Handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson has decided to allow developers to unlock the bootloader of its Xperia smartphones launched this year, but only if these devices meet several criteria. It seems that the company’s move was based on the high number of requests received from the community over the past few years.
The Swedish-Japanese manufacturer stated that the bootloader could not be shared since it would violate important business agreements with many of its partners, including carriers and devs who want to protect their apps.
According to Sony Ericsson, developers will be able to unlock the bootloader for 2011 Xperia phones, such as Xperia arc, Xperia neo, Xperia pro and Xperia PLAY, “in a secure and legal way.”
Apparently, the solution will be made available later this spring, but it will only be usable on certain versions of the phones mentioned above.
Unfortunately, devs will not be able to unlock the bootloader if the phone is SIM lock protected. The market and the original configuration of the phone are important as well.
To determine if the bootloader can be unlocked, the phone needs to be connected to the Fastboot tool in Android SDK. If there are no problems with the connection, then the phone’s bootloader can be unlocked.
However, those who choose to unlock the bootloader should be aware of the fact that this may void the warranty of their phone.
In addition, if a custom unsigned ROM is flashed to the phone after the bootloader has been unlocked, the phone might stop working correctly. Some functions may not work anymore and the performance of the device might be affected.
In a worst case scenario, this may lead to permanent damage to the phone due to the overheating.
While the service might prove very useful for developers, Sony Ericsson strongly recommends that standard users do not unlock the bootloader.