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One of the biggest advantages of Android is its being open source. Not only can you completely customize the way it looks with themes and launcher replacement apps, you can also manipulate nearly every aspect of the operating system, if you so wish. Whether sticking to stock or flashing custom ROMs (manipulated versions of the operating system) is your bag, you can make Android entirely yours.

The problem is, some manufacturers aren't exactly supportive of all the development that goes on. Of the powerhouse Android manufacturers, Motorola is probably the most against rooting and hacking. Software – codenamed eFuse – on the Droid X was put in place to try to keep people from tampering with the bootloader. If unsigned software was flashed to the device, it would not boot until signed software was reinstalled. Fortunately, developers got smart and found a workaround. No other manufacturers have gone to such lengths to prevent users from hacking.

We were hoping – since developers are relentless and will more than likely find a workaround – Motorola would eventually give up. A few months back though, they made it very clear that locked down bootloaders weren't going anywhere.

The funny thing is, they have actually done very little to impede the hacking of the XOOM. The bootloader on their tablet is extremely easy to unlock and re-lock; it takes one command in a command prompt and a little know-how. I've rooted and hacked every Android device I've ever owned, and nothing has been so easy to unlock and root as the XOOM.

They also said that when you ship your XOOM to them for the LTE upgrade, they will still install the 4G modem and try to install the software update, even if it is sent in running unauthorized software. They recommend you revert it back to stock and re-lock the bootloader, but it isn't mandatory.

Is this support for development a tell tale for what we should expect from Motorola in the future? I'm not so sure, but I would like to think so (one can dream, right?). Motorola still believes that BLUR is the best thing since sliced bread. As futile as their efforts may be, I think they will try their best to force users to use it, and keep them from removing it or manipulating it in any way.

I have a feeling that all of this support for developers and hacking comes from the tight-knit, vertical integration that Motorola had with Google on the production of the XOOM. We know Google wants us to have fun with their software and push limits, I just hope some of that open source mentality rubbed off on Motorola when they were working so closely together. It could also be that BLUR isn't installed on the XOOM. Considering it's 100% Google's software, Motorola probably couldn't care less what you do with it.

Even if they don't plan on scrapping locked down bootloaders and MOTOBLUR, maybe they will realize how much easier it is not to care. What do you guys and gals think? Is Motorola turning over a new leaf? Are they learning to embrace and cherish developers? Or is this a one-time thing?


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14 Reactions to this post

"Is Motorola loosening the reins on hacking?"


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Jose Pablo Islas
Jose Pablo Islas Moto sucks...blur is the devil... They don't want to update your phone and don't want you to do it for yourself either
Ahmed Jamal Ibraihimi
Ahmed Jamal Ibraihimi Since motorola has released the statement that they will upgrade all xoom tablets to 4g even if they have been rooted; this statement shows that motorola acknowledges the fact that people buy the android devices so that they can play with it and modify it according to their need, bcoz android is open sourced and it's based on Linux which in it's all might is also open sourced....... So it doesn't matter nw that whether they lock their bootroom or not bcoz hackers and developers will find a way to hack it; and since nw motorola is nt strict on it's policy against hackers so it shows tat motorola is open minded on this issue and moto is accepting the fact that sale of android devices nw days is due to it's sheer ability of getting rooted which opens whole new world to the user of android device...... Nw just hope tht in future moto doesn't lock the bootloader of their android devices.....
Ahmed Jamal Ibraihimi
Ahmed Jamal Ibraihimi Since motorola has released the statement that they will upgrade all xoom tablets to 4g even if they have been rooted; this statement shows that motorola acknowledges the fact that people buy the android devices so that they can play with it and modify it according to their need, bcoz android is open sourced and it's based on Linux which in it's all might is also open sourced....... So it doesn't matter nw that whether they lock their bootroom or not bcoz hackers and developers will find a way to hack it; and since nw motorola is nt strict on it's policy against hackers so it shows tat motorola is open minded on this issue and moto is accepting the fact that sale of android devices nw days is due to it's sheer ability of getting rooted which opens whole new world to the user of android device...... Nw just hope tht in future moto doesn't lock the bootloader of their android devices.....
Jean Pacrim
Jean Pacrim Hack Htc.. motorola will remain the same way. Moto makes the best quality hardware.better than iphone. Et moto keep it hacker free
Neil Hussey
Neil Hussey .....and Samsung are shit!
Ian Mcclendon
Ian Mcclendon MOTO is getting worse than Samsung
Brandon Worley
Brandon Worley @anh. Quite simple really. Because some users will try to root their device with the brains god gave a goose egg having no idea what they're doing and crash the thing & then turn around and expect the mfg to replace it under warranty...just bad business for the mfg. They're in business to make $$ not lose because they're swapping out devices one after the other for some one who thinks they're smarter than the engineers that put it together in the first place. If you want to root it go ahead but owners should not expect the mfg to warranty the device if they kill it...
Teron Facey
Teron Facey That phone still hasn't got It's update yet? Damn. At least your not a flipout or a charm owner those people got blacklisted.
Kevin Schomer
Kevin Schomer You can drop "its" in that first sentence
Brian Edwards
Brian Edwards Only momentarily. Post Google Experience device, I see going back to BAU.
Anh-Tuan Le
Anh-Tuan Le perhaps more investigation is need, because I'm not really understanding why Moto or any manufacturer would put a lock on the OS. They got it from Google for free, Google developed it off of free open-source platform Linux. Google is benefiting from the mobile search bar, and hardware manufacturers are benefiting off of the sales of devices. The software itself is not proprietary, and does not provide a competitive advantage. Why go through all of the trouble of locking it down? Or maybe I'm misunderstanding the whole situation.
Allen Drewe
Allen Drewe Let us play with the full gb of ram on the atrix!
Danny Stone
Danny Stone I think Google had alot to do with the whole "not locking down the boot loader like Moto tends to". The Xoom is a Google device it is ment to be the Nexus of the Android Tabs.
Ekie Belang
Ekie Belang Nevermind that,when is the update for milestone????LOL




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