Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

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.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
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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

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42 comments
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  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    Wow Adrian, no hardware freedom people arguing against Android? WTH? I mean this is the new God phone and its limiting you from enjoying your Constitutional right to bear arms and modify mobile phones how you see fit. I'm so disappointed. Down with Apple!
    mrgoodall
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @mrgoodall What are you trying to say? He's not arguing against Android, or Apple.
      Spatha
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    who cares? somebody obviously had a time trying to find something wrong with this awesome phone... learn how to spell by the way. your article's whack. pretty scary stuff? not so much. at least it gets a signal...
    bk82092
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @bk82092 "those who like to tinker with their handsets." thats who cares... people like me who want to utilize the device to it maximum capabilities, I have to agree, I was just checking it out, but now that I see this, I just cant do it, same reason I wont be getting the Iphone, (that and the fact its a sub-standard piece of hardware, and the whole facist state Jobs is building...)
      nickdangerthirdi@...
      • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

        @nickdangerthirdi@...
        What a crybaby. Blaming the Droid eFuse on Steve Jobs.<br><br>I'll bet you'll blame the next earthquake or typhoon on Jobs. Lame.
        ahh so
  • It's called...

    Protection from hackers.... A minimal approach, but still better than most of the junk out there. Imagine someone hacking into the innards of droids without any safeguards by the phone companies. Imagine this user just wandering about a metropolitan area like NYC, snooping around to see who left their bluetooth connection on. I think *that* would be infinitely scarier than the idea that a hacker will be left with a brick if they try to break into their phone. Just 'cause it's open doesn't mean everyone is allowed in.
    rock06r
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @rock06r Motorola's decision is like Dell or HP deciding you can only run Windows XP on their PCs, not Linux or Window 7.
      It's not protection from malicious hackers.
      Spatha
      • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

        @Spatha are you really comparing commodity PC hardware to smartphones? Just because the Droid X and iPhone both have ARM-based processors and some other common chips, do you expect to be able load iOS on the Droid or Android on the iPhone?
        rcnut
      • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

        @ rcnut Boy are you behind the times. The latter has already been accomplished. So, yeah, you were talking about commodity hardware?
        PacoBell
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @rock06r

      Moto with the help of aggressive Verizon marketing have carved out a bigger Android market than I think they've expected, that goes beyond the niche tinkerers. These consumers don't care about rooting their phones, they just want it to work and be secure. Funny how Apple gets so much flack for catering to such consumers.
      dave95.
      • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

        @dave95. dude the iphone is one of the easist things to hack, in fact all the jail broken iphones in europe were compromised a few months ago, but that is the users problem, they didnt set the password with the jailbroke it, but to brick a device just because someone tries to alter it, thats almost worse than apple yanking apps of the app store because they dont fit with the experience apple wants us to have, instead of letting use decide what experience we want to have.. its Facism man...
        nickdangerthirdi@...
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    I wonder if the HTC phones are locked the same way because I really want an EVO 4G on sprint and am waiting for them to become available. <br>But I do like to "Tinker" with my phones so I may have to pass on it. I wanted it for the hardware and open nature of the Android phone OS and being able to tinker. If it is locked down like all other phone OS's I think I'll wait to see what WinPhone7 has to offer on the hardware side. <br>If the rumored specks of the HTC HD3 Pro WinPhone7 is true, I'm sold!
    AboveAverageJoe
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @AboveAverageJoe The Evo is open to tinkering. I love my modded Pre and am passing it on to my son if I can ever get the Evo.
      20kwfence
    • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

      @AboveAverageJoe

      HTC will hopefullly never go the route of Motorola. I for one would never buy a phone made by Moto. HTC/OPen Sourze For life!
      gidman
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    Bummer.... will stick to HTC...sorry moto but your mojo is no good for me :(
    loupcweek@...
  • "The eFuse can be repaired, but only by Motorola"?

    For now, yes. Clearly, if it can be repaired, it can be repaired my others, including the hacker. The only question is if/when hackers will acquire the the required knowledge. Unless they blow a HW fuse, it can be repaired/restored.
    Economister
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    Yo Adrian, that first word 'Thing', did you mean 'Think' ?
    TxM2xTx
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    I can't believe King Jobs and his sheep fanbois...oh, wait, nm.
    Gritztastic
    • Careful now...

      I hear tell Ballmer has a teat you can suck.<br><br>lol... :D
      ahh so
  • RE: Modded Droid X handsets self-destruct

    I just called Verizon and made them go research this eFuze issue. It is a myth, they emphatically deny there is an eFuze in the Droid X
    shannon@...