Virgin Mobile USA's "true Android experience" forbids rooting

You may remember we previously ran a story regarding Virgin Mobile USA's decision to only sell Android devices that use the stock UI, instead of the customizations that the likes of HTC and Motorola often employ.

Virgin Mobile released this statement explaining their decision:

"Virgin Mobile USA aims to make available devices that allow the end user to have the freedom to customize the device to their liking. We like to take a consistent approach with our Android portfolio and so we prefer to have the true Android experience loaded on all our Android phones"

The statement was a tad vague, it didn't explain if the decision was just in regard to custom UIs or if there was a chance that Virgin Mobile would be releasing devices with unlocked bootloaders. As it turns out, PCMag has discovered that this only applies to the stock Android UI and not any of the other aspects that many people feel are a crucial part of the Android experience, particularly rooting and custom ROMs.

In fact, not only are Virgin Mobile not encouraging rooting, they're stating that it's a violation of their terms of service. Here's what they had to say:

"We do not endorse in any way end users using a non-officially tested operating system nor do we approve of 'rooting' devices.  This constitutes a violation of our terms of service and puts our network in jeopardy. We endeavor to provide users a customizable Android experience within the limits of the tested and network approved Android OS."

This is bad news for anyone that got excited about the prospect of a carrier relaxing its stance on Android customizations and now it's clear that Virgin Mobile's decision was likely more of a cost-cutting one rather than a true benefit to users. When all of your phones share the same UI, its much easier to train your support staff to deal with it rather than training out 3 or 4 different UI designs. It also keeps Virgin Mobile's developer costs down, as they wont have to deal with custom UIs when it comes to modifying them to insert their own branded apps and services.

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