After speculation earlier this week that the eFuse technology used in their Android handsets could lead to bricked phones, Motorola has spoken out to clarify the purpose – and behavior – of the system. eFuse, the company says, “is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software.” To that end, if a third-party ROM is installed the phone will only boot into recovery mode, but original functionality can be restored by replacing it with “approved software”.
“Motorola’s primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner and legal requirements. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed. Checking for a valid software configuration is a common practice within the industry to protect the user against potential malicious software threats. Motorola has been a long time advocate of open platforms and provides a number of resources to developers to foster the ecosystem including tools and access to devices via MOTODEV at http://developer.motorola.com.”
The key difference here is the nature of the recovery process: the rumors earlier in the week were that a handset with a “tripped” eFuse would potentially require a return to Motorola themselves in order to restore it to working order. Instead, this statement seems to imply that users themselves will be able to do it.
Good news, certainly, but in the end Motorola devices are still harder to modify than their HTC, Samsung and other rivals, and that should – and likely will – be taken into account by those looking for an Android device with the sort of flexibility owners have so far been used to.
[via Android Community]