Android Central

Break out the bubbly -- HTC CEO Peter Chou just announced via Facebook that they have heard everyone and will no longer be locking the bootloaders of their devices.  We're assuming (and hoping) this will start with the EVO 3D and the HTC Sensation, and users buying these new HTC phones will no longer depend on luck and skilled hackers to get them more open.

Said CEO Peter Chou, via Facebook:

"There has been overwhelmingly [sic] customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we've listened. Today, I'm confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience."

No word on exactly what this will mean for current models that have shipped with bootloader restrictions, or exactly how the new bootloaders will be "unlocked."  We're reaching out to HTC, and as soon as they give us a statement, we'll let you know.

Source: Facebook


Reader comments

HTC: No more locked bootloaders


Awesome! I hope the other manufacturers (cough Motorola cough) are taking notes, and watch how HTC starts dominating the market again.

Now if only HTC would start using bigger batteries...

I'm glad they aren't locking them, but have my doubts if they ever were. I think it was all just a marketing ploy.

I've had my Sensation about 10 days now. If Xda comes out with a bootloader unlocking hack I'm still going to wait for the HTC OTA to come out. I'm not in THAT big of hurry. I'm still perfectly happy with stock, the way this thing came out of the box. I upgraded to a 32mb card and I got ATON of movies and music and apps, but when it is unlocked we can see this phones REAL potential. Could you imagine the sensation running Royal Ginger, overclocked??? WOWOWOW!!!!!!

I've had my Sensation about 10 days now. If Xda comes out with a bootloader unlocking hack I'm still going to wait for the HTC OTA to come out. I'm not in THAT big of hurry. I'm still perfectly happy with stock, the way this thing came out of the box. I upgraded to a 32mb card and I got ATON of movies and music and apps, but when it is unlocked we can see this phones REAL potential. Could you imagine the sensation running Royal Ginger, overclocked??? WOWOWOW!!!!!!

The funny thing is, how much criticism could there have been compared to the number of handsets sold? It must have been minuscule, like less than 1/100th of one percent.

Still its a bold move. But I suspect the carriers will insist that HTC handle warranty repairs directly. Thats fine too. In fact, I'd like to see them do more direct sales, and to hell with the carriers lock downs and crapware.

All they need do is provide a way to restore the original boot loader from some emergency source.

That seals it for me. I will get the sensation then. Much rather buy from a company that listens to its clients

Its nice to see a large company like this, actually listening to its consumers, and being willing to make the changes necessary to keep us consumers happy.
HTC, on behalf of myself and others we Thank You.

You know, if linux was gplv3, we wouldn't have this problem in the first place. Still, awesome news.

I think that the Linux kernel under GPLv3 would have been a terrible idea. I think that Android should have been GPLv3'd though, then we still wouldn't have these problems.

Hopefully HTC will unlock the current phones (Incredible S, Thunderbolt, Sensation, maybe even Evo 3D since it's close to launch) with some sort of tool we can run kind of like what Sony Ericsson did.

Can't wait for the Evo 3D!

this makes me happy. i was about to just say screw it and go with the G2X, but now I have no problem waiting for the Sensation

this makes me happy. i was about to just say screw it and go with the G2X, but now I have no problem waiting for the Sensation

Wow. Actions like this from a large million dollar company are few and far between. They've earned my loyalty for a loooooooong time.

I hope this move towards openness means they'll also build Sense so it can be disabled. I don't necessarily want to root/hack my phone, I just want some control over the device I purchased.

But hey at least an unlocked bootloader is an option!

Please make this retroactive for the Incredible 2!

Just download ADW or LauncherPro. They're far better and you can configure them to look the exact same as the stock launcher. (Or you can just install the stock launcher)

I used LauncherPro on my OG Droid and it was great. However the Sense alterations to Android run deeper than the launcher, if I understand correctly. Different Gallery app (fixed that already), different dialer (ok but a little weird), messaging, contacts (don't like so much), etc...

I've only had the phone for a few days so I don't know all the ins and outs of it. It seems all these Sense mods should be removable apps, so I can choose the ones I want to use and ditch the others. But maybe I'm dreaming...

Wow a company that actually listens to it's customers. This is one of the best PR moves they could make and it costs nothing, it might even save some money. Perhaps others will learn from this.

I don't know what's more staggering: a large corporation who listened to the community and quickly "ruled in our favor," or the fact that we live in a world where facebook is a valid news source.

this doesn't really affect me cause I don't know what bootloaders are but I do have an HTC phone and this makes me like the company even more.

Isn't that going to Piss off the carriers though? They've been making good money off of the more ignorant customers that pay for the wireless hotspot feature... now that its gonna be easier to turn on.. maybe the data plan prices are gonna go up?

Most people who hear this news aren't even going to know what it means and aren't going to really care. They'll pay the tethering charges cause as far as they know, that's how they have to do it. It's only the more tech savvy and adventurous that will go to the effort of rooting their phone.

I'm going to thank HTC by buying the Evo 3D and recommending it to all of my friends and family. Hopefully, the bootloader is unlocked by the time it launches.

A bootloader is what loads the OS. With a locked bootloader, you can have some ROOT access, but it limited. You are only allowed to make some changes to the included OS that came with the phone. Now with an unlocked bootloader, you can load completely custom ROMS that have nothing to do with the original ROM that came on the phone. You can also run custom kernels (this is the underlying software what allows the OS to interact with the hardware) that allow you to overclock it at cool stuff like that.

I don't get why they would do this. The only people who know about bootloaders and roms and whatnot are a tiny tiny group, comparatively. The masses have no idea. I would think this just gets them more returns due bricked units and more support calls due to people otherwise messing stuff up.

cyanogen 7 recently broke 200000 downloads.
XDA is HUGE with 3.8 MILLION members, 15293 online RIGHT NOW.
We may be a minority but we hold a lot of influence over what our peers and families will be buying as they look to us for our opinions.
The 'masses' also come to forums like AC for help and advise. They hear about our frustrations with HTC and are affected by it.

Did you go to facebook and see all the responses? It really was overwhelming.

Well that's a good point about thought/opinion leadership. It's not necessarily that the masses clamor for ROMs, but in general our dads and co-workers and occasional forum visitors are asking us which phones to buy and we are going to use our biases, formed in part by things like this, to recommend. Motoblur is a good example. Most people would be fine using that, yet phone nerds have pooh poohed it for so long and likely recommended against it to their non-nerd advisees. You have convinced me. It still might not be a huge factor, but like any good PR operation, they're covering their bases.

I could actually argue that most "rooters" wouldn't need a punk kid from sprint to fix our phones. As long as a phone can boot into recovery (almost always) a "rooter" can fix the rest.

Or you could have been lucky enough to get a fellow rooter, not some punk kid, at Sprint to have fiedx your phone when I was worked there. I fixed many "bricked" and messed up root jobs. But I bet that Sprint will probably stick by the rules about rooted phones and warranty exchanges. If I get hired back I'll spread the word and train as many as possible not to be afraid of rooted phones.

awesome job htc, i love that you listened to your loyal customers. hopefully the sensation will be unlocked-though i think i was gonna buy it anyway. aaamzing!

I'm thoroughly impressed with Peter Chou's quick response. A company that listens to the community. I've been an HTC fanboy since the day the Droid Incredible came out. I upgraded to the Thunderbolt on launch day. This just reaffirms that I will remain a loyal, lifelong customer. Thank you HTC.

I have no plans to ever buy a non HTC phone, now, just bring an HTC sensation equivalent to Verizon.

Yesterday I called HTC and figured I would never hear back. I left a voicemail for the Guy I was forwarded to saying I wanted to give HTC a chance to explain this new policy. Not only did he call me back. He shared his views but also wanted to know mine. We talked about a dozen hypothetical situations and I felt like he was really engaged. The choice to reverse this is great news for everyone. I think HTC deserves huge props for not only doing the right thing but someone actually calling me back and really discussing it instead of just blowing me off is huge. Looks like many of us get the phone we wanted the way we wanted it. I hope everyone appreciates the love HTC has shown for its customers today. Many people would have bought the phone either way.

This is great news! Now all Avoid users should focus on getting the manufacturers to decouple their horrid, bloated skins from Android and make them an app from the Market.

I was getting the evo even if they didn't change their minds. But it's nice to know that you guys actually listen.

Good I hope this means we will have extra memory on the HTC phones and longer battery life. Since the bootloaders be using up space and battery power.

Date: May 27, 2011 12:48 AM
Subject: RE: Encrypted Bootloaders!!!!

Dear Steve,

Thank you for your support to htc. We hear your concern. And we take it seriously and now we will unlock it.
Our original intent was to reduce the potential quality problem when user upgrade their phone.
Any way we will unlock it. Customer satisfaction is very important for us and we want you have a good experience when you deal with htc.
Thanks again for your support.

Best Regards.


From: Steve Abt []
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 12:12 PM
To:; Cher Wang; John Wang; Keith L. Nowak; Fred Liu (劉慶東);; Peter Chou;; Horace Luke
Subject: Encrypted Bootloaders!!!!

If HTC is going to be fully locking down the bootloader like Motorola does I will not purchase anymore HTC devices in the future. I will get a Google Nexus phone since it come root ready. Android is a OPEN source project and so should any phone that host the software. I buy HTC because I like the HTC Sense UI, all my projects leave the Sense in them because its so smooth. Don't RUIN your image with the Dev community. And besides WE are the ONES PAYING for the PHONES you sell.

Thank you,
Steve Abt

It is so amazing to see that there are actually companies out there that listen to the people that make it possible for them to exist, their customers. Thank you HTC.

To be honest, HTC is my least favorite manufacturer.

They are the most open now though, which is why I will support them above all other manufacturers. You can bet that I will be recommending HTC phones to everyone now.

Peter Chou has responded to emails from a couple of XDA members that wrote to him about whether this new policy also covers the Evo 3D. He says that the Evo 3D will, in fact, have an unlocked bootloader, one way or another.

Definitely reaffirms my intention to upgrade to the E3D from my Evo, which was shaky, even after the announcement yesterday.

Dont kid yourself, what HTC did had nothing to do with "Listening to it's users", it had to do with dollars and cents, the more people they can get to buy their phone the more money they make, they dont care what you do with your phone once they get paid for it, you can use it as a doorstop if you want, it's always about money, always.