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Droid X Bootloader Locked, Custom ROMs Unlikely

Discussion in 'Android News' started by wuyanks, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. wuyanks
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    wuyanks DF News Team Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Droid X's have been floating around for quite some time, but only recently have they been getting in the hands of retail customers (thanks to a few early shipments by Verizon). As a result, many questions about the device remained unanswered. One such question was whether or not the bootloader was locked by Motorola. Well, we have some disturbing news for those in the Android development community looking to make the switch to the Droid X. Birdman (a popular Moto Droid and HTC Incredible developer) has had a chance to play with a retail Droid X, and is reporting the the Motorola Droid X's bootloader is indeed encrypted, and may be locked down worse than the Milestone.

    [​IMG]
    Stephen Bird, a.k.a BirdMan, goes into much further depth on what he has noticed in regards to the locked-down state of retail Droid X's:

    Apparently, also included in the Droid X system image are a few suspect script files, that may be behind this lock-down. He also continues to explain that the Droid X will eventually be rooted, but is less optimistic about bypassing that locked bootloader:

    What does this mean for the average user? Not much. However, keep in mind that while the bootloader is locked, you will not be able to install a custom recovery or custom ROM on your Droid X, until the bootloader's signature is cracked.

    This was not a complete surprise to those familiar with Motorola's lockdown policies, as in February a Motorola representative explained it was not in their "business practice" to provide unlocked phones, in an article entitled Custom ROMs and Motorola's Android Handsets:

    We all know the resiliency and devotion of the Android hacking community, so I wouldn't put anything past them, but these findings truly are grim. Considering it took more than six months to break the encrypted bootloader on the Milestone, and that the X may be locked down even worse, will this force you to reconsider your decision to purchase a Droid X? Let us know. Also, follow mrweeeedbirdman for updates on the matter!

    via Droid-Life
    Source Twitter, Steven Bird's Blog
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  2. DeadlyAP1
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    DeadlyAP1 Member

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    Yes, this will and did effect my decision.

    I wanted to get into the android scene after coming from a jailbroken iphone and having a few hacked WM devices in the past. Needless to say, having the ability to do what I want software wise with the phone is big to me.

    I had gotten in on the Droid X pre-order at bestbuy but later canceled it when I heard the bootloader was locked. I instead picked up a Droid and have already enjoyed rooting, loading Chevy's great ROMs and overclocking.

    Im sure the X will be a great phone out of the box, but I like flexibility. And I look forward to be able to have Gingerbread on my phone before it's released while my buddies with their new Droid X's are still excited about getting the OTA update of FroYo!
  3. mth04
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    mth04 Premium Member Premium Member

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    This isnt even clost to accurate. Gingerbread will be out but the Droid X will have Froyo long before it gets here. the other side of that is just maybe the froyo files are already here :icon_ devil:
  4. danDroid
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    danDroid Administrator Staff Member

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  5. DeadlyAP1
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    DeadlyAP1 Member

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    So you don't think Droid x will have to wait to get Gingerbread until Moto does what they have to do to it first?

    Google is talking about a 4th quarter release of Gingerbread. DX is supposed to just be getting Froyo at the end of the summer. Doesn't it stand to reason that they will be behind the curve a bit because of whatever moto has to do to the OS before they release it OTA?
  6. nerdkill
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    nerdkill New Member

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    i feel like this is the future of a lot of android phones coming out.
  7. linkboy
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    linkboy New Member

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    I reckon my next phone will be an HTC. This (most likely) means the Droid 2 will be locked as well.
  8. wuyanks
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    wuyanks DF News Team Premium Member

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    Yes, this certainly does not bold well for future Motorola phones... when we look back on this in the future, the Moto Droid 1 will probably be the exception to the rule.
  9. cereal killer
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    cereal killer Administrator Staff Member

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    Only speculation at this point in regards to the Droid 2 being locked down as well. Just because the X is locked does not necessarily mean the Droid 2 will be.

    I certainly understand that it doesn't look good but lets not rule it out just yet.

    Sent from my Droid
  10. Abe21599
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    Abe21599 RS/Moderator

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    i havent been following much but why is motorola doing this? do they not know how many customers are turned away bc of the signed bootloader? im not too worried about having a custom ROM but i want wifi tether and the ability to overclock. will the DX still have those?

    and if the bootloader is locked, could I still put froyo on it? i have it on my droid now and would like to be able to put it on the DX when i get it
  11. Eschy
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    Eschy New Member

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    i really hope they dont do this with Droid 2
  12. nphil
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    nphil New Member

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    I'm having a hard time figuring out how custom ROMS hurt Motorola. The only reason I can come up is people bricking/semi bricking their phones while flashing ROMs and sending it in to Verizon/Motorola for repairs. I'm guessing they don't want to deal with the headache.

    Moto's official reasoning behind locking down the Milestone was to "ensure a safe and secure platform for all Motorola users etc etc" What a load of PR crap. I remember back in the RAZR days, motorola phones (synergyOS/P2K OS) were famous for being extremely customizable.. Monsterpacks, DRMs, SEEM edits, you know what I'm talking about.. What the hell happened?

    What's the point in having an open OS if you're not even allowed to make changes to it? Want a custom kernel? Want your own source built Gingerbread on your X? Sorry no can do, locked bootloader.

    I'll wait till motorola comes out with a dual-core OMAP based handset this December and if it's the same locked bootloader BS, I'm just gonna jump back ship to HTC, or get a Google Phone (Nexus 2).
  13. Eschy
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    Eschy New Member

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    bad news no nexus 2 No New Nexus In Sight, Says Schmidt: Nexus One Did Its Job | Android Phone Fans I have my eye on the 2ghz moto phone though. You wont even really need to root with that kind of processor. It would be sick if they go with the x86 architecture too.
  14. nphil
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    nphil New Member

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    To add to my previous post, since I cannot edit:

    It's ironic that Moto would give people free reign to do whatever they wanted with a proprietary and in-house built OS (P2K OS), but when it comes to an open source OS like Android, it's all locked down.

    I guess I'm in the minority here, but part of the reason I wan't an Android smartphone is that I like customizing what I'm running on MY hardware. I don't like the way stock Android looks, so I theme everything to my liking. I like testing kernels that I compile for fun. I miss running some basic unix commands on my phone, so I add the required binaries/scripts to /system/bin.

    That's the spirit of open source - experiment, collaborate and share the knowledge. I only wish companies would stop pissing on the very ideals Android was built on.
  15. xsylus
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    xsylus Active Member

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    I'm guessing that Verizon isn't happy about people activating their phones on other carriers. While the Moto Droid doesn't have the bootloader locked down, getting it to work on another carrier is a lot trickier than most other phones. Talk and text is straight forward enough but 3G and MMS not so much.
  16. cj1896
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    cj1896 New Member

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    I sincerely hope that the next generation of android phones are not locked down. I feel like it severely undermines the open source, free atmosphere which drew me in to begin with. Flashing Rom's has become my favorite part of owning an android phone and so I really refuse to give it up. If this is the way that motorola is going to go, HTC here I come!
  17. VitsDroid
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    VitsDroid New Member

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    in my head
    if true then moto might not make it!
    they need to be successful and they wont be if pull this kind of s***

    The mDroid is successful because the community made it so.

    I beleive in our android/hacker/modder community and they will take care of us.

    If there is a will, there will be a way.
  18. Wnclivin
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    Wnclivin New Member

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    What's up guys...first post here, but I've been lurking over the past few weeks doing some research on Android devices.

    I've been an avid WinMo user/tweaker/hacker since the days of the Audiovox PPC 6700. IIRC that was HTC's first (or at least one of thier first) WinMo pocket PCs. Now my wife and I have a pair of HTC HD2s through T-mobile. Well Tmobs service blows here in the mountains of western NC. For example, I went backpacking with some friends a few weeks ago in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area and lost service 10 minutes off of I-40. After a 3 hour hike down into the gorge we arrive at camp and my friends (both with Verizon) had 4 bars :icon_evil:.

    The flexibility of WinMo has been great...I've HardSPL'd and SIM unlocked my past 4 HTC phones. Custom ROMs really do add functionality, stability, and speed essentially turning them into completely different devices. I'm optomistic about doing the same with the new DX, but a locked bootloader will be tough to overcome.

    To address a few previous posts, it's not Motorola that wants to lock down the devices. Verizon orders them that way. Even though Motorola builds and provides the units Verizon stipulates how accessible they will be. Why does V do this? To make more $$$. Just like how they can charge a ridiculous $20/month for the Wifi hotspot feature. I was doing that for free with my old AT&T Tilt years ago...once had 8 laptops tethered using my 3G service!

    Accessing the GPS functionality is another popular area to lock down. Sprint used to charge $10/month for the Telenav crap and had their phones locked to disallow access to the GPS. With all my travels into the backcountry it's important for me to be able to get a GPS fix and navigate without relying on the cell towers. Anyway cell tower triangulation is hardly accurate. With my HD2 I can run TomTom, Igo8, Copilot, and many more with maps stored on my microSD.

    Are y'all able to use 3rd party navigation software with the Droids in the same way? I agree these practices totally go against the idea of opensource Android development.
  19. givmedew
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    givmedew New Member

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    Wow are the people who are posting these questions paying attention or am I the one mistaken? I think these questions are answered either in this forum or the article that is attached!

    From my understanding signed boot loader does NOT mean the phone can't be rooted which means yes your can probably STEAL! the wifi tethering within a month or 2 of the phone being released. Right off the batt though you can buy it legit for $20/m don't think thats fair? Ask ATT what happens when the network has to much data traffic on it and you will begin to understand why Verizon may want to charge for tethering! Remember ATT has a 2GB Hard Limit for the phone and then charges $20 for tethering and you don't even get an extra 2GB you share it with the phone. Verizon gives you unlimted on the phone and 2GB Tether for $20.

    So to answer your other question... if the bootloader is signed then NO you can't have froyo early because that would be a customer unsigned rom. Unless you somehow get a signed testing version from moto which is unlikely. However froyo will probably be out SOONER than LATER!

    Finally... I may add that this device has HDMI output and is not capable of displaying any protected video through the HDMI. The phone is capable of running a special blockbuster application that you can purchase and buy movies (and they will not go through the HDMI) so that said this phone has even another reason for moto and vzw to lock it down.

    Also custom roms are likely to forfeit many special features of this device another reason why VZW would want the rom locked down. If you forfeit all the special features well then you are not going to pay for them are you?

    Moto probably gets $$$ for all the blockbuster sales probably not VZW since it is only avail over wifi not the VZW network... sooo again a great reason to lock the phone down.
  20. BSmith
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    BSmith New Member

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    They know. It's like 5. Seriously, it's not enough for anyone to consider a loss. A helluva lot more people jailbreak their Iphones and look how many sold the first day without a clue...