Motorola has had a dark past when it comes to bootloaders. Apart from a couple exceptions (most notably, the XOOM), all of the major Motorola devices have had locked bootloaders, and thus, Android customization enthusiasts have been shut out from such tweaks as custom kernels.
Recently, there has been quite an outcry directed at Motorola and their bootloader policy, in the form of petitions and hijacked polls, and it looks like they have heard users’ requests. In response to questions from Irwin Proud, the man behind the petition, Motorola has indicated that they plan on changing their tune.
“In terms of your question – we completely understand the operator requirement for security to the end user, and as well, want to support the developer communities desire to use these products as a development platform. It is our intention to enable the unlockable/relockable bootloader currently found on Motorola XOOM across our portfolio of devices starting in late 2011, where carriers and operators will allow it.”
*Hold for applause* Yes, it looks like the company notorious for their developer-unfriendly attitude has heard the requests of the Android community and is ready to embrace handset freedom. There is one major caveat in their statement however, and it is a big one. "Where carriers and operators will allow it" basically means that the devices that are fully open depend on whether the carriers want such devices on their networks. Given that they are the ones who benefit from reduced service costs of fewer bricked devices, kickbacks from bloatware partnerships, and tethering plans, it seems unlikely that carriers are going to support this move by Motorola.
Nonetheless, in a time where the current developer-friendly manufacturer, HTC, is starting to show signs that its devices will be getting increasingly restricted, it’s nice to see an attitude shift from Motorola.
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