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Of carriers and locked boot loaders.

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by ajdroidx, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. ajdroidx

    ajdroidx Android Expert
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    I figured I would pop this here as a general discussion, not really tied to any carrier, device, OS or user.

    Anyway, I was just sitting here thinking even more after AT&T trying to "buy" T-mobiles customers with up to 450 bucks.

    I am on AT&T and have been seriously thinking about ditching them, my mom is as well, and of course we are looking at T-mo. My reasoning is the boot loader side of things, that and the prices that AT&T has along with hidden fees and the fact the local shop started to roll their eyes at us when ever we walked in.

    Verizon started it, the locked bootloader fad (By locked, yes, all boot loaders are locked, I mean no user access with out serious work around(s) in contrast to a nexus device or the note II on AT&T where one can easily flash new stuff to the device). Forcing would be device tinkerers to flee to a GSM network, AT&T and T-mo. Or prepaid

    The AT&T decided to follow suit. Causing more people to flee, once again, likely developers and device tinkerers.

    The Verizon and AT&T galaxy note 3 have locked boot loaders where as the t-mobile version does now. What gives? I guess the pompous attitudes of the all high and mighty carrier? That and the fact people where messing up devices trying to do this stuff and trying to get a warranty return or something, so I can kind of see it, but still. But there is a Dev edition of the moto x that will run on verizon (I believe) as well as a dev edition of the Droid Razr.

    So what about magenta? What about t-mo? They are the third largest carrier (sprint may be, but I am not interested in them). They don't seem to have the customer base that the other two have so perhaps they welcome device tinkerers and lower prices so they can in turn make their costumer base larger, get their network on par with the larger brutes, and then what!?

    Are they going to cry fowl like verizon has stating basically that an unlocked bootloader and root access is going to harm their network!?

    If so, then what happens?

    How long before the open source that is android become closed? I am fairly certain Samsung is going to break away from android and google, I mean hell, they are trying to get their own eco system started!

    But back to the question, when the first new high profile device hits t-mobil with a locked bootloader, then what!?

    Granted, flashing roms and kernels is fun, but not 100% necessary and one still may be able to achieve root, but how much longer is that going to last? How much longer will I be able to opt to use my keyboard of choice? I mean, I already had to go into my samsung devices and use titanium to freeze the poor excuse stock keyboard app because it would keep defaulting to it after a reboot.

    Even rooting the newer Samsung devices (I am using samsung a lot because I have a lot of samsung devices so its my experience) trips knox with most root methods.

    Granted, most of this root and boot loader stuff is not going to effect most consumers, but it seems like those of us who don't like being told what we can and cannot do are starting to run out of options.

    -------------------
    TL DR:

    What is going to happen if T mobile starts to lock boot loaders on their high profile devices?
     

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  2. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    The main income for AT&T mobility (actually Cingular) and Verizon Mobile is corporate accounts. Unlocked bootloaders scares the CEOs of the companies that have accounts with thousands of phones each. (Knox, anyone? Why would anyone not using a personal phone on a business network need it?)

    If I read the Linux license correctly (and IANAL), anything added to Linux and any modifications to it have to remain open source. That would mean that even the locked bootloaders would be violations of the license, since the source isn't published. (Would be - except for the fact that in this country the courts don't dispense justice, they dispense expediency - and mostly what's most expedient for the larger corporations.)

    I've never used Mobile Winblows. Is it any less locked down?

    Or can someone (I'm too old, too tired and not inspired enough) figure out how to blow a whole, say, Note 3, away and force-feed it a plain old Linux (even something like Ubuntu) with radios, bootloader, recovery and whatever else is needed to make the whole phone work? And maybe even maintain the hooks needed to allow Android apps to work?

    Then we could just buy the hardware we want and not worry about which OS is in it or how locked down it is.

    Remember, computers started in the real world (after the Eniac era) as machines that you paid IBM to maintain and supply software for. Talk about locked down. And cost more than any family could hope to afford. Now any teen-ager can earn enough money for a completely open platform with really great hardware. And no one is complaining that it'll "wreck their network" (the internet). You can make your own telephone equipment and connect it to the network (as long as you pay for a network interface, which is really just an RJ-11 jack).

    I'd like to see cellphones go in the same direction. Buy a GSM box with radios on these bands, with GPS and Bluetooth, a screen this size, etc. Then install the OS of your choice. If you aren't technically inclined, go to a "cellphone clone builder" or buy a name-brand phone, but we all can choose our own path. The same as we can do with computers and landlines.
     
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  3. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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  4. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
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    space alien ;)
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    Thread moved over to the Android Lounge.

    Thanks!
     
  5. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'
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    Here's what it comes down to. Manufacturers choose whether to lock bootloaders or not. However, because of the competition of android devices, manufacturers know that in the current system that an unsubsidized device retailing for $600+ isn't going to sell as well as one that is subsidized for $200. So the carriers essentially give the manufacturers an ultimatum: Either lock the bootloader, or we won't make the device subsidized. Therefore to prevent device suicide, the manufacturers bend to the carriers demands. Sprint and T-Mobile don't really care, likely because they'll do anything to get new customers.

    That's why devices on Sprint and T-Mobile can still have locked bootloaders, like the HTC One or Moto X. However, they don't restrict usage of dev tools to unlock the bootloader while Verizon & AT&T do.

    As for the Open Source business, only the kernel code is under gpl restrictions and must be released. The OS part is not covered and neither are the drivers. Google releases the code, but isn't required to do so. Other manufacturers choose not to release the code and drivers which is their choice.

    Moral of the story: If you want an unlocked bootloader, buy a device that has one/can be unlocked officially. Don't buy a locked device and then complain that it's locked. That might mean buying a device at the unsubsidized price of $600+. You may even have to question whether having an unlocked device is worth it. Some will say yes, some will say no. It's all about what's important for each independent user.
     
  6. ajdroidx

    ajdroidx Android Expert
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    So... the answer to my question is: developer edition devices. Basically. :)
     
  7. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'
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    More or less. Samsung and Motorola are quite good at releasing developer editions of their flagship devices. Htc did release a developer edition of the HTC One as well this year and it even came with 64GB of storage. LG is the oddball of the group. Then there's the Nexus & google play edition lines as well.
     
  8. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)
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    Totally agree with this.
    If people keep themselves trapped in the subsidised phone trap then the carriers will keep all the power and nothing will change.
    This seems to be mainly a north american problem (looking from the outside) but i dont like it. I dont like companies having so much unchallenged power and making such a ridiculously high raw profit from their customers
     
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  9. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    Until the big carriers stop allowing open devices on their networks at all. Then it's "you can have a good phone and a lousy carrier or a good carrier and a lousy phone".

    @funkylogic:
    True, it's mostly our problem. But we caused it, the carriers didn't. Quality hasn't matered in generations here. Price rules. (I used to work in an appliance repair shop when I was a kid. We also took in old appliances, fixed them and sold them. Whether they sold didn't depend on the price, even if it was a dollar less than buying it new. It was the discount. If you sold a [new price] $50 item for $49, but a 20% discount, it flew off the shelf. The same item priced at $30 with no discount wouldn't sell. We're a country of innumerates.)

    I'm just glad that they can't do that on the internet any more. But I can still remember ISPs canceling accounts if you used a router and locking accounts to MAC addresses (which is why some routers can still fake them). We used to need 2 phone lines to have both of us on the internet at the same time (until a friend wrote some interesting Linux code).
     
  10. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)
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    I think everyone everywhere wants a bargain mate. im not sure if "subsidised" phones work the same way here though. Here, afaik, the phone isnt actually subsidised, youre just paying for it monthly.
    And you can legally just get it carrier unlocked and put any sim card in it so you actually do own it (if the contract is finished or you pay the balance).
    Its been a long time since ive had a contract but i think the fact that our phone hardware isnt exclusive to a certain carrier makes things much more competitive so our prices (especially for mobile data) are far fairer. (Sorry if im digressing a bit)
     
  11. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'
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    What makes things trickier here are the CDMA carriers. Not to mention that the major OEM's make their carrier free version not 100% compatible with the 2 GSM carriers that we do have by usually neglecting the LTE bands or T-Mobile's 1700/2100 HSPA band.
     
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  12. Rukbat

    Rukbat Android Expert
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    They moved to that one about 6 months ago. So now you can pay more each month for the plan, not realizing that you're paying a total that's more than the outright purchase of the phone, you can pay for the phone each month realizing that you're paying a certain amount each month for it or you can just buy a phone outright. And some of the international versions will work on either of our GSM carriers.

    As far as price, we can get unlimited talk and text and 2.5GB/month for $45, or about 27.50 pounds, with no contract and an outright buy of the phone. I don't know how that compares to your prices.
     
  13. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)
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    That seems really good for unlimited talk. I hate talking on the phone and my phone is the source of our internet at home so i pay
     

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