Good news folks. Karl-Johan Dahlström, Senior Program Architect at Sony Ericsson, has just published a blog post articulating Sony’s strategy going forward, with regards to keeping their bootloaders unlocked. It’s important to know that if you buy a Sony Xperia phone through a carrier that this will likely not be the case. Only unlocked versions of the Xperia Arc, Xperia Pro, and Xperia Neo will be eligible. As we all know, it’s really not the manufacturers fault that phones come locked down. Most often, the reason that phones are locked down, or aren’t that fast to update their devices to the latest version of Android is, often times, because of the carriers. They are usually quite content on keeping things the way they are, and don’t want to allow their phones to have enhanced functionality. Of course, despite this being great news for modders and custom firmware lovers alike, the big question remains – what will happen to the Sony Xperia Play? In all likelihood, we won’t see it receive the same treatment simply because Sony has alot of propietary intellectual property to protect, and leaving the device unlocked would allow pirates and hackers to run away with it.
As always, keep in mind that you will void your warranty if you do decide to play around. Good luck!
Here’s the blog post from Sony Erricson:
Over the few last years, Sony Ericsson has received several requests from the Android™ community to allow advanced developers to unlock the boot loader of their phones. Up to now, the answer has been “No”. The reason is that we haven’t had a secure technical solution in place to support this. Furthermore, the boot loader could not be shared since that would violate important business agreements with many of our partners, such as operator customers and developers who want to protect their apps and games from being ripped from the secure area in the phones.
But we are developing a solution for this. It will be possible to unlock the boot loader for certain releases of our 2011 Xperia™ phones, such as Xperia™ arc, Xperia™ neo, Xperia™ pro and Xperia™ PLAY. But it is important to point out that this will only be possible for certain releases of the phones. Basically, your phone has to fulfill a number of requirements. For example, you can’t unlock the boot loader if you have a SIM lock protected phone.
There are other requirements as well, depending on your market and the original configuration of your phone. The only way to determine if you can unlock the boot loader for your phone is to connect your phone to the Fastboot tool in the Android™ SDK. If your phone can connect to Fastboot, the boot loader can be unlocked. For earlier products such as the Xperia™ X10, we cannot allow the boot loader to be unlocked due to technical and legal reasons.
Also, please note that you may void the warranty of your phone if you unlock the boot loader. See your phone’s warranty statement for details. Additionally, due to the modified phone software, Sony Ericsson’s repair network may not be able to properly test and repair your phone according to our normal procedures. Consequently, if Sony Ericsson does perform a warranty repair, Sony Ericsson may charge you a handling fee for any additional incurred costs due to your modification of the software.
If you unlock the boot loader and then flash a custom unsigned ROM to your phone, the custom unsigned ROM will not have gone through the thorough tests that we run for each phone and software version that we release. Because of that, the custom unsigned ROM might not work properly on your phone. Certain functions may cease to work, and the performance of the device might not be ideal. You might damage your phone permanently. In worst case, it will cause physical injuries or material damage, for example, due to the phone overheating.
Therefore, you should only unlock the boot loader of your phone if you are an advanced developer with good knowledge of the technology and risks involved. We strongly recommend that standard users NOT unlock the boot loader, as it is not needed. We are proud to deliver great phone experiences through our rigorously tested and official software releases.
However, we hope that this is a useful service for advanced developers, and demonstrates that Sony Ericsson is listening to and working with the open developer world. We will provide more details about this service later this spring. Stay tuned for more information…
Senior Program Architect at Sony Ericsson