Motorola has officially stated that the upcoming XOOM tablet will have a bootloader that can be unlocked and relocked. What does that mean? Developers will be able to purchase the first tablet designed to run Google Android 3.0 and unlock the bootloader to gain deep access to the device’s settings. And that means it might be relatively easy for hackers to develop custom ROMs and other software for the XOOM.
The reason this is exciting is because it’s kind of the opposite of what Motorola has done with pretty much every Android smartphone the company has released over the past few years. While modders have figured out how to do some pretty amazing things with Motorola Droid products, they generally don’t have kernel-level access, which limits the changes they can make to the operating system on those phones.
It sounds like the Motorola XOOM tablet, on the other hand, will be much more open to hackers and third party developers.
Of course, there’s always risk involved in unlocking the bootloader, flashing custom ROMs, or making OS-level changes to a tablet or smartphone. But it’s always nice when consumer electronics makers decide not to treat customers like babies. If you want to void your warranty, that’s your choice.