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Motorola Lags by Half a Year on Unlocking Bootloaders

June 20, 2011

HTC, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson have already walked their talk on unlocking their respective devices’ bootloaders. Motorola, after much pressure from all circles, particularly from Irwin Proud, will also be unlocking all of its upcoming and existing devices’ bootloaders–but only beginning in the third quarter, or fourth quarter at the latest.

Motorola has committed firmly to providing a solution for unlocking the bootloaders of all its current devices, but owners of those locked devices will have to wait for the software updates scheduled for release some time starting in August this year. Motorola has vowed to base its Moto-flavored Android on unlocked source code for Android. But–here’s the big but–the final decision will eventually rest with the carriers, who may or may not approve of the updates.

Motorola explains that the delay is mainly due to the “stringent testing” done by the mobile carriers. There is a ray of hope, however, that the solution will be as well-received by the mobile carriers as the solution for unlocking the Motorola XOOM was well-embraced.

Steam for pressuring Motorola to unlock its bootloaders started building up when Irwin Proud (@ibproud on Twitter) of Melbourne, Australia, took Motorola head-on a few months ago. Proud merely wanted to follow through on Motorola’s Facebook announcement saying it would unlock the bootloader for the Motorola Atrix 4G, which Proud bought. To cut the story short, Proud’s efforts initiated an online petition on Groubal requesting Motorola to dismiss its policy on locked and encrypted bootloaders.

According to Wake Up Moto, the “bootloader revolution” has already begun, with several manufacturers already providing open bootloaders, or at least a way to unlock the bootloaders. Sony Ericsson’s handsets are unlocked, unless those handsets are tied to carriers. A tool (Odin) for flashing custom ROMs on Samsung devices also exists. Samsung knows it, is not prohibiting it, and has allowed it to be used. HTC also has recently yielded to public clamor for unlocked bootladers and have vowed to unlock currently locked devices. Verizon Wireless has also confirmed its hospitality towards unlocked HTC devices.

Motorola has already been reaping bad publicity because of the unlocked bootloaders issue. Hopefully, this recent development will bring back some of the goodwill that Motorola lost.

How is your love level for Motorola these days?