HTC made plenty of Android enthusiasts happy when it recently announced that its future phones would feature unlocked bootloaders, opening the door for custom ROMs without the hassle of hacking your way past cryptographic checks (when that’s even possible). Then again, while we love having that kind of access to our smartphones, network carriers enjoy tight control over their systems, and Androids running custom code can interfere with their plans to monetize certain services (tethering comes to mind). One curious Android fan reached out to Verizon over Twitter to get the carrier’s reaction to this upcoming wave of unlocked HTC phones, and the response temporarily put us into a bit of a panic.
At first, Verizon responded that “no, a device with an unlocked bootloader cannot be activated on the Verizon Wireless network.” While that’s demonstrably false, it might have been speaking specifically to these HTC phones, or to an upcoming policy shift. If this turned out to be true, it could be disastrous for US smartphone users who care about such things, and especially if the AT&T/T-Mobile merger was to go through, would severely limit carrier choice.
Well, worry not, because even though it hasn’t yet explained just why it said what it did, Verizon has followed-up with another tweet, emphatically stating, “you CAN activate your HTC device with an unlocked bootloader on our network, we apologize for the confusion.” No apology necessary, Verizon; we’re just glad to know you’re not about to alienate so many smartphone users.