HTC reviewing bootloader policy for their Android devices

HTC has certainly made a name for themselves in recent years and most people would agree that their recent success has been thanks to Android.

Ever since the launch of Google's Nexus One, a once-top-of-the-range Android device manufactured by HTC, things have been on the up and up with consumers, developers and enthusiasts alike all praising the company for their fantastic smart phones. Part of the reason the Nexus One was so popular amongst enthusiasts was how open the phone was - as soon as you got it out of the box, you could completely unlock the device with a few simple commands, allowing you to install customized roms and easily achieve root. Still, this was a Google phone, how could anyone expect anything less?

Not long after the Nexus One was released, HTC released a very similar phone in the European market that was called the HTC Desire. This phone boasted very similar specifications to the Nexus One (To the point where device roms were largely interchangeable), but there were one or two differences. The most obvious was the inclusion of Sense, HTC's customized interface, but there was another difference that went unnoticed to most people that weren't enthusiasts - it had a locked bootloader.

This meant that those who purchased a HTC Desire would have trouble if they wanted to install a custom rom or root their device. More crucially, the bootloader wasn't just locked, but so were specific parts of the phone's NAND memory, preventing write access even if they did manage to somehow root the device. This upset a few people initially, but it wasn't before long before someone found a way around it. Every device HTC has released since then has had similar, or more advanced protections on both the bootloader and the NAND memory. This includes the HTC Evo 4G, the device Google themselves gave away at 2010's Google I/O. With each new generation of devices, HTC has been implementing stricter and more secure bootloaders, with some devices still being locked out today. This has irritated many users who feel that part of the reason to own an Android device is being able to have complete control over it.

Locked down bootloaders were a fairly common occurrence with other manufacturers like Motorola and Sony Ericsson guilty of the same thing. However, recently there has been a shift in opinion from these manufacturers, with Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung all promising some sort of solution to unlocking their future phones, purely for the benefit of enthusiasts and developers and now it looks like HTC are finally considering something similar:

Thanks so much for providing feedback, we hear your concerns. Your satisfaction is a top priority for us and we're working hard to ensure you have great experiences with our phones. We're reviewing the issue and our policy around bootloaders and will provide more information soon. Thank you for your interest, support and willingness to share your feedback.

It does still remain to be seen just what they decide to do, after all, this is only a review and not an announcement of anything just yet. But, hopefully HTC will remember that it was the enthusiasts that helped them launch their own brand in the first place and will remain loyal to its roots.

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