Motorola: Locked Bootloaders Stay, You Can Go Elsewhere

Whoa. In what I’m sure is a very uncharacteristic PR blunder by someone sitting behind the YouTube account at Motorola, a question regarding Motorola’s newest phones and the possibility of a locked bootloader was fielded. The answer – while appreciated – was rather blunt and almost, well, rude. Here’s what they had to say on the matter:

@tdcrooks if you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks.

I have no problem with the bootloader issue – it’s their product, they can lock it down if they want. And while I’m not a “the customer is always right” type of person, this response just reeked of an inexperienced public relations representative. (Though this is social media, so we’ll cut them a bit of slack.)

And before you say it was taken out of context, this was the comment in question:

Even though this phone seems to have the best hardware specs yet, no sale if the bootloader is locked like the Motorola Milestone I have. It’s really upsetting to not be able to put custom roms on MY device…

Please Moto, do the right thing. [For your customers, that is]

And that same user later expressed his excitement for the Atrix, despite bootloader issues. It’s no surprise that Motorola’s original comment is now nowhere to be found.

But as far as that bootloader issue goes, I can’t imagine Motorola’s going to be losing much business over this. It was all doom and gloom for the DROID X and DROID 2 when those were released, wasn’t it? Wait, no, those devices are still actually quite popular.

The truth is, Motorola’s right: their strategy is working, and the minority who calls foul at Motorola’s resistance to opening their phones up will and should go elsewhere if they’re unhappy. Things aren’t going to change just because you want them to, so it’s best to expend that energy on doing research on a phone that you can hack to no end.

A majority of their customers won’t hear of this story, but Motorola is playing with fire regardless. They have amazing Android products – arguably the best in the market. But this was simply the worst way to handle a simple, sincere comment by someone who is a big fan of your stuff. Other social media representatives should take note, because whether you like it or not, you’re seen as the face of your companies to those who spend a lot of their time on the internet. [via Android Central]

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  • Ry

    At&t -_-

  • TFJ4

    Was thinking about getting the Atrix from the iPhone 4 (had the N1,G2 previously). I’ll wait on the iPhone 5 and Motorola can kiss my ass. in B4 iPhone fanboy…..

  • Chahk

    This is exactly why I won’t be buying any of Motorola’s Android handsets, no matter if they are 3 generations ahead of competition. They can keep their locked bootloaders, and my money WILL go elsewhere.

  • JR

    I GOT A FEELING THEY WILL FIRE THE PERSONE THAT WROTE THT AND SEND OPOLOGY TOP EVERYONE….

  • Jeff

    The problem is, where else to go but HTC? The recent reports of update frequency for the handset makers clearly shows that if you want an Android phone, your best bet is HTC and Motorola. I’ve had the G1, the Droid, and now the Droid X and have really loved all of them. I’m willing to cut Motorola some slack in this, but I still don’t comprehend how their “strategy” is beneficial to them in any way??? Why NOT open it up? Make us geeks happy, and then we’re more likely to recommend their products. Locking it does what exactly?

  • JR

    AND I KNOW SOMEONE WILL ROOT RELAX PEOPLE

  • Decimae

    This will only make the port of the Atrix(minus the motoblur nonsense, of course) rom to other devices way better like the LG optimus 2X. Perhaps they might even be physically compatible with the Atrix docks, and with that will probably beat it.

    Also, no new roms = no buy for me. I love android because I can toy with it as well as it being functional.

  • hrbib21

    Further evidence of why I’ve always disliked Moto. Maybe they should worry more about the quality of the products they produce (garbage, IMO) and less about projecting an ignorant attitude toward their customers.

  • Maj

    i saw this when it was posted, motorola’s employee reply is so immature and unprofessional

  • Jonesy

    One of the more reasonable responses to this story I’ve read so far. Kudos, Quentyn.

  • Joshua

    The comment is still there, it just received too many downranks (or whatever Youtube uses) to where its hidden. If you find the original comment from the fan, you see an option to show the reply.

  • dsh

    “I GOT A FEELING THEY WILL FIRE THE PERSONE THAT WROTE THT AND SEND OPOLOGY TOP EVERYONE….” theyre motorola and at&t the dont apoligize to anyone

  • zed

    Whilst the 2 moto products you mention have sold a lot of units they are both US models where the after sale support (i.e. upgrades of OS) are MUCH better than the rest of the world. So while it may not hurt the US market much there is another argument for outside the US (I’m in Europe but think most of the non US world are in the same boat).

  • ThinkOpenly

    Where is this mythical “else” place? Aren’t all vendors bootloaders locked? Don’t they all try to prevent custom ROMs?

  • Chris

    Looks like they yanked the comment already.

    I’d like to believe that means they’ll stop locking their bootloaders, but I doubt it.

  • kris cantiberry

    And this is exactly why I will be going to the VIP5 when it comes out.. so NAHHHH =P Moto!

  • Frank

    Actually think, HTC could care less and encourage it.

  • http://trueacu.com acupunc

    what Motorola ought to do is, create one or more phones that are designed for the tech literate and give them vanilla Android and ask Google to treat them like their Nexus line–give them updates asap.

  • Topshelf

    As a Driod X owner, I could care less about a locked bootloader as I love my phone as is. That comment was a bit harsh, but people are way too sensitive these days. Ask a question, you get an answer. Deal with it and move on.

  • Nutshell

    Could someone please explain to me a POSSIBLE business reason why Motorola would want to keep the phones locked? Yes, they are doing great with the Droid 2 and X. The strategy is working. But wouldn’t they do strictly better if they also catered to the custom ROM crowd? How could they possibly lose business from allowing custom ROMs? I don’t think anyone would say “Unlocked bootloader?! I’m not buying that!”

  • Steven Skwarkowski

    Motorola flip-flops far too much! Always on the fence about there products!

  • http://zalzalaweb.com/jens anakin78z

    “Motorola’s right: their strategy is working”
    What strategy is that? To stop a minority from loading custom roms? How does that help them? How does that help anyone?

  • http://necropolislabs.com Terrormaster

    I don’t want a custom rom… I want vanilla stock android gingerbread phone and I want it on Verizon. It sucks that only T-Mobile gets the vanilla love. Unfortunately I’m confident at this point that the OG Droid was the only one.

  • Rhys

    Their strategy is only working within the USA. in the rest of the world their poor publicity, delays releasing phones, and delays updating phones is making everyone else go else where. yes the droid x and 2 may have sold well in the states but you’re average person on the street in europe doesnt know it exists because moto didnt even announce it here. They seem to not care about anything but the US market. I like the milestone/droid range but hate motorolas attitude to anyone but the USA market.

  • Dave

    Telling a company why you’re choosing not to buy their products is not a waste of time. If they hear the same from enough people, they may well reevaluate.
    .
    Motorola should be thankful that they’re getting so much customer insight for free. Many companies pay market research firms to find this out for them.
    .
    Truth is Motorola’s strategy isn’t working as well as they claim: while Android sales were exploding in the second half of last year, Droid Xand Droid 2 were under-performing compared to the unlocked original.

  • stndspec

    Really wish Google would put more pressure on devs about these things, they should be the exception not the norm. I did want a samsung screen, so nexus s was a lucky break even if I’d have preferred some more robust guts. Can’t trust that any of the better hardware will get timely updates, if at all. The market alone can’t force the change due to ignorance by the public on one side and control-freak app whores running the dev companies on the other.

  • Charlie

    Upgraded my Droid X to a Nexus S and I couldn’t be happier. CM7 is great. I will never be buying another moto phone regardless of hardware!

  • Bob

    Encrypted bootloaders also affect non-powerusers. Once Motorola loses interest in providing Android updates you’ll be left with no options. ALL Motorola phones (except the original US Droid) will soon be abandoned, orphaned and obsolete. It’s particularly disappointing since Android effectively saved Motorola from the brink of death but it’s their right. Hence, boycott Motorola.

  • Steve

    @JR root has nothing to do with it. I will go elsewhere Motorola, I will buy from people who will let me own my own hardware.

  • Steve

    @Topshelf Good for you, sounds like you really should buy an iphone though.

  • Brian

    I don’t work for carriers or cellphone manufacturers and I can see past the custom rom thing so should all of you be able to.
    The problem with custom roms is advertising, why do you think they spend so much time making Sense/Blur/TouchWiz? They do it to get their brand out there which is big bucks. If you take away all their branding then they essentially can’t make any money off of you.
    Every consumer product we own has brand names/themes on them, do you think the do it to make their customers happy? Heck no, they do it to stand apart and hope that when people see your nice new phone that you flaunt to your friends/family (and you know you do), that they will want to make that product their own.
    Most people that aren’t techy won’t know what AOSP even is and could care less what it means or if it could be installed on their phones, but “Sense” or “TouchWiz” has a clear memorable name that infects the consumer in us all and makes us want.
    Take Apple iPhone for example, if people jailbroke their phones and took away the candy colored icons and took all the chrome and brushed aluminum off their phone do you think people would desire that product as recognize it as much?
    The above is more geared towards describing the general populous aka the brick/root fearing non-geeks.

  • Daniel

    Yeah Motorola is dead to me as well. I really hope Google changes up the terms with Android 3.0, a locked bootloader is the opposite of open. I doubt it will happen though.

    In the mean time, HTC & Samsung both have good phones, with more to come. Now if the Nexus S would just come to Verizon…

  • MikeB

    To me the truth of it is if Motorola was more open to custom ROMs they would be the clear favorite of Techs. Motorola devices seem to have far better Battery life then HTC and better build quality then Samsung. I really do wish there was one device they made for stock Android like the original Droid. Or at the least do what Dell did with there Skin. Its Vanilla Android plus a few widgets. Keep it simple. Sure you can offer Widgets for ease of use and a different looks, but at least make them compatible with ADW, Zeam, Launcher Pro. It would be nice if these companies would just think before the put a big overlay and screw themselves out of feature updates.

  • Topshelf

    @Steve That’s a really mature…funny, but mature response. lol I’m simply making a point that the locked bootloader does not bother all users, and I consider myself a power user. No, I don’t root and install ROM’s, but I use my phone heavily as a business tool. Would it be nice if the option to install a custom ROM was there? I guess, but not every user needs or wants these things. Saying that anyone who isn’t concerned with modding should buy an iPhone is a comical statement. Ever think that different people have different needs?

  • Nellibly

    There is a very nice fellow named Dan on the Motorola forums. He’s the only one who ever responded to my questions/concerns/issues, etc. with any professionalism. It took months and a new phone to resolve all my issues with my first Droid X. The new one works fine, but the whole customer service vibe over there is dark. It’s unlikely I will buy another phone from them when the time comes. I’m used to people appreciating my business.

  • chris

    Moto doesnt care people will continue buying their products whether they lock the bootloaders or not

  • Russ

    Fail.

  • F. Augusztin

    In meantime we still wait for official Froyo for Motorola Milestone.

    And by the way, never again Motorola. Migrated to HTC, Motorola will have fun with lost sales in Europe, where their only Froyo phone is Milestone 2. Neither of their other phones has 2.2 (officially).

  • Dark Jedi

    One reason they want it lock their boot loader is simple. While rooting can be fun it can also be dangerous. How many times people screws their phones up and ask for help. Also people oc their phones and what if it fries their processor. Then what if a bad rom kills their phones. With all them reasons you would see a flood of phones being turned in for warranty work.

    After all there’s a reason all Devs puts use at your own risk. I take no responsibility if your phone gets damaged.

  • Jaswinder Singh

    I pay, I buy, Its my shit Moto. May be they still have their bankruptcy paperwork filled out and dont like the mini success.

  • Jeff

    I switched from an iPhone 3Gs to the Droid X in November. So far, I’ve been happy with the phone, but not ecstatic. It is one of the best phones I’ve ever had, but so was the iPhone. I never had trouble with AT&T’s service.

    My wife’s iPhone 4 can pretty much equal the Droid X on call quality and signal strength. I like the screen on the X, but the resolution on the iPhone 4 somewhat makes up for the smaller size.

    Outside of live wallpapers, different launchers, and widgets (none of which are especially appealing to me), there’s not really anything else that’s especially appealing about Android over iOS.

    Yes, I rooted my X so I could freeze the bloatware, but the iPhone doesn’t come with any real bloatware outside of a few stock apps that don’t actually interfere with you unless you intentionally use them.

    I will probably be switching back to the iPhone at some point. Maybe at my one year date, maybe later.

    I guess my point is that Android isn’t, for the end user, much more open that iOS is. It may be more open to the carrier and the manufacturer of the phones, but Verizon and Motorola do more to limit the Droid X and Apple does to limit the iPhone. That’s not what many would have you believe and certainly runs against the spirit of “open”.

  • kb

    Well, I can very much see Moto’s side of this. It’s like a potential buyer getting upset because Honda won’t offer an open-source ECU that he can modify. Blow up the phone (or phone) and blame the maker? If I were them and selling lots of phones, I wouldn’t allow it either. OTOH, if I was Samsung, I think advertising that their new phones can easily be rooted “might” help them salvage their sinking reputation as far as support goes…

  • sansenoy

    SO WHAT IF HE RAISED HIS FUCKING VOICE A LITTLE, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS ALL BUT RUINED ANY SHRED OF CULTURE AND LIBERTY IN AMERICAN SOCIETY, PATHETIC AND SHAMEFUL

  • Steve

    @sansenoy, Go die in a gutter you douchebag. This has nothing to do with PC, it has to do with common courtesy, something you clearly no nothing about.

  • Phillip

    I have to say, their apology was very polite and they realized it was a mistake. And while I really don’t like that they’re locking phones down, I’m not sure I’d be doing custom roms if given the chance. I do like playing with gadgets but I haven’t bothered to even root any of my phones yet.

    So I guess I’ll have to wait and see what’s around in July because I have liked Motorola’s phones in the past. But I like supporting open platforms too.

  • Adrian

    does this include the XOOM?! if so I’ll get LG’s one :)
    HTC FTW.
    Oh and the reason Moto want the Bootloader locked is so no one bricks their devices so Motorola don’t have to pay for a new device because “it just stopped working”

  • Steve

    @Jeff; No you bought a closed phone. The carriers offer more open ones, you picked a closed one and got just that.

  • Steve

    @Adrian; no such problem with the Nexus line. This is a BS line, you can’t brick a phone by flashing a rom, you can always flash another rom over USB.

  • Steve

    @Topshelf; You are not a power user, you are just a typical business user. Those folks are generally happier with iPhones. Here is a quick test you can take yourself to find out; Do you do actual work for a living or go to meetings?

  • Gilgehmesh

    Looks like android fans are finding bad things about almost all android manufactures… don’t buy Samsung because no update and light plastic, don’t buy Moto because of locked bootloader… HTC is becoming boring… what does that leave us? LG is starting to come around but I suppose people will find deal breakers with them as well. Is Heuwei going to be the savior? Will S-E come to it’s senses and give people Android phone with up to date software (this might happen this year)? PSP phone? ZTE?? Pantech?? I don’t suppose Nokia will ever do Android. I guess that leaves us with the “i” stuff…

  • CalypsoArt

    @Nutshell “But wouldn’t they do strictly better if they also catered to the custom ROM crowd?” Why? How big is this “crowd”? What is the cost benefit to Motorola to produce a separate model with software differences and all the personnel and support cost that would entail? Just to satisfy a few phone nerds/geeks. Nope, as the rude employee said, go elsewhere.

    At my job there have has been a steady influx of Droids. (I myself have the D2G) Changed my mind about rooting as LP and a few apps/tweaks gave me all I needed. That said, None of the Droid phone owners I know even want that. Futher, they know or care what a boot-loader is, far less wanting to diddle with it. As for being able to compare available ROMs and make a choice as to which one they might want. The reality is, 99% of people want a cool working phone that can run apps. It’s why the iPhone is so popular. The ability to do simple customizations like themes to make the phone individual would be welcome by most, but not necessary–again, as evidenced by the iPhone.

    Until someone can present statistics proving the phone geek crowd is more than, or even 5% of the market, I see absolutely no reason for manufacturers to change the methods that have been working for them.

  • Steve

    @ThinkOpenly, Nope. The NEXUS line does not.

  • Steve

    @Gilgehmesh; Get a Nexus.

  • Dark Jedi

    At Nell.

    As with any company its the luck of the draw. When I first got my D1 it would not update. I called Verizon and after 20 min he called Motorola tech and the guy was very friendly and after another 20min he said to get a new Droid and have them ship it to moto. So no one company has the best service around.

  • Jeff

    @Steve,

    True enough, but the only carrier that offers a truly open phone is T-Mobile, and the service in my area isn’t very good. They just got 3G here in 2009 and the coverage that is here is very limited.

    Sprint wasn’t really an option for me because of the service in my particular area. The coverage maps looks good, but the real world coverage isn’t great.

    That left Verizon and AT&T. The only decent Android phone on AT&T at the time was the Captivate. The reviews of it had been mixed and, by some accounts, Touchwiz was worse, or at least more intrusive than Motoblur.

    That left Verizon. The screen on the Droid Incredible was nice as long as you are inside and I didn’t want a physical keyboard. The Fascinate has the same issues the Captivate does. That left, for me, the Droid X.

    I like the phone and I like the Android OS. I just think that there’s not any more openness (outside of the Nexus S on T-Mobile) in Android for the end user. I think that most people, including me, just want a phone that works. Android does that very well, but iOS does it just as well. I know it is reasonably easy to install ROMs on HTC phones, but most people don’t want to deal with that. If Android were truly and open system, it would be open to the end user. Verizon and Motorola did that with the original Droid, and T-Mobile does that with the Nexus line, but no one else does.

    If I lived in a large metropolitan area, the Nexus S would be a great choice. However, like many people, I don’t live in a big city, so T-Mobile just isn’t practical for service. That pretty much cuts out the truly open phones.

  • Gunner

    Motorola seems to have unfounded fears about unlocked bootloaders and some perception that millions of phones will be returned under warranty claims.
    HTC and Samsung seem to be doing just fine selling ROMable phones, and I don’t ever read any stories about thousands of bricked phones being returned. In fact, I have yet to read a single story of someone truly permanently bricking a phone do to loading a custom ROM.

  • bigsg

    everything is rootable – but the more popular the phone is the more likely it is to be rooted.

  • Steve

    @Jeff my OG droid is plenty open, you can get them cheap. The reality is android is very open, in the apache license sense. Meaning anyone down the line can close it up. Too bad google did not GPL v3 it, but then it may never have been adopted. Nokia meebo phones are very open too.

  • Steve

    @bigsg and an unlocked boot loader and rooting have nothing to do with each other. One gives you administrator access the other lets you replace the OS. The More You Know…..

  • Chris

    Speaking as a Motorola shareholder, I hope they kicked that PR guy in the nuts. As one of the few American companies in a very globally competitive industry, it doesn’t help matters to have bad PR like this.

    I was worried when the phone exploded in someone’s face. But in keeping the locked bootloader, that’s just unacceptable ;-)

    / Droid 2 running ApeX ROM since day one.

  • Martin

    Their strategy might appear to be working for the time being, but it’s not sustainable.

    The bootloader wouldn’t really be an issue if Moto’s after-sales service was up to scratch. Milestone owners in Europe are still waiting on Froyo when it’s American cousin has had it for months already. It was promised by the end of 2010, then “early Q1″ (which is nearly upon us) and still no sign of it. Just look at the Motorola Europe facebook page – thousands of comments from angry customers vowing never to buy from Motorola again. If that’s Motorolas idea of “working”, they need to check the dictionary.

    I was very impressed with the demo’s I saw of the Atrix coming out of CES, but I won’t be going with Moto again because they’ll stop supporting it 6 months after purchase, and I’ve been telling the same to my friends who are asking for advice on Android phones.

  • D~C

    That’s their prerogative, and that’s fine. I will gladly keep on NOT buying Motorola phones. Besides, I tend to recommend to people the openness of the Nexus line – nothing like a pure Google Experience device that is more-than-friendly to customization! It’s what I buy and will continue to buy for the foreseeable future.

  • Nutshell

    @CalypsoArt: Why would they need to make a separate model? Just have the bootloader unlocked standard like the droid1. Here are two scenarios with my made up numbers:

    1. all phones w/ locked bootloader: sell 5 million phones. Yay profit!

    OR

    2. all phones w/ unlocked bootloader: sell 5.25 million phones, 25 thousand get returned due to bricking. Yay MORE profit.!

    what am I missing?

  • Steve

    @Chris you realise the phone you are talking about has a locked bootloader right? The only way to run another kernel is to boot the stock one then kexec into another, which is pretty far from ideal. If you want phones with unlocked bootloaders buy them. That is the only way to signal to the market that this need exists.

  • bamaredwingsfan

    Moto needs to remember that about 18 months ago, they was at deaths door. Android came an rescued them for the time being. I will never buy a locked down phone, droid1 is my last moto product.

  • Bob

    @Gunner It’s not about bricking fears. It’s about planned obsolescense so you’re forced to buy a new phone. Of course that new phone shouldn’t be a Motorola.

  • CJ

    He handled the situation perfectly. A question was asked and an honest answer was given instead of the usual BS. The rep should be commended and promoted up the food chain! Those that don’t like can indeed buy elsewhere. The overwhelming majority of Android users have no interest in modding and it is in Motorolas best interest to try and prevent it. I love custom ROMs as much as the next guy and have run them on all of my Android phones to date. But from a business standpoint, Motorola saves itself a lot of potential warranty related issues from people jacking up their phones.

  • NowVoyager

    That arrogant attitude is precisely what may usher in the demise of Moto. No one *has* to buy their product. In fact, the CEO announced not too long ago that their numbers for Q1 will be down: http://chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2010/12/motorola-shares-fall-on-q1-mobile-loss-forecast.html – This rep on YouTube has invited people not to purchase their phones and it appears that quite a few people have decided to do just that…including me. They can take a long walk off a short pier.

  • Chris

    @Steve Ya thankfully they figured out a boot method for the D2 which at least is pretty seamless for the user. The stock D2 interface was ugh-ugh-ly, and laggy. Though it may have been acceptable with ADW as a replacement, if that works on a stock rom.

    @Gunner I think you are correct regarding planned obsolescence. I first upgraded my discontinued Droid Eris to Froyo and it turned into a great phone! Got rid of stock radio issues, better battery economy, and was much snappier.

    Ultimately I upgraded the hardware to get higher resolution and enough horsepower for flash, but I still use the Eris w/ Froyo on occasion because it rocks.

    For my new phone I chose Motorola because if you go and chart the various Android phone talk-times, you see that Motorola has long battery life as a priority. With consistently longer operation using the same or less battery size as other makers.

    I do not know why they insist on locking things up and delivering the awful themed UI.

  • David Davidson

    My next phone will be moto. The reason being, build quality and battery life. My droid 2 with fission does everything I need it to do without a hiccup. It has been through hell and back and still looks new. I would of been through a dozen fascinates by now. Also, the battery life of this unit kicks the shit out of anything htc has. If htc can top moto in battery life they may get me as a customer but when my phone can do everything an incredible can do and last the whole day on one charge it’s an easy choice.

  • jroc

    Some of yall act like the Droid 1 being unlocked is what bought Moto back from the brink of bankruptcy..it wasnt…
    .
    It was:
    .
    Good hardware, good software, (Android) and Verizon’s Droid advertising. Thats it. Look at how well the X and Droid 2 is doing…with locked bootloaders..
    .
    Why do I like Moto phones? Better reception than most others. Hmmm…what do I want, better reception or a custom ROM…I will take reception anyday over custom ROMs. In fact, I stopped running custom ROMs on my Droid 1 right as Froyo came out for it. I just got bored with it.
    .
    Like someone mentioned….if I was on AT&T I would be damned if I pass on the Atrix cuz of the locked bootloader. The Bionic, maybe…lol

  • jroc

    Oh yea and battery life of Moto phones seems to be above average. And they dont skimp on batteries that ship with the phone. Some of the newer HTC phones? U will HAVE to buy an extended battery out the gate…
    .
    Yea….reception and battery life….I will take those anyday over custom ROMs.

  • Glenn

    No Atrix for me :(.

    Got a custom rom for my captivate… so much nicer than what it came with, 2.2 instead of 2.1. I will not by a locked phone if there is any other choice.

  • P1

    The rationale is simple for the manufacturers. They are held hostage by the carriers to put whatever bloatware crap the carriers want on the device. The manufacturers need a market to compensate for the R&D costs of each phone and they do that by getting carriers to buy their phones (hence the leaked roadmaps showing phones months away from delivery). When you get the discounted phone from AT&T, the phone is locked to AT&T under a “subsidy lock”. That ensures that AT&T gets your money to compensate them for giving you a $500 phone for free or $100 or whatever. Therefore, you’re not going to get an open phone because that would enable you to put any SIM in the phone and use it wherever you want, thus taking AT&T’s cut of the service that pays for the phone. And once you also take AT&T’s bloatware off the phone, they can’t make any cash from those services.

    From Moto’s standpoint, if you brick the phone, they don’t want to do a replacement because you’re an idiot modder. The other side of that is support. While most of you are far too smart to screw up the phone, imagine the legions of newbs that would be calling Moto because something on the phone no longer works after a custom ROM is applied. How the fark do you support that? And honestly, while Android may be a core OS, there is still a crapload of coding that has to be done to make the hardware work with Android. That coding costs money.

    Now, if you want to pay Moto direct the actual cost of the device, plus a little profit, and you can find several tens of thousands of friends willing to do the same, I’m sure that someone at Moto would be willing to develop an open phone for you and your friends. You just have to be willing to pay full price and the price of what would amount to custom development on Moto’s part. Good luck with that.

    It’s only your phone when you pay full price. Otherwise, the carrier has a say in how you use it. You might want to read that contract.

    All that aside, the fundamental problem here is that the carriers have created an expectation that cell phones are dirt cheap. Of course they do that by locking you into a contract for two years in exchange for that cheap phone. All you whiners complain that it is Moto’s fault. Well, when Moto sold unlocked phones at cost, everyone complained about how expensive they were. You can’t have it both ways.

  • DJ

    Motorola can kiss my ass, especially with that attitude. They hit a home run with the Droid OG. I understand that people like myself who like to run custom ROMs, kernels, etc. are in the minority. For me, moving from a D1 to a D2(warranty replacement) was a step forward in memory only. I would REALLY like to see Google require carriers to offer one vanilla android, unlocked phone if they want to have an Android phone line-up. Yes, they most certainly CAN do it. I am no iPhone fan, but do you think Apple is going to let vzw fuck with their baby? Hell no. Im sure it will have “Verizon” printed on it and even have Verizon on the load screen, but thats it. I loved my Droid OG, and other than memory, and very minor speed differences (my D1 ran stable @1366MHz on jdlfg’s kernel) , the D2 has nowhere near the support and customizability the OG enjoys. I wont have true 2.3 for a long time because of the bootloader/kernel issues in the DX/D2. Now HTC needs to make a good phone with a physical keyboard that isnt on a network that has spotty coverage if youre like me and travel a lot. Just for the attitude of the response alone, I hope Moto starts to fade back into obscurity, although they wont, since most people have never even heard of kernels and bootloaders and a lot of people think Blur is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Give me a Droid OG with 1GB RAM.

  • jroc

    I posted at another site, maybe Moto is trying to get into Blackberry’s world. Having theor phones extra locked down could help them. And Moto has the only recent Android phone that seems targeted at Blackberry users, the Droid Pro.
    .
    IF thats Moto’s goal it could mean big bucks for them. And more important than those of us that like to run custom ROMs.

  • Topshelf

    @Steve OK, so I took the test. Turns out I don’t go to meetings…ever I do actual work every day, dirty work actually. So did I pass? I love guys that know everything. Glad you’re here to set everyone straight.

  • pax

    “They have amazing Android products – arguably the best in the market”…give me a break…ugly phones.

  • bmg314

    I really have been anticipating the upcoming Moto devices….ever since started hearing rumors of the Terminator. However, this is yet another thing that makes me want to stay with HTC.

    The problem is that among the phone buying public, people like us (blog readers, android enthusiasts, mods/hackers, etc) number in the approximate range of *INSIGNIFICANT*. Just look at how the general consumer is eating up the Galaxy S brand, blissfully unaware of the update issues. They dont know/dont care. They only know that they have a “cool” phone. Same with Moto products.

  • TheSherman

    I don’t see the point in having a locked bootloader, it will get hacked eventually and not long after that it’ll have a 1 click root. Why not do what the Nexus One did and make it easily do-able but something that won’t happen by mistake when an inexperienced user gets lost when playing with their phone

  • Dre

    There we dont want to be responsible for bricked phones, is ridiculous as your average consumer has no idea what that is.

  • kevin

    Fuck moto. I’ll go somewere else

  • Brandon

    What’s the big deal? I have a custom rom on my “locked-down” Droid X this very moment. It’ll happen regardless.

  • B anon

    Everyone needs to blitz Motorola’s social media outlets with something like this…

    LOCKED BOOTLOADER!!! BEWARE… IF YOU WANT REAL ANDROID PHONE “you need to go a different way…” (motorola)

    They dont care what you think until it affects the profits!!! That is how they have always worked. They feel cocky right now because they are on top and their products sell. Once this catches up with new customers it will start hurting. I would rather spend my hard earned money on a cell phone I can use as I wish. I dont want to wait for updates that take mounts and years, products that are abandoned because motorola decided it didnt want to update anymore, bunch of spam and junk that slows my phone and takes up space.

    How would you like to purchase PC that came full of garbage programs with no way to remove it and with WinXP and wait on the manufacturer to push update… While your buddy is sporting the latest greatest OS with all kind of custom modifications and cool programs.

    LAME!!! MOTO Shame on YOU!!!

  • Diverge

    It’s simple. The reason they don’t want them unlocked is they want to control the life cycle of their phones. As Android changes over time, new features get added, ect, They now control when you will upgrade to one of their new phones, that has those features that you want.

    It all boils down to $$$!

  • Steve

    @TheSherman; Read the other fucking comments. This has nothing to do with root. It only has to do with flashing community roms.

  • mr.walker

    Who give a shit about a Motorola phone.. I’m just writing to even the numbers. 79 looked odd.

  • turdfergeson

    Why anyone would defend moto for this either a)works for them or b)is a complete idiot. While yes, loading custom roms is fun for the geek community, it is not just about that. Why should anyone have to wait for 2.4 to come out to get 2.3 (which is out)? For christ’s sake I have 2.3 on my aria and didn’t need to wait for ota updates. The mere fact that this phone is coming out with 2.2 is a red flag for the powers that be at motorola. This phone has great potential and could lead the way for a long time, but not running 2.2. Why not let people load what they want? If you send in a brick and motowarranty gets it to work with a big cyanogen boot sequence do you think they will mail you a new one? HELL NO, that’s the risk you take.
    The issue here is android is open source and Atrix wants to be the beginning of your pc anywhere experience. As long as you don’t mind motorola deciding what your pc experience is. Pretty sure I have Ubuntu and windows on my laptop. Pretty sure I don’t need for toshiba to let me screw with it.
    I REALLY wanted this phone till I got word of this. Go suck it, motorola, sticking with htc.

  • Gunner

    @ Bob: I agree that’s more likely the real reason behind it – planned obsolescence. And I wrote as much on the Moto YT page, but they didn’t let it go through – unsurprisingly.

  • thomas

    HTC then

  • jroc

    @turdfergeson posted:
    .
    “Why anyone would defend moto for this either a)works for them or b)is a complete idiot.”
    .
    No, some of us put more importance in other things than ROMs. OS updates? Thats a different story….lol And I see your point.
    .
    But, using your words….I would be a complete idiot to dismiss the positives about Motorola phones cuz of a locked bootloader. Do you consider all those Galaxy S user idiots who got a phone with a faulty GPS, some had to do a “lag fix” just to have a decent running phone, and no OS update yet from Samsung in the US? While the lowly LG Ally is getting Froyo as we speak? But at least they have an unlocked bootloader….
    .
    Hey….at least Moto did update the Droid 1, X to Froyo in a timely fashion. And the Droid 2 and Pro came with Froyo installed.

  • F. Augusztin

    @jroc: Same Motorola still didn’t update Milestone (which is a GSM Droid) to Froyo.

  • http://www.kickrocks.us adam smith

    Who cares if the bootloader is locked. Seriously. It’s a phone. I build all my own custom computers and I could care less about this. When I go to make a phone call, is it going to affect that? Are pictures not going to look as good? Will movies or games somehow look different? Will the phone be significantly slower because of this? You guys make it sound like you’re all getting stuck with an iPhone because of one issue.

  • JoeS

    elsewhere I go…

  • Vennz

    They’re trying to clean the mess….which of course pointless as the whole things is a mess.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/motorola-ready-to-make-sweet-love-to-rom-devs-and-rooters/#comments

  • Glitch

    do you maybe want to post an update pointing at the official motorola response to this? This article is misleading in light of that.

  • Paul M

    I nearly bought a milestone1, but held back to see what sort of community developed around it, but not as much as I expected, and I figured that a sequel device might be better.

    So the milestone 2 came out, and I was initially excited and nearly bought it, but held off a while, and was disappointed by the lack of updates, and again I waited to see if the community would solve this, but it couldn’t.

    I also liked the XT720, and it became apparent that too would languish with an old version of android.

    https://supportforums.motorola.com/community/manager/softwareupgrades

    The Atrix seems to be a very fine device, I’d be pre-ordering the moment that was possible, except for the certainty that Motorola will lock the device, so I’d never really own it, I’d only be renting it from them. I’ll be waiting eagerly to see what HTC offer at MWC/3GSM.

    Moto, if you are locking these devices down to satisfy the carriers, that’s fine, but I’d be buying it off contract at full price, but it seems you lock all devices in the same way?!

    So, Moto, despite recent assurances to the contrary, I simply don’t trust you to blow GB£500 on a phone and hope that it’ll get reasonably timely updates to its OS or be sufficiently unlockable to allow others to do your work for you!

    So Moto, I know I am not the typical end user, and you probably don’t care about the loss of one sale, but my friends take note of the products I am enthusiastic about, because they know if they need technical help they will get it. On the other hand they know that if they buy something I’d not buy for myself then they are on their own! My smartphone owning friends have HTCs and Samsungs. The only time I’ve ever held a milestone was one used in a test lab.

  • R3D3

    @Topshelf (19)

    You mean you COULDN’T care less. If you could care less, then you do still care somewhat…

  • sunny d

    does anyone know how to go about returning/exchanging this phone “droid x”? they should have made it clear that I wouldnt be able to use this device the way I wanted to, which is with cynogen. I feel like they ripped me off. would you buy a car that wont drive if you paint it a different color or change the stock stereo out and now it wont start? what if you did buy this car without that information disclosed to you. you only find this out after you paint the your and now the mothafu¢kin car wont start! your fu**ed…! thats how you would feel sitting infront of RSD lite with a black screen on your phone that says bootloader error… FUK U MOTOROLA!