Featured: Unlocked Bootloaders At Last For Motorola

Motorola Photon Q

Motorola has a long history of delivering devices with locked bootloaders. For the uninitiated, locked bootloaders do to phone customization what Fort Knox does to gold. With it, developers have very little chance of making major improvement to ROM's and no chance for kernel improvements. It appears that Motorola, probably through the urging of their new owners, has finally relaxed the policy of shoring up their phones.

With the announcement of their newest device, the Photon Q, Motorola has said they have been working closely with carriers to preserve the security of the network while finally allowing for unlockable bootloaders. This will give developers real hope in turning Motorola devices into powerhouses. Historically, some of their devices have had arguably good specs but have been severely hindered by a lack of development support.

What's interesting is the verbiage with which they close the blog post: "we'll be looking to offer this option on other devices as well." I'm curious if this means that some current and older devices will have the bootloader unlockable at any point, similar to what HTC began doing with its HTCdev website. If so, it may be a very exciting time for people holding on to their Chicagoland-built phones.


Personally, I was a Droid X2 user for a while. I bought it originally because of a few reasons. I've always enjoyed Motorola products and their build quality. It was American made (forgive a bit of patriotism). And it had the Tegra 2 dual-core processor, one of the first phones to feature 2 cores. I surmised (quite erroneously) that the phone's hardware would easily give it longevity. Considering that the X2 is still on Gingerbread with little hope of ICS, let alone Jelly Bean, I realized it had lived a very short life and traded it off. However, if it becomes unlocked, I'm sure there will be enough developers willing to give it a second life. Heck, I may have to look for one.

With all that said, carriers have quite a bit of say when it comes to what is locked and unlocked. The Photon Q is on Sprint, one of the more open-minded networks. Verizon? AT&T? They could easily demand locked bootloaders because it could limit the ways they can take advantage of people and their wallets. Even so, maybe with Google at the helm, they'll steer Motorola towards the welcoming arms of the devs out there and refuse to bow down to the powers that be.

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Writer --- I was born and raised in Kentucky and got my professional start in photojournalism there. I worked at various television stations around the country including Bowling Green, KY, Reno, NV, Knoxville, TN, and Charlotte, NC. I began working in the production environment while still in high school and ultimately followed his career for several awards including an Emmy among others. After leaving television in 2009, I started working in web development and graphic design while still longing to hold a camera once again.This opportunity came in the summer of 2009 when I shot a documentary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I would go on to travel to Ireland that summer before relocating to Knoxville to pursue my career in design. Another chance to shoot a film in a devastated Haiti moved me back to Charlotte and I have been here since.

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