HTC has a long history of signing and locking it’s bootloaders, and this latest release is really just status quo, with all of their previous smartphones dating back to Windows Mobile having a locked bootloader as well. In light of recent statements and action by Motorola and Sony Ericsson however, things look a little different in respect to the competition this time around.
HTC does not offer an unlocking service, nor has made any announcements of intentions to do so, leaving the hardcore developer community un-supported. Fortunately for HTC owners, there are frequent leaks of early development “HBOOT” images, which are signed by HTC and accepted by the locked bootloader. The engineering HBOOT allows unsigned firmware images, custom kernels, and other low-level changes.
These solutions still remain in the hands of unofficial developers such as the talented crew at XDA however, with HTC frowning upon their use, voiding warranty. Our hope is that HTC will join the growing movement toward allowing bootloader unlocks in the future rather than continue to eschew developer support.