Sprint’s Motorola Photon Has Locked Bootloader

June 11, 2011
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Oh Motorola, when will you learn? With companies like HTC going on the public record stating that their upcoming phones will be unlocked, it’s quite surprising that Motorola would release the Photon 4G with a locked down bootloader, but alas, they have.  Seems like another case of talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

Despite the outpouring of support, and substantial number of Android enthusiasts protesting such practices via Twitter, Facebook, email (and more),  as well as previous claims that more ‘open hardware is coming’, Motorola is releasing the Photon 4G with a locked down bootloader.

Motorola’s Stance

“As previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it. However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G.”

Why?

While I am but a simple and ardent follower of all things Android, I think I have an idea why this practice remains the norm: money.

Check out these stats:

These are AT&T’s revenues from wireline voice in the past few years:

  • 2008 – $37.2 billion
  • 2009 – $32.3 billion
  • 2010 – $28.3 billion

If I were AT&T, or any other major telecom, I would be scrambling to think up ways to offset this loss of revenue. And boy – they have. It’s all about additional services. Each and every carrier has them, some are free, and some aren’t. One thing is sure – offering phones that are open and easy to root is not good for the bottom line, and likely results in a loss of revenue, as customers can remove carrier bloatware, and alter the experience themselves.

Despite the lofty promises of HTC, Motorola and others, it still remains to be seen if the carriers will get on board too.

Any thoughts? Is there a way that openness can be embraced by the manufacturers and carriers, or is this but a distant dream?

Source: GottaBeMobile, SeekingAlpha

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