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Motorola Responds to DROID X Bootloader Lock

Before the Motorola DROID X launched (and immediately sold out), we reported that the new phone may come shipped with a locked bootloader. This would mean that users couldn't flash a custom ROM into the device, thus hindering the idea of an "open platform." Although the company didn't lock the bootloader in the original DROID smartphone, it did so with Milestone and said future phones would share the same restrictions.

Now things have taken in interesting twist. Reports indicate that the DROID X is loaded with eFuse, technology developed by IBM that allows circuits to be physically altered at the silicon level on demand. Apparently there is a chip planted within the DROID X containing IBM's technology, and will "blow the fuse" if it is unable to verify the device's stock bootloader.

Motorola confirmed the discovery in a recent statement. "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," Motorola said. "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."

The company added that 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 company added.

The good news here is that eFuse won't brick the device--it will just shut down DROID X until the correct firmware is installed.