Sony clarifies statement on unlocked bootloader warranty

August 4, 2012
24 1 4

Yet again, Sony finds itself at the defense table, facing less than enthused crowds who have not taken too kindly the company’s stance on warranty. The Japanese phone maker now explains its side of story of why folks who have unlocked their phone’s bootloader – using the tool provided by Sony, we might add – face the risks of voiding their warranty.

As sent to Phone Arena, here’s Sony Mobile’s full statement:

“For most issues/problems, unlocking the bootloader voids the warranty. Sony Mobile only honors the warranty if it is a known issue in that model/batch of phones or if it is an issue that clearly could not have been caused by flashing a different ROM. Because a new ROM can have a wide range of consequences (e.g., it can overheat the battery or change the voltage, which can damage other components), that basically means that only a small subset of issues are still covered by the warranty. Therefore, even when the phone is in warranty, the service center usually has to do a very costly board swap in order to get the phone back to its original state before it can perform any repair. The end-user has to pay for that part of the repair.

We are proud of providing the unlock feature to the developer community. Previously, there was a large risk of bricking the phone when unlocking with third party software. Sony Mobile’s solution remove’s that risk. When we initially provided the unlock feature, it was presumed that only highly skilled developers and super-users would take advantage of it. From blogs and discussion boards, it was clear that the community understood the risks and that unlocking largely voided the warranty. It appears that less sophisticated users (despite all our warnings) might be using the feature, and are now surprised by the consequences.”

As for the non tl;dr version: Sony basically said that as long you’re bringing your phone to the repair center for known issues in a model or batch, it will honor the warranty – regardless of the unlocked bootloader status. The same can’t be said about damages that arise from the flashing of different ROMs, as it’s known to come with the possible consequence of damaging the phone’s components. While Sony provides a tool to unlock the phone’s bootloader, it is meant more for power users that know all the risks involved upon using the unlock feature.

And for what its worth, the company’s website does state that: “Sony can then no longer guarantee the full functionality of your phone, and will not be responsible for any unsigned custom software being flashed to the phone after the bootloader is unlocked.”

What say you, readers? It is a good enough explanation? Let your thoughts be heard in the comments below.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emil-Johansson/1428147693 Emil Johansson

    Sounds like a load of BS to me..

  • Nick

    I believe they’re well within their right. It’s hardly unreasonable to have a policy like this. For one, there are many Motorola users out there who would be overwhelmed with joy if they were given the respect of being allowed to choose between taking total control of their hardware, or having a sure warranty by leaving the device unaltered..(therefore *supportable* in the event of a problem)
    While I personally have never owned a Sony Android Device, or been a huge fan of them to begin with, the way I see it is Sony(HTC too..mostly)has done something that many manufacturers would never consider using time/resources to do, as it has no sizable benefit to them, and they’d be catering to a small crowd. Instead of complaining that Sony isn’t going to allow you to use your phone in an experimental fashion, and still agree to pay for a new device if you screw it up, why not try thanking them, and supporting other Android manufacturers who keep bootloaders unlocked,or provide the tools necessary to do so.
    Sony is giving you the right (as they should) to use your device ,and the hardware inside, in any manner you like, however, just like you have that right, Sony has the right to protect their finances from the amateur stunts that people pull just to avoid taking responsibility for their costly mistake.

    Why would any person in the Android community be surprised at a policy like this?

    • arpoc

      Nick, well said, I have been trying to get Motorola to unlock their bootloader, and they will not. To say that the developer community is small is true with respect to the overall amount of phone users out there, but we are still talking about thousands of people who can make the phones perform much better, which in turn would greatly impact the manufacturer’s profitability. I agree with Sony’s policy, and wish that Motorola would follow suit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723532674 Alp Atalık

    If they are refusing help after the unlock, then they must supply all the codes as open-source so we don’t fuck our phones. It’s like giving a nuclear weapon to someone without manual and then claiming no responsibility when you nuke somewhere.