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Android Cellphones Handhelds Hardware Hacking Operating Systems Security Build

Motorola Says eFuse Doesn't Permanently Brick Phones 294

Posted by timothy
from the too-little-distinction-for-my-taste dept.
radicalpi writes "Motorola has responded to claims that eFuse is designed to brick your device if you attempt to mod it or install unauthorized bootloaders. Yes, the device will still not operate with unauthorized software, but it will only go into recovery mode until you reinstall the authorized software. According to Motorola: 'If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed.'"
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Motorola Says eFuse Doesn't Permanently Brick Phones

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  • by noidentity (188756) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @01:50AM (#32935198)

    Motorola Says eFuse Doesn't Brick Phones

    There, fixed that for you. Bricked is permanent. Non-permanent "bricking" isn't bricking at all. If you can revive it, it was never bricked in the first place.

    • by syousef (465911) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @01:59AM (#32935224) Journal

      Motorola Says eFuse Doesn't Brick Phones

      There, fixed that for you. Bricked is permanent. Non-permanent "bricking" isn't bricking at all. If you can revive it, it was never bricked in the first place.

      It all depends on how easy it is to reinstall the software. MOST "bricked" devices could be recovered at a service center with specialised equipment for a fee (that may not make it a cost effective proposition). If an end user can make the phone unusable but can't reverse the situation using the same equipment (or at least readily available affordable - as in a few bucks - equipment) I would still call it bricked even if it can be revived.

      I have no idea if in this safe mode it's easy to install the authorised software. If it is easy I wouldn't call that bricked either. I'd just call it nasty DRM that I'll steer well clear of.

      • by mlts (1038732) * on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:24AM (#32935304)

        This sounds exactly like it is on the CLIQ. In the past, if you were not careful with modding, you will end up with the phone bootlooping until you put the phone in USB recovery mode, and flash a signed SHX file. Now, you can most likely use nandroid and pull back to the last backup.

        This bit people big time when a new radio ROM was available for upgrading, and people upgraded to it with a rooted/custom ROM, one had to reflash (losing root). Of course new ROM fixed the RAMDLD exploit that was used to root the phone in the first place.

        Luckily, on the CLIQ, there was a ROM that had ro.secure set to 0 that was signed by a vendor. This allowed for a recovery image to be flashed, and new ROMS pushed to the phone. Had this not been the case, I'm sure it would have been an uphill battle to get the phone re-rooted, and likely people would have moved on to other platforms and not bothered.

        All and all, this isn't great news, but it is better than having devices be rendered unusable until sent to a Motorola repair depot.

      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#32935314) Journal

        No. Bricked is forever, as defined by perception and ability -- both of which are subject to change.

        A few years ago, I really fucked up a WRT54G when playing with software. I was going to throw it away, when I stumbled across a process for programming it using its JTAG interface and a parallel port. (Which worked fine.)

        So was it a brick? The answer is simple, but flexible: It was a brick until I learned that it was possible for me to recover it, at which point it ceased to be a brick.

        And now that I know how to deal with these issues, I can't successfully brick a WRT54G in the same fashion.

        A dozen years ago, I fucked up a PC by flashing the wrong BIOS. Was it a brick? Again, it's a matter of perspective. In this particular case it was not a brick, though most folks would have reasonably considered it to be completely and totally bricked. Why was it not bricked for me? Because I already knew how to fix it: Enable shadow ROM on another computer, and plug the improperly-flashed BIOS into it hot. Then, just re-flash with the correct image, put the hardware back where it was, and move on with life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mysidia (191772)

          Just because you have discovered an unbricking technique does NOT invalidate the fact that it WAS in fact bricked.

          Bricking is not defined as forever.

          Bricking means the device is hosed and cannot be recovered without breaking in and modifying the hardware.

          Breaking into the JTAG interface of a consumer device and reprogramming PROM are definitely hardware modification techniques that are non-trivial.

          • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:34AM (#32935482) Journal

            Breaking in? It's not like it took prybars and hammers to open the thing. A WRT54G opens with a quick tug using no tools other than a pair of reasonably-strong hands.

            Modifying the hardware? A little. But the JTAG header was right there on the board, IIRC it was even labeled. All I had to do was solder some pins to it to be able to plug a cable into it. And I could have done it without even going that far: after all, I just needed electrical continuity, and nowhere is it written that this must involve physical modification. (Soldering is easier for one individual device, but if I had a lot of them to fix I'd have come up with something less invasive.)

            Breaking into the JTAG interface? To reprogram the PROM? You've gone off of the deep end. JTAG is a bog-standard and rather simple interface for dealing with flash at a low level. And PROMs aren't reprogrammable.

            Another reason why the device was not bricked was that it was not physically damaged: No eFuse was blown, no parts had turned to smoke, and never was it in any particular danger. It just had a bad firmware load. In other words, it was experiencing a software problem. So I loaded new software that worked, once I learned how.

            *shrug*

            In other news, some layfolk also think that a PC with a crapfested install of Windows is bricked beyond help. This opinion is, of course, wrong. But it is based on their perspective and ability.

            To use a car analogy: I have a dead GM 4L30E automatic transmission out back which died suddenly in my BMW. I fixed the car by replacing the transmission, which I knew how to do, so at no time was the whole car a brick. Now: Could the 4L30E be fixed? I guess so, but I don't know how to do that, so the tranny itself is still bricked. To someone else with different perspective and ability, it might be a quick fix, but that someone ain't me. If the day comes that I gain the ability to understand and fix automatic transmissions, or I give it to someone else who already understands these things, then it may cease being a brick.

          • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:32AM (#32935770)

            Bricking means the device is hosed and cannot be recovered without breaking in and modifying the hardware.

            No, you seem to misunderstand the meaning of the word "brick". As defined by Wiktionary [wiktionary.org]:

            Noun
            brick (countable and uncountable; plural bricks)
            1. (countable) A hardened rectangular block of mud, clay etc., used for building.
            This wall is made of bricks .

            A brick is something you build houses with. A device that is in a state of non-function is called a "brick" because that's about all you could do with it. A device that I don't know how to return to a functioning state to me is a brick. If you know how to fix it, then to you it is not a brick, and if you offer to help me fix it then it is no longer a brick to me either. That's what adolf is saying, and I agree. Take a second to let that sink in and maybe you will understand.

        • by rdebath (884132)

          No you're saying nothing is ever bricked because by improving your ability or paying someone else you can always get it fixed. This is wrong.

          In truth the 'normal' way of flashing your WRT54G can still brick the router because you can't fix the problem using the same technique that you got into trouble in the first place. OTOH JTAG flashing of the router does indeed seem to be unable to brick the device because you can always fix the problem.

          That just leaves where you draw the line. IMO the requirements

        • Why was it not bricked for me? Because I already knew how to fix it: Enable shadow ROM on another computer, and plug the improperly-flashed BIOS into it hot. Then, just re-flash with the correct image, put the hardware back where it was, and move on with life.

          You are a proper hacker. You're Doin' It Right.

      • by Smauler (915644) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:00AM (#32935382)

        This is another term that has entered the popular lexicon and got warped. If a device is bricked, _no one_ can reactivate it - it is dead. If someone can revive the device for a fee, it's not bricked.... it's just something you probably should not have bought in the first place. Bricked means bricked - and I've had a few devices go that way on me because of mistakes.

        • by SpzToid (869795)

          Bricked means bricked

          I hear you! There's a former Asus 500w Premium router I bricked once that I regret. But all in all it was worth it to me. The cost of doing business.

          I really like running DD-WRT on cheap routers, and over time, I've bricked one or two; and I accept I broke the manufacturer's warranty by attempting the 'upgrade' in the first place. Those things deliver international office VPN/VOIP functions that more than offset the cost & loss of a few bricked routers overall. I can accept a few br

        • by grumbel (592662)

          If a device is bricked, _no one_ can reactivate it - it is dead

          If you throw enough money at a thing you can revive even a dead hunk of clay. By your definition nothing is ever bricked, since there is always some way to revive something. The only useful definition of "bricked" is the one where a bricked device needs special tools for recovery that weren't needed for installing the modification in the first place, aka your path of recovery is blocked. One can probably make a few exception if the special tools aren't so special, but common household items, but once it inv

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blue Stone (582566)

          You say the term 'bricked' got warped, which is true enough etymologically, but the reality is also that it got appropriated to fill a gap.

          There isn't a punchy little word that's quite as appealing and new and appropriate to technology (specifically) that describes a device getting temporarily but catastrophically ... um .... hosed/trashed/corrupted.

          People were wanting a word to fill that gap and they grabbed the handiest, sweetest-sounding one around. If there's a beter sounding (and definitionally more so

        • by gilesjuk (604902)

          Bricked means the software in programmable ROM is no longer operational. The only way to recover is having access to factory hardware rigs or other special tools that are used to program the devices at the factory.

          If you can't plug in a standard USB cable and run the official upgrade process then the device is bricked.

      • I have no idea if in this safe mode it's easy to install the authorized software.

        It's as easy as copying a file called update.zip onto the sd-card and then reboot. But you probably need a specialized equipment called an sd-card reader ;-) .

    • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:18AM (#32935428)

      Bricked is permanent.

      Well then by your definition it's pretty much impossible to "brick" a device without otherwise destroying it, as it's always possible to "unbrick" it by replacing code (whether via JTAG, secret button presses or other means) or swapping components.

      Back in the real world, it's a relative term. If you can't unbrick your device then as far as you are concerned it's bricked, even if the manufacturer or someone with a bit more brains could actually fix it for you.

      • It's slang that used to mean it's as useful as a house brick and there is no way back to making it useful. Others took it up to sound cool and started using it for random inconvenience. That has confused everyone which is why we get these silly aruments.
        I've used it today in the context of a device that HP techs could not get working again after return and that's the sort of thing a lot of readers expect here when they see "brick", good as a doorstop but not good for the original purpose.
        In my mind it's t
        • by jamesh (87723)

          I can't tell if you are agreeing with me or arguing with me (or the parent)...

      • by ignavus (213578)

        If you mashed up your phone, mixed it with clay, shaped the mass into a rectangular prism, and left it in the sun to dry, then I'd call it bricked.

        To unbrick, just reverse the process.

        Definitions. Why can't people keep them simple, like me?

    • by AftanGustur (7715)

      There, fixed that for you. Bricked is permanent. Non-permanent "bricking" isn't bricking at all. If you can revive it, it was never bricked in the first place.

      They newer said that you can revive it.

  • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @01:55AM (#32935214)

    but I will decide what software is "authorized" to run on my phone!

    No sale for you.

    • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:02AM (#32935236)
      Couldn't this be some sort of unfair business practices? I mean, if Microsoft made it so that only Microsoft approved programs could run on windows, they would be sued in a heart beat, what makes this different?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yet apple does it every day.

      • by Revotron (1115029)

        Unfair business practices != illegal. Frowned upon, yes. Illegal, not exactly.

        Additionally, Microsoft controls a significant portion of the desktop market. Anti-monopoly legislation comes into play there. Motorola (specifically the Droid X) is far, far, far from a monopoly.

        • by Barrinmw (1791848)
          Yet Google is far from a monopoly yet they are being investigated in Europe for unfair business practices. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/opinion/15thu3.html?_r=3 [nytimes.com]
          • by Revotron (1115029)

            Google may not be a traditional monopoly, but you have to admit they are a *major* player in the industry.

            I can see where an investigation is justified. I have no doubt that Google has the power to shut someone out and royally screw up smaller operations.

      • WTF? I don't know what world you live in, but many, many devices do not run software you want it to run. It doesn't make it illegal. Can you dictate what software comes with your microwave, car, etc? You can sometimes change the software but you, at the least, void any and all warranties. Sometimes you might even damage the device. If this is not your preference, I suggest you do not buy the device; however, I think you will find that many devices do not meet your criteria.
      • by jonbryce (703250)

        Will they be sued when Windows Phone 7 comes out? I don't think so, but predict their market share will fall to approximately zero and most of their remaining customers will jump ship to Android.

      • by selven (1556643)

        Motorola doesn't have much of a monopoly to leverage.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      I've no idea why people who might want fancy features like VoIP on the phone are still buying phones from these asshats. We all needed to hack our phones once upon a time, but now we've got the N900 that comes out of the box with terminal, sype & voip integration, etc.

      • I have one sitting in front of me, love it, unfortunately it never really took off for some reason. My speculation is simply that it doesn't do a lot of common things straight out of the box - MMS, in the past USSD, Video Calling - it can do this with Skype / Fring / etc, but not in the traditional way that other phones make video calls over 3G, and so on. Certainly there are solutions to all of these things. A couple of seconds in google or the software updater will have people up and running, but I think

  • Does this make it any better? It's still taking a great deal of power away from the user.
    I wonder if this was brought on by the likes of Cyanogen bringing Froyo to the G1 (Hence extending it's life span greatly)?
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gazoogleheimer (1466831) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @01:58AM (#32935222) Homepage
    ...and yet, nobody has ended up properly explaining what eFuse is. In fact, from reading this and other articles, some low-level fuse, like fuses in microcontrollers, doesn't seem to apply to the functionality they describe. This sounds much more complex and much higher-level...so what exactly is everyone going on about? Wikipedia says "In computing, eFUSE is a technology invented by IBM which allows for the dynamic real-time reprogramming of computer chips. Speaking abstractly, computer logic is generally 'etched' or 'hard-coded' onto a chip and cannot be changed after the chip has finished being manufactured. By utilizing an eFUSE (or more realistically, a number of individual eFUSEs), a chip manufacturer can allow for the circuits on a chip to change while it is in operation. The primary application of this technology is to provide in-chip performance tuning. If certain sub-systems fail, or are taking too long to respond, or are consuming too much power, the chip can instantly change its behavior by 'blowing' an eFUSE." What does that have to do with authorized software? Why would they use such a system rather than the other systems that have been used in the past? How is this different than some sort of half-FPGA ASIC? Anyways...
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by assassinator42 (844848) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:16AM (#32935272)

      If it works like it does on the Xbox 360, signed system images will check how many eFuses have been blown and refuse to boot if it's more than what it's expecting. During an update, an eFuse will blown to prevent downgrading to a previous system image that may have some sort of vulnerability. "Vulnerability" in this case likely meaning something that lets you get root access.
      The eFuses are in the CPU so it's not like you can just bridge something with a wire.
      NOTE: I'm not entirely sure of the specifics with the 360, I think it may be more complicated than simply the number of eFused blown.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The idea is that cryptographic signatures are stored inside the chip, namely CPU in all cases I know of, so that it only runs properly signed code. Blowing efuses will change the accepted signature to something new, thus setting back the goal of people who've just broken the system.

      Microsoft do it with the 360, which keeps unsigned code at bay with each update. It also causes issues with legitimate machines, seeing as one resistor that was faulty caused a huge swathe of console not booting after an update -

    • by pecosdave (536896) *

      This makes sense.

      Dedicate one chip to validating the boot code, if it detects monkey business blows the "eFUSE" that shuts off power to the other processors.

      I wonder if this can be bypassed with a simple short?

    • by HonIsCool (720634)
      An efuse is a physical alteration of the circuit. An FPGA uses SRAM or flashrom to hold the logic. Coming from PS3, I don't know anything about this Motorola phone, but I do know that people throw around the magical "efuse" whenever something happens that they don't understand. Example: "Sony prevented downgrades with firmware 2.10" -"OMG, they've blown an EFUSE!!" From reading the brief of the previous story, this seems very much like one of those instances...
  • by gcnaddict (841664) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:02AM (#32935238)
    offer a free opt-out for those willing to take the risk. I'm not sure if the capability is even there, but if the owner is willing to sign a waiver releasing Motorola from any damages in the event that anything goes wrong (a la Malware), Motorola should do it.
  • I am waiting for hackers to identify the offending chip(s) then have them incapacitated. Afterwards, we can mod the beast.

    Or is it that I just do not understand the issues here? Does my suggestion even make sense?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Khyber (864651)

      The chips are identified, already.

      I've already been working on POC code to exploit that eFuse and make it so once activated you CAN'T possibly install anything on the phone any longer. Once it works, Motorola is going to suffer, hard.

      Ahh, the joys of exploiting semiconductors for various purposes. Some grow plants, others can be used to annoy someone, and even more can be used to force unfair business practices.

      • by debatem1 (1087307)
        Was just considering this. Have you open sourced what you have?
  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alters (1647173)

    ...it's about as locked as the iPhone then, and still requires jailbreaking?

    Go go open sou....waitaminnit...

  • DDoS Possible? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psycho12345 (1134609)
    Wouldn't this be asking for a DDoS? Couldn't one purposely put an app up that went about and blew every single one of these "eFuses", thus forcing a reset of the phone? Sounds like a easy path to take out phones and play some havoc. Not to mention if somehow an app accidentally tripped one too many of these. Hell I could see a scam going that nuked phones this way, then offered to "repair" them, for some extortionate fee.
  • by Nitewing98 (308560) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:34AM (#32935330) Homepage
    If this was the iPhone they were talking about, there would be front page stories in all the major newspapers and websites saying what a crappy company Apple is for locking down their device. Kind of funny when the shoe's on the other foot, isn't it? As Jobs pointed out today, the iPhone 4 has only been out 22 days and the news media was having a conniption making the antenna issue "major news." (hint: "Major news" is the war in Afghanistan and the Gulf of Mexico mess). In fact, since the whole point of Android was to be open-source (as opposed to Apple's "Death grip" on developers), it's kind of funny that Motorola feels also that there are limits to what you should be able to do with your phone.
    • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Saturday July 17, 2010 @02:53AM (#32935360)

      It is sad, that's for sure, but at the same time it's unfair to blame Android for this debacle. Android is the OS, and it's not Google's fault that Motorola is so blatantly circumventing the spirit of the OS. Apple, on the other hand, controls the entire system, hardware and software. Thus, anything you don't like about the iPhone can be squarely blamed on them.

      Personally, I just hope the rest of the industry doesn't think Motorola has had a bright idea here, and try to follow suit. I also can't see myself getting any of the Motorola phones in the future... I love my Droid, but damned if I'm going to support a company that's pulling stunts like this.

      • by Timmmm (636430) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:44AM (#32935800)

        it's not Google's fault that Motorola is so blatantly circumventing the spirit of the OS

        I disagree. Maybe at the beginning Google had to bow to phone manufacturer's wishes, but I think it is popular enough now that they can add a few more requirements in return for getting all the Google apps. For example:

        * You have to provide Android upgrades for a year after the EOL of the phone.
        * You can unlock the bootloader in the same way as the nexus one (but it can void the warranty).
        * You have to provide a non-skinned ROM option.
        * The phone has to pass some kind of conformance test. Maybe they already do this, but it's clearly not a great test if the they do; e.g. most phones don't support call recording, behave very differently when they are sleeping, and so on.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DJRumpy (1345787)

        The fault is Google's as well. They could demand that the OS remain open source, instead they went with profit. Google does own the rights to Android do they not? They can also set the terms for it's license.

        To claim that Google isn't at fault here is a bit disingenuous, when they are the ones who have the ability to enforce openness and failed to do so.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by robmv (855035)

      When you get hours and hours, lot off news pages of free advertisement before lunch, and you as a company has a culture of overhyping and nurture others desire to hype your product, do not cry when the contrary happens: exaggerated or great emphasis on your mistakes or what you do not delivered

    • by Spad (470073)

      To be fair, if you want an Android phone you don't have to get on from Motorola, you've got a huge amount of choice, but if you want an iPhone, you've only got one choice; buy from Apple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by randomsearch (1207102)

      You're right - the iPhone would get more press and more criticism for this.

      This is because Apple are so good at marketing and manipulating the press. Great when it helps the company sell products, but not so great when things are going wrong.

      There is plenty of "real news" going on when Apple launch their newest product line, but they still get an amount of press out of proportion to the importance of their products.

      RS

  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:19AM (#32935434) Homepage

    No approved software -> one kind of brick.

    Approved software -> another kind of brick.

    Any questions?

  • No excuse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The Hatchet (1766306)

    As long as a device or any part of a device is sold with a feature that says "you are prohibited from doing what you want with something you paid disgusting amounts of money for" Then something is wrong.

    When you buy something, it should be yours to do whatever the fuck you want with it. There is no reason that someone else has any right to tell you what you are allowed to do with your possessions. Hell, if someone came into my house and forced me to stop using super glue to attach everything to everything

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nethead (1563)

      When you buy something, it should be yours to do whatever the fuck you want with it. There is no reason that someone else has any right to tell you what you are allowed to do with your possessions.

      So I guess that you also have issues with laws against use of fully automatic machine guns.

      It's also illegal to use a spark-gap transmitter these days. Hell, I have commercial Motorola radios that I hack but it's still illegal for me to use them on frequencies that I'm not licensed for. But hey, I bought it and

  • by saikou (211301) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:31AM (#32935630) Homepage

    In addition to marketoids demanding that you use Blur, there's a bigger problem. Once the device is marked as End of Life (and original Droid already is, right? Been less than a year) I kinda doubt that Motorola will dedicate any resources to bolding Blur onto newer revisions of Android.
    Which means users will be stuck in a certain version. Even though new ones could theoretically be used, as hardware is powerful enough (or it could be stripped down by geniuses from XDA Dev :) )
    At least they need to disable eFuse on "no longer supported" devices. Otherwise, just another example of planned obsolescence (and even worse than iPhone).

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:40AM (#32935652) Homepage Journal
    i am buying a DEVICE from you. that is a mobile phone. i am not buying a device AND a software. i dont care about your reasons, your justifications, your logic, this that and shit. if you force me to anything after BUYING a device, i will fuck it and do what i want. if there is no possibility of doing that, i wont buy your product, and you can gleefully shove it up your ass.

    how do you like this as the opinion of customers ? distasteful isnt it ? well, you asked for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

      Even more broadly, the engineering time they waste maintaining an undesired feature is time not spent making the product line better. So far, the MOTO Droid line isn't pulling the company back to profitability last I checked.

      I thought GPL 3 forbade this kind of activity of preventing firmware changes, it undermines one major point of open source while still exploiting open source code. Maybe that language didn't make it into the final license.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jisatsusha (755173)

        I thought GPL 3 forbade this kind of activity of preventing firmware changes, it undermines one major point of open source while still exploiting open source code. Maybe that language didn't make it into the final license.

        It does. Android is GPLv2 and Apache 2.0 licensed, therefore that does not apply here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dbcad7 (771464)

        http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=164034

        Android has saved their bacon. And this new model is doing very well, and probably will continue to. The numbers of people who are into running custom ROM's is not enough to make a dent in the sales.. The custom ROM users will go elsewhere, and there will be awesome alternatives for them.. and they will turn their technical noses down on the people who purchase the phone, because they (those idiots) can't do something that most of them would no

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        The key pieces that make the phone go are under the GPLv2.

      • by nbahi15 (163501)

        Linux is licensed under GPL v2.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nbahi15 (163501)

      First, they don't want to deal with them in warranty. Even if people knowingly bricked their phone by attaching a car battery to it they will still hit up the warranty department with a cock and bull story about how it isn't their fault. Clogs up the warranty department and costs the company time and money.

      Second, they cannot allow hacking the device to become mainstream. We aren't talking about people loading Linux on their phone to get a shell, the primary reason people want to hack their phone is theft o

      • by unity100 (970058)
        Fifth, i dont buy it, and they shove it up their ass.

        i dont care about their problems. i am the customer, i make the decisions. i decide upon what i want. not what they want or they can give. if they cannot provide me what they want, what's left for them involves their product, and their ass.
        • by nbahi15 (163501)

          I think you are missing the futility of not buying it based solely on the fact you don't like them coupling the the software and hardware. Every phone on the market running Android or iOS already implement some level of cryptographic lock out. This isn't going to diminish over time for the reasons I mentioned and a few I am sure I missed. I am going to guess 99+% of customers don't care to hack their phone and they aim to keep it that way.

          They will all sell millions of phones with or without your help and I

          • by unity100 (970058)
            let me talk from a non tech affluent customers' mouth : i dont know about these androids and ioses. give me a phone that wont go brick on me whatever i do.

            thats whats happening in the market i am at least.
            • by nbahi15 (163501)

              That is exactly what they are doing. For the non-tech affluent they are providing a phone that won't brick. It is guaranteed to work exactly the way it did the day you bought it.

              If you want a phone to hack maybe you should buy the Google Developer phone [brightstarcorp.com] from HTC. There the only limitation is screwing with the bootloader and the fact that the current model only supports 1.6 of Android and that you are on the now ancient HTC Magic.

  • by Graftweed (742763) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @06:17AM (#32935866)

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know of any android device that's meant by the manufacturer to be tinkered with? No protected bootloaders, read only filesystems, or any other such shenanigans that are meant to make the task of installing custom ROMs as difficult as possible.

    I know the Nexus One is supposed to be very easy to root, and thus developer friendly, but unfortunately it's not available everywhere.

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      And equally unfortunately, it's only available to some carriers as it doesn't support all the right frequencies and is a GSM type phone.

  • Bricking is when I can't recover it using tools normally available to the public.

    Sometimes I test devices in the place where they make the firmware.
    I "brick" the product all the time.
    Depending on what type of product it is, I take it to the unbricking lady or to a guy named Jim.
    And they unbrick it.

    Ask any of the lab rats or developers--if you break it in such a manner that it's stupid until they fix it with developer/mfr tools, it's a brick.

  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @08:59AM (#32936308)

    If this works--which is to say that the phones still sell and Moto suffers only tolerable humiliation, expect to see more.
    And if it does fly, look for it be in your general-purpose computer, soon.

    Let's hope the popular blogs make a big stink about it.
    'Cause nobody is listening to the crackpots on /.

  • by crow (16139) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @09:28AM (#32936444) Homepage Journal

    Too late. I don't know if I'll ever need to root my phone, but I want to know that I can. I was considering the Droid X and the HTC EVO 4G, and eFuse was the leading reason for selecting the HTC phone.

    It's my phone, if I didn't want control, I would get an iPhone.

  • No problem (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @10:21AM (#32936664)
    I,ll just put an ePenny in the fuse box.

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