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Motorola's Sholes Bootloader Unlocked

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the not-the-doctor-with-the-homophonic-name dept.

Android 283

teh31337one writes "Motorola's locked bootloader for their Sholes-family devices (Droid OG, Milestone, DroidX, Droid 2 etc, not Atrix 4G) has finally been cracked. @nenolod explains on his website: The Motorola Sholes platform uses a trusted bootloader environment. Signatures are stored as part of the CDT stored on the NAND flash. mbmloader verifies the signature on mbm before passing control. mbm verifies all other signatures before allowing the device to boot. There is a vulnerability in the way that Motorola generated the signatures on the sections stored in the CDT. This vulnerability is very simple. Like on the PlayStation 3, Motorola forgot to add a random value to the signature in order to mask the private key. This allowed the private key and initialization vector to be cracked. This comes at the time when HTC are also stepping up their attempts at locking down their phones . The recently released LTE flagship — ThunderBolt is their most locked-down phone to date ... They made signed images, a signed kernel, and a signed recovery. They also locked the memory."

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Sorry, but no (5, Insightful)

Nuno Sa (1095047) | about 3 years ago | (#35557188)

Even with the cracked bootloader, the company's attitude is not good, so I won't buy a phone from them.

Re:Sorry, but no (2)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about 3 years ago | (#35557462)

I totally agree! My motophone is stuck in 2.1 with all its bugs and the additional bugs Motorola has, and will not get an upgrade, unless a kind hacker does the job that Motorola should have done. The problem is that the list of companies I won't buy a phone from is getting longer and longer. Sony, Motorola, and of course, apple. Sad.

Wrong about HTC (4, Interesting)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#35557710)

From TFS:

This comes at the time when HTC are also stepping up their attempts at locking down their phones . The recently released LTE flagship — ThunderBolt is their most locked-down phone to date.

The submitter should know that the HTC Thunderbolt is just a customized variant of the HTC Desire HD provided for Verizon. Locking it up is almost certainly a Verizon-demanded attribute, and not an initiative from HTC. The Desire HD is unlocked in most of the world, and I doubt if a locked version can be obtained in countries with a more enlightened phone system.

Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557194)

... as a programmer is to spend less time trying to hack, tweak, or otherwise add value to platforms owned by companies who want to strip away my rights as a user to modify and operate those platforms as I see fit.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35557214)

So where are the worthy devices made by worthy companies? Personally, I still require my phone to be a phone, as well as being a networked computing device. So far nothing beats the Blackberry for real-world usage, IMO. Most of the people I know have Android or an iPhone, and they're all in search of charging outlets by early afternoon. Just can't see going back to that 90s-like level of utility, myself...

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557234)

Well, if you use your android phone *LIKE* a phone, then you can easily get 2-4 days of usable time out of it. I've got myself a T-Mobile Comet (Also known as the Huawei Ideos, the phone, not the tablet), and unless I have the screen on a lot, or use cpu intensive apps, it works more than servicably as a straight cell-phone. It also has FM radio support which will last a good 6-8 hours even with the screen on much of the time for switching channels.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0, Flamebait)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35557272)

Well, if you use your android phone *LIKE* a phone

Are you chastising me for using my smart phone's features? What an idiot -- I do everything on my Blackberry, and plug it in nightly (as opposed to every four to six hours like everyone I know who uses Android). I don't have to jump through hoops to get that, it's normal.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1, Informative)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#35557372)

Where do you get your information?
My Droid is plugged in every 2-4 days depending on usage.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35557398)

As I said, everyone I know has either a Droid or an iPhone, so the "2-4 days" is nonsense and you know it. Unless you just rarely use your phone.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 3 years ago | (#35557694)

You're just trolling, and you're spewing bullshit. My old Blackberry did last far longer, but I use my HTC Incredible quite a bit for phone, email, web, and apps every day. I plug it in at night and it's good to go for the next day without having to worry about it. Enough astroturfing, trolling, or whatever agenda you'd trying to further. Get a fucking clue.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 3 years ago | (#35557706)

Actually, it depends on what you're using the phone for.... things that wear the battery down quickly on an Android phone are:

1. Having the screen on 100% brightness. (most new phones have a light level sensor and can automatically adjust the screen brightness... put it on this mode, it saves battery).
2. Playing games constantly on the phone. Of course, it depends on the game, some of them are actually very CPU-friendly, some of them will peg the CPU and drain the battery super fast.
3. In that same vein, letting apps remain open when you're not using them will drain the battery. There's task manager apps to close stuff you're not using, and using such an app can save battery by reducing the number of tasks running.
4. Similarly, running many different games and switching between them increases the number of programs running in memory. If you just play one or two games and don't switch between them frequently, you can save battery because of the above.
5. Mobile data. Using it really sucks back the juice in the battery. Switching mobile data off can save a ton of battery life, or, more practically, using the built-in wifi when you're in range of a wifi network will use less power, as the mobile data will shut off while you're connected to wifi.
6. Playing MP3's/media player. There's a dedicated mp3 chip in most phones that's usually turned off, and when it turns on to play MP3's, it does draw more power.
7. Having Bluetooth enabled.
8. Being in an area with poor coverage. The phone increases the transmit power when you have low bars, which draws more power.

Without changing my phone, I've seen cases where the phone's battery is dying by the end of my work day (10 hours, with a 1.5h commute each way), but I've also seen days where the battery's good for 2-3 days. It all depends on how I'm using the phone, and what I'm using it for. It's good for a full day, and not the end of the world if I forget to plug it in at night with my current usage habits, which include listening to FM radio during the bus ride portion of my commute, having my phone connected to the wifi at work, not really playing many games except for the occasional game of reversi or angry birds. And I leave bluetooth on full time (BT-enabled car, I'm too lazy to turn it off when I'm not in the car). I check social networking from time to time during the commute (able to check it from my workstation at work), but most of the data usage I have is from the phone checking the gmail account.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35557404)

my 2.5 year old iphone 3G goes 2-4 days between charges depending on usage too.

It takes a lot of talking to wear the battery down during one day.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 3 years ago | (#35557646)

>>>It takes a lot of talking to wear the battery down during one day.

Not talking. "Smartphoning" i.e. using it like a computer. He said that in his original post.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557400)

Well, if anecdotal evidence counts, I own both a Curve (work) and Droid 2 (personal). For similar usage, I get similar battery time. If I use a lot of the smart phone features on either, I can probably get two days but it's close. If I use strictly as a phone, I can get 3 or 4 days between charges. I'd say the Blackberry is slightly more battery efficient, but it's also a significantly crappier phone.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557662)

I'd say the Blackberry is slightly more battery efficient, but it's also a significantly crappier phone.

No possible way! Either you're a lying android fanboi or your company Blackberry is ancient and beat. Android ***sucks*** for real-world phone use, and the Blackberry works as well as any landline phone.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (2)

MrHanky (141717) | about 3 years ago | (#35557730)

Sorry, but if you have to charge your phone after four hours, you've most likely been playing Angry Birds for four hours straight. In other words, either none of the people you know have to work for a living, or you're simply lying. My bet is on the latter.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35557366)

I kinda like my Samsung Vibrant. It's not like it was hard to root or anything like that. And the team whiskey stuff I have on my phone now is just nice.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (5, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 3 years ago | (#35557566)

Blackberry? That's the phone that comes with a trackball, right? I heard their next model will run IBM DOS 5.0 with DOS Shell, and it'll remove the trackball in favor of a 3-button rs232 ball mouse. The DB-25 connector will increase the form factor a little bit, but damn, I'm so buying that phone.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557634)

Error: wrong target

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

wodelltech (168047) | about 3 years ago | (#35557618)

I totally agree with your sentiments, but none of my (6) blackberry phones have done any better. They require charging every night. (18hr standby is the advertised life for my bold). I'm still missing the 'good old days' when I would charge my phone once per week. Try to go camping for 3 days without a solar charger. 'Just turn it off when you aren't using it???' The blackberry boot time is as bad as any.

I'll try to bring up battery performance again this year at GoogleIO, but seems like no one really cares. 'Performance' means only frame-rate, screen resolution, and clock speed. Sigh

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 3 years ago | (#35557620)

>>>to spend less time trying to hack, tweak, or otherwise add value to platforms

In my experience it's not worth it. Especially if you just wait a year-or-two and those new things get added "automatically" by faster processors.

>>>So where are the worthy devices made by worthy companies?

My VirginMobile (nokia) phone has Opera Mini, and makes calls. That's all I need. The "real work" I do on a laptop or desktop.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557674)

90s-like level of utility? Yup, sounds like a Blackberry.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (3, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | about 3 years ago | (#35557312)

2 years ago I bought an HTC for the very reason that there wasn't any lockdown on it. So why is it that they now want to lose me as a customer ? I don't understand that.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35557388)

Really? You can't understand that?

Here's why: In the US, the only way to get a phone is through a carrier. (Well, not the only way, but still) And carriers like to control the devices on their networks so they can control the features and functions active on them... so they can sell the services that should be free (like texting) for a butt-raping price.

And if the carriers decide "for technical reasons" they cannot host a particular model or make of phone, they will lock them out of service on all of their towers.

In short, it is because carriers seek to charge the customers for more while delivering less. They can't do that if they are free to do it by themselves.

Re:Sorry, but my New Year's resolution... (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 3 years ago | (#35557564)

I did buy the phone directly, not through the carrier. So how do those DRM bootloaders behave in this case ? Are they disabled ? Or does the maker simply stop selling you phones directly ?

Waste of money. (3, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | about 3 years ago | (#35557198)

Why do they spend so much money locking down the phone instead of making a competitive, lasting product that the consumer actually wants? "They also locked the memory.", what the fuck.

Re:Waste of money. (-1, Troll)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 3 years ago | (#35557222)

Im Europe Motorola phones are mostly dead no one is buying them anymore because of the bootloader shennanigans.
The US seems to be way dumber.

Re:Waste of money. (2)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#35557282)

I don't think the general public really cares about locked bootloaders. However, they do care about half-decent phones, and IIRC the last half-decent phone Motorola produced that enjoyed any level of popularity on this side of the pond was the Razr.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | about 3 years ago | (#35557354)

Actually in Europe the word of mouth regarding the Motorola shennanigans regarding the bootloader spread pretty quickly.
Add to that that Motorola Europe basically treated their customers like second class citizens regarding updates on the Milestones
and a bunch of if you dont like the bootloader buy somewhere else comments by the official support over here for the
following year, and you can see a scheme where the general public became overly frustrated and Motorola quickly
went from the only decent Android phone available directly straight to the do not buy list in the general public.

Yes the general public does not care about locked bootloaders, but it starts to care if they have a buggy firmware
and no possibility for a software update and if you ask the manufacturer you are told, it is either our way or the highway.
So basically whatever Motorola could do wrongly they did and it pays off for them negatively. The Milestone never became
more than a mediocre success due to the bad rep it got immediately, and the following models bombed literally.
I dont think if anyone from Motorola USA is reading this, but they defintiely should do, they just lost a market of
800 Mio people!

Re:Waste of money. (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 years ago | (#35557420)

The general public really don't give a shit about bootloaders. They're more concerned about how pretty the phone looks, what features it supports, how easy it is to use, how much it costs, and at a push what is the likelihood of long term support for the device. Talk about bootloaders to the average person and their eyes will glaze over. It's simply a non issue.

Personally I haven't even seen many Motorola devices recently in EU stores which may explain why they're not doing so well. As far as I can tell none of the phone networks here in Ireland (Vodafone, O2, Meteor & Three) carry a single Motorola handset. A few years ago they'd probably have 3 or 4 models apiece. Maybe Motorola has withdrawn from the market, or they're not seen as devices worth selling any more.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 3 years ago | (#35557688)

you got it backwards.

the stores aren't stupid. they don't stock the phones because their shelf space is worth more than the meagre sales they'll get. simply put, other phones will sell better.

on the issue of bootloaders, that's probably one for market research to determine. i do, however, find the "nobody non-technical cares about anything but how it looks" to be patronizing and wrong, and a reason a good whack of /.ers are embittered bachelors. surprisingly the general public are not as stupid as us nerds like to think. they just have different priorities. ...just saying

Re:Waste of money. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 3 years ago | (#35557472)

Motorola have never been very strong in Europe. I personally tried them once (E398), and won't buy from them again in a long time: bad industrial design (the connectors kept getting disconnected, both headset and charger, which is a pain), bad software (USB synch never worked), and bad support (never could get someone to actually try and fix my problems). Such a "perfect" trifecta requires not only a bad product, but a bad company company.

I hope for them they changed since, but I'm trying out pretty much everyone else before coming back to them, and I'll keep my invoices handy for a refund.

My current HTC HD2 is very fine and reliable, both the hardware and software sides.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 3 years ago | (#35557592)

The "general public" may not care, but, before they buy they normally ask those of us who know and do care. When we tell them to avoid a "locked down" phone they probably don't even know what it means, they just know I think it's bad. Previously these people bought HTC instead, now I will direct them elsewhere.

Money of the provider. (3, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | about 3 years ago | (#35557248)

With a locked phone they can give the provider control over the phone (read: appstore ), and the telecom provider. I think Motorola hopes to make extra money from the provider instead of the consumer.

You are right, if consumers wanted a closed phone they would have bought a iPhone. an android phone is NOT a closed environment, and locking one part down in an open environment leaves a mediocre (in comparison) product.

Re:Money of the provider. (0)

Kvasio (127200) | about 3 years ago | (#35557302)

what HTC does makes iPhone feel like an open env

Re:Money of the provider. (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35557608)

Give it a rest! Cyanogenmod - which is ported to every phone the community CAN port it to, so is a good a yard stick as any - is supported on 17 HTC phones, 2 Samsung Phones, and one Motorola phone.

Either HTC are OK with it people hacking their devices or they are completely incompetent - but either way the facts just don't jive with your statement.

Re:Money of the provider. (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 3 years ago | (#35557658)

HTC were okay with people hacking their devices for years, but it seems that they have changed their stance.

Re:Money of the provider. (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35557728)

That's what I'm hearing, but I don't see it. The G2 and Desire HD are both current flagship phones and they are both supported.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | about 3 years ago | (#35557270)

Whose to say the customer doesnt want the product? You're kidding yourself if you think hackers and tinkerers are a large part of any customer base outside dev products.

The only reason custom firmware and other general modifications have become a mainstream topic is because the minds behind the exploits release tools that are trivial to use. If there wasnt a "power on, point, click" sorta method the majority of people would continue to use the products as they were intended. You want something with added functionality? You try to find something that has that functionality included OEM. By and large, people are going to want a phone with talk, text and data. They dont care if they have to get apps from this market or that one. Side-loading? Whats that?

Thats not to say I dont appreciate what the hacker community puts out. It's great that they devise methods that are point and click or very detailed and simple to follow. BUT Im genuinely interested in this sorta thing. My neighbor, not so much.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | about 3 years ago | (#35557336)

I said absolutely nothing about hacking or tinkering, not even insinuated it. It was more of a shot at Motorola for making generally crap products.

Re:Waste of money. (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | about 3 years ago | (#35557454)

The article is about a locked bootloader. Thats something that everyday consumers dont care about unless ofcourse the numpties at customer service hotlines blabber on about it(the case in EU?) It's in the realm of hackers and tinkeres

Re:Waste of money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557702)

The point is that for some reason carriers and phone makers spend a lot of money to develop those locking solutions... and what does it get them? They'd be more profitable if they simply didn't spend that money at all, or used it to develop features that users actually want.

Wrong way, go back (4, Insightful)

axx (1000412) | about 3 years ago | (#35557210)

Sorry, but we shouldn't have to fight teeth and nails to get proper access to devices we buy and own.

Being locked out of our own legally purchased devices is NOT normal.

Kind of like buying a computer and not being able to do what you want with it.

Wait, what is this OSX upgrade you tell me about? Sounds great, and only 29.99!

Re:Wrong way, go back (1)

mr100percent (57156) | about 3 years ago | (#35557224)

Are you extending the idea of "I can do what I want with my hardware" to include "I should be able to pirate OSes?" Because you've lost me at that end.

Re:Wrong way, go back (1)

aaron552 (1621603) | about 3 years ago | (#35557250)

There's a fine line between "should be able to" and "legally allowed to", but it makes all the difference.

Re:Wrong way, go back (1)

ne0n (884282) | about 3 years ago | (#35557350)

axx made no mention of any desire to pirate OSes, and there's nothing to imply anybody wants to pirate an already-free OS in the original article.. did you know that Android is free of charge btw?

Re:Wrong way, go back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557464)

then why the mention of OSX?

Re:Wrong way, go back (2)

ledow (319597) | about 3 years ago | (#35557716)

"Being locked out of our own legally purchased devices is NOT normal."

Ever tried to access the air-bag controller on your car? Ever flashed your ECU and then expect the manufacturer to cover the consequences? Ever bought software that was reliant on a hardware dongle? Ever bought a large dedicated device (like a specialist microscope) that comes with some ancient MacOS version on the controller PC that you can never touch or upgrade without voiding the whole setup? What about trying to make a replacement RF car door opener for your car? Or tap into the security systems to code your own keys? Or break the radio's security code so you can install it in a car other than your own?

There are a million devices and parts of devices you can't play with. The difference is that you VOLUNTARILY bought the device with the knowledge that you couldn't play with those things (or in the case of modded ECU's etc. that you would never receive support for them and may be locked out). Hell, some high-end cars have tyres that "talk to" the car so they know exactly when you fitted a third-party component so they can void your warranty.

Don't buy crap that does this if you don't want crap that does this. No "There's nothing else" or "it's an industry-standard" or whatever excuses - STOP BUYING IT. Then you have no cause to moan and manufacturers have cause to stop doing it.

Chances are that even if you and everyone you know stopped buying it, nothing will happen either. But at least you wouldn't be party to the stuff that you are complaining about, and thus become a hypocrite.

If you bought a device and it's "faulty" in this way, take it through the courts and see how far you get. If you *don't* fall down at the very first hurdle ("You accepted the purchase agreement and paid for it") I'll be very surprised, but then you'll have YEARS of fighting to get to the point where the court agrees with you (e.g. PS3 OtherOS removal class action). And to get a precedent-setting case where manufacturers stop doing it, you would need huge proportions of the purchasers fighting for it. And, yes, you would need to be a purchaser.

Or you could just not buy that crap and buy something that works how you want, not how you imagine it should.

let it be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557212)

the smartphone is mine, please don't restrict absolutely nothing

Re:let it be free (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35557642)

what about radio frequencies? should those be restricted? Do you know how trivial it really would be for a a virus to turn a cell phone into a cell phone jammer? In order to get the most flexibility some things have to be done in software however that flexibility comes at a price. your walking around with a cell phone jammer all it needs to do is a few software tweaks.

should that be allowed too? you don't want anything restricted right?

Re:let it be free (2)

silanea (1241518) | about 3 years ago | (#35557708)

Every phone should offer two modes of operation: One that is locked down by the manufacturer making him liable for any malfunction, and one that removes all the locks and limits and shifts liability to the user. That way everyone would be happy.

Re:let it be free (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35557750)

and if that user(or a virus that was only able to work because of changes the user made) then accidentally turns their phone into a jammer, should he be liable too when someone else can't call emergency services and someone dies as a result?

We expect phones to work as phones 100% of the time.

Getting worse? (2)

mr100percent (57156) | about 3 years ago | (#35557218)

It seems these DRM schemes are getting harder and harder to break as the manufacturers are learning from the unlocking community. The iPhone hasn't had an unlock for iOS 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 yet due to Apple closing more security holes and implementing new checksums. (Anyone who has an unlocked iPhone for 4.1 and 4.2 is doing a hacked form of upgrade that prevents a full firmware/baseband upgrade, but new buyers are completely out of luck)

It seems like the rooting/jailbreaking/unlocking/modchipping community kinda small; a few geniuses figure it out and publish it in a handy software package for the rest. What does this mean for the future, will the locking/DRM powers outpace them?

Re:Getting worse? (3, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 3 years ago | (#35557240)

Hopefully it will mean sales going down for phones that are crippled, and up for those that are not. As usual, spread the word about which phones to buy. The manufacturers will only respond to lost sales (and some of them are a little too dense even for that it seems).

Re:Getting worse? (1)

pmontra (738736) | about 3 years ago | (#35557346)

Maybe. Only a few geeks and nerds care about bootloaders but they can tell friends "don't buy that because you won't be able to install that app that requires rooting/jailbreaking". Chances are that locked down phones will sale some units less than non locked down ones. But manufacturers might get more than that money back if locking down is appreciated by phone operators. If that's the case, locking down might make the difference between having a phone subsidized by an operator or not and that impacts heavily the number of sold units and manufacturer's revenues.

That said, I'll buy only a phone that I can unlock.

Re:Getting worse? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#35557364)

Let me give you an analogy.

"Do not buy an MP3 player - you can only listen to music that's available on MP3 or been ripped from CD. Instead, you should buy a bunch of musical instruments and then you can listen to whatever you like."

Anyone who you say that to will give you very funny looks. Then they'll point out things like "I don't want to learn to play an instrument. And besides - only listen to what's on CD or MP3? So I'm limited to.... well, I'm not really, am I?"

And so it is with locked down phones. "So if I go for an iPhone, I'm limited to what's in the app store - and if I want something that isn't in the app store, that's tough? Big deal. There's thousands of things in the app store, very little worth having that isn't."

"I can't upgrade it whenever I like? By the time a version of comes out that I want to upgrade to but can't, the phone will be worn out from being used every day for 2 years, I'll be at the end of my contract and eligible for a heavily subsidised upgrade to the latest model. So again, I don't see why I should care."

Re:Getting worse? (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35557676)

Trust me, no consumer likes being told a manufacturer forbids them using their devices a certain way in order to milk them for more cash. Even if they never planned on doing any of the forbidden things in the first place.

Re:Getting worse? (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35557712)

And that's the difference right there. Apple will provide you with software support and patches for 2-3 years that will work.

Motorola, HTC, Samsung, give varing levels of support depending on how many units sold. the flag ship line might get 2 years, but you are lucky to get a single update to other phones. Or those updates are blocked by the carrier.

The carriers need to be locked out of phones other than sim cards. I was going to get an Atrix, but seeing how crippled it is because of AT&T I am changing my mind.

Re:Getting worse? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 years ago | (#35557378)

If you can't get Angry Birds on the phone you're recommending, you're not going to win anyone over.

Jo Sixpack / Jane Peroxide don't care about your open platform. They don't care about homebrew, tracking, licensing, DRM, locked bootloaders ("Is that like a shoehorn?") or any other of that stuff which matters to you and me. They want to play Scrabble and update their bookface status with twatter. Don't kid yourself that it's any different.

Re:Getting worse? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 3 years ago | (#35557332)

Well, duh. It's an arms race. The computer companies learn from their mistakes and do it better next time. The really good ones think like a pirate and use misleading techniques to secure their property. Eventually they'll have pretty good security that resists most attempts at tampering. Then pirates will move on to other, more rewarding areas of study.

Re:Getting worse? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557436)

Then SKILLED CONSUMERS will move on to other, LESS rewarding areas of study.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Getting worse? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 years ago | (#35557392)

What surprises me is that Apple hasn't modified iOS 4.x so that it will refuse to run unless its running alongside the correct baseband, thus preventing the "upgrade but dont upgrade the baseband" trick.

Re:Getting worse? (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | about 3 years ago | (#35557680)

I believe they do. As I understand it, the hacked firmware, (without the baseband upgrader,) is also hacked to allow the older firmware. That noted... iPhone is the only smart phone in the US of whom the end user is the consumer of the manufacture. All the other smart phones are bought by carriers.

Re:Getting worse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557430)

Wrong. The iPhone has had a 4.1 untethered jailbreak for a while now. It has also had a 4.2.1 untethered jailbreak since February. Also note, the jailbreak works for more than just the iPhone. 2 seconds of Googling would have landed you here [redmondpie.com]..

Why the hell? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557254)

Why can't you use your own phone as you please, even more so if it's Android, an open platform?

The only reason I can think of is piracy, which seems to be the justification for everything nowadays.

Seriously, this is a genuine question, not some sort of philosophy.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about 3 years ago | (#35557276)

Yes, piracy is responsible for everything.

B-b-but, what about piracy's children? Can we not think of them?


Re:Why the hell? (3, Insightful)

gatzke (2977) | about 3 years ago | (#35557288)

There may be network issues. Just like the FCC regulates what you do with your wifi antenna. Yes, you can get into your router and up the power on your wifi router, but I think it violates some regulations. I am not a EE, but I bet if you up the power it may screw up other frequencies.

For a cell phone, imagine if you started spewing crap packages on their network? Or somehow masked your id and got free service? They don't want people exploiting their network, which I understand.

Ideally they would put all the magic in hardware, then let your OS do whatever you want. Have the cellular radio chip handle everything, so the OS can just interface to it so the network is protected and you can't scam a fake ID. Then you could do whatever you want, like run up cell bills for running over your cap using p2p.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 3 years ago | (#35557458)

That's pretty much how it works AFAICT, so good guess. But the lock down in phone OS can't really be explained away by the lockdown in the radio units, otherwise open units would be more or less illegal, and I don't see the FCC going after Nokia for the N900, or google for the nexus phones.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#35557496)

GSM (and probably CDMA) modules, as far as I know, already implement the protocol in separate chips. And you can't simply fake an ID like changing a MAC address, they use cryptographic authentication.

Besides, plenty of cellphones have been sold - and still are - without such protection, nor they care to implement them.

Re:Why the hell? (2)

WorBlux (1751716) | about 3 years ago | (#35557638)

Most home routers broadcast at 56- 87 milliwats, where 1 watt is the allowed max. The hardware will literally cook itself before you could violate any sort of FCC regulation with it.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#35557700)

Most cellular data networks converge with their landline networks almost immediately. If it were possible/desirable to "throw crap packets" or "exploit" their network, I believe their DSL customers would pose a much bigger threat. Most of these phones REQUIRE the user to get an unlimited data package when you purchase them.

Re:Why the hell? (1, Offtopic)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#35557382)

"Terrorism," "piracy," and "think of the children" are excuses that the average person just seems to accept.

"There was a terrorist attack!? Maybe you should take away some of our rights that we claim we are better for having so that we can have a false sense of security! That couldn't ever be abused by a corrupt government! Humans can't ever make mistakes when they are given unchecked powers!"

"Oh, you implemented this strict and annoying DRM scheme because of pirates? It's all their fault even though you're the one who implemented it and it's completely ineffective against them! Take all of the features in your product away to 'battle' hypothetical pirates!"

"A child could get hurt, but probably won't!? You better ban that product/practice immediately! Banning something to 'save' an extremely small portion of the population is a completely intelligent decision!"

Re:Why the hell? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#35557410)

Why can't you use your own phone as you please, even more so if it's Android, an open platform?

The only reason I can think of is piracy, which seems to be the justification for everything nowadays.

Seriously, this is a genuine question, not some sort of philosophy.

I suspect it's got less to do with piracy and more to do with customer returns. These phones are fundamentally consumer items, and like most consumer items a high level of returns is an absolute killer for your profits.

Phone shops aren't really set up to deal with phones that have been significantly messed around. They can reload the software from a PC provided there's enough of the firmware left on the phone to support this, but that's about it. Combine a burgeoning community of hackers who are turning re-flashing a phone with an unsupported firmware from being pretty damn awkward to a point-click-done task (and thus appealing to many more people), the likelihood of such flashes putting the phone beyond the help of your local phone store and the fact that malware for Android has already been seen in the wild and suddenly the idea of a phone which cannot easily be messed around with starts to look quite attractive.

Sure, you can adopt a policy of "unsupported firmware, it's your problem", but this doesn't deal with the malware issue (malware's made it into the android marketplace before now) and you'd need to examine each phone coming in to check that it hadn't been reloaded with unsupported firmware.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#35557470)

Also, and I think this is the main reason: pressure from the providers.
Here in the US, it's about impossible to get a phone that hasn't been locked to a provider, and crippled.
When the provider gets a cut for every app you buy through the "sanctioned" channels, can charge outrageous fees for music services and ringtones, and can charge you an outrageous amount of money for things like international calls and would lose that money if you could call through apps like Skype, well then the provider also would like the phones to be locked down.

And unfortunately, too few people buy neverlocked phones for the direct-to-consumer sales to matter much. Almost all of them buy provider-locked phones, whether they are still locked or have been unlocked. So guess where the manufacturer's business focus is.

Yes, it's all about money. But not so much about piracy as just plain greed.

Re:Why the hell? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 3 years ago | (#35557542)

They already managed to pass a tethering app disguised as a flashlight through the Apple Store review process. I really doubt they can't pass through a trojan. Just disguise it as an app that needs to access the web for a valid reason but that in fact is calling home to know if it should activate the trojan or not. Then you simply flip the switch on the server once it's approved.

Re:Why the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557414)

Because the networks want you to use their apps, not necessarily the apps you want. They may not want you changing the search engine, for example, because one search provider is paying them to be their search engine.

Bottom line - money.

Re:Why the hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557510)

you ARE a troll. no it's not about piracy for most of us.. it's about loading the software we want/need on the phone.. it's about not being locked into one vendor's shitty 'app' store.. it's about controlling/owning the things you buy.

Idiotic move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557308)

This really really sucks. Imagine the day when they're no longer providing software updates (next month, next week) but there are nice 0-day exploits for the linux kernel running around in the wild.

I fail to see any reason behind this except pushing people to upgrade...

Signed: A current HTC Hero user running Android 2.3

unprecedented evile; it's us or dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557334)

pushy. always fatal. the time for them to go is now.

I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (2)

wisebabo (638845) | about 3 years ago | (#35557348)

... so maybe this is a stupid question.

Is it easier to jailbreak an iPhone (or iDevice) than this? I thought Android devices were "open"; if so shouldn't one be able to change their OS more easily?

Or does the openness of the Android platform refer to the fact that there is no restriction on the Apps you can install? Or is there something else I am missing?

*about this issue. I'm quite knowledgeable about a host of others though!

Re:I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (4, Informative)

Tukz (664339) | about 3 years ago | (#35557402)

Android itself is relativity open, however, the vendors (Motorola, HTC, SE, etc) can lock it down if they want.
Only 2 phones use Android in it's base form, everyone else use vendor modified versions.

Re:I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (3, Informative)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 3 years ago | (#35557406)

A guess as to what "Open" refers to in this context: Android is open source. iOS is not... Basically, anyone can put Android on their device.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that the manufacturers of mainstream Anroid devices can't lock them down so the people that buy them can't put on their own versions of self-baked Android. It's not Android's fault, but it damn well is Android's problem :(

Re:I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | about 3 years ago | (#35557574)

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that the manufacturers of mainstream Anroid devices can't lock them down so the people that buy them can't put on their own versions of self-baked Android. It's not Android's fault, but it damn well is Android's problem :(

I'm pretty sure that parts of the LGPL (which a parts of Android are undoubtedly licensed under) makes it clear that the user must be able to:

0) Convey the Minimal Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, and the Corresponding Application Code in a form suitable for, and under terms that permit, the user to recombine or relink the Application with a modified version of the Linked Version to produce a modified Combined Work, in the manner specified by section 6 of the GNU GPL for conveying Corresponding Source.
1) Use a suitable shared library mechanism for linking with the Library. A suitable mechanism is one that (a) uses at run time a copy of the Library already present on the user's computer system, and (b) will operate properly with a modified version of the Library that is interface-compatible with the Linked Version.

(From http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html [gnu.org])

I'd argue that a locked bootloader prevents me doing just that, since I can't update the firmware image with my replacement library and expect it to boot.

Re:I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (3, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | about 3 years ago | (#35557578)

I should have pasted the whole of section 4 of the LGPL, which also makes it clear that you must provide all information required for the user to reinstall the new shared library of their choice.

Re:I'm not that technically knowledgeable*... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557636)

Most android phones can do what a jailbroken iPhone can do (load non-app store apps) right out of the box, no modification needed.

Why do they do it? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | about 3 years ago | (#35557362)

Why do manufacturers restrict the use of their products like this? For me, as a presumptive buyer, it doesn't sound like a feature at all, just silly. What is the purpose?

Re:Why do they do it? (4, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 3 years ago | (#35557428)

In theory:

1. To appease the carriers. The less control end users have over how they use their device, the better. This allows carriers to charge out the ass for things like tethering...

2. Planned obsolescence. If every user could upgrade their device to the next version of Android easily, you'd get (*gasp*) people only buying a new phone every 4 years instead of every one or two...

3. To minimize support costs - there's always a few idiots out there that'll brick their phones and then try to RMA them. Of course, switching to PC type OS upgrade/installation system would eliminate that problem right away.

Re:Why do they do it? (3, Interesting)

brandorf (586083) | about 3 years ago | (#35557704)

It's pretty much 100% 1 and 2. Both the carrier and manufacturer get kickback for shipping the phones with certain apps preloaded, and since they are part of the system image, unremovable without some extra work (rooting). Every Verizon android phone, for instance, comes with Amazon Kindle/MP3, Verizon's Navigator software, CityID, and Blockbuster pre-installed, and there's nothing you can do about it. In addition, things like usb tethering (not wifi) is supposed to be a standard feature for android as of 2.2, but is disabled in most phones. As far as planned obsolescence, while you can't directly prove it, one nice example is Sony Ericsson, which promised for months and months that it would upgrade its X10 line to the latest android, then finally said it was impossible for "technical reasons", then announced its new line of phones, which would launch with the latest version of android.

Re:Why do they do it? (2)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35557732)

1 &3 I agree with but not 2.

Planned obsolescence works for dumb phones, but for smart phones especially right now it doesn't make much sense as the smart phones of just 2 years ago didn't have the processing abilities they do now.

Maybe in 4-5 more years when the majority of major changes have been done and we are all using multi-core 28nm processors in our smart phones you can say it is planned obsolescence however right now things are moving far to fast, for that.

Fake (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557368)

According to the Guys from #milestone-modding (nadlabak, xvilka,...) the keys and the Story is a fake/hoax.

Does nobody check this before releasing News?

Forgot? (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | about 3 years ago | (#35557376)

Motorola forgot to add a random value to the signature in order to mask the private key.

Forgot? Or didn't want to?

They just don't get it, don't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557540)

They don't seem to understand that the OWNER of the phone/pc/console/etc is the user, not the company, and that he would do anything to get his rights back.
Too bad. Cheers to all of those who use their time to do this things.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557734)

Why do people allow the phone industry to be like this?

Where would we be if we went to buy a computer and it was locked down to a single ISP vendor, and the only way you could install software was via their system.
As phone hardware was becoming more general purpose pro programmatically I was hoping it would open up a bit. Droid seems to be the closest but damn.

This is why I will not buy a smart phone. Oh that and the charging $30 freaking dollars a month for "broadband" that is 3-6gig capped. WTF that's as much as a cable modem.

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