In a post on their community blog, ZTE says that based on feedback and requests from their users they have created a Developer’s Lounge sub-space on the Axon forum where those “with a high level of technical expertise and have had experience flashing custom ROMs” can submit a request to have their bootloader unlocked. It is not clear if that statement is simply to act as a warning to inexperienced users or if ZTE will somehow verify each request to determine if they meet those requirements. Unlocking the bootloader will also void your warranty that comes with the purchase of either device, however that is a very common step for a company to take in this regard.
One of the more popular features with Android is the ability to install custom ROMs on your device that can change the operating system from the ground up with features and settings not found in the default software. A big hurdle for doing this involves unlocking the device’s bootloader, which the manufacturer or carrier usually has completely locked down on the majority of Android smartphones. As more and more people desire the flexibility and freedom to tinker with their devices, this move by ZTE will certainly be warmly welcomed. It will be interesting to see how many Axon users will act on this new ability, and if other ZTE devices or OEMs will follow suit.