had it. One, in particular, started a web page dedicated to ending the bootloader policy at Motorola, asking fellow devs to sign a petition. As of right now, over 10,000 people have signed. While many just leave a name in protest, some Moto customers have actually taken the time to write out their plea.

These are a few we found particularly poignant:

“Please Motorola, we love the phone, but let us use this new technology to it’s fullest potential. We are your beta testers right now in this new world of smart-phones! But we pay a premium price for something that is experimental, and open to development, and we create things with the tools you give us today for a better set of tools for you to sell again tomorrow. And perhaps encrypting the bootloader by default is a good idea for your mass market, but I think you should give us the option of decryption, because well, being open is what Android is all about. That’s why I bought my first Android (the Atrix), and I must say that at this point I wish I researched this common complaint first, as I would have bought something else that was truly an “Android.” So, in all fairness I think you should either give us the option to use and develop our devices as we need to, or at least give us a refund and in the future, use a disclaimer in your advertising.”

“My money means that this is MY phone. Supposedly, the locked bootloader is intended to protect the enduser from breaking the phone; however, the general public that they are claiming to protect will likely be unaffected by Motorola’s decision. Give the people that want to take time to modify their phones that opportunity. If I wanted to be stuck in a walled garden, then I wouldn’t have bought a supposedly “open” OS with Android.”
-Steven Banaban