HMD Won't Unlock Bootloaders Of Android-Powered Nokia Phones

Nokia phone owners who want to unlock their devices' bootloaders to flash custom ROMs and other modifications will have to find a way to do it themselves, according to HMD Global's Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas who confirmed that the company will not be providing any sort of an official bootloader unlocking solution. According to Sarvikas, the reason for this refusal is security, though he did not elaborate on the matter. His Twitter announcement was met with some backlash from the Android enthusiast community and Sarvikas subsequently agreed to bring the issue to the attention of Mikko Jaakkola, the company's Chief Technology Officer.

HMD Global's response to the inquiry is not entirely surprising, disappointing though it may be to enthusiasts who wanted to see what the fruits of Nokia's renaissance could do when unleashed alongside community-backed Android development. While the company's CTO has yet to comment on the situation, a reversal of HMD Global's stance on the matter seems somewhat unlikely. What this means for Nokia owners who want custom ROMs and other community-developed modifications on their smartphones is that they are on their own with finding a way to crack open the bootloaders of their (future) devices, which may take some time, or may not ever happen; many Verizon phones from various OEMs have never had their bootloaders unlocked and some versions of Samsung and Moto devices, among others, have stumped the community for years in regards to how stubborn their bootloaders proved to be to unlocking attempts.

HMD Global has been relatively busy in recent times, pushing out a wide variety of Android-powered devices covering all price ranges, from the flagship Nokia 8 to the entry-level Nokia 3 and an even more affordable handset supposedly being on the way now in the form of the Nokia 2. While HMD Global did release the kernel source codes for devices that it's manufacturing under the Nokia brand in order to make development easier, a locked bootloader means that most community development using those kernel sources, outside of app optimizations, will never be able to provide users with truly custom experiences and features, unless a major breakthrough happens independently of the Finnish electronics company.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]