Despite Best of Intentions, Motorola Photon 4G Bootloader Will Be Locked


Yes, Motorola has promised that future handsets releases will feature unlockable bootloaders out of the box, but our hopes that the newly announced Photon 4G will be counted among them have been crushed. Moto has issued a statement that reaffirms their intentions to deploy software more open to development on Android smartphones later this year (carrier willing), but it’s a no-go for the Photon.

This comes as the latest in a string of attempts to create better relations between the underground Android development scene and mainstream manufacturing partners. Most of the major handset makers have committed to making things a bit easier by providing easily unlocked bootloaders and other features, but few have actually delivered. Samsung’s recent gesture of sending a Galaxy S II to one of CyangonMod’s developers is one of the few instances where a manufacturer has gone above and beyond to make good with custom software devs.

Perhaps there is still hope that an unlockable bootloader could come as part of a future software update, but let’s not get carried away.

[via Android and Me]

Kevin Krause
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  1. You guys already covered this http://phandroid.com/2011/06/10/locked-bootloader-served-up-on-motorola-photon-4g/

    1. Fail!

    2. First Jerk! Yes you are!

  2. Despite a line of fluff from corporate doublespeak designed to sell more phones you mean? How else is Moto to get enough users to secretly monitor for fun and profit!

  3. ..and it is a failure in my eyes. people need to boycott these companies that force us to deal with it. I wouldn’t buy my laptop or PC with anything locked down or unable to uninstall the preloaded software, and I won’t with these either!

    1. Its not Motorola’s doing, you do realize that its the providers not the maker

      1. So which network provider is going to drop all Samsung phones?

      2. Not necessarily.  HTC recently said they will not support locked bootloaders and the carriers haven’t been crying about it.  If Motorola is going to do this shit, just don’t buy their phones.  It’s not like we’re hurting for other options with Android.

        1. Which HTC phones have unlocked bootloaders?  Talk is cheap until they actually deliver.

          1. HTC just announced an update to unlock the HTC Sensation bootloader. Now go eat shit and die Motorola fanboy retard.

          2. When you grow up you’ll start to realize that not everything can be how you want it, and tat sometimes the restrictions put upon us are for the greater good, not because Mommy, or Motorola, hates us.  Until then, keep sharpening that rapier-like wit.  The skill with which you skewered Guest was truly a sight or behold.  You, sir, are a wordsmith without peer.

          3. None. Not even the Nexus One. I think you’re confusing locked bootloaders with encrypted bootloaders. The Nexus One is locked – but can easily be unlocked. The Thunderbolt is locked – but is unlockable. Encrypted bootloaders generally use heavy-duty RSA, or RSA-type encryption which you aren’t breaking unless you know how to factor primes out of very large numbers, and are incredibly, amazingly lucky.

          4. And you accuse me of semantic nitpicking?

          5. FWIW Talking Moose, I didn’t see anything insulting or condescending in his comment, I read it as an explanation. Sevenstars didn’t belittle Guest or call him names, he just pointed out the difference between encrypted and locked bootloaders. Maybe I missed something, or he edited his post.

      3. How can you say this when Sprint has a number of phones that are high end are unlockable? Motorola made a choice and that choice was to keep the end user from having control of their phone.

  4. “carrier willing”  Carriers are very protective about the devices they allow to run on their networks.  Most of what drives manufactures is what the carriers want done.  Remember who the customer of the manufacturer is: the carrier.  You’re not buying direct through the manufacturer, and couldn’t use your phone on any carrier you want.

    If you really want to drive change, drive the carriers.  As they go, so do the manufacturers.

    1. Carriers are very protective simply because they want to charge you excessive amounts of money to do things that you should be able to do for free.

      Example: they don’t want you bypassing their outrageously expensive SMS texting.  ($8000 per megabyte)

      Example: they don’t want you connecting your laptop, when you have PAID for a LIMITED data plan and won’t exceed your data plan.

      Example: they want to steer you to, say, AT&T Navigation, when you could use Google Navigation for free.

      Example: they don’t want you streaming video, unless it is from them.

      In short, their only purpose for being ‘very protective’ is to protect monopoly pricing.  They’ve grown fat, lazy and entitled due to lack of effective competition.

  5. And in other news…Motorola is going to have a locked bootloader on the Photon 4G…oh wait…this has already been covered twice?

    1. After they promised the Photon would be released with an unlocked bootloader. freakin circus clowns

      1. actually they never promised it, blogs misconstrued information as fact 

  6. Well, i was trying to decide is the photon was a good alternative to the galaxy, guess not

  7. Please don’t say ‘Despite best of intentions’.

    I just don’t buy it.

    If they wanted to deliver on their promise of an unlocked bootloader, they could.  It’s just not that hard to do.  If they can’t change the bootloader, then they could make the signing key public so that any developer could sign a new bootloader that would work.

    Best intentions.  Yeah, right.

  8. Officer….I had the best of intentions NOT to speed. PSH, who actually buys this BS? This is typical Corporate BS, just like politicians. Cant we just smack the S%&T out of people who actually say this?

  9. Another Motorola handset that’s doomed. How long can Motorola exist with these ignorant policies? They can go to he’ll.

  10. But does it have a lanyard hole??

  11. This is not news to anyone. Would you have expected any less from Motorola?

  12. You have to remember Moto said they would have unlocked boot loaders in the late quarter of 2011, not the middle quarters of 2011. Now if everyone on here is complaining and just dissing on Moto do you really think that is going to make them want to give you guys unlocked boot loaders?. 

    1. We aren’t children stamping our feet until we get our way, we are adults who spend hundreds of dollars on our phones, and would like to actually have the keys (pun partially intended). As for complaining and, “just dissing” Motorola, yes, it will either work (like it seems to have with HTC), or, as rooting becomes more and more prevalent, they can either play ball with us, or their mobile division can, and will, fade back into obscurity the way it did after the Razr and before the OG Droid. There is no reason they can’t “hand over the keys”, as it were, to the people who own post-Droid1 Motorola phones.The carriers don’t seem to care – even Verizon said that they don’t care if the bootloader is encrypted or not – in fact, it’s pretty obvious that they don’t, as the Thunderbolt and Charge don’t have encrypted bootloaders. Motorola has a bad habit of saying one thing and doing another. A few months ago, when asked about their encrypted bootloaders, their response was “People who want custom ROMs on their phones can go elsewhere” – which a lot of us did – followed up the next day by their announcement that they would unlock them in the future. I call BS, that’s like saying “Here, if you buy this car now, it only has a 4-cylinder, and no options, but we totally promise that if you bring it back in a few months, we’ll put an 8-cylinder in it and all of the options then.” Not only that, a simple update would decrypt the bootloaders – HTC has one for the sensation, did that take 6-9 months? No, it didn’t even take 6-9 weeks.
       Motorola should fire that idiot Sanjay Jha, because the only thing he seems good at is putting his foot in his mouth and keeping Motorola’s PR department busy by trying to put a spin on whatever idiotic thing he last said. If they want to have a hissy-fit because people are complaining and “just dissing” Motorola, that’s fine – they can easily say screw us, but it isn’t our profits or image that are going to take a hit. We, as consumers, can damn well buy any phone we want, and as less and less people buy Motorola Androids, they are going to have some ‘splaining to do to the shareholders. Rooting is becoming more and more common as more and more people root theior phones and flash custom ROMs…and they tell two friends, and so on and so on.

      1. That was an awesome reply you really nailed it.

      2. For one, the number of people who root is relatively small compared to the overall user population.  Aside from marketing divisions who are either trying anything to get a tiny edge, or panicking because the loudness with which the rooter shout and stamp their feet belie the actual size of their numbers, the real impact of rooters just isn’t that significant.

        Second, you state that “Carriers don’t seem to care.”  Have you sat in on meetings between carriers and manufacturers?  What has been said publicly is a mass of contradiction.  Only time can tell what carriers will ultimately allow and what they won’t.  

        Finally, calling Sanjay Jha and “idiot” who “should be fired” pretty much contradicts your, “we aren’t children stamping our feet,” argument.  It’s not enough to say your not, you have to act like it.  The behaviour of those who call others names, and pull out the metaphorical pitchforks and torches each time they don’t get their own way isn’t a mature way to get your point across.  Sure it works, sometimes.  Most parents have their moments when they just give in because the kids are simply too much to handle at the moment, but overall it’s ineffective.  If you have a case, make it rationally.  Speak to facts, not assumptions.  Don’t read more into what you see online (which is never a wholly reliable source of information).  

        Until the rooters do that, in general you will be seen as kids having a hissy.  Whether or not you change that perception is up to you, but you need to do it by action, not simply by saying you’re not.

        1. “For one, the number of people who root is relatively small compared to the overall user population” True, however, It is growing at a very steady rate, I’ve personally rooted over 100 phones for people (no, I don’t charge money for it) because I’ve rooted mine, I’ve showed others what their Androids can really do, thereby causing them to show their friends, etc.
          “Have you sat in on meetings between carriers and manufacturers? ” No, but I have an old college buddy who does.
          “Finally, calling Sanjay Jha and “idiot” who “should be fired” pretty much contradicts your, “we aren’t children stamping our feet,” argument.” I don’t need the PR department at my job to “fix” what I’ve said on an increasingly regular basis.
          “If you have a case, make it rationally. Speak to facts, not assumptions.” I’m not defending a doctoral dissertation, this is a comment thread on the internet where people state their “opinions”; in my “opinion” Jha makes himself appear to be an idiot (although, I know he isn’t suffering from IQ-deficiency – he does hold a Ph.D in EE ) due to the fact that I’ve watched him “put his foot in his mouth” more than once.
          “Don’t read more into what you see online (which is never a wholly reliable source of information).” Very astute, I do not “believe everything I read”. In fact, I am very well connected in the wonderful world of technology, and, when I form an opinion, it is a well-formed opinion, not a histrionic reaction to the first thing I’ve read on the internet. Does it mean I am right? No, it simply means that “my opinion” is formed from a lot more sources of information than just Phandroid.
          “Until the rooters do that, in general you will be seen as kids having a hissy. Whether or not you change that perception is up to you, but you need to do it by action, not simply by saying you’re not.” I am getting the impression that you’re an undergrad who just took his (or her, whatever the case may be) first or second course in logic and likes to nitpick comments on the internet as if these comments are going to make or break an academic career. Rooters having “a hissy” got HTC to change their bootloader policy – at least in the US, and, I *think* globally.
          It’s just a comment thread, and you seem almost vehemently protective of Jha, so is it the “undergrad syndrome” or are you personally related to him? It’s just a comment in a thread on an internet news/blog site, relax, if you get that worked up over me facetiously calling Sanjay Jha an idiot, in a comment thread, I can’t possibly imagine what you would do should a real problem arise in your life.
          Relax, life is short. That said; I’m done here, if you feel the need to retort, flame me, point out “logistical flaws”, or typos, then by all means – whatever makes you happy – the others can read it, I’m done here.

          1. +1sevenstars for a shocking lack of mudslinging and name calling. Usually people in these threads resort to calling one another names and acting like kids with ADD and tourettes. I agree with your undergrad syndrome statement. A lot of people in forums seem to go out of their way to try to show others that they know long words.

          2. Aside from Sevenstars using a lot of “big words” and being completely off the mark on “undergrad syndrome”, that is.  

            Of course, simply using “undergrad syndrome” is itself derogatory, as it implies that the poster is simply reiterating something just learned and not exercising original thought.  But if readers find favor in a poster’s comments simply because they agree with the poster’s position, have at it.  Objectivity isn’t in big supply in forums.

          3. There’s a huge difference between accepting a root if offered, and making buying decisions based on the ability to root.  iPhone sales clearly indicate that the inability to customize isn’t a deal-breaker.  Many people could root simply because it’s not allowed.  It’s empowering to thumb your nose at, “The Man”.

            Personally, I don’t root, though I’ve logged countless rooted hours on Android.  I know what rooting allows a user to do, and that’s precisely why I don’t.  And if I had my preference, I’d like to see every last rooting loophole closed.  Why?  In a word: security.  The ability to root is a security nightmare.  Now, if there were phones that could be rooted, and others that were locked down, I could live with that.  People who wanted to play with phones could get one, and enterprise and serious security-minded people use the other.  But if you start unlocking all phones, you’re going to start giving enterprise users a big headache, and let RIM off the ropes.  It’s not smart business to favor hackers over enterprise; The latter are greater in number and have much deeper pockets.

            HTC is presumably conceding the enterprise market by going with a universally unlocked bootloader.  (and for the semantically precise, unlocked is a preferable term because we don’t know if the bootloaders will still contain encryption, only that it won’t be used to block software loading).

            Motorola seems to be eyeing the enterprise (and government) markets so is in no hurry to ditch security completely.  You can call them idiots for not doing what the rooters want, but it’s they, not the rooters, who see the bigger picture.

            So in a nutshell, it comes down to this: Rooters will have HTC as their playground.  Have at it.  Motorola phones may be locked, or may be unlocked depending on whatever is the better business case for them.

            What differentiates between a mature response and a childish hissy is how any individual reacts: do they accept that there are choices in life and that trade-offs happen all the time, or do they start screaming if they can’t get everything they want?

  13. I’m not drinking the Motorola kool-aid anymore. After the Atrix I’m never purchasing anything form Motorola.

  14. The path to hell is paved by by motorola!!

  15. Well i at least looked over the device moto til i got to this. No dice! You was still in 3rd place however before i read this part. HTC is way in led with g2 next and bout 50 phones with unlocked bootloaders. I wouldnt dare consider buying this pos. Pffft HTC owns you noobs haha.

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