HTC Sensation Continues Their Anti-Rooting Trend with a Locked Bootloader

A little while back, my esteemed colleague Robert brought us news that the HTC Incredible S would have a locked bootloader. What this means is that it makes it much more difficult (not impossible mind you) to root the phone and then add custom ROMs, kernels or recoveries to it. This has been an increasing trend with formerly-development-friendly HTC, with both the Incredible S and the Thunderbolt including locked bootloaders.

Now comes word from Android Police that the HTC Sensation also comes with a locked bootloader. This means that, unless entrepreneurial hackers get lucky (as they did with the Thunderbolt), the Sensation will remain on lockdown indefinitely, just like the Incredible S and many Motorola phones.

At least insofar as I’ve read, no one has been able to figure out why HTC has shifted their strategy in this regard. Previous phones by them were very development friendly (excuse me while I hug my EVO with CyanogenMod 7 on it), but now they’re making it much more difficult for developers to alter their phones. Maybe it’s a carrier thing in that Verizon and T-Mobile don’t want to deal with hacked phones (while Sprint seems to welcome such development on its phones)? Maybe HTC is trying to copy a few pages from Motorola’s playbook?

We really don’t know at this point, and for most mainstream Android users this won’t even be a big deal. For those of us who enjoy the benefits of rooting our Android phones and tweaking things, this is a troubling trend that we’ll have to keep an eye on. What about you? Does this affect you as an Android user at all, or could you not care less? I’d love to read your comments on the matter.

[via Android Police]

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  • the_real_newman

    It’s not a deal breaker for me..it just makes things a bit more interesting..there had never been a perfectly locked down phone. It makes me wonder though, how much money has htc put into this new sense 3.0..

  • ranger67

    I believe this is a disturbing trend. It makes me wonder if HTC has been plagued with ‘broken’ phones, when all that has happened is a failed root attempt. More importantly, it means that HTC feels that it is more beneficial to ‘protect’ the phone, than to allow the myriad of developers to get access to the hardware.

  • Brian Rubin

    Yeah, I too am finding this trend disturbing. It’s also a very odd switch, whereas they seemed supportive of development on their phones before these new bootlocked phones began to appear. I’ll be holding onto my EVO maybe a while longer if this trend continues, because I value being able to tweak it as I like.

  • marko

    I am not a developer (yet). I am not an android expert, I am an enthusiast though and this is against the whole point of android. An open experience where users can mod and customize to there wildest dreams. I personally bricked a vibrant after a failed rom load and a failed recovery. Bell (yes I’m from Canada) replaced it. I was very surprised to find my new atrix to have a locked bootloader.while it is rooted I am dissapointed at the difficulty people are having at creating custom roms as the hardware is a beast.
    I can only hope that this trend subsides as I continue to learn and become a developer.

  • adam

    I was debating over Galaxy s II or this, this makes the decision easy for me, will not be buying this phone if it’s not gonna have community support.

  • http://androidfc.com AndroidFC

    It make more interesting for Android Developer who want to root it. Right?

  • Tom

    This is extreamely lame. The reason I went for a wildfire, and later a desire is because of the easy root via unrevoked and the huge amount of roms available. Whenever I get bored of my phone, I simply load a new rom, and I’m happy for a couple of months. Why would they change their strategy if it worked with the wildfire and desire that became top selling phones? The “ease-of-root” is something I consider strongly when choosing a phone.

  • http://www.house-parts.com Mark D

    This could be a big dealbreaker.
    I got the HTC Hero because we could root & play with custom roms.
    Now HTC have changed the game again by inhibiting that exercise.
    A year down the line when no updates are coming through, I should have the choice of installing a customised rom allowing another couple of months enjoymemt of the ‘new’ phone.

  • Thomas

    It seems like its able to be rooted, but it will take time (longer than previous htc phones) before the solution is found.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/archive/index.php/t-1055958.html

  • Rob

    I don’t find it to be a problem.

    I’ve got a Sensation and Sense 3.0 seems great so far. There’s an option to load unsigned apps and I always understood app development to be the biggest advantage of an open system. The phone does everything I need it to, so the option of a few new colours or an extra screen isn’t something I’ll cry about missing out on

  • zm

    You should really do your research . HTC has come out and said they are going to stop locking bootloaders, and there will be an update that unlocks the Sensation.

  • sofakingstoked

    I am a huge supporter of rooting and custom ROMs. I’ve spent way too many nights flashing Android ROMS onto my old HD2 and Nexus One phones, but with this phone the locked bootloader doesn’t bother me much honestly. The stock ROM on the Sensation is very stable, and I adore Sense 3.0. On the XDA site a lot of people are being nit picky and saying it’s laggy and glitchy, but I am enjoying a very fast and smooth Android device. Maybe some of these whiners have a bad device and should exchange it, but I am in love!

  • jim

    Posted from my rooted sensation…wats so hard about unlocking bootloaders do ur research wats an android phone w out root lmao