Of all the manufacturers that create handsets for Android, HTC has always been my favorite. This isn’t a slight to Motorola, Samsung, LG, etc., but rather a testament to the high quality devices HTC has produced. They just have feel like more of a solid device than their competitors, even if the performance isn’t necessarily better. It doesn’t hurt that their phones are relatively root friendly. That appears to have changed. We learned previously that the bootloader for the Thunderbolt was signed and locked. At the time, given the reputation of each company, that might have seemed like a Verizon issue. Now it doesn’t appear so obvious. As Android Police notes, the Incredible S has a similar signed-and-locked system. That seems odd on its own, coming from HTC and all, but there’s another wrinkle to this story. The Incredible S is an unlocked GSM phone. In other words, there is no room for carrier interference here. HTC did this on its own. When talking to Android Police at CTIA HTC foisted the blame on carriers, but that just doesn’t add up. This now appears to come from HTC itself, which is a sad development. As I’ve often preached, half the fun with Android is rooting it and finding all the extra goodies that you just can’t get on other smartphone platforms. This involves necessary risks, but as long as you have a modicum of tech savvy and you can follow directions, it shouldn’t be too difficult a process. And once you’re up and running you can do things that others simply cannot — and yes, that includes the iPhone customers who buy into Apple’s misleading marketing campaign. To be clear, the net effect is that you can no longer flash new ROMs. The reasons are technical, and we try to avoid the overly technical here when possible. Perhaps the community of developers and hackers can find a way to get around this. In fact, given what we’ve seen in the past, I think this is a possibility. But it won’t be easy, and it could take a while. This is quite a departure from previous HTC handsets, which we could basically root the minute they hit shelves. Whatever the reason — and Android Police thinks it’s warranty replacement requests for bricked handsets — this is nothing but a negative for the Android community. HTC has brought us an array of handsets that rank at the top of the industry. Hell, my Nexus was released over a year ago and it’s still just as relevant as many of the non-4G handsets coming out today. They simply felt more solid, more like real gadgets than their Motorola and Samsung counterparts. Unfortunately, that won’t matter much if this continues.
HTC becoming less root friendly
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