HTC CEO Peter Chou has confirmed that the company will not lock the bootloader on the company's future Android devices.
"There has been overwhelmingly customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we've listened. Today, I'm confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience."
The message was posted on Facebook and was greeted with exclamations of relief and gratitude from those who posted replies to the statement.
The bootloader on Android devices is code that is executed before the Android system begins to load. Locking the bootloader refers to a security measure employed by phone manufacturers to keep users from making significant changes to the software installed on the phone. This prevents knowledgeable users from installing custom software or from removing software components from the phone that they do not want or use, like applications loaded by the network carriers.
Manufacturers of Android smartphones have been shifting frequently on bootloader policies in recent times. Motorola was widely criticised for being one of the first companies to lock down its handsets, but reversed its position on this issue back in April and will now ship devices with unlocked bootloaders where its carrier partners agree to let this happen. HTC had long been considered one of the friendliest phone-makers for software modifiers, and it has only been in its most recent releases that the modding community has noticed tighter security.