Motorola backtracks: Photon 4G does not have unlocked bootloader

And so the nerd saga that is bootloaders continues. While a representative at today's Sprint-Motorola Photon 4G event in New York City was informing members of the media (us and other sites as well) that the Photon would have an unlocked bootloader, we sought out double-secret confirmation. Which we've now gotten.

According to a Motorola Global PR representative we've both e-mailed with and spoken to by phone, the Photon 4G does not have an unlocked bootloader, and it's unknown if and when it'll get one as part of the new bootloader policy.

Here's the official word:

"As we've previously communicated, it is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011, where operator and channel partners will allow it. However, this feature is not included in the software found on PHOTON 4G."

There you have it, folks. What we were told at the event in NYC was incorrect. But here's to hoping things will change. And, hey, at least it still has Gorilla Glass, right?

Phil Nickinson
  • Moto sucks!!!
  • Their approval rating is dropping faster than mine!
  • That's funny, as far as I know, your approval rating has been going up for the past month or so. BTW: Moto suxx!
  • Maybe if you're reading the polls of "100 random democratic voters" the Huffington Post is publishing. GTFO.
  • You need to stop believing everything Fox tells you douche.
  • And you need to stop believing everything from CNN MSNBC NBC CBS ABC libtard
  • You both need to stop believing all the bullshit every news network is telling you. Fucktards
  • "It will not contain the unlockable/relockable feature; additional details beyond that will be available when the product comes to market. As you mention, our intent is to enable this feature on devices later this year and we will share updates on that as they become available as well."
    That is from Droid-Life. Kellex does some damn fine journalism. Try harder Phil. You guys do not understand bootloaders. A bootloader can be unsigned, thus able to be bypassed and install kernels and ROMs from anyone. Unlockable/lockable bootloaders mean you can just type a command to unlock it or lock it again like the ZOOM and Nexus phones. Ideally we all have unlockable/lockable bootloaders that come from the OEM's locked but are easy to unlock. Phones like the Droid and most HTC phones have unsigned bootloaders, which is the second best option. Those do not check where the kernel or ROM are coming from. So jescobe82 can scream "Moto sucks!!!" all damn day but until you understand what is really going on with your phones, you are adding to the nonsense and not progressing this fight for openness one bit. As for the Photon 4G, it could be set up just like the Droid 1 and people could be able to do whatever they wanted with it even without the bootloader being unlockable/lockable.
  • We understand bootloaders just fine. We also understand that Motorola has not said a damn thing about whether this bootloader will be signed or not -- we're discussing what they call "unlockable/relockable bootloader feature". Don't try to read more into things than you're given. Moto says bootloader is unlocked, in person, to our man on the floor in NYC. Moto says that was wrong. They want us to wait and see. We got the same email as everyone else did. Then we called to double check. What more are you looking for?
  • Hey Jerry, shave your beard lol
  • Thanks but no thanks Moto. I'll stick with HTC.
  • Edit: I was wrong...
  • Wow Motorola continues to piss off their customers. Can't believe they'd get everyone's hopes up and then pull the rug out from under us.
  • All Android phones have locked bootloaders. The question is... is it encrypted.
  • Why would anyone buy a Motorola phone? Motoblur sucks, their phones are ugly, their bootloaders are encrypted, and their screens have never been anything special. Not to mention, their laptop docks are completely overpriced.
  • Moto might have lost me as a customer.... maybe by the end of my contract they will have unlockable bootloaders...
  • Spoke to them by what?
  • well so much for waiting to compare this or the evo 3d as my second phone
  • I was going to wait for this phone, but I think I changed my mind.
  • Oh Moto, you really need to stop being so slow about this otherwise Samsung and HTC will pass you by. Actually, wait, they already have...
  • @Jerry
    I am not implying you and Phil don't understand bootloaders. I'm talking about all the comments about how Motorola sucks. We do not know if it will be signed or not yet and everyone is freaking out over it. I want people to have an understanding of their devices if they are going to be rooting them.
  • MOTO dude!
  • I agree on moto losing a potential customer over this. My next phone will have an unlocked bootloader if at all possible.
  • Moto-fail, Was considering this phone over the EVO 3D for my next since I want the 4.3" screen, dual core & qHD and don't care for the 3D gimmick, but I guess Motorola made my decision easy.
  • People were hoping this phone would ship rooted? LOL
  • I could care less if the bootloader is locked/unlocked. A lock/unlock bootloader is what the Nexus phones come with which is unlockable via fastboot. All other phones come with a locked bootloader. I just hope the bootloader is unencrypted. Here is a visual for you.
    Locked/Unencrypted bootloader = Locked door but you can pick it
    Unlockable bootloader = Locked but manufacturer gives key out
    Encrypted bootloader = Locked safe, manufacturer has combination
  • is that why doing anything on the droid X is a huge pain in the a$$? because it is.
  • Doing what, exactly, is a pain in the a$$?
  • Motorola sux, can't wait to buy the next HTC phone that comes out for verizon
  • Motorola "Sucks" until they release a 4th Gen Nexus device on Verizon.... then we'll watch everyone poke holes in their desks with their boners. Gimme a break, you all are so fickle.
  • I agree with you, even though I don't plan to buy any more Moto phones (still rocking the OGD) until they unlock them. Moto makes great hardware, it's a shame they decided to screw up with the bootloaders. One thing though; even if they do make the Nexus, people will hate Moto regardless. (see: Samsung) What Moto needs to do is come back and show the Android community they've changed for the better. They can accomplish this by: -Making well designed and powerful phones (The OG Droid was IMO a failure at the former and the Bionic didn't make it out the door before they realized they had made some bad decisions with it) -Improving Blur (It's gotten a lot better lately, but it could still use some work) -Stop being arrogant (Sanjay Jha needs to either tone it down or get 'the Joe Biden treatment', ie: don't let him out in public anymore; And of course, let's not forget the "buy elsewhere" mess) -And finally, an act of goodwill towards the Android community. Unlocking the bootloaders won't be enough; they'll have to do something to show they care about offering a great customer experience and being a good member of the community. Something like what Samsung did with sending CM devs free Galaxy S IIs. One company I know that's already done all of these steps (yea, Samsung) is seemingly becoming a lot less hated from what I've been noticing. People are willing to give them a second chance, which I personally find shocking considering how much crap people threw at them when the Nexus S was first announced on T-Mobile. But I guess that's what Samsung gets for trying; and Moto could get in on some of that too if they'd just try to make us happy instead of "lalalala we don't care we're gettin money anyway~" -- Oh wow, that's a wall o' text.
    TL;DR: People will stop saying Moto sucks when they make a conscious effort to stop sucking.
  • I was going to be waiting in line on release day for this phone. But I will wait and see if they unlock it or I will suck it up and put up with the 3D nonsence of the Evo 3D. I will not buy a phone until I *know* it can get root access.
  • I'm actually riding on the hope that they will unlock it at the end of the year. I mean, ideally, the manufacturers should be giving as much support to the developers as possible. I give kudos to Samsung for their recent giving of the Galaxy S II, and hope that the others will follow suit. It's only a matter of time really, but as I've noticed over the past couple years, android fans aren't very patient. I have to wait till my contract is up anyway, so it may be unlocked by the time I can purchase it. Also, what a tough choice between this and the Evo 3d! If they would just trade kickstand, then I would be super stoked on the Evo, but the laptop thing is enticing..... hmmmm....
  • They think we are just going to give up and conform. I've said it before and it may not be liked... Our biggest leverage to Android/Google/OEM's is this: If you are going to make rooting and custom roms a thing of the past for us, then there is a lot less difference between you (whoever you includes) and Apple and RIM. Therefore if we have to threaten via a defection to IOS or RIM, then let us consider this our stick... Keep an open mind on this tactic. It really is the best weapon we have as distasteful as it may seem.. But then again, war is distasteful..
  • Moto only sux to the few android nerd types against the masses who outnumber you. I think its time to quit complaining. Moto has made damn good android phones built to last. Sure they may not be pretty but this isn't a beauty contest. Id rather have a solid, well built phone over some curvy piece of crap that gets shotty 4g. Yup that's u thunderbolt peeps. Maybe instead of whining about bootloaders you should complain about how 4g infrastructure needs fixing.
  • You are asking for a flame war, aren't you?
  • When my parents and friends decide to switch to a smart phone who do you think they ask for advice on which phone to get? I may be a small part of overall sales but I make recommendations to people. I will not recommend Motorola and I guarantee if I don't recommend a brand to someone who specifically asks then they will not buy that brand. If I sway even one or two people from getting a Motorola my job is done. Multiply that by the thousands of "nerds" on here who help their family and friends decide and maybe the impact isn't so small. So, you go ahead and keep on thinking the minority has no impact on the majority. HTC didn't change their tune so fast for no reason at all.
  • I predict the Photon will outsell the Evo. People need world phones. CDMA is a very limiting technology overseas.
  • A World phone is exactly what I need. This takes care of phone issues when on tour in Europe. Locked boot loader or not, this will be my first phone upgrade on Sprint. I was hoping someone would make a world Phone so I wouldn't have to get the XPRT and thank Goodness, Moto came up with the Photon. Works for me.
  • I currently own the EPIC 4G and was planning on keeping it for another year and spend money on a low range gsm phone for travels. However, this just sped my upgrade timeline by a year!! Thank you moto annd sprint!
  • The world phone feature and 16gb ram had me switching over to motorola. But then they announce no unlocked bootloader. Thats ok. I will stick with htc and their reliable htc sense. Now that its 3.0 and 4gb ram is good enough I'll keep my preorder of the evo3d. By they time they unlock the bootloader the galaxy s2 or another better phone will be out.
  • Bahahaha!!!! Oh my, Motorola is just full of surprises...only not.
  • I'm not gonna write the Photon 4G off just yet. You never know what will happen by time it's released. I've learned to be patient with phone companies over the years.
  • i don't care about a locked bootloader. i care about the size of the headphone jack. did he say 2.3mm???
  • I still think a lot of people are missing a very important piece of Moto's last comments to the media on this. "where operator and channel partners will allow it" I really don't like that one little line. I know for fact in Canada no operator/channel partner will allow this. Imagine Rogers being ok with this? Don't think so.
  • And back to wanting the EVO 3D. You had me for a brief moment in time Motorola. I am disappoint.