Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

Summary:Thing that the Android platform is all about freedom and the ability to do whatever you want with your device once you've bought it? Think again! Motorola's Droid X contains a feature that bricks the handset if you try to modify the bootloader.

Thing that the Android platform is all about freedom and the ability to do whatever you want with your device once you've bought it? Think again! Motorola's Droid X contains a feature that bricks the handset if you try to modify the bootloader.

This is pretty scary stuff, and goes counter to what the Android platform is all about:

The eFuse is coded with information that it either looks for or is passed to it from the bootloader. The bootloader is loaded with information it looks for when it begins the boot-up process. (I have seen the sbf file look for a certain bootloader when it begins so its safe to assume that this is the process).

Once the the eFuse verifies that the information it is looking for or that has been passed through to it by the bootloader is correct then the boot process continues. What type of information is written to the bootloader? So far i've been able to verify that the firmware information (what we call ROMS), the kernel information, and the bootloader version.

If the eFuse failes to verify this information then the eFuse receives a command to "blow the fuse" or "trip the fuse". This results in the booting process becoming corrupted and resulting in a permanent bricking of the Phone. This FailSafe is activated anytime the bootloader is tampered with or any of the above three parts of the phone has been tampered with.

The eFuse can be repaired, but only by Motorola, so if you trip it, it's a case of sending your handset back for repair.

Bottom line, the freedoms offered by Android go counter to the locked handsets that service providers are happy with. Based on this, the Droid X just became a no-buy for those who like to tinker with their handsets.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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