T-Mobile responds to G2 rooting controversy

October 7, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka



Earlier this week, we reported that T-Mobile and HTC shipped the new G2 with fail-safe that prevents users from obtaining permanent root. Though it’s possible to root the device temporarily, all changes made are promptly erased when the user reboots the device. While not as frustrating as the similar anti-root efforts perpetrated by the Motorola Droid X, people interested in the G2 have been disappointed.

T-Mobile has responded to the controversy by issuing a statement explaining why the carrier and HTC have opted to include components that block root. A spokesperson sent us this message in response to our previous article:

As pioneers in Android-powered mobile devices, T-Mobile and HTC strive to support innovation. The T-Mobile G2 is a powerful and highly customizable Android-powered smartphone, which customers can personalize and make their own, from the look of their home screen to adding their favorite applications and more.

The HTC software implementation on the G2 stores some components in read-only memory as a security measure to prevent key operating system software from becoming corrupted and rendering the device inoperable. There is a small subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level, known as “rooting,” but a side effect of HTC’s security measure is that these modifications are temporary and cannot be saved to permanent memory. As a result the original code is restored.

Are you satisfied with this response? Though security is often a fail-safe response for why companies get in the way of user customization, it’s still disappointing that T-Mobile and HTC would make the phone less hacker-friendly. The beauty of owning HTC devices, aside from the popular Sense UI, is that the hardware was friendly to tinkering. One can only hope that this is not the first of a budding trend from the Taiwanese manufacturer.