HTC says smartphone bootloader unlock software out next month
HTC will begin releasing unlocked version of its Android smartphones' bootloader code next month.
The first phone to get the update will be the dual-core HTC Sensation, which will get a "software update to support bootloader unlocking... in August", HTC said.
"We’re in the testing phase for the unlocking capability now, and we expect it to be fully operational by early September for devices that have received the software updates.
"We'll continue rolling out the unlocking capability over time to other devices as part of maintenance releases and new shipments."
Allowing software writers the ability to unlock the bootloader paves the way for a greater degree of phone operating system customisation.
Gaining access to a handset's bootloader is a key stage in installing alternative firmware on a phone, a process a fair few Android fans like to undertake in order to rid themselves of network operator-installed add-ons and to gain access to more up-to-date versions of the Google OS.
HTC announced in May that it was going to stop locking its handsets' bootloader code.
Like SE, HTC's unlock endeavours target handsets that have not been supplied through network operators.
Nokia providing actual end-user support and updates to old handsets, HTC and SE actually doing what they said they would with updates.
It's almost too good to be true, this was almost unheard of 12 months ago. I'm suspicious.
HTC have realised they are not capable of producing reliable updates to their handsets' firmwares and thus are paving the way towards a D.I.Y updates system. Roll on cyanogen!
At least this way HTC can continue to concentrate on flooding the market with a new handset per month.
Was just thinking that the model might be better for all parties involved
For an OS update today it has to go from the OS developer, to the Hardware mfr (who tweaks and certifies it) to the carrier (who further tweaks and certifies it) before it's even available to the users. Because it's all one big ball of wax, that takes months to do for an existing phone (assuming the hardware mfr's and carriers even bother to pursue it) and, at least in my reading, is a big part of the reason why we have so many phones running around unpatched and back-revved.
Thinking also, given the volume of devices rolling out, there must be thousands of different mobile OS distributions floating around. That must be insanely expensive to manage, so it's really no wonder why carriers rarely provide OS updates.
I wasn't thinking so much for the geeks as I was for the average users. If the OS could be abstracted from the core functionality of the hardware and carrier radio pieces, I think it might make OS updates quicker to get to the user and cut the software development and management costs.
Don't mind the "fix it yourself"....
As long they provide enough documentation and drivers/source if necessary. Hahaha.
I wonder myself if this means we may see meego/maemo/whatever on an android phone. Or perhaps, even a boot loader that will dual boot. Ah well, time will tell.
I don't think it's impossible to do that, but who would you sell it too?
Yes, there are probably a huge number of geeks (myself included) who would like to be able to try out different phone OS flavours before picking one, but beyond us who would care?
I think any manufacturer would struggle to sell more than a couple of hundred thousand of such handsets, so it really isn't worth the development time.
Plus, of course, you'd need a patent and royalty free standard for the HAL API before the third-party OS writers (Google, MS, Nokia?) would even consider adapting their OS to work with it anyway and suddenly you're talking several lorry loads of work for no return.
Feel free to try and persuade someone to do the hard work, though. I'd like this capability :-)