Xiaomi began locking bootloaders on many of its devices this week, making the change via an over-the-air (OTA) update. The update has left many customers with a bricked device, leaving many users furious at the company.
The Chinese-based company has offered a method for unlocking the bootloader; however, it’s an extremely long and complex process. What might be even worse than that process is actually getting the unlock code from Xiaomi.
To unlock the bootloader, a user has to get permission from Xiaomi. To do that, consumers will have to put in a formal request to Xiaomi for unlocking permissions, which must have a valid justification as to why a user needs access. From there, Xiaomi will review all requests on a case-by-case basis. That said, the company has put themselves in the position to decide for consumers whether they need an unlocked bootloader or not.
It gets worse than that, though. Xiaomi, for some reason, has decided that Diamond-ranked forum members will get priority over everyone else. As you can imagine, this has essentially turned Xiaomi’s forums into a horrible swamp of spam from users trying to get to that Diamond tier as fast as possible.
As you can imagine, users are furious and aren’t happy with this situation. Xiaomi’s only real response was that locking the bootloaders was necessary to follow Google’s handset guidelines. While that’s a true statement, there’s no doubt that this could’ve been handled in a better way, especially to avoid bricking customer devices.
Xiaomi has been looking at expanding to the US and other regions, and following close to Google’s guidelines is a hint that this expansion could happen sooner than later. Alternatively, Xiaomi could be looking to be tougher on security, especially as Google looks to bring the Play Store back to China.
Do you think Xiaomi could’ve handled this better?