I have some fantastic news for everyone! Well…sort of. Motorola has finally jumped on the customization train thus allowing users to unlock the bootloader on their device. Bad news is that only four devices are currently able to be unlocked. Though it will pave the way for users to install custom ROM’s, such as Cyanogen Mod 10, on their devices, you’re warranty will be permanently voided upon doing this. Oh yeah, there are many ways to keep your warranty, but Motorola actually has you sign in to your account so they have it on file that you’re phone has a void warranty. That said, it may actually not be very beneficial to those who are seasoned in the customization areas of Android. I guess I won’t be getting a custom ROM anytime soon (time for a new phone!).
As I said, their are only four devices currently supported for the Bootloader unlock. The first two are smartphones and those happen to be the Sprint Photon Q and the RAZR developer edition. The other two devices Motorola is allowing you to unlock are tablets and are both the 3G Motorola Xoom along with the Wi-Fi version of the Xoom. They will be adding more devices to the roster as time goes on. I can only suspect that we now have this bootloader unlocking system to us because Google had bought Motorola. Just an assumption though!
The unlocking process is very simple, but at the same time requires a bit more effort than you would usually need. Those who are interested are going to need to grab themselves a free copy of the Android SDK (can find it on the Android Developers website), the Fastboot utility along with Motorola’s various USB drivers. Motola has showed us how to do the entire process on a very scary-looking series of web pages. Honestly, it’s not that bad, but they do make it seem like the end of the world is nigh. The only thing that I find terrible, is that they put it on record that you unlocked your device.
What do I mean when I say scary-looking? Well, Motorola has clearly, boldly and was outspoken that the company, “strong recommends against unlocking the bootloader and/or altering a device’s software or operating system. Doing so can have unintended, unforeseen, and dangerous consequences, such as rendering the device unusable, violating applicable laws, or causing property damage and/or bodily injury.” Motorola has said this in such a way that it has conjured up an image of any of your Motorola device’s exploding into a heap of dust the moment your bootloader gets unlocked. With the system they have set up, I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
Honestly, this is all very weird. Unlocking the bootloader will void one’s warranty with a Motorola smartphone or tablet. Motorola has warned that the company will no longer be responsible if you should find yourself with a bricked or broken device after you mess around with the bootloader, rooting and flashing custom ROM’s. To be honest, I think the development community might be a bit unhappy as to how Motorola is handling the bootloader unlocks. On the bright side, they live up to their promise! Right?
The unlocking process will also blank your device. The result of that is deleting every last installed application and content. Really, it could just serve as a reminder that a user should back up all of the content on a device prior to following Motorola’s unlocking process. After Motorola basically conjuring up an image of the world tearing in half after you unlock your device, either people are going to just say forget it or this will be a new motivation to best another company in its own game (I’m slightly hoping for the latter option).
With all of that said, Motorola’s way of unlocking the bootloader on your device is very straightforward and easy to do. There is something that isn’t as clear though. That would be if any other devices will be joining the roster. While I said earlier that there should be more joining soon, apparently that was a rumor and wasn’t an official Motorola statement. Still, developing an online tool to unlock four devices seems rather advanced. I really would expect to see a whole lot more devices coming in the future.
Now, if you don’t want to follow through with Motorola’s plan to keep track of devices that the bootloader is unlocked with, it may just be in your best interest to wait a bit longer. It’s not very long that the XDA community will find a easy way around the bootloader now that the tools have been essentially released to us. That said, it’s still very well possible that you may get to keep your warranty without anyone knowing along with having the peace of mind that your device isn’t going to cause World War 3 and blow up into a pile of ashes.
Here’s a link to the web page where you’ll be able to unlock the bootloader if you’re not interested in waiting on the XDA community. Just remember to back everything up, because the process will nuke everything off your device. Again, I highly suggest waiting until the XDA community gets their hands on these new bootloader unlocking steps. In the long run, I think you will be very happy with the results along with the peace of mind that your warranty is still valid and active (of course, if you end up bricking your phone, there’s no coverage or way out of that).
Have you been able to unlock your bootloader? If so, let us know how the process went for you in the comments below! Was it easy or would you just rather leave the whole Motorola process alone and wait for one of the XDA community members to find a way to bypass all of this insanity? Either way, we’d like to hear your opinion.
That said, sound off in the comments below!