Option to unlock the boot loader now available for advanced developers

As announced earlier, we are now launching a web page where you can get instructions and a key to unlock the boot loader of certain series of Sony Ericsson 2011 Android™ Gingerbread phones.

With its new generation of 2011 Xperia™ smartphones (including Xperia™ arc, Xperia™ neo, Xperia™ pro and Xperia™ PLAY) Sony Ericsson is allowing advanced developers to unlock the boot loader in a secure and legal way. This service will be available for certain releases of those phones. The only way to determine if you can unlock the boot loader for your phone is to connect your phone to the Fastboot tool in the Android™ SDK. For more details, please read the previous blog post on this topic: Unlocking the boot loader in the new Xperia™ smartphones.

Please note that you may void the warranty of your phone if you unlock the boot loader. See your phone’s warranty statement for details.  Additionally, due to the modified phone software, Sony Ericsson’s repair network may not be able to properly test and repair your phone according to our normal procedures.  Consequently, if Sony Ericsson does perform a warranty repair, Sony Ericsson may charge you a handling fee for any additional incurred costs due to your modification of the software.

Certain content on your phone may also be inaccessible due to the removal of DRM security keys and the secure user data partition while unlocking the boot loader.

If you still wish to unlock the boot loader of your phone, and if you are aware of the risks involved, and have a good level of knowledge of the technology, you can visit unlockbootloader.sonyericsson.com. There you will find detailed instructions on how to unlock the boot loader (if possible on your phone). Just click Start unlocking the boot loader to get started.

Karl-Johan Dahlström
Senior Program Architect at Sony Ericsson

UPDATED: For any questions, Sony Ericsson will monitor this thread on Google groups. However, we cannot guarantee an answer for every question asked in this forum.

Comments 13

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  1. By Cemil Öztürk

    #1

    Camera issue will be fixed soon? Need fix immediately…..

  2. By Rajesh Rao

    #2

    Hey Karl-Johan,

    Do you know where one can purchase unlocked, North American frequency SE phones for development purposes? I can find the Euro versions of the phones, but can’t find any NA phones.

  3. By Ming

    #3

    Relock the boot loader Possibility??

  4. By Mayank

    #4

    @Karl-Johan Dahlström
    Thanks for the reply :)

  5. By Reginald

    #5

    @Karl-Johan Dahlström
    Thanks for providing the bootloader unlocking. I’m sure you devs at SE put in a lot of effort to make this possible and it is much appreciated.
    You might be aware that over at XDA Developers, there is some effort going in to loading a kernel with root access.
    .
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1035306
    .
    So far this has been unsuccessful, and I’m wondering if you can help? I think a post there from SE devs with a suitable kernel would be unheard of. In a good way :D

  6. By Renaud Lepage

    #6

    Karl-Johan, here’s a suggestion. Just a quick, VERY dirty one, and MOST PROBABLY unsafe. But you keep control of the radio interface and some software integrity is kept.

    Create a signed “image” that unlocks access to internal memory (only for internal flash of, for example, the system, data and boot partitions), puts a bootloader which allows unsigned kernels to be booted, wipes EVERYTHING in /system and /data, and integrates a very basic bootstrap Android – basically, flash an Android recovery into /boot (kernel and ramdisk). That way, SIM integrity is preserved, data is wiped, and the bootloader is compatible with geeks.

    Make that available to select developers (at first), and then to people who -register- their X10s (much like the 2011 line process). Put -very- specific orders as to how to flash it, the dangers, and create an “electronic waiver” of sorts that basically tells the client “yeah, if this bricks my X10, SE is NOT responsible, I won’t cry like a baby, blah”.

    Sidenote: An upgrade (for an “acceptable” fee) for death-by-flash X10s would also probably be a good idea. That way you can refurbish X10s for warranty purposes (yay JTAGing the “broken” ones back to functionning state) and still make a profit off the ones who mis-flashed their X10′s into oblivion.

    Still on the “Contact the geeks” side, provide a couple of interface libraries and servers (the ril and other low-level interfaces) so that the geeks don’t have to hack around and/or reverse-engineer how to talk with the radio (and possibly find some interesting stuff :P). You get to control the interface with the radio components while at the same time sparing the community some work – positive points!

    That kind of solution shuts the geeks’ mouths up, gets them on your side, and keeps the X10 a relevant phone for people who want to get their hands dirty. For the others? Xperia Arc and Play. FYI, if the Canadian ones are bootloader-unlockable, consider me an Xperia Play user already.

    I know it’s a long-shot. I just imagined that solution in 10minutes.

  7. By Karl-Johan Dahlström

    #7

    Hi Arjoon,
    You are right, unlocking the boot loader doesn’t give root access.
    However after unlocking the boot loader there is a possibility to flash with custom SW that would allow for root access.

    Regards
    /Karl-Johan

  8. By Arjoon

    #8

    Hi Karl,

    Thanks for releasing the bootloader unlock! We as SE customers are very happy that you guys did hear our requests and actually went through with this. This strategic move is brilliant on SE’s part cause this will attract many big devs to SE phones. However, though the Bootloader has been unlocked, we now find that root access to the phone is not possible. All known methods for root access has been plugged. Without root, we’re back to square one. I’m now a little confused with the exact intentions behind SE’s move to unlock the bootloader.

    Can you kindly comment on the current situation we’re in.
    Thanks for listening.!

  9. By Karl-Johan Dahlström

    #9

    Hi Mayank,
    The Sony Ericsson certificate for signing is very restricted in usage so I’m afraid that will not be an option either. And also if you could flash with a custom signed software you could remove the SIM-lock with that software. (so we are in the same situation as with the boot loader) The SIMlock is not inside the boot loader, the boot loader is just calling a module in the SW to check if the phone is SIM locked or not.

    So unfortunately the sign key will not be an option either.

    Sorry that I can’t give you a solution for the Xperia X10.
    Regards
    /Karl-Johan

  10. By Mayank

    #11

    @Karl-Johan Dahlström

    As per my other comment if SE provides the signing key for the firmware to the devs the firmware can be signed to load on SE X10 and the sim locks can be kept intact too. As per my knowledge I don’t think loading custom firmware can unlock the sim locks as its coded into the boot loader partition.

    Please let us know if providing the signing key for the Sony Ericsson X10 is a viable solution or not. If SE provides the signing key for custom firmware:-
    1. The bricking problem will be zero as nothing is written on bootloader partition only firmware partition is written to that can be restored without any problem.
    2. The sim locking can be kept intact.
    3. The devs can load custom firmware signed from SE signing key so the devs will be happy too

    For the above solution Sony Ericsson can provide a software in the developer portal(http://developer.sonyericsson.com/wportal/devworld/home?cc=gb&lc=en) only to the registered devs where the X10 needs to be connected to PC. The software will read the mobile firmware details. If the firmware is generic then the signing key is provided from the software to download. If the firmware is branded then the signing key is not provided.

    This way devs can fully utilize the potential of Sony Ericsson X10 while the normal users/customers can use SE update tool to load official firmwares as usual.

    I don’t think doing such a thing needs much time from Sony Ericsson’s dev team. Sony Ericsson is really making its customers happy but doing something like given above will mean a lot for the devs too.

    Regards
    Mayank

  11. By Luigi Serra

    #12

    I’m not a Sony Ericsson customer, but I think that this news is awesome. Well done guys. I like it.

  12. By Leigh Honeywell

    #13

    Fantastic news – I’m really pleased to see Sony Ericsson take this step forward. Is there any chance this will also be available for older phones such as the X10? Thanks!

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