HTC Takes A Security Feature Out of Motorola’s Books

| October 9, 2010 | Reply

For the first time since the Motorola Milestone, (or Droid X, for you American readers) Android users have been blindsided with a rumoured security feature in the HTC designed T-Mobile G2. This feature will enable rooting to only be a temporary adjustment to the system, and restore the original source code over the root when the phone is restarted. T-Mobile issued this statement in response to the rumours;

As pioneers in Android-powered mobile devices, T-Mobile and HTC strive to support innovation. The T-Mobile G2 is a powerful and highly customizable Android-powered smartphone, which customers can personalize and make their own, from the look of their home screen to adding their favorite applications and more.

The HTC software implementation on the G2 stores some components in read-only memory as a security measure to prevent key operating system software from becoming corrupted and rendering the device inoperable. There is a small subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level, known as “rooting,” but a side effect of HTC’s security measure is that these modifications are temporary and cannot be saved to permanent memory. As a result the original code is restored.

The interesting part to take away from this statement is not only that HTC could possibly start making less hack-friendly devices, but that T-Mobile considers the rooting community a “small subset of users”. Most of the Android users this editor’s met have their Android phones rooted, what about you? Do you think HTC should expand similar security features to future devices, or continue on the free-to-modify road? Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your opinions on this.

Earlier this week, we reported that T-Mobile and HTC shipped the new G2 with fail-safe that prevents users from obtaining permanent root. Though it’s possible to root the device temporarily, all changes made are promptly erased when the user reboots the device. While not as frustrating as the similar anti-root efforts perpetrated by the Motorola Droid X, people interested in the G2 have been disappointed.

Though security is often a fail-safe response for why companies get in the way of user customization, it’s still disappointing that T-Mobile and HTC would make the phone less hacker-friendly. The beauty of owning HTC devices, aside from the popular Sense UI, is that the hardware was friendly to tinkering. One can only hope that this is not the first of a budding trend from the Taiwanese manufacturer.


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Category: Android News

About the Author ()

Hamilton, Ontario, born and raised. I’m the oldest of two, really into the tech scene. Like my Macbook, Live for my Xbox 360, and LOVE my phones. I work for a large Canadian Telecomm company by day, and a Gizmo Ninja editor by night. I’ve jumped around every mobile OS I can get my hands on, including Symbian, Windows Mobile, WP7, BlackBerry, iOS, Android, etc. Current devices include the HTC Desire Z, HTC Desire HD, Motorola Milestone, HTC HD7, LG Optimus Quantum, and my daily device is my Motorola Atrix.