January 29, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
A Motorola employee infamously said that users who want to customize their phones should purchase their device from another company. Realizing the potential trouble for such a statement, Motorola quickly said that employee was wrong and promised that it would unveil a bootloader unlocking tool later.
And then it didn’t do much aside from a phone here and there.
A short while ago, Motorola finally updated plans to unlock one its premiere devices, the Motorola RAZR…Developer Edition. Yes, Motorola has so far confirmed only that it will unlock a dev edition RAZR set to go on sale soon, and only in Europe. In a blog post that has since been removed (but not before my Google Reader snatched up the message), Motorola says that the Razr DE will be a new phone version that “allows us to continue meeting our carrier and regulatory obligations, but also meets the needs being expressed by our developer community.”
As for the people who have already purchased a RAZR and wish to unlock its bootloader, that’s still a little unclear. According to the blog post, the MOTODEV site will introduce support for unlocking and relocating at will, but that was referring to the Developer Edition of the phone. It is not explicitly stated that the standard version of the phone will also be able to perform that same task.
Motorola states that it will introduce an unlockable developer device in the United States in a similar manner. It’s also mum on what, if anything, current device owners can expect.
While all Android manufacturers have shameful moments as it relates to customization and hack-friendliness, Motorola has stood out as one of the bigger offenders. The company has every right to lock bootloaders from a business standpoint, but it’s hard to argue that users should have to purchase a special developer edition phone in order to customize their software. It’s especially hard to swallow when HTC and Sony are heading down a path that allows the vocal minority of users who want unlocked bootloaders to have their wish without running afoul of carrier agreements.
When the official blog post goes back up, I sincerely hope that Motorola has more to offer.