We don’t really like the Droid X as a phone, but that part barely matters now. You probably shouldn’t buy the phone because doing so supports something very wrong – something anti-customer and anti-innovation – that Motorola is doing.
According to a forum of Android modders, as pointed out by MobileCrunch, the Droid X is locked down with an authentication chip called an eFuse. Even if you aren’t a hardcore techie, you can grasp what it does.
The eFuse is there to verify what’s called a bootloader – the very first process to load filled with important stuff encompassing the core software of the phone, like firmware. And if the eFuse doesn’t see specific, pre-programmed code within Motorola’s guidelines, it will essentially short out and the Droid X will cease to function at all. (To resuscitate the phone, you’d need specialised hardware only found at Motorola.)
Now I know what the sceptics may be thinking: Why would anyone be messing with the core software of the phone anyway? Great question.
Motorola’s software sucks. Their 100 per cent unnecessary Android skin on top of the Droid X ruins the experience of the phone, killing the speed and cluttering the UI, making it pretty much unusable.
But maybe you like Motorola! Maybe you’re just a Motorola guy. Maybe you see everything impressive they’ve done in terms of hardware with the Droid X. Maybe you just want to buy American as much as you can and realise that Motorola and Apple are (sort of) our last bastions of hope in a mobile marketplace dominated by excellent designer-manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG and RIM.
So maybe you want to buy the Droid X and load Android 2.2 yourself. Because Google, another bastion of American tech innovation, has this fantastic, newer, faster, better version of its operating system…not crummy old Android 2.1, the OS preloaded on the Droid X.
Motorola is telling you – maybe its most ardent customer base – don’t even think about loading Android 2.2. Don’t even think about messing with the phone’s drivers or firmware. If you do this, we will break your phone.
Hey Motorola, imagine if Henry Ford made the Model-T blow up any time someone lifted the hood. Imagine if Thomas Edison shorted a homeowner’s wiring if they tried to change their own light bulb. Where would we be now?
If you’d rather not support your product if someone else meddles with it, that’s totally fine. Void their warranties; don’t kill your own product to spite them.
You are not inventors. You are profiteers afraid of people, at home, doing what you do better than you.
And maybe you should be.
UPDATE: A new report is arguing that eFuse won’t necessarily brick the Droid X, as it’s implemented in some other Motorola phones but not activated. Here’s hoping such is the case and my rant was uncalled for. We’ve reached out for comment from Motorola on the matter.