March 29, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Sony has a rather unfriendly reputation with developers, evidenced by it’s ongoing issues with PlayStation 3 hacker GeoHot. But Sony Ericsson is warming up to the Android root and hacking community by making it easier to unlock the bootloader on select Android devices released this year.
The Sony Ericsson Developer Blog announced today that the Xperia Arc, Neo, Play, and Pro will have a feature that enables an easy bootloader unlock method. The details of the process have not yet been released, but SE promises that it will be done in a “secure, legal way” for advanced developers who want more control over their phone. However, it’s important to note that not all phones will have this feature because of “technical and legal reasons,” meaning an Xperia Play released on one carrier may support it, but a phone tied to another carrier may still be blocked because of contractual obligations.
This appears to be part of Sony Ericsson’s attempt to reverse its previously spotty reputation among Android enthusiasts. People didn’t believe me when I suggested that Sony “gets it” following a conversation I had with developers at Mobile World Congress, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Get more information on the bootloader from the Sony Ericsson Developer Blog.
A bootloader is part of the Android operating system that enables users to get into recovery mode. This is required in order to load custom ROM’s on Android phones. Motorola originally had an anti-hack policy that the company has since begun to backtrack on, and HTC, which has traditionally been hands-off with hacking community, has begun shipping some phones with locked bootloaders. Android developers eventually discover workarounds for these roadblocks, but Sony Ericsson is surprisingly reversing its course on appealing to advanced consumers.