Random Access Memories

July 14, 2010

Motorola submits to the cellphone middlemen and locks their phones

by @ 9:22 am. Filed under Business, Technology


Custom ROMs and Motorola’s Android Handsets
by Lori Fraleigh (lorifraleigh) on 02-12-2010 04:41 PM – last edited on 02-12-2010 06:01 PM

My name is Lori Fraleigh and I manage the technical team behind the MOTODEV program at Motorola. We provide tools, like MOTODEV Studio, and a variety of technical services including application testing services, developer education materials traditional technical support and serve as experts on our discussion boards. Today I’m stepping a bit outside of my day-to-day job to try to answer some questions we have seen not only on MOTODEV, but on various other sites. I’ve worked with a number of other Motorolans to bring you the information in this post.

For the Android application developer, MOTODEV provides a wealth of resources to help you create and bring your applications to market. We provide a comprehensive Eclipse-based development environment, MOTODEV Studio, as well as SDK add-ons which provide emulator images that represent the software on our handsets. To aid developers who may not have access to physical handsets, or who may wish to test on a carrier network unavailable in their physical location, we provide access to handsets via the Motorola Virtual Device Lab at DeviceAnywhere. All Motorola application developer resources can be found at http://developer.motorola.com.

We understand there is a community of developers interested in going beyond Android application development and experimenting with Android system development and re-flashing phones. For these developers, we highly recommend obtaining either a Google ADP1 developer phone or a Nexus One, both of which are intended for these purposes. At this time, Motorola Android-based handsets are intended for use by consumers and Android application developers, and we have currently chosen not to go into the business of providing fully unlocked developer phones.

The use of open source software, such as the Linux kernel or the Android platform, in a consumer device does not require the handset running such software to be open for re-flashing. We comply with the licenses, including GPLv2, for each of the open source packages in our handsets. We post appropriate notices as part of the legal information on the handset and post source code, where required, at http://opensource.motorola.com. Securing the software on our handsets, thereby preventing a non-Motorola ROM image from being loaded, has been our common practice for many years. This practice is driven by a number of different business factors. When we do deviate from our normal practice, such as we did with the DROID, there is a specific business reason for doing so. We understand this can result in some confusion, and apologize for any frustration.

We do hear your feedback and read your posts – whether on our MOTODEV discussion boards, our Owners’ Forums, our Facebook pages, Twitter, or a variety of other sites on the web. We take the time to understand the issue and then pass the information on to the appropriate product (or other) teams within Motorola. We then try to respond with explanations or updates as we get the answers. Thank you for your continued feedback.

If you have further questions, comments, and feedback, you can comment on this post as well as use the following sites:

Use of open-source software at Motorola: http://opensource.motorola.com
MOTODEV and Android application development on Motorola handsets: http://community.developer.motorola.com
End-user support for handset owners: https://supportforums.motorola.com/community/google-android

I guess they failed to recognize the depth of people’s outrage with this because comments were closed after 54 postings and 25,000 views.

I’m an end-user, not a developer, and I want control of my phone. Is that wrong? According to Verizon, Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile it sure is. Which means it’s more than likely they leveraged weight upon Motorola to lock down their devices.

Another win for the big corporations and another loss for the end user.

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