| Saturday May 28th 2016

The Droid X actually self-destructs if you try to mod it

Well, I might have recommended a Droid X for big-phone-lovin’ fandroids out there… but now that I’ve read about Motorola’s insane eFuse security system, Verizon Droid XI’m going to have to give this one a big fat DON’T BUY on principle. I won’t restate all my reasons for supporting the modding, hacking, jailbreaking, and so on of your legally-owned products here: if you’re interested in a user’s manifesto, read this… but suffice it to say that deliberately bricking a phone if the user fiddles with it does not fall under the “reasonable” category of precautions taken by manufacturers.

Really. If you want to make it difficult to hack, that’s fine. You think your software should be enough, that’s fine. But once I pay money for the item, it’s mine, and disabling my device because you don’t like what I’m doing with it falls under the category of sabotage.

Here’s what eFuse does. This information is a couple days old but it’s worth reading if you’re interested in Android, development, or open standards in general. Besides, I just found out about it, so you have to read my words whether you like it or not. or you could just stop reading. Either way. Anyway:

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.

It requires a hardware fix, apparently, only available through Motorola, of course. This is the equivalent of a MacBook detonating some core component if you try to install an OS to dual boot.

Will many users run into this problem? Probably not, but Android is a platform that not only was founded on the idea of openness, but thrives because of it. The grey market of sideloaded apps and custom ROMs will only get more popular and more easily accessed as people realize that their phones are tiny computers waiting to be customized. That idea is anathema to Motorola and clearly they will continue to stoop to unreasonable means to “protect” their hardware — which you bought and paid for.

So here’s my official recommendation: don’t buy a Droid phone and don’t recommend them to your friends. There are too many good options out there that aren’t locked down by nefarious means. Look up a Galaxy phone or wait for the next awesome thing to come along. Vote with your wallet and tell Motorola “open or GTFO.”


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One Response to “The Droid X actually self-destructs if you try to mod it”

  1. Rodney says:

    I agree. But then again it is 2am where I am so I may agree with anything. And from an British guy, I want to say thank you for using the apostrophe properly.

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