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Droid X Self-Destructs If You Try To Mod 757

An anonymous reader writes with some discouraging news for hack-oriented purchasers of the new Droid X phone: "If the eFuse fails to verify [the firmware information (what we call ROMS), the kernel information, and the bootloader version], then the eFuse receives a command to 'blow the fuse' or 'trip the fuse.' This results in the booting process becoming corrupted, followed by a permanent bricking of the phone. This FailSafe is activated anytime the bootloader is tampered with or any of the above three parts of the phone has been tampered with."
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Droid X Self-Destructs If You Try To Mod

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  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:01AM (#32912826) Homepage

    Not to defend a company which builds stuff which will brick your phone if you mod it, but ...

    Might there be legitimate reasons why Motorola would be required to do this? Patents they've licensed? Covering their asses against the RIAA et al? Perhaps Verizon wanted this?

    Or, is this truly a case of a company taking an open platform and buggering it up by locking it? It sounds shifty, but there might actually be strong reasons why they did it in the first place.

  • Goodbye Moto (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coopjust ( 872796 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:01AM (#32912836)
    Seriously, I can understand your warranty being voided if you do unapproved modifications to a device, but designing the device so it blows up if you try to modify it is just wrong.

    Why do hardware companies think they should have the right to own the device forever? Why should I buy a device that has a time bomb built in that may trip if the official software gets corrupted due to a bug?

    The whole thing reeks. I'm done with Motorola. What is the point of this exactly? What does Motorola lose by you running a custom ROM? New phone sales when they decide after a year not to provide any Android updates?
  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:03AM (#32912858) Homepage
    TFA doesn't explain what an "eFuse" is, but if it's anything like an actual fuse, then shorting it should be easy enough. If it's not protecting anything (in the traditional sense), then the equivalent of "jamming in a penny" should be safe and effective, and would allow hackers to tinker until it gets rooted.
  • by Coopjust ( 872796 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:07AM (#32912916)
    eFUSE is a chip technology developed by IBM [] is a special type of chip where the code isn't completely static- based on the operation of the device, an eFUSE can blow itself. This can reroute the logic in a variety of ways, or be used as a self destruct mechanism.

    It's reversible, but only by Motorola directly via JTAG. They have the custom code needed to flash the chip back to its original state.
  • by necro351 ( 593591 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:08AM (#32912936) Journal

    If developers don't want to use the phone, the platform's potential will be limited to the imagination and the business model of the original vendor, which is usually very limited. Android phones like this one will be selected against. Users will want to 'unlock' their phone's power by clicking the install button in the windows program they download from that .org site everyone they know goes to, and phones that brick when they do this will eventually not be bought. Really its a stupid move for Motorola.

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Interesting)

    by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:11AM (#32913002) Journal

    this is actually damaging to the phone. that is a horrible idea for verizon and will very likely end up with a lawsuit again.

    good job verizon/motorola!

  • by rwven ( 663186 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:13AM (#32913034)

    You gotta wonder what they perceived the benefit was of putting this "functionality" in place. I can't think of a single thing they gain by doing this...

  • Corporate Security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Manhigh ( 148034 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:15AM (#32913076)

    I'm under the impression that the Droid X is intended for the business market, to try to take a bite out of RIM's market share. This sounds like an attempt to make the phone more "secure" by preventing people from getting at the data by rooting the phone. Not that it's necessarily the best way, but thats just my 2 cents.

  • by Xelios ( 822510 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:15AM (#32913082)
    Everything of this nature is legal, until it's brought before a court of law. Are you willing to put in years of stress and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to file a suit against a Telecom giant that might reward you the cost of the phone? I don't think I would be, and companies like Motorola count on the fact that most people aren't.
  • I do! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:18AM (#32913126) Homepage

    I do!

    As I've said before the time I'll buy(*) an Android phone is the time when the OS is easily replaceable, preferably with a vanilla version of Android. So I can get the latest version and don't have to buy a new phone which is ridiculous and which also would open it up for all sorts of tweaks and hacks from the community.

    I don't need a specialized version if the company behind the Phone don't want to share their code with everyone else in the Android community. However I would expect them to share the drivers atleast ..

    A phone which actively try to predict this from happening and just don't cooperate is even much less likely to be bought by me.

    I understand I may be one of a small crowd but phones made for me and others like me would offer so much more and be way better than everything else out there. Not letting it happen with an open-source OS is just as stupid as releasing the iPhone with no SDK/third-party applications was.

    * I'm not in a hurry but if it will take forever then eventually I will have to get another phone.

  • Re:Yes, and... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:24AM (#32913244)

    Certain handset makers want their phones to have a short lifetime. I'm sure the handset maker views it if the phone is not rootable, nor flashable to a newer version of Android, it eventually gets thrown out, as opposed to being used a longer time. Plus, blown phone == more new phone sales.

    This appears to be a very short term profit attitude here, and if this is true, this will ensure I never buy a Motorola device again and will actively tell people to go HTC or another vendor who does not put self destruct mechanisms in their devices.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:26AM (#32913280) Homepage


    If they've put eFuse stuff on the phone, you might be able tapdance around the issue a bit- but the odds are good that if you're modding the phone you'll brick it. And it's liable to brick a few un-modded phones as well. There was a reason they quit using it a while back (this stuff is from the early part the last decade...)- and I'm kind of surprised they brought it back on this phone.

  • by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:27AM (#32913310) Homepage

    You can legally buy a gun that only shoots in the direction of the person pulling the trigger, but it doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    I don't like this as much as the next /. reader, but if they put a visible tamper warning on the phone that the owner has to take off or, unfortunately, buries such text in a EULA then it's legally fine. It's unfortunate that there's so much that goes into being an informed consumer these days, but this is a slippery slope. As much as I'd like to say "there should be regulations against this!" there are an equal amount of items that Motorola et al think they should be able to get away with that I think are bad ideas.

  • by Coopjust ( 872796 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:31AM (#32913398)
    I've heard that Cyanogen and other groups that do this sort of technical work on Android phones have sworn off the Droid X because options that are equally good as phones and won't make getting a custom ROM on a process that will destroy several phones and be risky every time someone flashes it themselves exist.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:34AM (#32913460)

    In this case it's more a case of "Motorola Evil". Google provides the OS but the manufacturer still integrates it into the device.

    Still, Google chooses the license terms. "The phone shall not self-destruct" seems like a reasonable one.

  • Re:I do! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:35AM (#32913470) Homepage

    What about the Nexus One?

    I don't know if it's open for future OS versions (or even whatever normal people can get access to and build the code, but I guess we can?)

    Also I live in Sweden, Europe and I don't know if we can order it or if it was US only?

    I won't go through too many loops to get one. If they don't want to sell me a phone: Fine! Don't ...

  • by Orange Crush ( 934731 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:36AM (#32913508)
    They're not destroying it after the fact, they're booby-trapping it up front. Now, if an official update accidentally tripped the fuse on unmodified phones . . . well that would make for quite a show, I'll make the popcorn. But yeah, I think they can put whatever countermeasures they want to in a phone. I think it ought to be illegal, but I don't believe it currently is. I'm glad I know about this eFuse and Motorola's asshattery. I'll gladly give my money to Motorola's competitors when I get my next phone(s).
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#32913536)

    This is Motorola's doing, as HTC's phones have similar security features in the CPU (bootloader encryption is enforced by TrustZone) and yet they don't use it.

    Go back a couple years and you can find papers from Motorola discussing how to lock down the user environment against modification. They're all about locking users out of their property.

  • by XorNand ( 517466 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:39AM (#32913546)
    So you take them to small claims court, where in many jurisdictions lawyers are not permitted. Motorola will have to send a corporate officer to represent the company. A much more likely outcome is that they'll settle with you prior to the hearing. All it takes is a few people to do this, and then blog about it and/or post info on social networking sites. Suddenly, Motorola is facing hundreds of small claims suits. They're still likely to settle them all out of court for the cost of the phone, but perhaps the next time they make a phone someone in the initial design meeting says "Ya know, the fuse function really seemed to piss off a lot of people, people who are now likely buying phones from our competitors. Maybe we shouldn't take that route again."
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:45AM (#32913664) Journal
    If one were of the risk-taking sort, the best way to oppose this sort of crap would probably be to disseminate a trojan app that trips this "efuse" system...

    A few hacker nerds whining probably just makes Verizon smile. 10s of thousands of angry customers demanding replacement of their bricked phones, along with massive bad publicity would not.

    I wonder how possible that would be.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:49AM (#32913722)

    Alright, I'll bite, how would you get said virus? Android is 'open' but it's still incredibly locked down to prevent anything arbitrary from running on it. You'd need physical access the the device to put anything malicious on it and trip the eFuse.

    Which, honestly, is the point. This device is targeted towards mainstream users and businesses, it'll either run in a trusted state where no code can be malicious, or not run at all.

    I'm sure this will upset the slashdot crowd, but its not like you don't have other choices if you're looking to do some hacking or android development.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:55AM (#32913830) Journal

    Haha, that reminds me. I recently bricked my Wii, *real* brick by erasing IOS60 (the main "function" that makes the system boot), not even the "preventive" homebrew apps were helpful.

    However, it was revived by a simple re-flash of the NAND chip using an specialized programmer.

    I doubt this "fuse" brick will be unbreakable

  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Thursday July 15, 2010 @10:56AM (#32913858)

    That is an interesting article. It essentially means that Motorola is giving developers the middle finger and telling them to go elsewhere. Perhaps that is good advice. I'm sure HTC will be happy to sell phones.

    Since the Droid X does not have a hardware keyboard, there are really no reasons to bother with it over a N1, unless you want a Verizon phone, and there, HTC offers the Droid Incredible. Sprint has the EVO as well. If you like T-Mobile or AT&T, just get the N1 model that works on their 3G band.

    Since Motorola has expressly said it doesn't want the business of developers, that is just fine. It just means that Moto phones will end up being on the hind teat when it comes to being compatible with apps.

  • Re:Citation needed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:03AM (#32913940)

    A locked-down bootloader is not uncommon on Android devices these days. That the Droid X bootloader is locked by no means demonstrates the ridiculous measures that the article claims Motorola have implimented.

  • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:05AM (#32913968) Homepage
    have you ever tried to pull or modify an airbag system? it's actually quite easy to do.

    Do to the "explosive" nature of the device itself everything is clearly marked (the entirety of the harness is wrapped in bright yellow tape with black lettering stating "AIR BAG") and simply designed (no fancy serial signals, each data bit gets it's own wire) so as to ensure no accidental detonation.

    I've removed the airbag system on 3 cars that I've owned, and one one I swapped steering wheels (meaning swapped air-bags) and had to modify the system for the new bag... very simple. indeed.

    if you remove the airbag passenger's of the car are none the wiser since everything looks as it did before... Also they're pretty fun to explode after removial with a car battery and some 20ft of speaker wire.

    I guess I don't see how your analogy works...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:18AM (#32914122)

    Not true. Ask anyone on Rogers who has a HTC Dream phone just how modable it is.

    Thanks to HTC and Rogers, it's locked down tighter than a duck's you-know-what. Why? So Rogers can claim the Dream is unable to run the latest Android, forcing you to buy a new phone (and probably another multi-year contract).

    HTC did this at Rogers' request.

  • by SoulMaster ( 717007 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:27AM (#32914238)

    I would guess that if Verizon is the one that is requiring this of Motorola, then they are doing it to restrict people's ability to tether 2.2 without having to pay Verizon.

    The Android 2.2 platform has built-in wifi tethering that you have to pay your carrier for in order to use, an extra $20/month or some such. Rather than do that, a quick root and install of a free wifi tether app allows the owner to bypass the carrier Tether requirements and build their own little wifi network to access the 'net from any wifi capable device without paying... The data becomes just another set of packets.

    If you're looking for a business reason, that's it.


  • Re:Citation needed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by assantisz ( 881107 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:28AM (#32914256)
    I am sorry but I do not see that Motorola acknowledged the use of eFuse technology. Yes, they locked the bootloader down just like they did with the Milestone (using encryption). Other than that it is pure speculation. Show me the pictures or show me a bricked phone and then we talk.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:33AM (#32914330) Homepage Journal

    More importantly, after an airbag blows, if you want to, you could just shove the airbag out of the way and continue driving the car indefinitely. You can also replace that part (and only that part) without gutting and replacing the entire inside of the car.

    By contrast, if an eFuse destroys itself, your whole phone is bricked, and can only be repaired by replacing the entire phone, or at least its main board.

    An airbag is solely for safety, whereas a phone is a phone, and that single component is supposedly solely for "safety". If the phone were perfectly functional without it (albeit less "safe", then that would be fine. It's not. Therefore, an airbag and an eFuse are not comparable. Simple as that.

    Designing self-destructing hardware should be illegal. Fundamentally, designing a device to deliberately damage itself is no different than deliberately designing a laptop to fail a few months after the warranty expires. It is selling a customer a product that you know to be fundamentally defective because you deliberately made it so, and doing this without remorse. Unless clearly labeled with "This hardware may destroy itself at any time", that's false advertising and fraud for starters.

    The worst thing is that if they are building this in to detect firmware hacking now, what's to stop them from using it for something else in the future? Oh, you installed a ringtone that isn't approved. Say goodbye to your phone. Oh, you visited a website that is used by movie pirates (despite not being able to do anything significant there with your phone). We don't like that, either. Pop. Living in China? You received a phone call from a suspected dissident or went to a website that the government considers dodgy. We're killing your phone. And so on.

    And what's to stop a virus from attacking the phone and simultaneously killing millions of these things worldwide on the same day? This is a glorified land mine, and we all have heard the statistics about how many tens of thousands of people are killed or maimed every year by those. Adding a feature like this into a product borders on suicidally stupid, and I really hope it blows up in their faces as soon as possible just so I can say, "I told you so."

    Boycott MOT. This ends now.

  • Sheesh (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:41AM (#32914420)

    Glad this story broke, I was planning on buying one of these. Droid Incredible it is, then.

  • by assantisz ( 881107 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:35PM (#32915126)
    Reading comprehension is not your strength is it? 1) p3droid admitted right from the start that it was all guess work but somehow everybody ran with it and concluded that there should be "shame on Motorola" etc, 2) Motorola admitted to locking down the bootloader but not to bricking the phone in case an attempt to replace the bootloader was made. Btw, reports came in that the Droid X does not get bricked when trying to fiddle with the bootloader.
  • by tunapez ( 1161697 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:40PM (#32915198)

    So you take them to small claims court

    Best $38 you'll ever spend. Most times just faxing an unfiled, filled-out application to the other party gets you
    Make an honest effort to resolve your issue, when all else fails don't get frustrated, file. Having trouble getting a company officer to accept the certified mail? No problem, use a lottery logo embossed envelope, everybody accepts reg/cert'd letters from the lottery. Lastly, my experience w/ arbitration is if you only want half of the claim, go with arbitration. That's what arbiters do, split the contested amount in half after wasting 45 minutes acting like he/she is weighing both sides earnestly.

  • Re:I do! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:42PM (#32915222)

    For fifty freaking bucks a month, just so you can send text messages AND make calls? are you fucking kidding me?

    Apparently someone is fucking kidding you, or kidding about fucking you, or something equally unnecessarily explosively emotional, because if that's all you want, that's thirty freaked-out male deer a month, from what I'm seeing at T-Mobile. Well, actually, from what I have with T-Mobile right now. For fifty strung-out moose a month, you also get the unlimited data plan.

    But please, don't let me get in the way of an embarrassingly hilarious show of uninformed nerd rage. Do go on.

  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:50PM (#32915320)

    The mobile connectivity seller (VZ, ATT, etc.) is the phone mfr's customer. You are not.
    The last thing the VZ et. al. wants is an open phone.
    How can they charge you for a 20s ringtone or a silly little "app" plays a particular sound file on command?

    So, we start with Android, billed as "this great mobile OS from Google that lets you play with your toys"
    And now, we have "droid"--"fsck you, it's our phone just give us the money".
    This is only because the service providers want it that way.

    Buy a cheap taiwanese knockoff and get a SIM card from TMobile.
    Mod it; if it breaks, chuck it and try again.
    Now, if only there were a place to buy such a device...

  • In past days... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:50PM (#32915322)

    In past days this would be properly seen as a hardware quirk to be worked around. Like a buggy SCSI controller which trashes your disks when you hit it with an obscure command sequence. You don't throw up your hands, foam at the mouth, and threaten the manufacturer! You figure out what you need to do to avoid the undesirable behavior.

    My God, you modder people are turning into a bunch of pussies and whiners. THE WHOLE POINT OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING is to have fun and push the hardware into areas it was not meant to go. In this case, the manufacturers have laid a few things in your path to make life interesting. Take it as a challenge, as we've always done in the past, rather than acting like a whiny bitch. My God, the hacker spirit is well and truly dead.

  • by zlexiss ( 14056 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @12:53PM (#32915360)

    A rims analogy would be more like putting on a new slip-case. Mostly cosmetic.

    Changing base boot and operating software would be like swapping the engine (or ECU) from a BMW into a Toyota and expecting the manufacturer to honor the warranty.

  • by MorbidBBQ ( 1453553 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:00PM (#32915480)
    Class action suits are so disappointing. The recent comcast case in point. I had to deal with comcast throttling for months, troubleshooting my connection, getting stonewalled by tech support. Its a slap in the face to be offered $16 for the months my service was limited.

    Back on topic, if that happens the victims can get a few dollars per phone while the lawyers get millions. I'd be interested to know if the small claims court theory holds any water. (never BT or DT) It just seems like its too simple, and the legal system is anything but simple.

    If its reversible with a JTAG, the phone will still get hacked, just more time and materials needed.
    Solution:Patience - Don't buy it until someone else does all the hard work.
  • Re:I do! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:03PM (#32915522) Journal

    I would like to take this moment to give a shout out to T-Mobile, which actually offers a bring your own phone plan for less than the subsidize your phone plan.

    True. Also my experience has been that they are one of the FEW U.S. carriers NOT to cripple their phones from the get-go (Bluetooth File Transfers to/from the phone, no extra software needed to offload your pictures/audio/video).

    I'd imagine that the T-mobile Android phones should be nice and "open", but I recently got an iPhone through work, so for now all my T-mobile number is doing is forwarding calls. :D

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:05PM (#32915554)
    More like deciding to swap out your engine for a 3rd party one designed for you car and having the rest of the car detect the change and destroy all of the ignition circuitry.

    I'm don't expect a warranty on anything I mod, but I do expect it not to implode on itself for no reason other than that the manufacturer are a bunch asshats.
  • Re:In past days... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:20PM (#32915818)

    In past days this would be properly seen as a hardware quirk to be worked around.

    A quirk is one thing, a landmine where one misstep craters the thing intentionally is something else entirely.

    Like a buggy SCSI controller which trashes your disks when you hit it with an obscure command sequence.

    Such an error could be recovered, since presumably it doesn't render the disks inoperable.

    You figure out what you need to do to avoid the undesirable behavior.

    There's no way of knowing if avoiding this is possible. Certainly, it is designed not to be.

    THE WHOLE POINT OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING is to have fun and push the hardware into areas it was not meant to go.

    Which -is- fun, when the device isn't designed to self destruct when you try and do so. Fighting against what are essentially self destruct mechanisms that have no good reason for being there is simply pushing to get back where you used to be, not forging new territory.

    My God, the hacker spirit is well and truly dead.

    Which is exactly what misfeatures like eFuse are designed to accomplish.

  • Amazing. And stupid. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @01:26PM (#32915936) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, Motorola fuses the Droid X to prevent tampering with the bootloader, etc, etc. So if you attempt a mod, it bricks the phone?

    Ok. Let's roll with this for a moment.

    So I buy a Droid X, fulfill my 2-year contract, and I've fulfilled my obligations, paid my bills, and I'm off contract.

    Does Motorola or VZW disclose that even after this, the phone is limited to official software rleases, and despite being both out of warranty and fully paid for, it's still 'locked' to official software?

    Bogus. If I have paid for it and Moto and VZW have no further obligtation to support it or even repair it at any expense, why would they care? what does it matter to them if I mess with the software?

    Well, it's not at all about what happenbs to the phone after contract. It's about the 2-year contract, and that's all.

    Since most users ditch their phones after the contract and upgrade at the first opportunity, Moto/VZW have little incentive to accomodate users that keep the phone past the contract. The most obvious reason is to sell a new phone, AND and a new contract. Alternatively, though, why expend any effort to support a phone that is, by marketing, considered obsolete? Let it die, and the users will re-up with a new phone and all. Moto/VZW win, you just keep on paying for a phone no matter what.

    And during the contract, Moto/VZW have learned from the Android community that those hacking root and installing custom ROMs is a non-trivial portion of their users. It brings with it support problems (l0sers bricking their fonz), possible network impacts (users bringing up WiFi hotspots and cranking data), and discontent from other users (asking "why don't you give me Android 3.0, the modders have it, I hate you", causing angst and loathing amongs the user community and possibly impacting future sales). Samsung is getting a dose of this for a couple of phones that aren't going to get Android 2.x OTA updates, and T-Mobile risked it with the G1 (my phone) not getting Android 2.x at all. So a big impact here is the fragementation of the user experience, all the reputaitonal damage, and just the complications.

    But there is something EVEN MORE SINISTER at play here, and both Motorols and VZW are players well-experienced at this. It's ALL about revenue. That's right, this is about profits. Directly impacting the bottom line.

    This is not the first time Moto/VZW have 'conspired' to lock users into their desired experience. Remember the RAZR? Many users could download ringtones and have some fun. But not VZW users. Not only were ringone downloads via USB blocked, but also on Bluetooth. Intentionally. Of course, you could BUY ringtones from VZW. Nice chunk of change, too. This happened with GPS services also, and wasn't limited to VZW.

    I do not doubt that 'fusing' the Droid X is in part intended to keep the users on the VZW farm, and prevent them from installing non-Market apps, ROMs, and probably even getting services that VZW would rather you pay for. We'll find out about that very soon.

    One more reason for me to avoid Verizon. As if I needed another. And Moto also. Just an in-your-face slapdown, reminding you they have an ownership stake in YOUR phone.

    If you can't root it, it's not yours.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:13PM (#32916772)

    >> Not only were ringone downloads via USB blocked, but also on Bluetooth.
    >> One more reason for me to avoid Verizon.

    Dude its not only Verizon. my Cingular (now AT&T) Sony-Ericsson W810i did exactly that too. Even though a stock W810i supports the user putting their own tones on, with the Cingular-supplied one, if you wanted to use anything other than a small selection of (probably purposely) very crappy built-in ringtones, you had to buy/download them via the phone. Furthermore once bought, they only lasted about a month!! the intent was to force you to re-buy eve the same ringtone at least once a month.

    I refuse to buy phones from a network providers since that experience. I prefer to pay the overhead and get a fully functional phone by going directly to the manufacturers or unaffiliated dealers. Besides, all the phones that network providers carry (AT&T at least) are a very limited choice entirely comprising of outdated or undesireable models.

  • Meanwhile... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <> on Thursday July 15, 2010 @02:42PM (#32917244) Homepage

    HP/Palm continue to support their homebrew community, and provide a virtually un-brickable device that you can modify without even compiling any code.

    WebOS FTW!

  • Re:I do! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 15, 2010 @03:18PM (#32917860)

    If you are a current T-Mobile subscriber, then T-Mobile won't fully subsidize the N1 with an upgrade credit (instead, it's $275 or thereabouts, rather than new-customer-$180), plus a 2-year contract. I did the math, and for an EXISTING T-Mobile customer, buying outright and switching to their bring-your-own rate saves you around $250 over the 2-year contract, PLUS you're on a month-to-month contract if you decide to jump ship. (You also have a fully unlocked N1 that you could resell to someone else to offset the initial cost).

    If you're a new T-Mobile customer, that'd be (275-180 = 95, 250-95...) $155 over the two-year contract, plus forcing you into a 2-year contract.

    Basically, if you can cough up the $529 up front, you're saving money AND not being tied to T-Mobile for a long-term contract.

    <personal opinion>T-Mobile is the ONLY phone company that currently seems to want to make money while offering customers options, rather than the other providers wanting to make money through raping their customers' wallets.</personal opinion>

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @06:56PM (#32920760)

    And yet, unless they can prove your change broke it they have too. We have regulation that says this for cars, we need it for everything else.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.