Editorial: Hello Moto?!

Discussion in 'Android News' started by guidot, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. guidot

    guidot Developer Relations
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    Some of you may know I’ve been involved in Android since 2010. You may also know that I’ve been a fixture at droidforums.net since February of that same year. During this time I’ve seen/heard ALL kinds of speculation, and hearsay on this bootloader issue that developers on all Motorola phones face. In 2009, when the Motorola Droid was released, there was a lot of excitement about Android. Verizon Wireless made some exceptional advertisements on television and the internet. “DROID Does!” They would say. Well, I’ll tell you first hand, it did just that.

    The Droid gave us unlimited control over our phone. It wasn’t a Nexus, so it didn’t get updates direct from Google, but it had an unlocked bootloader and was easily rooted. Anyone who was looking for a development device went for the Droid. As consumers, we got kernels, ROMs, themes, scripts and the like. There were no less than 20 ROMs listed on Droidforums. There were themers porting themes to other ROMs when they gained more popularity. It really was the time to have a Droid.

    On the flip side, you had people who weren’t up on the “how-to’s” and the write ups of how to get these things installed properly, soft-bricking the Droid; they would return the phone to get a new one and start over again. While I don’t agree that this was the only deciding factor in Motorola’s decision for the future, it had to be a part of it. All future retail Motorola phones were bootloader locked and encrypted. As the devices continued releasing, the forums were abuzz with questions like “can we root it?” and “is it unlocked?” To which the answer, on release day, was usually no. Droid X, 2, 2G, R2D2, X2, 3, Bionic, 4, RAZR, RAZR MAXX, on Verizon Wireless were all locked. Then came the newest iteration.

    Here we are, present day. The newest available from Motorola are the RAZR M, RAZR HD and RAZR HD MAXX. Up until Sunday, you had root via MotoFail and custom recovery via Hashcode. However, Dan Rosenberg, recently of Android fame for rooting the last generation of OMAP powered devices, has actually reverse engineered the code required to unlock the bootloader. These devices run on Qualcomm processors now, while the OMAP versions are not unlockable.

    I personally think this is a sharp slap in the face to Motorola. There have been petitions started, campaigns on Twitter, and any number of social avenues explored. The community asked for a device that would be similar to the Droid, and now, we have 3 (4 if you count the Atrix HD which is part of the offering), without Motorola’s consent. These phones are now fetching top dollar on Swappa, eBay and the like. Hopefully this shows Motorola (Google) that this is what people want. They want the freedom to do what they like with a device they’ve purchased.
     
    #1 guidot, Apr 9, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 9, 2013
  2. cobravnm13

    cobravnm13 Senior Member

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    After reading this, it dawned on me that I could get a Razr HD, or maxx, now. And be able to do what I want with it. Great write-up, btw!
     
  3. Raverrevolution

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    Motorola doesn't care what people want. It's a losing battle. Ditching the Bionic for the GNex was the best decision I made last summer. It's so refreshing not having to wait for roms to be working 100%. Having the latest cutting edge version of android seconds after release is nice too. Having choices to easily change the software on your phone is the best ever and I will never go back to the locked messes Moto releases.
     
  4. doomgazer

    doomgazer Member

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    I think it's less about what Motorola thinks/cares and more about what the carriers mandate. With the exception of Apple, the carriers pretty much make the final call on any device hitting their network (especially Verizon). This is the same reason why the GNex on Verizon is rubbish compared to the GSM version when it comes to timely updates.

    If you want to see things change, you have to be willing to vote with your wallet and hope that enough people do the same to make the carriers realize the consumers drive demand and decide what they want.
     
  5. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    You make some good points guidot! Thanks for the writeup! :)
     
  6. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    Good write up. I had the DroidX and it was a pain in the arse to get stuff on it. I bricked it a number of times and was on these forums to get it unbricked. I dropped Moto and don't plan on going back. I saw an article that Samsung is going that route soon too. The S4 is the first to have a locked bootloader for what they call a more secure enterprise phone. If more Samsung phones come out that are locked, they may become the new Moto. In that case, Sony, which is already looking good with its new found openness may find my business. I like Nexus phones but still, its the principal. If Samsung releases another Nexus phone but the rest of their line is locked, I'll pass on it because of what the company is doing in the majority, not the minority of one phone. The industry, its churning and changing constantly. Lets hope they all learn to do the right thing.
     
  7. 52brandon

    52brandon Active Member

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    I agree, to a point. The GSM does get faster updates, but the CDMA was just as easily unlocked/rooted/ROMed. Verizon has final say in the phones as well as the updates pushed to them (thus the lag in releases), but with the Nexus devices, they don't really get to make requests like they (allegedly) have been with Moto. I wonder if Moto signed some terrible contract back when the Droid first came out that gives VZW more control over what they release than the other MFRs...

    but like you said, we need to vote with our wallets. And I'm switching to T-Mobile in less than a month. In favor of a GS4 on a network that actually tries to keep customers
     
  8. wicked

    wicked Administrator
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    Good write up Jeff!
     
  9. cereal killer

    cereal killer Administrator
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    The landscape has changed so much since 2009 that the need to run custom ROMS and Kernels, in my opinion, is a thing of the past. I hacked my handsets to over clock and add features, but today with the excellent hardware and software features I have zero need or desire to do so. I can honestly say that if the bootloader were able to be unlocked on my OG RAZER I wouldn't even bother cracking it open. Android and the hardware have come so far that my desire to delve into the world of "hacking" has died out. Been there done that.......
     
  10. boidsonly

    boidsonly Active Member

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    I have been slow to vote with my wallet but I will never own an HTC phone again (1st vote). And I am jumping ship from VZW to T-Mobile in May when my contract is up (2nd vote). I own the SGS3 and will sell it when I jump (3rd vote). I want a pure google device and right now it will be the N4 (4th vote). Maybe Sony can get my attention at some point. LG as well. But right now I LIKE my N7 and want a N4. Unlocked and updated in a timely fashion-that means the most to me.
     
  11. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    Wow, I'm suddenly feeling so nostalgic for the days of the OG Droid. I think the thing I miss most about being a D1 owner was how HUUGE the new community was, how fast it grew, and how incredibly helpful everyone was. I was really attracted to this forum because it was (and is) such a great place to learn about the Android ecosystem. I kind of sadly agree with CK though -- I have a friend who keeps saying that "cellphones have nearly plateaued in terms of hardware" and I wonder if he's right. Nowadays the difference between a quad-core CPU and an octo-core is nothing like the step from single to dual-core. Two GB of RAM is a gazillian times more than the 256MB we had on the D1, but how much more performance does it provide over 1GB? For me the greatest drawback of moving on to another carrier and another phone -- especially if my next phone needs minimal tweaking -- is that a resource like droidforums.net will be a little less essential. :frown:

    Actually, who am I kidding? I'm a forum junkie and I know it. LOL

    -Matt
     
  12. jroc

    jroc Silver Member

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    Yea...I feel the same way as CK too. At the same time....I ran and unlocked my bootloader...lol. At this point I did it just to have it done. I might not install any ROMs. I like having the recovery for full backups tho. I never bothered to do anything ROM related before this.

    I dont even know if there is enough interest from devs for anything extra to happen as far as ROMs or kernel development. For some reason I dont see the separate kernel installs like when I had my Droid 1.