HTC has attracted plenty of bad publicity in recent months, thanks to its decision to lock bootloaders on its Android phones and latterly shelve plans to bring Android Gingerbread to the HTC Desire.
A U-turn on the latter came swiftly and now the Taiwanese mobile maker has come good on its plans to unlock bootloaders on a string of its Google-backed phones. Its CEO, Peter Chou, had said such a move was forthcoming a couple of months back, but now an official Facebook post has confirmed the HTC Sensation will be the first to be opened up.
For mainstream users, this might not seem such a big deal. After all, most punters aren’t interested in easily installing custom ROMs or ridding their phones of HTC Sense. But plenty are, and it’s pleasing that HTC has recognised how infuriating the hardcore fraternity found its initial decision to block bootloaders, making rooting more difficult.
Pleasingly, HTC says the Sensation (as well as the Sensation 4G and Evo 3D in the US), will be the first of many phones to get the new unlocked bootloader skills.
The company announced on Facebook: “HTC continues its commitment to unlocking bootloaders and supporting the developer community. Because of the importance of this community to us, please expect an update on this about every few weeks as we make progress toward launch.”
This kind of volte face should be welcomed, even if it did take a number if proactive HTC users complaining vociferously to force the change of heart. But that, coupled with the Gingerbread U-turn, does at least prove that HTC is listening to its customers. Imagine Apple responding to customer demands in such a way. It just wouldn’t happen.
It also proves that Google Android’s more open approach means users are able to have a greater influence over manufacturers and how they operate. Of course, all mobile-makers will exert a degree of control, but the fact users can tweak their phones if they wish is certainly welcome.
Will this have a major effect on Android’s future? For the mainstream, no. But it should act as a sign that if HTC does boob in the future again, then at least users can tell the company what they think and they’ll be listened to. That’s to be applauded, even if this latest change will only cause joy among a small fraternity of Android fanatics.