Droid X Bootloader is Locked


As we’ve always suspected, Motorola’s looking to apply a nasty (in the eyes of developers like the ones from XDA) trend to their latest handsets, and the Motorola Droid X is no exception. The bootloader’s a necessary component in being able to jump into a phone’s recovery to flash custom ROMs. While root may still be possible (some devices can attain root without having to jump into the bootloader), it would only be good for using some of those root-only applications in the Android market (which isn’t the worst thing in the world.)


Now, only time will tell if the Droid X proves to be as difficult to crack as the Motorola Milestone – the international version of the original Droid which is still being worked on as of today.

[Twitter via AndroidPolice]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

Google Doing What it Can to Help You Find a Parking Spot

Previous article

This Is What to Expect If You Go Out Looking For a Droid X [Video]

Next article

You may also like


  1. oh no !!


  3. this is stupid, one of the nice things that makes the droid still a competitive phone is the fact that it can be overclocked and have custom roms. why make it more difficult motorola?

  4. wtf, they lock all the phones with their crappy UI?

  5. In the long run this is what might kill android. At least the Nexus had an easy way to unlock for a through testing environment. With no replacement it might evolve into a walled garden apple approach that will only leave Meego platforms as open, making more people seeking out that platform over Android.

  6. @dvdivx:

    People like us care about unlocked bootloaders. Normal people couldn’t care less or even know what a bootloader is.

    This will not kill Android. Has a lack of openness killed the iPhone?

  7. The real question is: Is it encrypted?

  8. he problem is not that Moto or VZW does not like you all with custom roms as much as they HATE HATE HATE paying for customer support or returns & replacement for the people that either brick or mess their phones up.

    It would be cool if they offered a waiver for support, so if you signed the waiver, you would ZERO support from Moto and VZW, but you could root till your heart is content.

    You can not have it both ways though, unless you are a rube who thinks so.

  9. This thing is what makes me pretty much remove Motorola from phone selection – i have the Milestone right now, and considering all the bugs it have (mainly the random reboots) it is sinking to the level of HTC Touch HD badness in my opinion.

  10. you don’t want to lose mindshare by turning off developers.

  11. Well not buying that one. Still hoping droid 2 does not go this way.

  12. wow, i’m glad i skipped this and went to Sprint for the Evo. i love my phone!

  13. Looks like it’s the beginning of the end to mods for android, i was wondering how long it would last…actually quite surprised it went on this long with so many devices…
    too bad, it was the one big draw to this OS…

  14. That is a shame. I really thought Motorola would emerge as a leader in the smartphone market (lol if I said that 5 years ago, everybody would have laughed). Looks like it will be HTC v Samsung for me.

  15. Looks like I will stay with my original droid. Its overclocked and kicks ass. Would like some hdmi out though. Still I don’t think its a big thing. The developers I talked to are BRILLIANT. Android will always have a one up.

  16. Ohh yea. Don’t think htc and samsung aren’t on the same track.

  17. @Wello Not sure about bootloader in x, but bootloader in milestone is encrypted
    @jkman You are right about custom ROMs, but overclocking is posible even with locked bootloader

  18. dont worry birdman one a great android hacker has some leads and gives the maximum of 4 months before he him self will find the solution. Also we have some hackers looking to do a custom flash similar to Jtag, only making it simpler to use for the average 17 year old girl to apply it to their phone. Trust me this is the hottest phone out for verizon and looking at the future line up its going to be a real contender, and with all the developers looking to encrypt their phones rather than letting them be open, so we need to find a way now cause this is the future in phone development!

  19. This is my first time posting here. Im a Droid lover and have the OG Droid and will still be picking the DX up Thursday at BB. I know everyone keeps saying that now nobody is going to buy a Droid but truthfully, how many Android owners out there root there phones and install custom roms. Im sure the number isnt as high as everyone would think. Android OS is far from the walled garden that the iOS is. The things you can do with Android just without rooting is reason enough for people to want to have an Android phone. Iphone users have to jailbreak theres to really do anything cool or harness the power of what that phone can do. Im not trying to cause a stir or anythng im just stating my opinion and my love for an OS like Android. Sorry i was so long winded

  20. Thanx brilliance

  21. I am getting a droid x despite this. I want to be on verizon and the hardware on the X is amazing. My nokia N97 is dated and a P.O.S.

    I guess we will have to survive on the stock rom… PDAnet here i come!

  22. seriously? I don’t understand what the deal is…Motorola is being like Obama. telling us that they know what is better for us and that they will give us what we need even if we dont want it. Let us root, let us play, give us a little damn lateral movement. the developers have made this OS what it is now, it will only get better, more minds and ideas creating a true open evolving system. If “Apple-ing” phones becomes the norm for Android then we will become googleites similar to those ‘STEVEJOBITES’ I’m getting the X cuz I had to give back my EVO cuz sprint coverage was SHIT! where I live… But it looks like I’ll be getting a Sammy S too. Good one Tmo for butchering the hardware goodies, FFC and camera Flash. Okay, my random babblings that make no sense are over. Till then keep ANDROID OPEN-Hack this damn boot loader! thanks

  23. @rushmore, Spot on. Even overclocking can burn out processors at an accelerated rate.

    @AndroidsOfTara, Also spot on. You’d think reading the comments that almost every person feels the same way about rooting. In fact, the number who care don’t even amount to noise in the sales numbers.

    Droid X should sell very well, and Motorola (and others) will continue to protect themselves with locked and encrypted bootloaders.

  24. @rushmoore great point i work for a phone company and we get calls all day for replacements a waiver would be a good idea

  25. @mt3g, the problem with a waiver is that if there was any possibility of hacking the phone, people wouldn’t take the waiver. They’d rather roll the dice and, “Oh, no! My phone just stopped working for no reason.” Besides, now the manufacturer needs to maintain two different product builds and the real number of customers who would take the waiver wouldn’t justify the expense of that.

  26. ahh ^ apologies if international version is different!

  27. The biggest reason I bought my G1 was because it had the possibility of my phone being anything I wanted it to be. Hopefully there will be at least one company who keeps making great phones we can hack.

    I had already crossed Motorola off my list of future phones when they stated a while back that they didn’t want their phones hacked.

    I can well understand both sides of the argument, but one of the reasons I like T-Mobile, is because they even gave us our own forum to discuss modding and hacking. I knew that I was voiding my warrantee when I rooted my phone, but even if I had bricked it, I would still have been glad that I was given the option.

    Every time my phone won’t go past the G1 screen, I keep my fingers crossed that it will boot into recovery, but I know that the fun I have had flashing whatever I wanted on it was worth it if it won’t.

  28. What has been posted about the average user is spot on. Most buyers have no idea they can even root. That said, a waiver wouldn’t be necessary. Just change the contract to say if you brick your phone and they examine it and find any customized stuff on it, your warranty is void. Just like opening your Xbox yourself. That won’t help the support calls, but it will allow them to not lose their profit because someone bricks their phone.

  29. What you are all failing to notice is that HTC, Motorola, and Samsung all have profits in the hundreds of millions from their Android powered phones. You are claiming only a small percentage of people actually root, so wouldn’t that translate only into a small percentage of people who brick their phones and need replacements. It is hardly making even a slight dent in their profits allowing custom roms.

    Someone nailed it when they said the ability to root and overclock the original droid is the ONLY thing making it a relevant smart phone still. Also it allows developers to support the phone better than the service providers or manufacturers. Samsung and Sprint EOL’d my phone but the developers and roms at SDX have continued to support and improve my experience.

  30. hah… i wanted to wait for the droid (milestone) 2 but this is a no-go for me. so moto … if you want to f*&# your customers and tell them what to do (AND NOT) with their hardware you can go f*%# yourself. just ordered a samsung galaxy s. this device is completely open, already rooted and custom roms start appearing :)

  31. I agree with AndroidsofTara, I don’t believe having locked boot loaders will kill android, as it doesn’t concern a large enough population of the user base. However it might kill the modding community if we are unlucky. However, I have a feeling that all phones launched after 3.0 Gingerbread will be far less restricted. It is known for a fact that Google is going to put an end to custom UI’s on the phone. It would be nice to see them made as paid for apps in the market place.

  32. This bootloader will not be hacked any time this year, the Milestone is 7 months old and is still no-where near being cracked.

    I’d advise moving on to something else if you are after custom Roms.

    The reason Moto lock down the bootloader is simple….. They dont want you to keep up with the Android OS updates, they want you to have to upgrade to their newest handset if you want the newest OS.

    Id say that as soon as the sales start dropping off for the Droid X, they’ll release Froyo for the Droid/Milestone. That would be a mid-late August release for 2.2 on the Original Droid.

    Early adopters screwed at every turn.

  33. @dannyniceboy, if you allow custom ROMs, the percentages could go up significantly. More people will create custom ROMs and not all of them will be safe. Not only could the brick phones more easily, but they could (would) overtax the networks (causing grief for everyone else, too), could contain any kinds of malware, etc.

    Locking the bootloaders is as much about protecting the users as it is the manufacturers and networks. It doesn’t “kill” app developers. If the developers aren’t creative enough to color inside the lines, maybe they should find other work. And the entitled masses who say Moto is telling their customers to get screwed, what do you think you’re saying to everyone else who gets affected by custom ROMs that muck up the networks? If you insist on taking your ball and going home, please do. You’re not as important as you think.

  34. i tend to agree, I still don’t have an Android UNFORTUNATELY. I’m still rocking my debranded/unlocked sony w760.. I have some experience with flashing phones and modding the file system. But I’m not sure I plan on rooting my phone whenever I finally do get it (samsung Galaxy S). I don’t see too much benefits on top of what Stock Android offers. I may change my mind after actually using it, but I guess i’ll cross that bridge when i get there..

  35. I really like how angry this is making all of you phone-rooters. Get used to it, in the future it will be exponentially hard, if not impossible, to root these devices. You’ll live. The Android still lets you make, run, and install your own applications on it – and THAT’S what makes it open, not cheap hacks. Learn to be producers and not just consumers.

  36. I don’t get how you people can actually support them doing it. First of all if you have never rooted a phone or don’t know how having root can bring about improvements, you need to educate yourselves. We are not talking about cheap hacks, we are talking about optimization at the core level of the phone. HTC, Samsung, and Motorola all produce hundreds of different types of cell phones through out the world. If you think they are going to sit there and pay their engineers to stream line code for each handset individually you are insane. That is where the android developer communities like at SDX-Developers and Cynaogenmod come in. They will go through the kernels and operating systems and optimize them, making a better product for the end user. Basically they do what the companies themselves should theoretically do, but don’t. That is what the problem with locking bootloaders is.

    An example of optimizations of my Moment by SDX developers:

    Stock Moments Linpack scores: ~3mflops
    With modified Kernel: ~5mflops
    With modified kernel and back ported JIT: ~9mflops

    That is a performance increase of 3x that would not have been brought to the phone if it had a locked boot loader. How can you people honestly be against this?

  37. “If you think they are going to sit there and pay their engineers to stream line code for each handset individually you are insane.” A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And this is a good example of little knowledge. That’s exactly what they do. Each model is individually tuned for performance. Battery performance. Heat levels. Display intensity. It’s all taken into account together. ROM hacks typically focus on speed and call that performance. They don’t care about all the other aspects. They don’t care if they burn out processors in 3 months is they can get a wee bit more speed. What you see as benefit from the rooters is myopic irresponsibility. But that’s expected. They don’t have to cover the warranty if they toast a handset, do they?

  38. This is dumb. Root is great. nuff sed.

    Ross, youre an idiot. Speed is performance. with root, you can get a heck of alot more battery performance. with root, you can adjust heat levels to be cooler. With root, you can fucking print money.

    Get out of here with your stock crap.

  39. That settles it, I’m getting a DInc.

  40. I liked my Milestone, except for the bootloader. I was one of the persons that started the protest on Moto europe´s facebook page, their support and their developer forum. In February I managed to get free entries to WMC in Barcelona so I could go to bother the Moto stand (which I did) however with the free entry came also a invitation to Google´s developer session, I decided to attend the session and, to my surprise, Google handed out free Nexus One´s. I now have sold my Milestone and enjoy a truly open Android phone instead. Never again a Moto (unless they change their policy regarding the bootloader)

  41. Why create an OS that is open sourced if people can’t mod it? That’s one of the whole points behind android. Even if Moto locks down all their phones I’m sure there will be at least one manufacturer who will keep their phones fairly easy to hack. *fingerscrossed*

  42. IMHO – It is all about the $20/month for WIFI hotspot. I know many people that have gone through the trouble of rooting their Droid just for wifi tether.

  43. If it had not been for open source programming from the ground up there would be no Linux, no Android, no Red Hat… the list is long and there are many programmers to thank for the success of the open source community.

    Motorola delivering new Android “Apple Like” devices, how long will it be before the “Market” is also locked down and only “approved” apps will be allowed. AT&T is already blocking non-market apps. will Big Red follow

    If the open source community abandons the Android Platform it will go the way of the Dodo bird so “big” manufacturer’s and Cellphone giants, perhaps you should take heed.

    I prefer providing my own user experience on my laptop and desktop computers the manufacturer’s of these devices have not “locked down/Encrypted” ROM or Operating system kernel’s, and now not only do I prefer providing my own user experience on my “hand Held” computer/phone I insist on it.

    There will eventually be a Hack for the boot loader, so those of you who want to create their own experience can, and those sheep who want to follow rather lead graze away and enjoy.

  44. 1% of users are going to be affected by this, if even that many…

  45. People, skip it. Wait three months for the next phone, maybe by HTC or Samsung (definitely not Motorola), to be even better than this phone. They locked the bootloader for ‘Business reasons’. Did they not see that the original Droid was the most popular Android handset? Why did they change? We will never know. All I know is that someone else will make a better phone soon, and will hopefully be a little nicer to consumers than Motorola. But if you do but this phone, have no fear. We will get the key to the bootloader, and kill the eFuse. It will just take a long time.

  46. This is the Apple effect: if a company screws their own customers and the customers scream “More, we want more!”, other companies will start to do it too.

    The reason for the locked bootloader is twofold: on one hand we won’t be able to use some software that the network providers don’t approve, on the other hand, when Motorola decides they won’t support the headset anymore we’ll be forced to buy a new phone if we want the latest OS and apps.

    I liked the Droid, but can’t use it here (EU), so i waited for the Milestone. Fortunately the bootloader story hit the fan before i could buy it, so i switched to a Nexus.

  47. Someone, whether this works or not, claims to have made it into the bootloader: http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-hack-into-bootloader-motorola-droid-x-385304/

  48. Actually, someone called Birdman has actually ROOTED the Droid X! Getting into the bootloader’s easy, and believe it or not, so is rooting it! http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-root-motorolas-droid-x-cell-phone-from-verizon-386717/

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets