Sony streamlines bootloader unlocking
Do you unlock the bootloader on your Android phone? Whether you’re a developer or just a power user with a hankering for some custom ROM action, the bootloader is the gatekeeper to your phone’s software. Problem is, OEMs and carriers have been resistant to the idea of selling wide-open handsets, and the vast majority of phones you’ll find today ship with their bootloaders secured. In order to keep delivering devices in this locked-down manner while still offering a path to unlocking for devs, smartphone makers have started offering unlocking services that let them control the process and offer all the warranty-voiding notices their legal departments can write up. Sony’s own program got started a couple years back, and today we learn about some efforts to make it easier to use.
Sony’s re-launched bootloader unlock site takes a number of steps to improve usability and streamline the unlocking process. Those include things like not bogging-down users with details not pertinent to their specific phone, easier to follow instructions, and a full FAQ section to explain just what the site can help users do and how to go about doing it. Sony also says that it’s improved how it determines which phones are eligible for unlocking, hopefully helping to avoid situations where you should have been able to unlock your bootloader, but the site wouldn’t cooperate.
As Android OEMs are getting better at releasing less objectionable skins, and Google takes efforts to reduce the impact of Android fragmentation, bootloader unlocking feels like it’s become less of a hot-button issue than it was just a few years earlier. Still, it’s reassuring to see efforts like this one from Sony that strive to keep unlocking options out there for those users who still desire it.