updated 08:30 pm EDT, Tue May 24, 2011
HTC hints change in locked bootloaders
HTC in a new notice on Facebook told Android users it was reconsidering its recent policy of locking down bootloaders. It acknowledged complaints from owners wanting more freedom to root their phones and said it was "reviewing the issue and our policy" around how it approached them. More details would come "soon," it said.
HTC has normally been one of the more open Android manufacturers but, starting in March with the Incredible S, has been closing the firmware so that customers can't easily load custom firmware. Loading non-stock firmware always voids warranties at manufacturers and would likely remain the same at HTC even with unlocked bootloaders, although the new move would at least let users do what they like with that knowledge.
Of all Android device makers, only Google has consistently promised to leave its phones' firmware unlocked. Others have begun to relent on previous policies: Motorola promised some unlocks by the end of this year. The move by HTC suggests either broader awareness of unhappiness among Android phone owners or pressure from Google to live up to the concepts of openness the mobile OS is supposed to represent.