Unlocking the bootloader on the Xperia range of phones is a debate that has raged on for months between users and SE:
Android is supposed to be an open-system – Users
We cannot open the bootloader due to legal issues with our partners – SE.
Of course there are countless other issues too, namely that hordes of people would’ve opened the bootloader on their phone and wandered off to use different versions of Android. Or – worst case scenario – bricked their phone, and gone bleating to SE for a new one or a repair.
Thanks to the dedicated work of the geniuses over at XDA, there have been ways and means for people to load custom ROM onto their phone. Held back only by the custom kernel (courtesy of the locked bootloader) they’ve been providing us with alternate versions of Android for months and months. And jolly fine work it is too.
However, all that changed waaaaaaaaaay back in March when SE announced they were going to open the bootloader for their 2011 range of phones. Of course it wasn’t all wine and roses/beer and pizza for the X10 series as “we cannot allow the boot loader to be unlocked due to technical and legal reasons.”
That said, it still sent a clear message to the developers that “demonstrates that Sony Ericsson is listening to and working with the open developer world.” A massive step in the right direction, let down only by there being relatively few 2.3 custom ROMs currently available for personal use. Damn!
Anyhoo, true to their word SE’s bootloader page went live on the 13th of April. Cue all sorts of happenings on blogs – Xperiablog were particularly vocal. It’s nice to see though when reading through the comments on the above-linked post that people are starting to forgive SE for past mistakes with Android. You can see evidence of the same shift in opinion if you sift through the 90-odd comments on the SE developer blog page.
I have unlocked the bootloader in anticipation of a root solution – there’s some things one needs on a phone and AdBlocker is one of those. Plus there’s a few other bits and pieces I use that require root access.
The actual process is spelled out for you by SE although it does help if your PC responds to your commands. I had problems installing the required drivers thanks to some dodgy codes and the above-mentioned ill-behaving PC, but once that was done it was relatively straightforward if you know what you’re doing. Thanks to Alan on the Test Lab for his help with those darn drivers!
With the bootloader unlocked there’s really not a lot you can do but wait for custom ROMs to become available, FlashTool can install new firmware (if/when when it comes out) but still can’t root the device, but it’s still a really important move by SE to make it available to those who want it. Really important.