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Evil-Dragon's Blog
12May/124

The future of HTC…

Posted by Matthew Hill

htc_one_x_official-2

Remember about a month ago I was all excited about getting the HTC One X? Yeah, me too. Don't get me wrong, it's a great phone. Feels really nice in the hand, looks nice... but is that it? What about using the phone? I'd love to use it but there's a problem and the problem is HTC. You see, a while back HTC annouced this thing called 'HTC Dev' it's a website intended for developers. It's a website where you can get kernels sources to build your own kernels based on HTC's source code and also 'UNLOCK' your phone.

Notice that word 'UNLOCK' - It suggests to you that you can use it and it allows you complete access to your phone, right? Wrong, you see HTC decided that you shouldn't have a choice of what you can do with your phone that you paid for. They decided that you can flash your own ROM's but have little to no access to:

1) Flash kernels from recovery - They limit you to being forced to go to a computer, reboot into fastboot and then make your all your HTC drivers are up to date and issue some commands to the phone to flash a boot image. Sound like a lot of effort? It is. Why did HTC do this? Because of security...

2) Have access to USB from recovery - Only way to gain USB access to the SD Card is either from the ROM you have flashed (problematic if it's broken) or by being forced to use a computer again, having a copy of the recovery you are using and using fastboot to boot it from the computer. Why did HTC do this? Security... again.

3) Being unable to flash updated firmwares - Remember when ICS first came out? Remember when you had to update your firmware to allow it even to boot? You'd drop a file in the root of your SDCard, reboot into the bootloader and it would flash the new firmware even without S-OFF as long as the signature wasn't tampered with. With the One X... no longer do you have this facility. Why did HTC do this? Security... YET AGAIN!

4 APX mode - Tegra devices have a low level function called APX mode which allows a user who knows what they are doing to flash/repair their device using NVFlash. Most devices use a combination of Power button + Volume Up & Down while the battery is removed. It boots into this mode and awaits for user action. Not with the One X. They've either removed it or locked it down with their silly security model. No more access for you!

The list just goes on and on. I could go into more than 10 things wrong with this phone. So, what is it good for. Looking pretty.

You'd think that there is nothing you can do, but you're wrong. HTC are asking for user feedback on their newest phone so we're all taking the opportunity to make our voices heard: http://blog.htc.com/2012/04/your-phone-your-thoughts-tell-us-what-you-think/

This is what i posted:

Remember a while back when you said that you wanted to be more open and allow developers more access to your phones... What happened HTC? The One X for example is even more locked down than the Sensation was. Given your feedback to various users I find that you either a) don't care about your customers b) fob customers off with 'security' related non-sense or c) just plain ignore them.

Your HTCDev unlock program is a complete and utter joke. How is any developer supposed to make use of an unlocked phone boggles the mind with your restrictions on flashing boot images from recovery, restriction of usb access to recovery making accessing the phone from a computer impossible without adb and your latest stance on completely voiding warranty if you're unlocked. That's just borderline illegal, if not illegal completely in the EU.

It's time for HTC to make a choice about their future with their customers. You can either:

Support developers by allowing them access to the phones they own, for kernels, roms and recoveries by making a HTCDev unlock the same as a near S-OFF of the phone. We own the devices that you supply to us, we paid a lot for them. It might be your software but it's not your right to stop people using other software on their phone. You don't see computer manufacturers preventing users from installing other OS's on their machine/laptop and then void the warranty because it's "illegal software". It's a users choice, not yours. Support the hardware for hardware defects, not software problems. Furthermore, replacing a mainboard for 'illegal' software is just plain stupid, reflash the OS, Hboot, etc.. via Jtag/Nvflash. We can and have done in the past without your help.

OR

Step away from developers, remove the HTC Dev program, lock your phone down and watch how some talented group breaks your security and makes your look foolish. Groups have done it in the past, gained root, S-OFF'ed your phones because that's what the users want. If you choose this route you'll only lose more customers and they'll go elsewhere to your competition.

Choose your future - Your customers or your company.

You can feel free to use that or write your own. If we don't then the future is bleak for developers and customers alike. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

15Aug/110

HTC Bootloader Unlocking

Posted by Matthew Hill

HTC has gone ahead and released their own unlocking tool (a bit late though lads!) for the HTC Sensation (FOTA 1.45.401.2) only at this present time. However this being said, they have been so bold as to state the following on their page:

However, due to some of our carrier customers concerns, certain models with specific restrictions may not be able to be unlocked.

How nice, so this means that if a carrier (i.e Orange, T-Mobile, etc..) said "Nah, we don't want our customers loading custom ROMs on our phones because we'll lose money from the bloatware" then HTC don't have to allow them to be unlocked and will effectively act as a judge, jury and executioner! So much for an open world and so much for HTC keeping their promises to let everyone unlock their devices.

This isn't all the bad news out of the way just yet:

Please understand that you will not be able to return your device to the original state and going forward your device may not be held covered under the warranty for all claims resulting from the unlocking of the bootloader. HTC bears no responsibility if your device is no longer usable afterwards.

Once you unlock your device, you can no longer return to being S-ON or Locked if i'm reading this right. If you use HTC's bootloader unlock tool then you will void your warranty with HTC and they have every right to refuse to fix your device. Even if it's a hardware fault and has nothing to do with loading custom roms on your device, they can just turn around and say they won't fix your device because it was your fault for unlocking your bootloader. Obviously they can't do this with all cases but i can see a fair few people falling foul to this 'policy'. Watch, wait and see.

However, on to the good news if you want to be all 'official' and be unlocked the non-hackery way like how Revolutionary works, then you can go unlock your bootloader (this still needs be clarified if it's S-OFF or not) at HTC Devs website here:

http://htcdev.com/bootloader/

Bare in mind, you will need to register an account with them to unlock your device, you will be required to give personal information about your device which will void your warranty of your device and you will not be able to go back afterwards.

If you're like me, you'll go and use Revolutionary and keep your warranty and be able to go S-ON at any time for sending your device in for repair. Trust me, it's safe and it's a much better option in my opinion.

9Aug/110

Sensation AOSP Build

Posted by Matthew Hill

FAO of all ROM Cookers and Developers,

Your help is urgently required to assist in this new 2.3.5 build of Gingerbread (AOSP) for the HTC Sensation. There are plenty of jobs that require doing.

You can learn more about this, download links and see what needs doing:

  1. http://aosp.sensedevs.com/?page_id=2
  2. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1200017

Beware: This build is not yet stable, it can and will freeze your device requiring you to pull the battery. Make sure you nandroid backup first!