Verizon has long been on an anti-modding streak, locking down every Android phone that comes through their doors. This includes offerings from HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. In fact, Verizon’s Motorola devices used to be the king of locked bootloaders, with a system that took quite a while to crack. But they aren’t alone anymore. It seems that, with the Galaxy S 4 onward, AT&T is joining the movement to keep you out of your own device.
The latest Samsung Galaxy S 4 has a locked bootloader on both AT&T and Verizon, despite the Galaxy S III not sharing the same fate on AT&T. And from now on, it seems that they will be locking down all the phones they can. When asked by Android Police about the Moto X bootloader status, AT&T replied with:
To ensure a safe and consistent experience on your wireless device, we do not support unlocked bootloaders.AT&TOn Locked Bootloaders
That’s pretty much a definitive statement that all of their phones will come with locked bootloaders from this point forward. You can’t really misinterpret that. This will definitely upset a lot of people, but we shouldn’t act like we didn’t see this coming. Motorola even announced that the Moto X will be locked down on AT&T, but will be open elsewhere.
While this is an absolute shame for many (I am an avid flashaholic and a happy AT&T customer), there are always ways to fix it. Though it’s unlikely, you can try to reverse this decision by voting with your wallet. There aren’t too many phone modders compared to Android owning public at large, so it may be difficult to make your voice heard. However, if it’s that big of a deal to you, you can always switch carriers. While not viable for everyone, T-Mobile is heading in a great direction. And of course, you can just buy unlocked phones for full price.
None of these solutions are ideal for everyone, but at least there are other options out there. What do you think of AT&T taking this stance on phone modification? Leave a comment!