May 7, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Recently, HTC released its latest flagship device, the HTC One. The HTC One comes in variants including AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. After numerous delays, the phone started shipping. And what do we do here at XDA developers once we get a new device? That’s right, we customize it.
In this episode, XDA Developer TV Producer Steve shows you how to unlock the bootloader on the HTC One. This allows you to be about to install custom recoveries and customer ROMs. You can then gain root access to your device. Check out this video to find out who wins.
Owners of the Verizon variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet will no longer feel left out, thanks to the unlock package that XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler posted late Friday night. Although he takes issue with the word ‘unlock,’ preferring to call it a ‘jailbreak’ because that term is exempted by the DMCA.
The process couldn’t be easier thanks to Adam’s CASUAL software. I’m sure you’ve heard of it before since it’s been features on XDA TV and several Portal posts. The software provides a GUI for scripts that use the Android Developer Bridge (ADB) and it works on Linux, Mac, and Windows. The power of CASUAL is well represented in this procedure. Adam’s demo video shows that clicking the Do It button and following the prompts is all it really takes. From there, the script performs an IROM unlock using exploits discovered by Lee Harrison (Recognized Developer Ralekdev).
Get your hands on the unlock package by heading over to the original thread. While you’re there, heed Adam’s warning about flashing once you unlock your Note. The exploit used leaves it vulnerable to being bricked if you flash a file not meant for this specific hardware.
April 11, 2013 By: Mike Szczys
Dan Rosenberg (a.k.a. XDA Recognized Developer djrbliss) gets the credit for finding exploits on a lot of devices, and now you can add to it the line of Motorola units that use the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset. There are currently three models included in this category, the Atrix HD, Razr HD, and Razr M. They’re based on the processor marketed as the Qualcomm Snapdragon, and they’re hiding some interesting tricks that may eventually keep users from loading their own ROMs. Dan’s investigation did lead to an exploit, but I find some of the pseudocode he authored based on the disassembly an interesting look at what the future might bring from Motorola.
March 16, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
The XDA Portal has featured many stories on the petition and SIM unlocking ban. This story has had quite a few unexpected twists, and The White House responded differently than we expected. A new bill has been introduced in Congress, and the Library of Congress responded as well.
But are those the only twists? Our favorite skeptic and XDA Developer TV Producer azrienoch is here to talk about what he thinks of this whole situation. Is he a fan? Does he think the government is doing something correctly? Watch this video and find out what he thinks.
It is truly great to see that the United States has a rather active Government that worries about its people. Its people have opportunities to speak their mind and make requests to all the branches of this bureaucratic machine, and they are bound to get a response in one shape or another. This seems to be the case for the “little petition that could,” in which over 114,000 people expressed and shared their concerns with the US Government regarding network unlocking of devices legally purchased. This petition received official replies from the White House and the Librarian of Congress, and gained nationwide interest, thus making what many thought would be a silly “nerd rage-filled rant” into a topic of national importance. However, as with most systems, this one is not one without its faults and pitfalls, thus making it quite imperfect.
For the sake of illustration, just imagine that you had a 3 year old silver Civic that was dying and that you wanted a bright red Ferrari. Someone told you that if you worked hard enough and made a certain amount of money within a 2 month period, there would be a chance for you to get your hands on the wonderful beast. Two months later, you had completed your target, got all the money you needed, some people winked at you when you asked if you would get it (raising your hopes in the process). Then, that someone puts a blindfold on you and takes you outside. You proceed to take the blindfold off and upon opening your eyes, you see your 3 year old silver Honda Civic, but with a fixed engine.
Are you happy to have a car? Sure, but to say that you are disappointed would be the understatement of the year. You are simply baffled and trying to pull yourself together in dismay as to what kind of person would lift your hopes high up in such a manner. This was the case for the bill that everyone in the mobile scene was waiting for. Earlier yesterday, US Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee) along with several other Senators from both parties announced the drafting of a new bill that they were hoping to pass in the hopes of addressing the issues raised against the Librarian of Congress’ new incarnation of the DMCA. More specifically, the bill, known as the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, was aimed to target the cell phone unlocking debacle as well as the consideration for tablets. At first sight, the law addresses the main concern presented to Congress, but when you sit down and analyze it a bit further, its that fixed up 3 year old Civic.
There are several concerns regarding the wording on the write up like the fact that it will still be up to the carriers to grant you an unlock code while you are on contract. On the flip side, at the very core, the law would reinstate the 2010 exemption that made it legal for people to pursue other “venues” to get their devices unlocked. It still grants a lot of power to the carriers, but at least it does not grant them complete control, which the removal of said exemption was achieving. The problem (the elephant in the room if you will) is the fact that the law fails to address the main, biggest point of this entire ordeal: why is this in the DMCA in the first place? Why are we depending on the (lack of) knowledge of someone who is not an elected official to determine the future of our rights as consumers with products that we legally own? In other words, why is this harbored/lumped with a law SPECIFICALLY made to tackle piracy? Unlocking cell phones has 0, zip, null, nada to do with piracy and/or intellectual property rights. Yet the decision on this will be based solely on the following:
9 upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights,
10 who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Commu-
11 nications and Information of the Department of Com-
12 merce and report and comment on his or her views in mak-
13 ing such recommendation, shall determine, consistent with
14 the requirements set forth under section 1201(a)(1) of
15 title 17, United States Code, whether to extend the exemp-
16 tion for the class of works described in section
17 201.40(b)(3) of title 37, Code of Federal Regulations, as
18 amended by subsection (a), to include any other category
19 of wireless devices in addition to wireless telephone
So, the Library of Congress needs to hear from, at least, two departments before anything can be done. Again, this is someone making actual law without being part of the overall process and certainly not someone who is chosen, but rather who applied for a job vacancy. Congress had a wonderful opportunity to separate the wheat from the hay and decided to simply apply a fix. Why a fix you ask? The DMCA exemptions and provisions are revised every 3 years. If this long standing provision was taken out without much thought or consideration, who is to say that we will not be here once again 3 years from now? CTIA will certainly still be there much like the little red guy standing on your left shoulder telling you to set your building on fire. They went through great lengths and found a twisted enough argument to sound pseudo-plausible, and 3 years is an eternity in terms of mobile development. So, chances are that we will find ourselves here fighting once again. However, lets assume that we fix it yet again 3 years from now. We will be back in 2019, this time around from within the Matrix and trying to avoid Sentinels.
There are enough experts on the scene to give the people who need the explanation, the best possible and most logical, level-headed argument they will ever get to hear. And best of all, it comes from the people with the people’s interest in mind. I made a small point in my previous article about the Library of Congress’s statement about the general public being consulted prior to amending DMCA. Maybe they should follow their own processes and ask ACTUAL PEOPLE as opposed to corporation conglomerates when the time comes to make law.
It looks like we have gotten quite good at making noise, so maybe we should make one final stance before this band-aid comes to pass. Please share any and all articles with colleagues, media outlets, your Congressmen and Senators, all the people who need to see this in order to make the voices heard. We did our share of work, we expressed our views and told them why things should be different. Please, lets try to push forward so we can finally get rid of that Civic and go for the Ferrari.
You can find the entire proposed law in the following link and the official announcement made by the Senator of Vermont by following this link. Additional links with interesting articles can be found in PublicKnowledge and TechDirt,
Thanks for reading.
[Thanks to OEM Relations Manager jerdog for the tip!]
January 29, 2013 By: egzthunder1
While we know that this is a US-specific issue, it also serves as a great opportunity to ensure that the entire world is reading so that they don’t make the same mistakes we do in this country. As many of you are aware, our entire Government seemingly has a bad tendency to listen to extraordinarily greedy people and agree on things that make people wonder what in the world were they thinking? Some of the most notable examples include (but are not limited) the consideration of a small bill that “almost came to be” known as SOPA. Unfortunately (for us), we are the ones who are always scrambling, trying to dodge this idiocy called “law making” that our tax payer dollars normally help fund. Furthermore, we (the people) are the ones normally tasked with trying to open the eyes of our own selected officials to force them to understand that the interests of THE PEOPLE are NOT the same as the interest of a few select interest groups.
I have not yet begun talking about the main topic of the article, but have instead made a wide generalization of what currently happens in our law-making bodies. Having given a somewhat “hearty” introduction to a rage-fueled article, here goes the main course. In case you have been living under a rock for the last 3 months or so, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was “revamped” in October of last year, much like it does every 3 years or so. Our good friend XDA TV Producer azrienoch covered a small, very inaccurate aspect of the law (needless to say, I am being sarcastic). Back then, we did not make much of a stink about this issue because quite frankly it was not really all that important, as the most “discussed” topic was the randomness of leaving tablets out of the exemptions. Certain things baffle you so much that one truly cannot fathom getting past that section without feelings of nausea and dizziness. However, once you get past “Section B” of the newly amended exemptions list, you get to the “heart of the matter,” which for us is Section C. This is located in pages 16-20, for those of you interested in reading stuff other than how jailbreaking your iPad is actually legal.
The core of this section essentially was untouched for the last 6 years or so, and essentially granted anyone “the right” to legally SIM-unlock your cell phone to be able to make it work on any GSM capable carrier, without any legal repercussions or being “frowned upon” by your almighty service provider(s). For example, if you were discontent with T-Mobile and wanted to jump ship to AT&T without having to buy another handset, this was possible. All you needed to do was call your carrier, see if you met a certain set of conditions (which was to have been with the company for about 3 months with current service and to own the device), and you would get an unlock code within 24-48 hrs via SMS or e-mail. This was simple enough and relatively trouble free.
However, due to the evolution of our markets (or so this document states) as well as the abundance of legacy unlocked mobile devices, the exemption is no longer necessary according to the CTIA, which is, for all practical purposes, a group of lobbyists composed of the larger US carriers as well as some manufacturers. They go on the record to state that the SIM-locking of mobile devices is an essential part of today’s current business model. Thus, they must have control of how and if users unlock their devices. The current text states that it will be entirely up to the carrier to grant you permission to unlock your device whether or not you are on contract, and they will have up to 90 days to grant you your request. Again, this is IF and only IF they allow you to do that. What are the alternatives, you ask? Well, according to the document, you have none without being treated like a common thief, meaning that if they catch you SIM unlocking your device, you could be heavily fined or even imprisoned. Why? Heavens only know why…
Before continuing, there are a few distinctions to be made, particularly for those of you with CDMA devices locked onto carriers such as Sprint and Verizon. The new rules are not really specific as to whether or not they cover CDMA technologies. However, due to the way these devices work, the ruling has no effect on their current model. CDMA devices are not unlocked in the same way a GSM device is. In fact, CDMA devices cannot be unlocked at all. Their internal serial number is normally added into the carrier’s list of approved or white listed devices and paired with your phone number. This is a 100% carrier driven decision, and more often than not, CDMA carriers do not allow you to bring devices from competing networks. Some of the smaller players in the market, such as Cricket and MetroPCS do allow some devices to be brought over, but the sad reality is that if you want to have service from either of the aforementioned larger carriers and still keep your trusty device, you are out of luck. There are ways around these, but they are rather illegal in nature unfortunately.
It is almost no surprise that the US is doing this, given previous policies regulating cellular technology. Anyone out there will likely recall how difficult it was to get decent devices in the US prior to 2005. Most newer devices that were launched in Europe never actually saw the light of day in the US. And if they did, they were heavily crippled with many features taken out for no apparent reason. However, due to the skyrocketing popularity of smartphones, most manufacturers recognized the US as an interesting market to look into. Technology by the different networks advanced, and we finally got to a point where we could finally say that we entered into the golden age of mobility like the rest of the world. That said, much of the rest of the world has been far more advanced in this end. UK carriers offer contract-free devices. More often than not, these devices are indeed SIM-unlocked. Why is our ‘business model’ so much more different than Europe’s you ask? For instance, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile’s mothership) is fine and healthy in Europe under the SIM-unlocked device model, whereas T-Mobile USA almost went under about a year and a half ago. Yet we are the ones who would hurt the current economic model and overall mobile market by SIM-unlocking our devices.
So, now what? If you want a new carrier-unlocked device or want to unlock it yourself, you have about 90 days (page 21) to get things done. After this transition period is done, your device will likely never be able to accept other SIM cards. You will be trapped, bound, and chained at the carrier’s mercy. We sincerely hope that this abomination of a law gets repelled, amended, and that whoever accepted such changes to an already working model is no longer in a position to make such mistakes. If you truly think that you have the people’s interests in mind by making such idiocy into law, I have a very strong feeling that we are headed in the wrong path altogether. Carriers looked for the most obscure and twisted place to state that they want to trap you in and never let you go, something that is hidden enough from the general populace to ensure that not too many people complain and that is seemingly similar enough to the context of the rest of the law, so that not too many politicians would question it. They cleverly tied SIM-locking to a single precedent on software ownership, and somehow extrapolated that to SIM-unlocking stating that you are a cell phone owner is not owner of the software but rather a licensee. As a result, they have no right to extend its functionality. I am not sure if I am more sick about the fact that such an approach was made or that it was actually deemed as valid.
Please, if you value your freedom to choose your carrier without needing to pay hefty Early Termination Fees or having to swap handsets when your service is lacking, make your voices heard. This is NOT done in the name of stopping piracy, which is what DMCA was originally intended for. This is all orchestrated by people who only wish to find more ways of squeezing every last penny out of our pockets as consumers. Reach out to others in your circles, read into FSF, EFF, and all the other advocacy groups that work tirelessly to defend our electronic freedoms. Contact your local government officials. YOU chose them to represent YOU, and as such, they have the duty to do hear you if you have a problem with the government. Help us spread the word about the discontent of the general public. A Petition was started this past weekend, asking the President to shoot this down. We require 100,000 signatures, and so far, the petition has collected close to 29,000. If this isn’t modified, lets just say that you better make sure that you have the desired service in your area with your current carrier, because you will be together for a very, very, long time.
Thanks for reading.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
[Thanks willverduzco for the tip!]