Motorola Photon 4G

Update: We've spoken with Motorola PR, who tells us the Photon does not have an unlocked bootloader, and the rep who initially told us otherwise was in error. Please read the full story here.

One of the more exciting (if extremely nerdy) specs to come out of today's Sprint Motorola Photon 4G event (see our hands-on) is that the upcoming Android smartphone indeed will ship with an unlocked bootloader. While we don't actually have a shipping date for the Photon just yet, it does sound like we'll see a Moto device with an unlocked bootloader sooner rather than later -- and well ahead of the "late 2011" time frame we'd previously been given.

Why should you care about having an unlocked bootloader? If you're the type who likes to tinker, it's a much-desired feature.

And another one that should get you excited: The Photon 4G sports Gorilla Glass. That's the uber-scratch-resistant kind of display that, frankly, should be on every smartphone. Nicely done, Moto!

 
There are 28 comments

And the CROWD GOES WILD!!! . . . this is really making me second guess the EVO3D . . . I'm thinking about giving HTC a break until my next device... And THIS with 16GB internal AND an Unlocked Bootloader?... this just may be it.... Until I see Sprint's version of the GS2

mjforte says:

Wow...please Bionic be unlocked too.

Mike77 says:

With my contract up at the start of September, looks like competition for the Evo 3d, ah decisions.

Dark_Blu says:

Ok, well that answers my big question. GORILLA GLASS. I don't care about the bootloader, as I have no plans to root the thing. It will come with Gingerbread and be compatible with the webtop dock? That takes care of Phone, Laptop, and any desire or need for a Tablet. My dream phone has arrived. I can even live with the fact that it doesn't have a physical keyboard.

relic419 says:

Wait till you start using motoblur, rooting becomes more desirable.

mjforte says:

I'm pretty sure Moto uses Gorilla Glass on all their high end phones.

Dark_Blu says:

And that is indeed a good thing. I guess they can't call it any sort of "Droid" because it's not on Verizon, but that's ok with me.

npc_caseym says:

Too bad it's ugly as sin...Moto devices are poop.

iijeriichoii says:

Well damn. If this is all set in stone, well played Moto. Big Red: you're pissing me off. Where is my unlocked, dual-core, 4g phone, eh? My OG Droid is lovely, but I need a phone built just as sturdy, with sexier specs.

Get your head in the game Verizon!

moosc says:

please bionic have that kick stand love this design. again MOTO breaks the cookie cutter mold thank you for not being HTC

Blaksmyth says:

If the droid bionic has a locked boot loader big red we are done. I can't stand that they keep putting out garbage phones. Or we end up with a moto phone so locked down chuck noris couldn't kick it open

rlbrooks says:

I think Sprint has declared loud and clear what OS is their champion on the battlefield, after experimenting with WebOS, and WinPhone7. The Evo got the ball rolling for the struggling carrier and now they are pushing out quality Android devices like Rosey the Riveters pushed out Hellcats in WWII. Sprint is fighting the good fight.

pappy53 says:

Now if they would get their coverage back up to par in NC, I may stick with them! It is no secret that their coverage has reduced, as most of NC is now roaming. VZW kills them on coverage.

rlbrooks says:

That sucks :( Coverage is very solid in the Miami Valley in Ohio. I have always believed that you have to pick your carrier first. If it doesn't work where you live and play, then what phones, and rates, they offer is a mute point.

El Jefe says:

Or a moot point...either one. ;-)

rlbrooks says:

Oops, I guess that explains why no one ever hears me when I have a point :)

MrszBerry says:

Wooooow! I think I might end my contract early with AT&T and go to Sprint. Trade in my Atrix for the Photon at Radio Shack. ;)

pmjohnson99 says:

Man...at first I was thinking this wasn't going to beat out the 3D...but now? Gonna be a tough decision coming soon. I mean 3D aside, the idea you can strip all the blur out and get some pretty good hardware is very important.

I guess I'll have to see how it compares to the 3D in a side by side. I have noticed that the 4G phones tend to have different 4G reception quality amongst the models. So I might have to go with the one that gets the best receptions since I live in a 4G land and will probably use it often.

I can't help but keep laughing at the fact that everytime I turn around sprint is turning out high powered android devices for all there customers to enjoy. Honestly they are taking all the carriers behind the wood shed and commencing to wipping royal carrier butt. It's great to be on Sprint that's for sure there not passing off 2010 SPECED phones just like my current Evo 4g as STUPID HIGH PRICES. They are innovators turning out new products every year that customers should be proud of.

El Jefe says:

Sprint has a great lineup of phones, that's for sure. I wish I could get past their horrible network, but useability is too important to me.

It just doesn't do me any good to have a cutting edge phone that doesn't work away from a window indoors, or any at all in more rural areas that I have to travel for work

This is great for sprint no doubt but this never will change my purchase in the coming days of the EVO 3D. The Evo family is the flagship device on sprint so every year to come sprints Evo will always be the number one android device.

El Jefe says:

Since Sprint took a page from Verizon's marketing plan of their DROID line being flagship devices with their whole EVO line, there is no reason this couldn't be the "EVO Photon 4G" when it comes out towards the end of the year.

Verizon has given DROID branding to HTC phones (Droid Eris & Droid Incredible 1 & 2) and Samsung phones (Droid Charge) in addition to Motorola's (Droid 1 & 2, Droid Pro, Droid X & X2).

Now unlock the Atrix.
I gave Motos Facebook page an earfull when HTC made their bootloader announcement.

dberdusco says:

So no photon torpedoes???? Oh well ill root it and put them in myself!!!!

deaofly says:

Does this phone have a high resolution screen like the Evo 3D? I know it has a qHD screen but this would be good news for people who are interested in this phone. I love my Evo and the 3d is bringing all the goodies to the table for my liking, This moto phone seems great for the non HTC or Samsung users.

dacp283 says:

I hope this is why the bionic got pushed back, updated hardware and unlocking the bootloader.

web0rama says:

So it's not unlocked??

Jeesh...talk about finding a turd in the punch bowl...

Evo 3D vs Photon advantage comparison:

Evo 3D advantages:

* faster processor: 1.2Ghz Dual core vs 1 Ghz Dual core

* faster graphics: Adreno 220 (88 million triangles / sec) vs GeForce ULP (71 million triangles / sec.)

* Higher res front facing camera: 1.3 mp vs VGA (.3 mp)

* Higher res video recording: 1080p vs. 720p (In 2D)

* Bigger Battery: 1730 Mah vs. 1700 MaH

* Slightly thinner: 12mm vs 12.2mm

* Dlna capable: Evo 3D has it, Photon doesn't

* FM Radio: Evo 3D has it, Photon doesn't.

* Bluetooth: 3.0 vs. 2.1

* Better UI: Sense 3.0 vs MotoBlur (Sense is better reviewed)

* 3D capable: EVO 3D takes and displays 3D images and videos, Photon doesn't.

--------------

Photon Advantages:

* World Phone: Photon has built in GSM Radios for overseas use. Evo 3D doesn't.

* Higher Resolution 2D camera: 8 mp vs 5 mp

* Lighter: 5.6 oz vs. 6.0 oz

* Separate HDMI connection: stand alone HDMI out vs. MHL

* more internal Memory: 16 GB vs. 4 GB (with 8GB Micro SD card included)

*Kisckstand: Photon has it, Evo 3D doesn't.

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Both phones seem like very worthy entries into Sprint's lineup and Android's overall stable. In fact, I see these two phones, along with Samsung's Galaxy S II being The flagship Android Phones for 2011! However, when I consider the above comparisons, I'd rather get the Evo 3D.