Upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia Phones to Feature Unlockable Bootloaders


If the back and forth struggle with manufacturers to provide device that allow easier development seems like its going nowhere fast, Sony Ericsson’s latest announcement might change that tune slightly. While other companies — Motorola with their XOOM and Samsung with the Nexus S — have taken small steps towards better relations with developers, SE is making the bootloader unlockable (and making custom development for devices much easier) for their entire upcoming line of Xperia devices…sort of.

Not all versions of these Xperia devices (the Play, Arc, Neo, and Pro) will be so open to development. If the phone comes locked to a carrier you won’t have the same access, and Sony Ericsson says there are other factors that may prevent an unlockable bootloader depending on market and phone configuration. It isn’t the perfect situation: you will need to plop down the full unsubsidized prices for a carrier-free versions of the handsets, but it’s a start.

[Sony Ericsson via AndroidPolice]

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  1. but but (the Play, Arc, Neo, and Pro) this are the only phone people mite want.

  2. I think this just tipped the scales enough for me to get SE Arc.

  3. Sony still sucks

  4. Nice. Before this I wouldnt even have considered sony because of the catchup loop they seem to be in, but if they are giving you this level of access while htc is taking it away? The door is open for sony.

  5. i suppose it makes sense, if its locked to a carrier then that carrier doesnt want u getting the phone subsidised from them and then stripping it clean and using it on a different network. so its not necessarily down to sony to decide but the network selling the phone.

    but if you buy a carrier free simfree phone then it should be completely open. seems a fair deal to me. you get what u pay for..

  6. The whole carrier-free thing is all well and good, that is until you have to deal with CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint that don’t use SIM cards. Those carriers will only allow ESNs on phones that they sell to be activated on their networks, so there is really no such thing as an unlocked phone for them. It’s their locked down version, or nothing. Technically you can change the ESN on a CDMA phone to get around the issue, but it’s illegal to do so.

  7. Stop playing games with our hearts, Sony. With one arm, you’re suing someone who hacked a playstation, and with the other you’re giving developers cart blanche to do with your phones what they please. Make up your mind!

    1. It’s simple… PS3 is closed. It’s proprietary. It’s theirs. SE phones running Android are neither closed nor proprietary. People can hack it, they dont care as much.

    2. PS3 is a toy.

  8. It should not be up to the carriers or manufactures on what I want to do with my phone. Those interested will find a way to hack’em anyway. The phones > carriers tie up is just a riddiculous rip off format. I thought we lived in a democracy, and personally this is not any different than slavery, the differnce, you know you will be tied down and abused for a specific amount of time. All carriers suck.

    1. While I absolutely agree with you that Android phones should have unlocked bootloaders, and if it’s yours, you should be able to do what you would like with them, there are a few points where you’re wrong.
      1) It is absolutely up to the manufacturers and carriers if they choose to lock their phones. You (←
      operative word here) may be buying it, but they are the ones putting millions into R&D, production lines, manufacturing, etc.
      2) Who told you we live in a democracy? The United States (I am assuming from your comment that you are from the US aka ‘we’ or ‘here’) is NOT a democracy – it is a democratic republic, there is a difference. You absolutely have the right to stop buying from a manufacturer – I stopped buying Moto phones after they started locking bootloaders.
      3) Slavery?!?! That is absolutely absurd. I am sure if the technology existed, slaves wouldn’t have smartphones, much less a say in, well, anything – they’re too busy being beaten and worked to death. NO ONE makes you buy this phone or that phone. NO ONE says “paxmos, you’re buying this phone and liking it, or you’re getting 40 lashes with the cat-o-nine-tails.” There is not even a remote comparison. On any level.
      I am not trying to attack you or insult you, but let’s keep things in perspective, shall we?

      1. Slaves had to travel to north to be free, knowing history that could have been a costly remedy to for freedom. We have to pay a hefty ETF to be free of contracts that bind us for two years should we commit to it. You are absolutely right in saying that no one puts a gun to my head to choose a carrier with a subsidized phone and a lenghty contract term, and just for that reason, I always buy my phones at retail price. I also understand that manufacturers put millions into R&D and that is how it works to bring a product onto the mass usage. But they also have a disclaimer that if you play with your phones, your are nollifying your warranty. I choose to brick or better my phone and I do pay the price for it and not them. Also, if there phones in the era of slavery, they probably would have had phones only at a discresion of their freaking masters and perhaps with hefty restrictions. I may be exacturating a bit, but definitely there may and just may be a resemblance. In USA, big companies always get their way and I am sure it is the same all over the world. (wink)

      2. Here’s the perspective. Imagine you live in libya or iran or China. You see another Neda killed in the street or another Liu Xiaobo thrown in jail. There’s no foreign media allowed, just you and your smartphone with builtin camera.
        But everything you say or do on your phone may be monitored by the government. You want to be in control over your phone so that RIM/Google/Apple/Microsoft doesn’t just hand everything over when pressured. We need more open phones on the market and not locked down phones to sell the latest little gimmick.

  9. That’s nice and all, but as long as Sony continues to persecute George Hotz for his work on the PS3 I won’t support anything they do.

    1. Agreed, it seems hypocritical that Sony is going after Hotz the way they are, while at the same time trying to open up their Android phones at a time when a lot of companies are making it harder to work around or outright encrypting bootloaders, and using bitch-tactics like implementing e-fuses (I’m looking at you Moto). I understand that there is a difference between the PS3 and Android, but the point is valid.

      1. Xperia is a global phone and they will market it heavily. This is why it is so important that we have an unlocked phone that’s mainstream

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