Jul 15th, 2010

The plot thickens. Motorola’s under a heavy barrage of verbal backlash from the Android-hacking faithful due to their completely locked and encrypted bootloader on the newly-released Motorola Droid X. It’s one thing to lock the bootloader, but what if your phone was designed to brick itself if you so much as tried to hurt its feelings (or – more accurately – try to hack it)?


That’s exactly what some are saying the Droid X can do. MyDroidWorld‘s reporting that the device is rocking an eFuse chip that’s hardcoded to verify the software running on the phone. If the firmware, the kernel, or the bootloader is different from what’s defined by the chip as “OK”, it blows up.

Ok it won’t *really* blow up (these aren’t iPhones, of course), but your phone will become as useless as – oh, say – a brick. It doesn’t render the device absolutely dead, but only Motorola would have the special hardware and software required to fix it. What does this mean for the development community? It just became a great-deal-more difficult (and expensive) to even attempt to hack this device.

This is as locked down as locked down will get, folks.

[Update]: We may not have a problem, after all. Via BGR, it appears that the TI OMAP-based processors that Motorola has been using in all of their higher-end devices have had eFuse all this time, they just don’t use that feature of the chipset. Reports claim that the same technology can be found in the original Droid, the Milestone, and the Droid X, and that we’ll probably be seeing it in the Droid 2, as well.

If he’s correct, then we can probably start putting those pitchforks down. The only way to verify is by getting official word from Verizon or Motorola, or to see if any Android hacker has the guts to attempt to do anything with their brand new Droid X.

local_offer    Motorola  Motorola Droid X  Verizon