Jul, 16 2010

Motorola’s chimed in with Engadget to clear up all of the eFuse confusion. To keep the story short and sweet: it’s in the Motorola Droid X, and it is in fact enabled. How it works is a different story, though. Instead of bricking the device upon finding unapproved software, it will boot into recovery mode and will continue to do so until approved software has been reinstalled. Motorola wasn’t clear on explaining if software could be reinstalled through the recovery menu right on the device, though, which means there’s still a chance you’ll have to take it into Motorola or Verizon if you want to be able to use the thing again.

Motorola’s primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner and legal requirements. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed.Checking for a valid software configuration is a common practice within the industry to protect the user against potential malicious software threats. Motorola has been a long time advocate of open platforms and provides a number of resources to developers to foster the ecosystem including tools and access to devices via MOTODEV at http://developer.motorola.com.

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It doesn’t sound unlike what we already heard: your device is at the mercy of Motorola and Verizon. The term “bricked” is usually used to describe a device that’s practically useless (more accurately, it renders the phone inoperable at hardware or software level), and a phone that can only boot into recovery until official Motorola software is reinstalled sounds pretty useless to me. Anyone trying to throw custom firmware on it would have to hope that a system dump is kept in tact for them to throw onto their microSD card and attempt to bring their phone back to (usable) life.

It doesn’t change anything, but at least Motorola’s being upfront about it. We’d love it if they could clear up how one might go about reinstalling the software in case you can’t get it to boot, but I guess we’d probably just have to wait to see if anyone will get ballsy enough to do anything to the phone.

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