For the most part, first impressions of Motorola's recently launched Droid X have been largely positive, but it's the eFuse chip contained inside that's getting all the attention. As was reported all over the place last week, modders who muck with the device's bootloader will set off the chip and end up with a bricked smartphone for their trouble, but that's all a bunch of hogwash, says Motorola, who set out to clear the air.
"Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner, and legal requirements," Motorola wrote in an email to Engadget. 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 reboot once approved software is reinstalled."
In other words, altering the phone's firmware won't result in a dead device like many had feared, but it does sound as though the Droid X will be harder to hack than other smartphones. Does that mean it will be impossible? We highly doubt it, given the modding community's never-die attitude, especially now that we know the Droid X isn't any danger of dying either.
Motorola's Droid X has been stirring up quite the stink on the Internet lately, with several websites pointing out how the device's eFuse chip could potentially spell the end of third-party mods.
Here's how it works. The eFuse chip is tasked with verifying the handset's firmware (ROM), the kernel, and the bootoader version. If it detects that something is awry -- like a third-party ROM -- the eFuse chip "ignites," so to speak, bricking the phone. The only way to undo the damage is to ship the device off to Motorola and hope that they'll be sympathetic to your plight. Perhaps you fell down a long flight of steps and through a series of bumps and bangs, you inadvertently downloaded a third-party ROM and installed it.
Sounds pretty gruesome, right? But let's back up a moment. It's now coming to light that the eFuse chip isn't anything new, and in fact it's included on all of TI's OMAP3 processors. Why is that relevant? Well, the gloom and doom scenario being played out in the press hasn't been an issue for past devices with the eFuse mechanism, like the original Droid and Milestone, and it would be odd if Motorola suddenly switched directions with the Droid X.
Let's not forget that the ability to mod is a huge draw for the Android platform, and something like this wouldn't be good for either Motorola or Google.
Would you be okay with Motorola locking down its hardware and bricking modded devices, or does something like this cross the line? Does all the hoopla surrounding eFuse influence your decision on whether or not to get a Droid X?