So the original Motorola Droid is apparently going to be the last device without a digitally signed bootloader from Motorola. What does that mean? Well, it means that there is no flashing of custom recovery images and no easy way of flashing custom ROMs like the majority of Android devices. In a blog post on the Motorola Dev website, they explained their position on custom roms etc. basically saying that if you want to flash custom ROMs, “we highly recommend obtaining either a Google ADP1 developer phone or a Nexus One, both of which are intended for these purposes. At this time, Motorola Android-based handsets are intended for use by consumers and Android application developers, and we have currently chosen not to go into the business of providing fully unlocked developer phones.”
I don’t think Motorola realizes just how many “end consumers” love to flash custom ROMs (XDA Developers, our own site, and many others could attest to that). They are shooting themselves in the foot in my opinion. The benefit of the custom ROMs for consumers are new UI’s, optimization, customization beyond belief (just look at any Cyanogen ROM), full backups, overclocking, extra RAM (via Swap), and so much more. And as far as the manufacturer’s are concerned, all of these added features cost them NOTHING. The developers who make these custom ROMs work for donations (if that, some won’t even except them) that people who use their ROMs are generally happy to give. Motorola doesn’t have to pay them, and they are making their devices better, why wouldn’t Motorola want this?
In their blog post, they go on to state all the legal jargon about how they aren’t doing anything against the open source agreements (including GPLv2, etc.) to stop people from yelling saying if they lock the bootloader, then it isn’t “open source”. We know that they can lock the bootloader if they really want, my question isn’t if it goes against being open source, but just why, as a business decision, they decided to do it. What harm comes from giving an unlocked bootloader and even root access for that matter if you provide a disclaimer saying enabling it will void your software warranty (as the Nexus One does etc)? What does Motorola have to lose?
Anyone else think this is dumb of any manufacturer to do?
Anyone else think that more manufacturers should go the way of the Nokia N900, and just provide root access out of the box? Didn’t seem to hurt Nokia any…
Hit the source link for the full blog post from Motorola.
PS That isn’t too say we CAN’T load custom ROMs… Just check out our How To Root the Milestone, Load a Custom ROM on the Milestone, and our Custom ROMs for the Milestone section. The Milestone has a locked bootloader as well, we get around it by loading custom ROMs through ADB and Nandroid Backup. But this method still doesn’t allow us to load custom recovery images and makes for a much harder way of creating or loading custom ROMs.