Droid X Bootloader Encrypted, Custom ROMs Probably Not Happening

One of of the best Droid developers in the game, Stephen Bird, recently  had a chance to dig into the Droid X system dump and confirmed what many of us had feared.  Yes, that’s right, the Droid X is locked down Motorola Milestone style, locked bootloader and all.  In fact, it is the same encryption that is locking the Droid X bootloader that is locking the Motorola Milestone bootloader.

So, what exactly does this mean? Well, basically there is a good chance that developers will get root access, but custom ROMs will be damn near impossible.  Milestone developers have been hacking the encryption for over 6 months now and have come up with very little. Custom ROMs probably will not happen I am sorry to say.

As depressing news as this is, are you still going to buy the Droid X? Would you buy a phone you couldn’t root?

Source: Android Police

  • Omar

    No way. No wonder Motorola is going down the drain I wonder if this will affect the sales of those models.

  • I'm sorry but as being a G1 owner and enjoying Froyo thanks to Cyanogen, i would most likely pass on this even though it's such an awesome phone. Even without the features custom rom developers add and features they enhance, it's awesome that older phones can still get the latest android base after being left behind by carrier, manufacture, or Google.

  • shaneaus

    I was planning on getting the DroidX – but, unfortunately, I will most likely be getting a Samsung GS now. I'm not going to live without my CyanogenMod fix.


    This makes me VERY SAD. 🙁

  • GlennetteDenys

    Hmm?!..well since I don’t know what rooting is I will still be buying the X. A lot of the things people complain about on these phones I have no idea what they are therefore I assume I don’t use it.

    • Scott

      amen brother/sister

      • GDenys

        LOL Thnx…and I'm a girl LOL Is the stores here in Little Rock, Ar the only ones opening early? The store that my ex works at is opening 2 hrs early.

  • Brent

    Why is anyone shocked? Moto already said we are not for Modding. This is there choice. They can lock it down as they like specially since they even said go to HTC we wont allow Modding. This is the same company that switched out Google products in China for Bing, and Yahoo. Moto uses Android not for its open source but to have a entry into the smart phone game without having to create its own OS.

    • Not shocked, just disappointed. And you're right – Moto has every right to release whatever sort of product they want. And I have the right not to purchase their products, and to try to convince as many people as I can that they shouldn't either. If everyone who cares about this can educated three people about what they'd be giving up by purchasing a borked device, that will add up to significant numbers. Probably won't change Moto's mind, but it might cause another manufacturer to notice and fill the gap with a top-of-the-line, unlocked device of their own.

  • David

    Boo, hiss.. I was so amped to get through the waiting list! Yes, this kills it for me.

    Save me Samsung.

  • I had thought that they figured it out? Isn't there a custom recovery available for the milestone that allows you to load up custom ROMs?

    • That is just for running a custom update that will run a custom recovery. G.O.T.’s own version of OpenRecovery uses it. There is not practical way around the locked bootloader yet.

  • spyderman

    As an unrooted Moto Droid user i will be making an upgrade to the Droid X. For the simple fact that once it gets Froyo it will be faster than it already is. It’s either that or someone will break the encryption.

  • lukemccoy

    I sold my Droid Incredible and went back to my Droid just to get the Droid X. After switching I started getting into the custom roms and overclocking. Although there won't be custom roms at first, I'm assuming with root we can still overclock? I think I'll still be getting it but whether I'll be keeping it is another question. I always have my Droid sitting here ready to go if I just don't like it after a couple of weeks.

  • Holeinscalp

    I was planning on buying the DX but there's no way in hell I'll be getting it now, I've gotten waaay to used to trying out different roms 2-3 times a week just for fun.

    It's half the enjoyment of android as far as I'm concerned…

  • I will still buy the Droid X. This phone comes loaded with the great camera, HD video, and Swype software. Add to that it is on the Verizon network and this phone appears to be a home run. Can't wait to get it on the 15th..

  • bryan

    I would not buy a droid X because of motorola’s attitude about modding it. Even if i do not root or load a custom rom on my handset i refuse to support a company that has such an anti private developer stance. I see no advantage to the droid X over the droid incredible. Combine that with motorola’s complete lack of quality control over the last couple of years and i would take motorola’s advice and buy a HTC handset.

  • Crap; another negative strike for the Droid X- and a big one for me. I think I will stick with my Droid 'classic' for a while longer (running CyanogenMod)

    I guess it is a good thing that they didn't do pre-orders on Verizon as now I don't need to cancel…

  • Thank G-d I got an EVO 🙂

  • mantapsss

  • I may still get it, considering getting root access is still most likely possible. I really enjoy CM on my droid, but more so on my HTC devices. It's not really well developed for the droid, there are a few lingering things that annoy the shit out of me with CM. Like one hell of a laggy phone interface. Call log is bjorked sometimes. I really don't care for any other modded rom out there.

    I like what I've seen so far, so if I can only install my wireless tether eventually, I'm good to go.

  • AdamZ

    Nope… Motorola has lost me as a continued customer if they continue this practice. I’m not ready to drop my Droid just yet – so I’ll see if they manage to pull their head out of their ass by the time I’m ready to upgrade. If not… maybe Samsung? (Sorry… but I don’t trust HTC’s shotty workmanship and obviously lacking driver support…)

    – AdamZ

  • nice information, thank you 🙂

  • what a bad news ;(

  • thaks for the information, like it

  • James

    To answer the question – no, I will not be getting a droid x because one of the things I enjoy about the Android platform is custom development at the kernel level. What a shame. I started with the HTC Eris, moved to the Droid, and was planning on purchasing a Droid X. It's ok though, HTC really is a better company over all. At least they are focused on the task at hand and have some investment in the platform as a whole.

  • Nope, definitely not. I'm not really ready to upgrade from my Droid yet anyway, and I'm sure that something better will come between now and then, but whatever device I do choose at upgrade time will be one that *I* truly own and can do with what I want. I've been running custom ROMs since I had my G1, and I'd never even think of purchasing an Android device that wouldn't let me do so.

  • Simon

    Well, here’s hoping that this will make the mainstream media, causing Motorola to crash and burn and teaching mobile phone manufacturers that WE WILL NOT BE SCREWED WITH.

    I know I’ve bought my last Motorola phone (Milestone).

  • alex

    what are custom ROM's and a locked boatloader…will the fact that it is locked affect the typical everyday user of this phone?

    • Depends on what you want to use it for. If you want to use tethering and not have to pay double for your "unlimited" data; if you want to over-clock or under-clock your device; if you want to block ads in the browser and apps; maybe if you want to install apps from sources other than the Android Market (AT&T blocks this, no word yet on whether Droid X will); then yes…this will effect your every-day use. It would *drastically* effect my everyday use…even something simple like under-clocking when the phone is asleep, increasing my battery life by about a third.

  • dima

    Wow, you guys are idiots. "causing Motorola to crash and burn", "pull their head out of their ass", "No wonder Motorola is going down the drain I wonder if this will affect the sales of those models.". Do you honestly think a couple dozen pseudo-hackers that screw with their phones to add maybe one semi-useful function will affect anything besides their parents' laundry budget? If it were a tradeoff between an awesome, fast phone with a great screen, and some korean half-baked plastic toy that can be hacked to enable a custom boot animation, i'm sorry, but i'm going with the former. Don't get me wrong, I am not against hacking (I had a jailbroken/unlocked 1st gen iPhone for 3 years), but this whining over something so insignificant is downright ridiculous.

    • But it's not insignificant. The ability to install whatever software I want to on my phone is one of the big reasons I'm supporting the Android platform. It's true that the modding community is still a relatively small segment of Android users, but over 30,000 users downloaded the latest iteration of Pets's Bugless Beast ROM in one week. That's more than "a couple dozen", and those numbers will only keep growing.

      Yes, the hyperbole is getting pretty thick in here, but the point is – why should we purchase a locked-down, crippled device in the image of the iPhone when we can instead chose an equivalent device (Evo, or whatever will be coming out next) that we can truly own and do with what we want. I get it if those things aren't important to you, but that's no reason to insult those of us who value them.

  • Bob Mora

    the only thing I am interested in is unblocking tethering, this just requires root access and not a custom ROM, riight?

  • If encrypted bootloaders become standard on Android devices I can't see myself buying another Android device, manufactuers have proven they can't be trusted to keep devices up to date but so far the community have been doing it for them anyway, take that away and it's not a great position to be in.

    • +1. Why buy this when another device with equal or better features will be right around the corner? Seems that Moto doesn't get the whole idea behind Android at all.

  • This phone was looking pretty good until this new info came out. looks like i’m going with the galaxy s version.

  • eskion

    If I am buying a phone then I want access to it. I have flashed 4 different roms on my moto droid in just one day. Now motorola wants to lock the modders out? Motorola is going to go the way of DOS. To the people that don't mod, you should decide not to buy the droid x simply because they are taking the option away from you, and if you did decide to mod you would never go back to stock. Stock is junk. Take my options and I'll take my business elseware. Motorola can go to hell, and I'll go to htc.

  • Paladin

    This is the Apple effect: if a company screws their own customers and the customers scream "more, we want more!", other companies will start to do it too.

    The reason for the locked bootloader is twofold: on one hand we won't be able to use some software that the network providers don't approve, on the other hand, when Motorola decides they won't support the headset anymore we'll be forced to buy a new phone if we want the latest OS and apps.

    This is not surprising: Motorola did this to the Milestone (the gsm version of the Droid). I liked the Droid, but can't use it here (EU), so i waited for the Milestone. Fortunately the bootloader story hit the fan before i could buy it, so i switched to a Nexus.

    People like dima and others in the comments, who say they'll happily buy crap as long as it's shinny, are the ones that caused this mess in the first place.

  • I'm sticking with the DX, despite this proverbial brick wall Moto's put around the phone. I'm gonna hope some progress is made eventually, until then I'll put up with the ugly ass stock Blur UI. That's probably the #1 reason I want this thing broken into, in hopes that somebody will manage to throw HTC Sense UI on it 🙁

  • AGuest

    Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think bootloader access is really necessary (as convenient as it is). Once you have root, can't you just run a program to replace all the OS code, from the "inside out" AFTER boot? Granted this would be a bit of a pain to write and add some time to the boot process, but how often do you boot your phone anyway? Pretty hard to hack the bootloader if they don't want you to (have to modify the electronics themselves most likely) — I'm telling you, making the bootloader irrelevant is the future!

  • Boo hoo! I’m a very avid iPhone user and I am having to switch to a droid for personal reasons. If you look back at the first iphon on 1.1.0, when everybody wanted more out of their phone but nobody had a fix for it. Then the jailbreak came out, and it changed everything. Now every single update the Devs say “DO NOT UPDATE” becausethey don’t know if they can JB the new IOS. But they have every single time.

    I think if we give the android hackers a little more time, I’m sure they can crack one little encryption and give us what we want!

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