HTC Explains Future Web Tool Used To Unlock Bootloaders – Will Void Warranty


It hasn’t been more than a few months since HTC announced via their Facebook page that, thanks to a very vocal minority, they would no longer be “locking down” or encrypting the bootloaders on their future devices. Since then, we’ve seen a few devices launch with encrypted bootloaders but HTC continued to promise they would be unlocking these devices in a future update rolling out sometime around September. With the Android modding community growing restless, once again HTC took to their Facebook page with an explanation on this future update and what to expect from them come August/September.

**UPDATE 8/3/2011**

Since our last update, many of you have asked how the bootloader unlocking process will actually work, and in particular why HTC’s most recently released devices still have a locked bootloader. Rest assured we’re making progress toward our goal to roll out the first software updates in August to support unlocking for the global HTC Sensation, followed soon by the HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile and the HTC EVO 3D on Sprint. Because unlocking the bootloader provides extensive control over the device and modifications may cause operation, security and experience issues, new devices will continue to ship locked but will support user-initiated unlocking using a new Web-based tool.

So how will this work? The Web tool, which will launch this month, requires that you register an account with a valid e-mail address and accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty. Then plug in your phone to a computer with the Android SDK loaded to retrieve a device identifier token, which you can then enter into the Web tool to receive a unique unlock key via e-mail. Finally, apply the key to your device and unlocking will be initiated on your phone.

We’re excited to bring bootloader unlocking to developers and enthusiasts, and we feel this new Web tool will meet your needs and continue to provide customers with the best experience. Thanks to the community for supporting these efforts!

Wow. That sounded exceptionally easy. With this new web-based tool, even the biggest of noobs should have no trouble unlocking and subsequently rooting their shiny new HTC devices. This is the future, folks. It’s going to be exciting to see what comes out of this and if this will have a huge impact on future HTC sales. Makes the HTC Vigor seem all the more attractive, doesn’t it?

[Via Facebook]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. It’s sad that unlocking will void your warranty. Samsungs are unlocked out of the box.

    Of course this really doesn’t matter for sprint users (whose phones are serviced regardless of whether phones are rooted or not).

    1. t-mobile as well. they do not care about their customers being rooted

      1. for now….. I haven’t had any problems though :D

    2. You can get the Best Buy warranty – it covers rooted devices as well.

      1. Just don’t get it lost or stolen after you root, they DONT cover that lol

        1. Most people drop or brick their phones and with a $0 deductible, Best Buy’s warranty makes you more willing to take risks. =p

    3. I actually had a Sprint tech fix my display that wasn’t working. After fixing it he told me in the future if he sees the Superuser app he can’t work on my phone. This was in the winter when I was running a cyanogen alpha. He caused a problem with the earset on my phone when he repaired the display, so I brought it back in with a fresh factory image. He chuckled when he looked at the phone and fixed it.

  2. I would like to see “How exactly it will void my warranty”… This seems nice and easy but will all things Corp it just means there is a twist some where along the way…. Shady…

    1. The problem is normally with an unlocked bootloader, you can root it yourself and mod to your hearts content but if something gets jacked up like the mic or something hardware related, you would be able to unroot it and they would never know that it was rooted and would service your device. With this, they will know the moment you rooted your phone so even if you were to unroot, they would know that they don’t have to service your phone.

    2. Nothing shady about it. Sounds like the web site tells you up front that proceeding may void your warranty. Effectively, by clicking yes you cede your warranty rights in order to unlock the bootloader. The could still choose to honor a warranty claim, or they could choose to not. Either way, you make the choice.

      1. Well then my choice is not to buy phones with a locked bootloader in the first place.

  3. Simply unlocking the bootloader doesn’t void the warranty. What you do after that may void it. So samsungs boot loaders come unlocked but if you start tinkering with it, that’ll void the warranty on samsung phones as well. No difference

    1. When samsung issued an OTA to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 it kept superuser intact. The OTA was specifically written to restore it. This and the fact that they gave several SGSII’s to the Cyanogenmod team prove they are for Rooters.

    2. You’re assuming, and I believe you’re assuming incorrectly. “accept legal disclaimers that unlocking may void all or parts of your warranty” Sounds to me like you kiss off your warranty as soon as you click [ACCEPT]

  4. So they let you unlock the bootloader….but you have to tie a whole bunch of your personal information to it? No thanks, I’ll continue buying phones that come bootloader unlocked.

    1. Agreed. Looks like Samsung is the best option in Android now…

    2. It looks like all you need is a valid email address. Am I really the only one that has an email with a fake name attached to it for things like this? If all they want is an email, I can handle that.

      1. That’s how I read it also. All you need is an email address.

        I have hundreds of Yahoo email addresses. One can be created in under 60 seconds. They make great throw-away addresses for uses exactly like this.

      2. Do you actually think its not going to grab your phones ID info? ESN/HEX etc?

  5. I’m thinking they put your device information into the system saying it’s unlocked, so whenever your phone breaks, you can’t just unroot and take it in.

    Also, I think all future HTC phones will come with a locked bootloader, but you have to void your warranty to unlock it. Looks like my next phone will be a Samsung.

  6. Seems fair as long as it’s not abused on both sides of the line.

    They shouldn’t have to warranty a phone a user bricks when they flash custom ROMs to it. Hopefully that won’t be the first excuse they throw up when one tries to get their phone worked on either.

    1. My only problem with that is what if the warranty issue has nothing to do with rooting? Say, it’s a hardware issue. HTC’s not covering the phone in that case is unfair, IMO.

      1. I’ve had friends that have gotten their phones fixed from HTC when it was hardware issue even when they were rooted. HTC is pretty awesome when it comes to their warranty..

  7. Will this still void my warranty if I pay $8 a month for Total Equipment Protection?

    1. You could literally do anything to your phone as long as you have Total Equipment Protection, you’re covered. =)

  8. this will void your WARRANTY but those 8 dollars you’re paying for is a INSURANCE!! so rooted or not, as long as you pay the deductible, you’ll get a referb phone to re-root!

  9. If recent actions are a measure of HTC’s promises, then I would not hold my breath.

  10. It makes sense to me. for the average user that feels like LauncherPro is customizing they get to keep the locked bootloader and all the security enhancements included. For those who know a little bit more and want to root and flash custom roms galore they have the chance to do that also (figuring that they may know a tad more about security also). i do NOT however feel that that should void the warranty… maybe shorten it but not void.. other than that it seems like a pretty solid plan. :) go HTC that seems really well thought out. and they did say ‘may’ maybe the oem has nothing to do with the warranties? or maybe they mean carrier warranties…. whose to say until we get the fine print from an actual case…

  11. The only reason why they are doing this web based method is to track the serial numbers of devices that have been rooted. But I like how they are trying to sell it as “easier” to the masses.

    If all they really wanted to do was unlock the bootloader, they could just release a signed RUU file that you could download anonymously, put on your sd card, and flash via hboot. But because they want to track who actually roots so they can deny future (and possibly quite valid) warranty claims, they come up with this web based tool.

    Rooting and installing wireless tethering does not break the GPS antenna, display, or otherwise break the device but if you used the web based tool and you turn your device in for a warranty claim, because you rooted your not eligible for any warranty repair work.

    I wonder how many sheep will flock to the website and blindly follow the method without questioning HTC.

    No thanks. I will root my existing HTC device with the older method and this will be the last HTC device that I buy.

  12. Wouldn’t be suprised to find out they pass out the IMEIs or whatever to the Carriers so they can keep a closer eye out for tethering.

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