Cyanogen Calls Shenanigans on T-Mobile G2 Root Fail-Safe Mechanism


Guess who’s popped back up in the news? T-Mobile and HTC have had their hands full with outcry from an angry community of developers regarding the T-Mobile G2’s “fail-safe” mechanism for disallowing root. Shortly after the device had been rooted, a “bug” was discovered that reversed the process and returned users’ devices back to their out-of-box states. T-Mobile then chimed in to let everyone know that this was an intentional “feature” of the T-Mobile g2 to protect users – which many of you already disagree with – but Cyanogen has reason to believe that T-Mobile’s pulling wool over the eyes of many and is just using that as an excuse to cover up a bug they refuse to fix. (Specifically, it “pretends” to write to NAND, but it doesn’t actually write anything but still manages to send a message indicating something was successfully written.)

T-Mobile G2_Landscape

For the technical (and somewhat humorous) description of Cyanogen’s findings, direct your browser here. After that, make your way back here to voice your opinion. Who’s telling the truth here? Is Cyanogen the one to believe with his Android expertise? Or are T-Mobile and HTC really starting to crack down on their devices? I hold my own reservations, but I’ll leave the rest up to you guys.

[Cyanogen via AC]

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.

Samsung Galaxy Tab For T-Mobile – Specced, Priced at $399.99 on Contract

Previous article

T-Mobile myTouch (HD) Gets a Fact Sheet, T-Mobile TV to Be Featured

Next article

You may also like


  1. Fail. It’s not a bug; it’s a feature, a dream, a state of mind.

  2. Bug? Feature? Who cares, I just don’t want it.

  3. Hmm… seeing as t-mobile tech support are a bunch of fools I think I will go with believing in Cyanogen. As long as he believes its crackable I am happy. Just get to cracking it already.

  4. If HTC and T-Mobile start locking their Android devices, I will have nothing to do with either of them. The main point of Android is to leave it open source and customizable.

  5. Tmobile also said no froyo on g1. Cyanogen also called bs in that and gave em froyo… Why would you doubt him? When hadn’t he delivered?

  6. protect me from what…it’s my $500 device I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it, I’m backing up C on this one simply because blocking root is anti-android….I always knew freedom wasn’t free but I guess you can’t even buy it anymore…sad

  7. Aight, I am 100% with the c-man on this one!

    From my exp tmo has been quick to trouble shoot a phones problem with what else a replacement. More then I can say about BIG RED and my sis experience

  8. Voice your concerns

    They should NOT be doing this. Dell/HP doesn’t prevent you from uninstalling any of the preinstalled crapware and HTC shouldn’t be any different. That’s really the only problem I have with this

  9. The lock down, to some extent, is inevitable as the carriers don’t want to waste money on warranty claims from people bricking devices installing custom ROM’s. But they also need to wake up to the fact that most such lock downs can, and will, be circumvented! some kind of semi-locked bootloader like the nexus one’s would seem to be the obvious. As for the truth behind what’s going on here I call BS by t-mobile, who are hoping to capitalise on the magic re-installation of the OS, woo!

  10. I see all the whiney hippies are coming out of their weed haze to cry about the evil corporations

  11. Snuphiluphigus: well, what do we have now. You say no to HTC. You must say no to Motorola as well. All you got left is Samsung, since no one wants to deal with lowend LG and other no-name companies.

    Good luck finding device of your dreams :).

  12. Strongly leaning on getting this around Christmas time, and none of the rooting issues are going to make me change my mind about it. I rooted my G1 and Nexus One simply because the app memory sucks, but don’t see that being a problem with this phone. All in all it looks like a great phone that has a long future ahead of it, regardless of it not being rootable.

    With there being so many handsets available, it’s sad that such an uproar about rooting has taken place. As with any phone, if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other ones to choose from.

  13. I think I’ll go with Mr. C. Like Michael kraus said, “when hasn’t he delivered?”.

  14. Why are they so concerned about the 20% who are rooting thier phones. If we brick em we just have to buy another one so this bs about voiding the warranty, yada, yada, yada makes no sense. It would be to thier benefit for us to brick as many phones as we can forcing us to purchase even more phones. Plus whatever they did is not allowing apps to install properly. How many of you out there have “paid” apps that are not installing ? They install perfectly fine on an unrooted / rooted G1, but will not install at all on a G2. Plus, most of the apps are being forced to install on the internal memory and are not able to install on the SD even with Apps2Sd. And with only 1.22 GB out of the 4GB promised, well….

  15. This aint shit. Team Douche will crack this bitch open and make it there buttslave. Cyanogen and the others dont fail. and if they do they kill all witnesses.

  16. Hey T-mobile, read this: FUCK YOU!

  17. Who are T-Mobile, HTC and any other manufacture for that matter to decide what the community wants to do with their phones? The average user, will use his/her phone as it is and that is fine, if I want to root my phone, it is my decision to do so and damn anyone who does not like it. Even if I brick the phone, they should be happy about it as I would need to buy another one. Stupid dictators.

  18. Given past figures, it appears only a small fraction of owners root their phones. And if only a fraction of that fraction brick them during the process, the number of bricked phones returned to mfr’s is almost negligible. If someone has hard numbers, feel free to refute me.

  19. Failure thy name is Tmo. Developers keep manufacturers and I daresay, carriers in check. Manufacturers and Carriers are in bed with each other. Manufacturers push out new devices almost monthly now – many with hidden disabilities that don’t show up until your return date has expired. Carriers give the phone which you just purchased, an early EOL – rendering it obsolete before it is a year old. Now, adding the inability to Root to that list, gives them absolute power more or less. Wasn’t the final death-knell of the Behold 2 said to have been due to developers’ abandoning trying to root it when it was found that the final barrier was a driver that the manufacturer had denied them? Understand the game.

  20. I guess we’ll find out whether this was a bug or a feature when it comes time to push out an upgrade for the G2. If they come out and say the G2 is never getting a software upgrade, it was probably a bug. If it does get an upgrade, then they did this on purpose.

  21. “Are T-Mobile and HTC really starting to crack down on their devices?”

    Don’t you mean OUR DEVICES?

  22. If you can’t write to the NAND, doesn’t that rather severely limit future upgrades because T-Mobile won’t be able to write to the NAND either…

    Bug or crippleware, either way, I’ll bet these phones start coming back to T-Mobile very quickly.

  23. Why must it be either or. Couldn’t a read-only NAND be their chosen implementation of a non-rootable phone?

    @Mike: is anyone maintaining a list of apps that can’t be installed on the G2?

  24. Cyanogen will probably be the first to crack this. Maybe he can sell his solution to T-Mobile & make some scratch. If it’s a bug, as he thinks, the G2 won’t be able to move past 2.2.

  25. WTF! Its like buying a brand new car, except the manufacturer doesn’t want you to ever touch the engine so they weld the hood shut. Would we tolerate this from a car manufacturer, no! So why do we from a phone company?

  26. Well, I’m still happy about my Vibrant purchase! :) Easy-as-pie rooting and flashing, with excellent hardware! Might be a different story when myTouch HD comes out… but who cares about the G2?

  27. Hasn’t it been said that “A bug can be converted into a feature simply by documenting it?”

  28. and with this I’m still leaning towards the Vibrant, although wish there was a front facing cam preinstalled (why did they remove it?) — although I believe Cyanogen as well since I’m running 2.1 (5.0.8) AM 1.7 on my G1 and T.M. & google said it couldn’t be done.

  29. fangorious :
    Not to my knowledge. So far for me the ones I cannot install are:

    WSOP – Holdem by Glu Mobile
    IP Cam Viewer by Robert Chou

    Google Googles will not update

    Wont move to SD:
    At least 24 apps I cannot move to SD card – Paid / unpaid

  30. They all still work perfectly fine on my G1 off my SD

  31. i dont understand the outrage, the g2 doesnt need to be rooted. the G1 did, the reason to root was to specifically add functionality to devices that cant get the full functionality of a higher grade phone. sure i had 2.2 on my G1 but it sucked. the G2 will be upgraded over the course of the next 2 yrs….especially since there will be only 1 major OS update per yer as per android. i dont need to root my G2, and if most of u were honest u would say the same. i understand its against the whole android code, but im satisfied….if i had a phone stuck at 2.0 or less id be outraged if they blocked it, so color me satisfied…o just so i can write it somewhere, i wanted to comment on the whole “hinge-gate” thing….whoever the first reviewers were that said the G2 hinge was “spring-loaded” ….well i think they were “loaded” or drunk or something….the hinge is just a hinge, there are no springs in it at all, it simply lifts up and over, so its naturally loose, its not a defect, its a simple, classy, strong, hinge. just like on a door. so to the idiots claiming defects, its not a defect, its the design, and its wonderful, no resistance at all. so yes if u hang it upside down it will swing open with gravity…..its not an issue….sorry if this may have been covered in a previous thread…..just needed to say it…

  32. ‘ihatefanboys’ (nice name)…..you’ve never been in a situation that required tethering? Perhaps when travelling?

  33. You can add the storm8 products to that list

  34. @mike yeah i noticed that also my google googles will not update to the new version at all thats the only app so far that does it.

  35. I have notes out to the app devs, more than likely the finger is goin right back to tmo. Why cant tmo just admit they fubar’d and just fix it already. All this negative comments cannot be helping thier sales at all. I have so many friends asking me about the g2 and i am telling them no, hold on to your g1 for now.

  36. Has any been able to carrier sim unlock yet ?

  37. @KCR, thanks for the compliment on the name, lol……not yet on the tethering thing….didnt quite work on my G1..with 2.2 anyways. went way upstate over the weekend where my g2 couldnt get hspa and the phone was actually on G the whole trip, surprisingly the internet was still amazingly fast, especially for being less than E which on my G1 was horribly slow

  38. I’m kinda in the camp with a couple of other posters. If the memory truly is READ ONLY then that presents a serious issue whereby the phone one not be upgradable in the future. I don’t see them doing that. Even if they never plan on upgrading it to Gingerbread, any kind of issue could come along, such as the Rogers 911 issue, that REQUIRES an OTA be sent out, at which point the phone would have to have some sort of mechanism to write to the memory. It would probably involve a 512-bit encryption key .. or something.

    If such a mechanism exists, it could be exploited, possibly whenever an OTA is actually released and the process of updating is observed, or sooner.

    Now, if it is a BUG, the issue would be – who will discover a way around it first, HTC or Team Douche.

  39. Wasn’t it just ruled by the FCC a few months ago that rooting or jail-breaking a phone, whether it was to use on another carrier or install normally unsupported apps was perfectly legal? I believe it was in July that this was announced.

  40. If it turns out not to be a bug and is purposeful, I’m sure Team Douche will take it is a direct challenge to their awesomeness and will handle it accordingly.

    And it’s not just tethering that is all but a need, in order for an Android phone to be a legitimate business phone (and it is slowly gaining ground in my organization [no native exchange support on G1 anybody]) then we need things like reliable VPN, etc

  41. Looks like a real nice phone, minus the keyboard.

    Does anyone really need to question who is right in carrier vs. Cyanogen? Really?

  42. I need an unlocked, tetherable phone with a physical keyboard that I can use in India with an Indian sim. If this G2 isn’t rooted in 3 weeks I am going to take it back for a refund.

    So, does this mean the Desire Z has the same issue? If not, I might try to pick up one of those up instead. TMO has really let me down.

  43. @Jim: The Desire Z seems to be the same phone branded for international carriers (at least I haven’t seen it announced for the US?) and yes it has the exact same issues.

    IMO this is a big tell if the issue is T-Mobile or if this is coming from HTC. If the same phone is functionality-hobbled across several carriers – in the international market no less – it is pretty difficult to blame only T-Mobile. That’s a point in support of Cyanogen’s theory of this being a bug. If you recall, Apple had a difficult time acknowledging the “secret disconnect button” thing was a bug too (they still haven’t, actually). Looks like it’s Android’s turn.

    For me, it’s not so much the root – but the byproduct that they take up a good chunk of the phone’s resources with bloatware that can never be uninstalled. Without root, as designed, that is a irreparable condition for the device.

    I can’t count the number of sluggish computers that I have seen suddenly get new pep once all the Dell/Toshiba/Gateway/Sony/etc. crapware was cleaned off. And lord knows what these things could be doing in the background – it’s not like we can possibly do anything about it if the damn app has set itself permissions to access to the GPS, WiFi, cell radios your address book, etc. Dis they install the right to mine your personal information like Google does to their email customers? Do they give written assurances none of the apps “phone home”?

    If they want to take a portion of my device’s capabilities and sell them to someone else – the carrier needs to subtract whatever capacity is consumed from their published specifications. If you say I have 4 GB and then have used up 2GB of that with stuff I don’t want and will never use which can’t ever be uninstalled (or stopped from running) … you just sold be a 2GB phone, not a 4GB phone. And that phone doesn’t have the complete computing bandwidth available for the customer’s use as advertised either.

    If I wanted to buy the mobile equivalent of Dell AOL machine with the “add/remove programs” function disabled, it would be one thing. I don’t.

    Let the fanboys make excuses. This just sucks.

  44. my milestone is locked up as well.
    cyanogen mods are so sweet.
    but i cant use them, yet…

  45. Terrible phone, if you can’t root permanently it isn’t worth owning. The only way to truly enjoy Android is to break it wide open! I love my rooted Dinc pre-lcd!

  46. The real root of these issues of rooting for 90% of the public out there is to get to the Mobile WIFI capabilities of these phones. Tmobile should just let 2.2 allow MIFI and charge a (small) again (small) service fee for it and let everyone have it. Anyone from housewives with Ipads to kids with video games could enjoy. Tmobile’s marketing people see losses in the WIFI USB devices and plans the sell for 49 bucks a month as a potential loss of revenue, and don’t want to change.

  47. T-Mo has already started pushing out an OTA update that adds wi-fi calling and wireless tethering support. So I doubt that this was an accidental fuck up on their part. I think it’s obvious that they purposely implemented a security feature to disable rooting, hence only having 2 of the 4gb available.

    The phone has a back door to allows firmware updates to install so their is a way to hack the phone, it will just take some time. Everybody needs to stop bitching and have patience.

    I would love to have root access just as much as anybody else but I gotta admit, it is in their rights to prevent people from rooting their phones. It sucks yes, but its the truth.

  48. I submitted an email to HTC mentioning I can no longer install some of my apps on the G2 nad what are they or Tmo going to do, here is thier responce:

    Dear Michael,

    I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to install your desired applications or root your G2, Michael.

    Rooting the phone may open the phone up to virus attacks and other un-secure activities, as well as introduce unintended functionality, and as such is very difficult for us to support.

    We cannot comment on whether or not HTC, Google, or T-Mobile has blocked any customer from rooting or hacking their phone.

    All three companies work very closely to bring you the best experience on the phone possible.

    There is no support that we can offer for your request. We do apologize for any inconvenience. We also cannot comment on warranty procedures. If you would like warranty information, please contact your carrier or HTC Repair by calling 888.617.1113 between 8:00AM – 5:30PM EST, Monday through Friday.

    To send a reply to this message or let me know I have successfully answered your question log in to our ContactUs site using your email address and your ticket number 10USCW42ENA000465.




  49. I like turtles!

  50. Everyone needs to BTFO Cyanogen and let him do his magic, then SUPPORT him when this is done with donations.

  51. HTC has pulled the Tmobile G2 from thier site, cannot find it anywhere, even under support….. Maybe a quiet admission to WFU’d…

  52. @Mike – I see the HTC Desire Z (http://www.htc.com/www/product/desirez/specification.html) which, from the specs looks very much like the G2. They list 1.5gb as internal phone storage. Quite similar to G2 as well?

    I give props to Cyanogen and his group for what they have provided the community with in the past. I still owe him/them a frosty beverage.

    As for the supposed NANDlock/bug issue, I have confidence that it will be temporary. If I had the mad dev skillz, I’d certainly do what I could to help get over this hurdle. Until then, nothing to do but watch and see.

  53. Wrong Mike, its still there.


    I rooted my G1 but at the end of the day I dont see a real need to root this phone at all. Only reason I may do it is because I miss the functionality of the dialer of HERO. If they never fix the bug or the “security feature” I simply wont care. This phone is blazing fast already and the battery pwns.

  54. Well these specs dont match what tmo has advertised…..

    Device Info
    Device vision
    Model T-Mobile G2
    Product htc_vision
    Brand tmobile
    Release 2.2
    Build FRF91
    Locale en_US

    System Version
    Linux version (htc-kernel@and18-2) (gcc version 4.4.0 (GCC) ) #1 PREEMPT Wed Sep 15 14:27:28 CST 2010

    Basic Info
    SD card storage Total: 13.97GB, Free: 11.94GB
    A2SD storage Total: 21.23MB, Free: 15.49MB
    Internal storage Total: 1.27GB, Free: 1.11GB
    System storage Total: 403MB, Free: 216MB
    System cache Total: 193MB, Free: 176MB
    Memory Total: 371MB, Free: 203MB, Idle: 70.01MB
    Processor ARMv7 Processor rev 1 (v7l) 806.4MHz
    Network address

    Scaling CPU frequency:806400

    Processor : ARMv7 Processor rev 1 (v7l)
    BogoMIPS : 536.73
    Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp thumbee neon
    CPU implementer : 0x51
    CPU architecture: 7
    CPU variant : 0x1
    CPU part : 0x00f
    CPU revision : 1

    Hardware : vision
    Revision : 0080
    Serial : 0000000000000000

    MemTotal: 379832 kB
    MemFree: 71688 kB
    Buffers: 49240 kB
    Cached: 136160 kB
    SwapCached: 0 kB
    Active: 157352 kB
    Inactive: 116680 kB
    Active(anon): 30936 kB
    Inactive(anon): 58236 kB
    Active(file): 126416 kB
    Inactive(file): 58444 kB
    Unevictable: 280 kB
    Mlocked: 0 kB
    SwapTotal: 0 kB
    SwapFree: 0 kB
    Dirty: 0 kB
    Writeback: 0 kB
    AnonPages: 88928 kB
    Mapped: 63240 kB
    Shmem: 264 kB
    Slab: 15908 kB
    SReclaimable: 6044 kB
    SUnreclaim: 9864 kB
    KernelStack: 2664 kB
    PageTables: 6104 kB
    NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
    Bounce: 0 kB
    WritebackTmp: 0 kB
    CommitLimit: 189916 kB
    Committed_AS: 2014300 kB
    VmallocTotal: 262144 kB
    VmallocUsed: 85424 kB
    VmallocChunk: 134148 kB

  55. This my first trip to the Android system, coming from the Blackberry (crapberry) world. My wife has the Vibrant and I have the HTC G2. Very impressed with the G2 speed, display and Android apps. Downside, some basic features seem to be missing like the group field in contacts. Contacted HTC about this and was told that T-mobile is behind this, T-mobile stated HTC does the software. Good thing for Google sync, edit my contacts in Gmail and it reflects on the phone. A work around that I shouldn’t have to do.
    On the Blackberry, screen capture was a big feature for me and is missing on the G2. Found some on the Android market but they only work on ” rooted ” phones, don’t know why this app has to be rooted. Downloaded Dolphin browser with screen shot plugin but this only works on web sites and will not capture zoomed in screens.
    I’ve never rooted a phone but can see why it’s done. When T-mobile and HTC leave out basic features people fight back.

  56. I’m with cyanogen on this one…I recently had the htc hd2 using android windows suck..i shld have waited for the mytouch hd…but i like the g2 beaides it nt being able to get rooted. Fuck u tmobile

  57. Cyanogen of course and I pray it will have custom roms by at least Thanksgiving

  58. To all those that are pissed off about t-mobiles decisions, voice them on twitter. Seems to be the only place shit gets done! Don’t bother calling in or chatting through their website, they don’t actually want to help you.

  59. I think T-Mobile and HTC are full of it. When they dreamed up te Android, they selected Google to build and maintain the OS and make it open source, but they don’t want to treat it as open source. Either way T-Mobile and HTC make their sales via the phones and plans/contracts… Why not treat it all as open source? They all have the general rule that if you break it, you are stuck with it anyway.

Leave a reply

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

More in Handsets