The Sad Case Of Sony's Locked Sony Xperia Z1S Bootloader On T-Mobile

Posted: Jan 21 2014, 2:46am CST | by , Updated: Jan 21 2014, 2:51am CST, in News

The Sad Case Of Sony's Locked Sony Xperia Z1S Bootloader On T-Mobile

The news that T-Mobile USA will be locking the bootloader of the Sony Xperia Z1S (a custom variant of Sony’s flagship Android handset the Xperia Z1) is a surprise to me for two reasons. The first is Sony’s declaration in October last year that there were no plans for the US smartphone market, and the second is T-Mobile dropping the ball on the implications of a customers ownership of a handset.

Sony has been one of the more open companies in respect to the bootloader on their Android devices. While a consumer still has to make an active choice to unlock the bootloader (perhaps to install a lightly customised ROM, or even to do a full replacement with a release such as CyanogenMod), Sony has never hidden the process away. Ask them digitally, and the codes will be with you in short order.

T-Mobile has been making some very aggressive moves lately with their ‘uncontract’ strategy and offering to cover early termination feeds for US customers looking to switch networks pitching them as the consumers friend. You would think that a process that is not even on the radar of the majority of customers, that would cast the company in a positive light in the hacker community, and that their hardware partner already encourages, would be a slam dunk of a decision.

Apparently not.

To be fair to Sony and T-Mobile, this is an issue that is going to affect a very small percentage of customers who buy the Xperia Z1S handset. But those users have a tendency to be the cheerleaders online and can help form opinions in the trendsetting tech circles.

But with these two companies fighting from a lower market share than the incumbents (T-Mobile is behind AT&T and Verizon, while Sony’s American smartphone presence is almost non-existent) this seems a strange call to make. It would not surprise me to see it reversed with some strong publicity around the announcement in the near future.

Source: Forbes

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