Verizon Drama: Devices with unlocked bootloader can’t be activated on the network [UPDATE]

HTC recently announced that it will cease locking the bootloaders of its Android handsets. This is good news indeed for those who want to apply mods and flash custom ROMs to their phones. However, Peter Chou’s statement was rather vague, though, and someone decided to ask for some clarification on Twitter to a Verizon representative and received an answer people may not like to here.

No, a device with an unlocked bootloader cannot be activated on the Verizon Wireless network. *RB

While that may sound bad, it’s really not. I think that HTC will go the route of Motorola, and continue to have locked bootloaders but will make them easy to unlock, just like the Motorola Xoom. It’s not like the tablet can’t connect to the Verizon network after it’s been unlocked, right? The representative is answering the question that was asked. However, the user didn’t ask the right question, and didn’t ask the right person. People have taken Chou’s statement too literally and this is what will cause an uproar that never should have happened.

To solve this entire mess, I suggest that HTC should continue to ship handsets with locked bootloaders and build a very simple program to unlock them. Users looking to unlock the bootloader will have to manually download this program, hook the handset up to the computer, press a button, and voila. It’s like one-click root, but with bootloaders. Personally, I believe this would be the easiest way to accomplish this, as we know HTC isn’t willing to stop selling its devices on a carrier because some people want to hack them. That’s silly.

This doesn’t spell the end for HTC devices on Verizon, folks. HTC has produced some great handsets for the carrier and we have serious doubts that the partnership between the two will fizzle out over something like this.

This entire story is completely overblown and users have little to worry about.

[UPDATE:  And just like that, Verizon has clarified the unlocked bootloader activation situation with the following tweet,

Correction>> You CAN activate your HTC device with an unlocked bootloader on our network, we apologize for the confusion.

Looks like you’re golden either way, so worry not.]

[Via: Phandroid]

  • Anonymous

    Haha. Nice pic. And shame on Verizon for pulling this move.

  • Bruce

    I believe that this is a power play with HTC and the manufacturers on one side and Verizon and the carriers on the other side. I don’t know how it will work out but I’m rooting for HTC.

    The carriers want to harvest as much money as possible from their subscribers. Having locked down phones with carrier specific software and apps is how they plan on doing so. Personally I want to see the carriers become vendors of bandwidth only. The carriers have too much power now.

    Do I have to buy a light switch from the electricity company? Do I have to buy a sink from the water company? Somehow these complex networks continue to function without the water and power utility companies controlling our lives as much as the wireless carriers do.

  • At the end of the day Verizon wont activate ANY Non-Verizon Branded device on their network openly anyway. While they may do it in quiet, they dont promote it like MetroPCS does. So as long as CDMA and ESN/MEIDs remain a locked down network, having a phone with an unlocked bootload or not thats not a Verizon phone shouldnt matter…

  • James McP

    Isn’t one of the requirements Google got added to the 4G spectrum auction that all the carriers have to allow any technology-compatible device on the network? 

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