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Apple vs. Motorola: Who Can Lock It Down

iphone 4 vs droid x 100624 02

iphone 4 vs droid x 100624 02
Apple has been fighting hard against the jailbreak community for years now. Every update Apple dishes out feels like its a direct punch to the kidney to those wishing to install third-party applications to their device. Another heavyweight, Motorola,  is taking large steps to lock down their new devices as well.

Efuse Chip

The new Motorola Droid X which touts impressive specs such as a 1ghz processor, 4.3” high resolutions screen, an 8 MP camera, and an impressive HDMI output up to 720p. It is currently running the latest version of Android (2.1), with the understanding that when Froyo (2.2) hits the market there will be an over air update for the phone.

With the launch of this new phone, Motorola is also making a large addition to the hardware in the form of an Efuse chip. My first thought when I heard about it was what is an Efuse chip and how does this benefit me? It is there to secure the bootloader, which starts every time your phone turns on. If it doesn’t recognize the firmware your device is running, it puts the phone into “recovery mode” and can only boot up once approved software has been loaded to the device.

Custom Firmware Foiled

This may sound like a great thing at first, but when you look at the underlying effects on those looking to root and install custom firmware to their phone it isn’t so great. When asked about it,  Verizon responded with the following to Engadget: “Motorola’s primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner, and legal requirements.” As it stands, Verizon is playing it off that its not there to prevent a device from functioning as the user may like, but to ensure that only updated and tested software is put on the device so that it may perform to its highest capabilities.

Although it sounds like this will seriously hinder those wishing to mod the new device, it does relieve previous speculation that altering the devices firmware would brick the phone. Due to the persistence of the modding community I have little doubt that this will stop them in the long run. If you would like to know more about modding droid phones please check out Droid Life.

In your opinion is Verizon following Apple down the narrow dark road that is locking down user devices, or is it genuinely trying to protect is customers?

What do you think?

Avatar of Aj Liptak

Written by Aj Liptak

Aj Liptak is a full-time student at Bradley University majoring in computer information systems and pre-law. You can follow him on twitter at @ajjj08.

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