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New Android Phone Uses a Hardware Rootkit to Prevent Customization

Looks like the latest Android phone from T-Mobile includes some pretty awful technology—it is hard-wired to prevent you from doing any real customization with your phone, and will reinstall the locked-down OS if you decide to jailbreak it.

Unfortunately, the G2 also comes with built-in hardware that restricts what software a device owner might wish to install. Specifically, one of the microchips embedded into the G2 prevents device owners from making permanent changes that allow custom modifications to the the Android operating system.

This is a really sad trend in the Android world, with all the major carriers trying to figure out how they can make a quick buck by limiting what you can do with that phone you’re paying loads of money every month to use.

T-Mobile sneaks “rootkit” into G2 phones – reinstalls locked-down OS after jailbreaking [Boing Boing]

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/6/10

Comments (10)

  1. EricGoodnight

    Best. Screenshot. Ever.

  2. eric

    Oh no android owners

  3. Camilo Martin

    Reminds me of that infamous Sony rootkit. Sony nowdays is facing financial problems precisely because of it’s restrictive and closed attitude (example: no “Other OS” feature on newer firmwares of the PS3) causing end-user outrages, and I highly doubt an obscure company as T Mobile will last long with such a behaviour.

  4. Kevin

    The percentage of people who want to hack their phones’ operating system is really low. I don’t think that many people will care.

  5. Roi

    @Kevin
    Are you kidding? This is Android we’re talking about!

  6. James

    Um, Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of the whole “open source platform” ? I’m with t mobile yep they suck ass and will as the great R.Lee Ermey said (paraphrased) they type of company to bang you in the ass with out lube and not have the courtesy to give you a reach around!

  7. bobby

    at&t and t-mobile suck. Google should do something about it. I mean, not even iphone play that rude. All they are gonna get by doing that is to make people go o a diferrent company. I am sure the “hardware ROOTKIT” nickname will work perfectly to make them look really bad. Although, we should come up with a name that mom and dad would understand such as “spying chip software” or something lol

  8. ProstheticHead

    Don’t buy one. They will get the message.

  9. Jeff

    Wouldn’t this go against the recent ruling that said end-users could jailbreak a phone if they wanted? I’m not certain of the details of the issue but it had to do with the iPhone and Job’s desire to make jailbreaking illegal. Turns out it falls under fair use. I would think this would be a breach of that fair use.

  10. Steve

    @Jeff

    Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean they can’t do everything in their power to stop you.

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