While its true that the modding community makes up a very small percentage of the market, its the hype that can make or break phones. People look to experts and their technologically advanced friends for advice on what phones to buy. These people are going to be biased against the phone if they wouldn't buy it themselves or see the manufacturer as freedom busting fascists. Those involved with technology in the last decade or so have been heavily involved in promoting freedom. Its a big deal.
The locked bootloader is a huge issue considering the OS upgrading drama. Manufacturers are dropping support for their phones after only a year, which is significantly less than the two years when most people upgrade. Manufacturers will kill Android if this keeps on going. At least give the people who care the most the ability to upgrade. Google needs to address this immediately. I personally think they should make customized ROMs a part of Android officially, rather than fighting it. If they open a ROM market for example, they could make the process much easier and simpler and ensure that bad ROMs that ruin phones aren't out there.
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