Hacking on Motorola Android-based devices is about to get even easier–and better yet–official (well, to some extent, anyway). According to a report on Wired.com, Motorola is planning on releasing a firmware patch toward the end of the year that would bring the unlockable/relockable bootloader found on the Xoom to its Android-based smartphones.
The switchable bootloader would open up a smartphone’s operating system allowing users to modify the core software components, making it easier to jailbreak. But there is a catch: This functionality will be limited to which carrier and operator partners that actually allow it.
The first Motorola Droid was popular among modders because of its built-in unlockable bootloader, which made it an easily hackable device during the early Andorid days. But as of late, Motorola smartphones only had a locked bootloader that prevented flashable custom ROMs.
Motorola isn’t the only vendor to try and prevent jailbreaking: HTC’s G2 reportedly carries a chip that reinstalls the OS if it’s been tampered with (though this is probably intended as a security feature rather than something intended to lock out jailbreakers). Hackers did eventually figure out a way to jailbreak it, however.
Motorola’s redirection may be in reaction to the developer backlash against a company employee who told off its community of hackers last January. “If you want to do custom ROMs, then buy elsewhere, we’ll continue with our strategy that is working thanks.” (Jailbreaking your phone is considered Fair Use in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that smartphone makers are obligated to support it.)
Do you think Motorola has really changed its ways? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, feel free to speculate all you want in the comments.