“Unlocked” G1s Showing Up on eBay, Craigslist: Are They Legit?


Now that the G1 has now been not so officially released, user’s feedback is slowly starting to shine through the cracks. One of the things that a lot of forum users and commenters have asked about is the G1’s ability to be unlocked.

As with all prominent mobile device releases, sites like eBay and craigslist are humming with entrepreneurs trying to score a few bones by selling the G1s that they received early. These scheming sellers are just starting to sing the android tune (let’s hope it’s a rap), and it seems to include something about unlocking the G1.

A simple search on eBay for the G1 will yield results that show a good percentage of sellers claiming that the G1 they’re selling is unlocked for another carrier. Now to be fair, if the seller had a contract with T-Mobile for more than 90 days, then it’s possible they’ve requested an unlock code from Teemo themselves.

But to set the record straight, as of now there is no known software/hardware unlock possible for the G1 on T-Mobile. Until there is an individual or group (such as the iPhone Dev Team), we won’t be seeing unlocked G1s. We can be confident, though, that the G1 will be unlocked sooner rather than later. This is due to a variety of factors, including the fact that T-Mobile and Google really have no grounds to “refuse” an app to the android market for mass distribution. This would allow developers to create an unlock utility and post it directly to the market, no hacking required.

In fact, during Q&A at the press conference introducing the G1, Cole Brodman was asked a question relating to T-Mobile’s reaction to an unlock utility. Brodman basically said “we would discourage it, but we really can’t stop it.”

One other detail to note: even if (and it’s only a matter of time) the G1 is unlocked, said unlockers won’t be able to use AT&T’s shiny new 3G network. While T-Mobile and AT&T share similar 2G frequencies/spectrum/technology they’re on a different 3G wavelength.

So, Mr. Joe the plumber Unlocker, just sit still for a few more weeks until the angelic unlock utility appears in the market. Then you’ll only be a few taps away from being the newest unlockin’ G.

Spencer Gardner
Spencer sheds blood, sweat, and sometimes tears over each and every story that is written. All in the name of! He also runs many miles many days of the year and hugely enjoys the tech world in general.

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  1. very interesting… this unlock feature will hopefully support ( multitouch )

  2. I’ve also noticed a few eBay auctions for t-mobile unlock codes – specifically targeting them to G1 purchasers, with the name G1 in the title of the auction. not sure how legit they would be, anyone got any idea?

    Alas I’m forced to wait for a euro G1 that will work with our Australian carrier frequencies. I like to think that by the time they are released, someone will have a simple software unlock app available for the G1

  3. Is there something I’m confused about? apk Android apps run in a VM with a tight security model. As far as I’ve been able to tell there isn’t a way to run native code on the devices (at least on the T-mobile iteration).

    It’s only open in the sense you can write whatever apps you want within the VM, not in the sense that you can use the device in any way you like. You can’t compile and run openssh, for example on it, rather you have to run Java implementation of an SSH client.

    In that respect, I don’t see a simple unlock app showing up on Marketplace. Though, I’m sure such an app will exist it’ll probably require a little more work to apply and undoubtedly will violate the EULA.

    Am I wrong/missing something? I’d be happy if I were.

  4. Replying to Dave Sims in Australia.

    T-Mobile are releasing the G1 here in the UK on October 31st.

    It’s going to be locked into a contract. The guys in my local shop here in Glasgow can’t tell me the details, but it’s looking likely to be £40 / month for a minimum of 18 months.

  5. You don’t need softwares to unlock HTC phones… need a code.
    The OS does not need jailbreak like the iphone.

  6. Lots of people have referenced that the phone can’t use ATT’s 3G network, however looking at the specs for the phone itself it does support (radio-wise) both the spectrum for tmo and ATT. So that said … why wouldn’t it work? I’m working on getting my friends who have it to call and claim they’ll be heading overseas so they’ll need an unlock code or try it myself when I get mine tomorrow with my wife’s ATT sim.

    Anyone know?

  7. Hello,

    I am interested in buying your goods placed on auction. I wish to buy it for my daugther that went for missionary excursion in West African Countries. To support her missionary project in developing rural areas in the continent.

    So you can contact me via email address.

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