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RAZR Gets Unlocked Bootloader… But U.S. Users Can’t Have It

Earlier this year, an Australia-based Android user named Irwin Proud began an effort urging Motorola to unlock its Android devices. In this case, “unlock” has a particular meaning. It’s not like iOS  jailbreakers trying to unlock their phones for use on another carrier. Unlocking a bootloader means gaining access to “the staging area of custom roms on Android handsets,” writes Proud, on AusDroid.net.

He explains it thusly:

“It is having access to the bootloader that allows you to flash modified versions of Android and custom recoveries (backup utilities) onto your phone. This is how you would load up CyanogenMod Rom or Miui onto the phone and thus change your Android experience, it is also usually the way you would flash a version of your own rom, but with root access and bloatware removed.”

Even before HTC got on board with unlocked bootloaders last May, Motorola indicated that they had something in the works. This solution, they said, would allow the unlock/re-lock of their bootloaders. And now, the company has circled back to Proud, informing him that the Motorola RAZR is going to be the first phone to sport its new bootloader solution.

But (and it’s a big “but”) the Verizon version of the RAZR is reportedly coming out with a LOCKED bootloader. So what gives? Well, I reached out to Motorola, and they had this to say:

“The software version featured on DROID RAZR/ MOTOROLA RAZR was built with an unlockable/ relockable bootloader included. However, whether that feature is enabled is dependent on carrier and operator partner restrictions, as well as our commitment to meet security, safety, and regulatory requirements worldwide.”

In all fairness, they’ve always said that it would be up to the carriers, so it’s hard to fault them now. (In fact, Motorola Mobility even tweeted as much recently.) I pinged Verizon Wireless to see if they had any comment about this. If I hear anything back, I’ll update this post.

For now, though, it does seem that the RAZR is getting this amazing, awesome solution… and that it will be blocked for U.S. users. Sorry.

What do you think? Is it a huge injustice, or just a minor setback? Do you accept this answer, or will you proceed anyway until you crack this sucker wide open?

[via AusDroid, Engadget]

 


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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