Locked Bootloader Served Up On Motorola PHOTON 4G


The Locked vs. Unlocked bootloader battle continues and this time the weapon of choice happens to be the Photon.

No, no, siwwy head… not that Photon.

In case you missed the biggest news of the day, Motorola announced the PHOTON 4G and TRIUMPH for Sprint and Virgin Mobile respectively. Arguably the second and third biggest stories of the day canceled each other out when it was reported the PHOTON 4G would come with an unlocked bootloader and then, soon after, Motorola self-overturned their own selves. Meet the replacement:

“As we’ve previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it. However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G.”

Of course Motorola recently promised a new policy of launching devices with unlocked bootloaders, but the timeframe provided was late 2011. Folks interested in the Motorola PHOTON 4G are painfully reminded it’s still the middle of 2011.

Question of the day: do you care? Let me answer that for you: Yes if you root your phone and no if you don’t. Feel free to debate the point (civilly) in the comments.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. moto= FAILED
    I’ll was thinking about getting the SGS2 when it comes out but what about the update problems from last time? You all think Sammy will be better this time around as ice cream sandwich is a must for MP cores?

    1. I thought the same thing as well, but with the dev community out there it really doesn’t matter too much what samsung does.  The dev community has gingerbread roms and there is a full CM7 release out for it.  I’m currently stuck with a Droid X that is locked and I can’t get CM7 for it.  Just get the SGS2 and root it and you’ll have updates within a week or two of the official releases.  

      1. Or at least a nightly :-P

      2. Big time plus one to burtonsnol3orde’s comment.  I’m in the exact same situation with the Droid X.  I too have been keeping up on the android development.

        What I’ve concluded is that my next phone will be something HTC or Samsung (Motorola isn’t even in the picture for until they’ve released several phones to verizon w/ unencrypted bootloaders).  Right now I’m also leaning towards Samsung (WHO LITERALLY GAVE THE CM TEAM A PHONE TO WORK ON AHEAD OF RELEASE… YEAH… AWESOME).

        If we start seeing bootloaders getting encrypted HTC and Samsung by the time my contract is up, then I’ll probably begrudgingly have to give the iPhone 5 a look too.  I know, I know, boo hiss spit etc.  I’ve done my research and I’m just being realistic and open minded folks.  If you’re gonna throw stones, please at least use the more porous ones… they hurt less.

      3. Same here.  I have a DX and am stuck with the encrypted bootloader.  Motorola can suck my balls as my next phone will also be an HTC or Samsung, without a locked bootloader.

    2. I think that the carriers were the ones to blame, and not Samsung. I think that’s why Samsung gave the Dev Community to make a ROM for it. Samsung tries to get the update out, carriers say no, Samsung knows people will root, so you get your update through Root.

      I’m guessing that has to be your alternative to OTA. I mean think about it. Why would the other countries get the update and not the US? And if you remember, the update was through Kies, but US carriers were telling users not to use Kies because it would mess up their phones.

      Makes you wonder if US carriers put Anti-Kies programs on Samsung phones. LoL!!

  2. Lock bootloader+ motoblur= Not buying.

    Motorola really think people are stupid, especially the hacking community, no one wants to waste their time trying load CM7  or other roms when the bootloader is signed. +1 for HTC for having to respond somewhat quickly to its consumers about signed bootloaders. 

    1. I just installed CM7 on my original Droid last night, and I have to say – I’m impressed. A friend of mine, who’d never rooted or flashed his G2, also did the same thing. We both finished in an hour or so.

      And I have to say… I’m very pleased with what Cyanogen brings to the table, especially considering I never would have gotten Gingerbread on my phone otherwise.

      It’s too bad I can’t do the same with my Droid X. 

      When I read yesterday that  Samsung has made an overture to the hacker community (by giving some phones to Cyanogen for testing), that was enough incentive for me to grab a new Droid Charge through Amazon… we’ll see how that all goes next week.

  3. Moto already had their chance. Screw ’em as far as I’m concerned. I cannot wait to jump to HTC in the near future.

  4. Rob, where in the world did you find that Photon pistol?! I don’t think I’ve seen one of those for 20-25 years. They were one of the first laser-tag chains when laser tag went public in the 1980s. Very cool!

  5. Oh, and it’s nice to see Motorola addressing the encrypted bootloader like they said they would. /sarcasm  
    It really is ashame after having a grand-slam like the OG Droid, they decided to encrypt the bootloaders in their phones. Since the Photon pistol doesn’t shoot photons with lethal energies, can I hit Sanjay Jha in the head with it, just once? “THAT was for the encrypted bootloaders, Sanjay!”

  6. Had so much fun at Photon back in the day, damn I’m old.

  7. Couldn’t give two shits about Motorola phones, but that Photon gun is awesome!  Brings back sweet childhood memories :)

  8. For me, after a lot of finger crossing concerning my Droid X’s bootloader, and all the restrictions it causes, Motorola is now in my rear-view mirror.  I will not even consider them as a legitimate option till they have release 1 or 2 GOOD phones to Verizon with unencrypted bootloaders (or a superphone with an unlockable bootloader).

    Samsung is my #1 choice right now.  I know they aren’t so hot with updates and TouchWiz is less than desirable, but with the unlocked bootloaders and the incredibly skilled developer community, even my grandma could achieve root with two clicks and load up a CM rom without bricking!  Did I mention the GAVE CM TEAM A PHONE TO WORK ON?!  So awesome.  That set the bar.

    HTC is a second choice with the new attempts to lock bootloaders and the extremely questionable battery life that seems to accompany all of their phones (this may be true of samsung too, but if it is, i’m not aware of it).  I know they might be poorly locked or even let you unlock, but why screw around if you have a great sammy at your disposal that won’t hassle you with that stuff?

    Finally, if the worst case scenario plays out and all 3 start locking down their bootloaders (at least on verizon), I am going to have to give the iPhone 5 a look too.  I don’t have any macs and I really despise iTunes, so it would really have to be far, FAR better than its android counterparts in other ways for that to happen.  I won’t put it out of the realm of possibilities after hearing some of the new improvements to iOS 5 either, especially with jailbreaking being so easy now too.  Lets hope it doesn’t even get this far though.  Android + unlocked bootloaders ftw!

    1. Aw… poor LG, not giving them a try. LoL!!

  9. I was lured by the Atrix and got burned. No more Moto for me, I’m going back to HTC for my next phone. Forget Moto and I get to drop Motoblur too. What a jacked up interface.  Isn’t blur something you don’t want most of the time?

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