In an extremely uncharacteristic move, T-Mobile and HTC have one-upped Verizon and Motorola (Droid X) when it comes to locking down their Android phones. Typically, both T-Mobile and HTC spend very little time trying to deter developers from rooting their phones in attempts to gain root access and load custom ROMs. Both companies seem to be pretty open when it comes to the Android community and giving users as much freedom as possible. For example, T-Mobile was the first to offer an Android phone (G1), the first to support the Nexus One, and the first to not block wireless tethering.
The HTC G2, which is perhaps one of the most anticipated phones in recent months, has a new mechanism that prevents the loading of custom software. As per Gizmodo, there is a special microchip in the phone that will override any changes made to the phone and re-install the original firmware. Developers over at XDA are still busy scratching their heads over this one. Some are even calling to the Lords of Modders (aka Cyanogen and Team Douche) for help. The full thread showing the community's progress in cracking the G2 can be found at XDA-Developers.
This whole episode raises the question--do we actually own our phones? Why are companies putting in so much effort into stopping such a small percentage of their customers from taking complete control of their hardware? The vast majority of smartphone owners have no idea, nor care about loading custom firmware. The game being played here seems like a sure way to cause ill feelings between users and their carriers/hardware providers. As history has shown us thus far, developers will likely find a way to bypass this issue and do as they see fit with their devices.
If you'd like to follow someone who seems to be making headway with his G2, check out Chris Soyars' Twitter account. He notes that Team Douche is still in the stages of figuring out how the lockdown actually works. One may wonder how a carrier could send an over-the-air update if the phone will just flash itself back to its original firmware. This thought process is precisely why the community believes there to be a way around the problem. Soyars even says, "If the carrier can give us an update, we can give you an update. It's that simple."