HTC Begrudgingly Allows Bootloader Unlocking
December 30, 2011 10:33 AM
comment(s) - last by
HTC long fought to keep its bootloader tightly locked, forcing jailbreaking, now it at last opens up
If you own an a phone with Google Inc.'s (
) Android operating system, beware there are likely two significant locks on it.
The first is the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) (or Universal Integrated Circuit Card) lock. This lock prevents the user from swapping in a different SIM (or UICC) card to jump ship to another carrier. UICC locks are sometimes somewhat misleadingly referred to as "SIM locks", though the most appropriate title for locks on the UICC/SIM are "carrier locks".
A second level of digital-rights management (DRM)/locking is the bootloader lock, which prevents users from loading custom ROMs. Taiwan HTC Corp. (
) -- a giant of the Android world who is currently
perched atop U.S. smartphone sales charts
-- has taken a big step forward in begrudgingly opening up an easy bootloader unlock.
HTC is committed to listening to users and delivering customer satisfaction. We have heard your voice and starting now, we will allow our bootloader to be unlocked for 2011 models going forward. We plan on releasing the updates that will allow you to unlock your bootloader in the coming months, please keep an eye on this website for more details on which devices will be adding this feature. We are extremely pleased to see the energy and enthusiasm from our fans and loyal customers, and we are excited to see what you are capable of. HTC eagerly anticipates your innovations.
Again the key phrase here is "for 2011 models", meaning older HTC best-sellers like the EVO 4G likely do not apply. HTC's unlocking tool reportedly works on the HTC Amaze, EVO View 4G, Design, Flyer, myTouch 4G Slide, and the Sensation (officially), plus the Rezound, Vivid, Rhyme, and Thunderbolt (unofficially).
The HTC Rezound is among the unlockable models. [Image Source: Sara Tew/CNET]
And the appropriate term for HTC's release is indeed "begrudgingly". It writes:
It is our responsibility to caution you that not all claims resulting or caused by or from the unlocking of the bootloader may be covered under warranty.
Please note that unlocking your bootloader does not mean that you will be able to unlock the SIM lock. Unlocking your SIM lock is at the discretion of your operator/carrier and is not part of the bootloader unlocking scope.
Our devices have been designed with our hardware and software specifications in mind and unlocking the bootloader will change the software and may cause unexpected side effects. It is impossible for HTC to ensure the proper functioning of your device after this. In the worst case scenario, it is possible that your device may be physically damaged due to overheating or the behavior of your device might be altered including, but not limited to, hearing aid compatibility (HAC) and specific absorption rate (SAR) values.
Some content on your device may also be invalidated and cannot be accessed any more because of invalid DRM security keys. This includes content that you may have purchased through a 3rd party vendor and through HTC. Furthermore, although you will still be able to receive updates to your device via FOTA (“firmware over the air”), we do not guarantee that updating your device via FOTA will not render your device unusable. Please understand that you will not be able to return your device to the original state and going forward your device may not be held covered under the warranty for all claims resulting from the unlocking of the bootloader. HTC bears no responsibility if your device is no longer usable afterwards.
We strongly suggest that you do not unlock the bootloader unless you are confident that you understand the risks involved.
This is a technical procedure and the side effects could possibly necessitate repairs to your device not covered under warranty. If you are still interested in unlocking the bootloader, and you understand the consequences both to your device and to your warranty, then you may refer to the following pages where we have provided the unlocking instructions.
Of the Android handset makers HTC was one of the strictest in terms of locking down its bootloader and tying DRM tightly to its system. While HTC's warning makes it clear that the company still isn't thrilled with unlocking (or at least wants to cover itself legally against the very real risks involved), it has perhaps softened its stance
due to the CarrierIQ scandal
. That mess appeared to be almost solely instigated by
poorly written HTC code
that created a security flaw in the Android operating system.
Handset maker or OS maker endorsed unlocking tools are not uncommon these days. After an early backlash on a proposed crackdown on unlocking, Microsoft Corp. (
endorses a third party unlocking tool
for its Windows Phone handsets.
Bootloader unlocking is synonmous with "jailbreaking", albeit jailbreaking applies to platforms where custom kernel use is disallowed. Thus devices like Apple, Inc.'s (
, while devices with authorized unlocks like the above HTC models are merely "bootloader unlocked". The ultimate goal of either approach is to load a custom kernel/ROM, typically one that gives the user root access, allowing them to tweak their phone as they see fit.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
No going back???
12/30/2011 3:24:26 PM
I understand most of HTC's reasoning. However I don't understand the "no going back" part of it. My Nexus One allow me to unlock the bootloader. Then I can install custom firmware on the phone. Should I wish to go back to stock firmware, the bootloader may by locked again provided tht the firmware has the correct digital signature.
Why can't HTC allow this? As it is now, by rooting an HTC device I can have both warranty and custom firmware (because it is possible to go back). With their scheme I loose one.
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
Untethered iOS 5.0.1 Jailbreak Released; iPad 2, iPhone 4S Still Left Out
December 27, 2011, 9:18 AM
One Line of Code Created a World of Woe for HTC, Carrier IQ, et al.
December 9, 2011, 4:44 PM
Research: Carrier IQ Underscores Deeper Hole in Android OS's Security
December 5, 2011, 9:41 AM
China is Now the World's Largest Smartphone Market
November 23, 2011, 4:10 PM
Facing Prison, PS3 Hacker Tells Sony: You'll Have to "Kill Me" to Silence Me
June 18, 2011, 7:10 PM
Xbox Chief: If You Can't Get Online, Don't Buy an Xbox One
June 12, 2013, 9:57 AM
EA Says Online Pass Used Game DRM "Was a Mistake", Mum on Xbox One
June 12, 2013, 9:30 AM
Google Acquires Waze for $1.3 Billion
June 11, 2013, 1:56 PM
Mobile Game Developers Look for New Ways to Keep Users Interested
June 10, 2013, 11:00 AM
Quick Note: Office 365 Home Premium Hits 1 Million Subscribers in Just Over 100 Days
May 29, 2013, 4:30 PM
Amazon to Launch "Kindle Worlds" for Fan Fiction Writers
May 22, 2013, 12:00 PM
Most Popular Articles
Source: Don't Worry, NSA Spies on "99 Percent" of Americans' Locations, Call Records
June 14, 2013, 3:57 PM
Report: Intel Delays 14 nm Broadwell, Schedules Haswell Refresh for 2014
June 17, 2013, 5:30 PM
NSA Leaker May be Killed in Drone Strike Says Ron Paul
June 17, 2013, 11:18 AM
Report: Apple to Release Larger iPhone Screens, Cheaper iPhone for $99
June 13, 2013, 9:41 AM
Just How Powerful is the Xbox One? Microsoft is Confused
June 18, 2013, 11:30 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Lumosity: Does it Work?
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information