Sony Addresses Unlocking Their Devices’ Bootloader and Loading Custom ROMs
Sony has always been against unlocking their bootloaders on their devices (unlocking the bootloader is what allows us to flash custom ROMs, recoveries, etc. onto a device. If it is locked then it is a lot harder to do). However, today, Sony decided to announce that going forward, on certain devices, this will no longer be the case.
Over the few last years, Sony Ericsson has received several requests from the Android™ community to allow advanced developers to unlock the boot loader of their phones. Up to now, the answer has been “No”. The reason is that we haven’t had a secure technical solution in place to support this. Furthermore, the boot loader could not be shared since that would violate important business agreements with many of our partners, such as operator customers and developers who want to protect their apps and games from being ripped from the secure area in the phones.
But we are developing a solution for this. It will be possible to unlock the boot loader for certain releases of our 2011 Xperia™ phones, such as Xperia™ arc, Xperia™ neo, Xperia™ pro and Xperia™ PLAY. But it is important to point out that this will only be possible for certain releases of the phones. Basically, your phone has to fulfill a number of requirements. For example, you can’t unlock the boot loader if you have a SIM lock protected phone.
There are other requirements as well, depending on your market and the original configuration of your phone. The only way to determine if you can unlock the boot loader for your phone is to connect your phone to the Fastboot tool in the Android™ SDK. If your phone can connect to Fastboot, the boot loader can be unlocked. For earlier products such as the Xperia™ X10, we cannot allow the boot loader to be unlocked due to technical and legal reasons.
So if you have a certain device, Sony will let you unlock the bootloader. You may also notice that Sony did address why they don’t usually allow it (and confirmed what I assumed was the main reasoning for most manufacturers to lock down the devices). Its so we don’t remove apps that they have deals with to be on their device.
Sony goes on to say the normal disclaimer that unlocking the bootloader may void the warranty.
Also, please note that you may void the warranty of your phone if you unlock the boot loader. See your phone’s warranty statement for details. Additionally, due to the modified phone software, Sony Ericsson’s repair network may not be able to properly test and repair your phone according to our normal procedures. Consequently, if Sony Ericsson does perform a warranty repair, Sony Ericsson may charge you a handling fee for any additional incurred costs due to your modification of the software.
It is important to note however, the use of the word “may” instead of “will”. Google used this same terminology in the Nexus S as they put a command in to relock the boothloader and, in turn, reinstate your warranty essentially.
I have to say this is kind of big news for the modding and hacking community. First time a major manufacturer has not only condoned custom ROMs but also gave us a straight forward answer as to why they didn’t in the past. Kudos, Sony.
What do you think guys? Maybe some other manufacturer’s will follow suit?
Hit up the source link for the full blog post on Sony’s developer blog.