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Old 02-07-2009, 10:59 PM
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Question HTC & Open Design - Why not?

I was thinking about this tonight and decided to put it to the community. I currently own a Sprint Touch Pro, and have owned a PPC-6700 and a Mogul in the past. None of these handsets have ever done everything they promised on the box and in the advertising materials until they were modified to varying degrees by software from the hacking community.

That being the case, I wonder why HTC constantly changes things to make it harder for the hackers to work on the handsets? For example, the ExtROM was unlocked for writing on the 6700. Great, it made customization much easier. We come to the 6800, which used a different method which took more time to discover. As far as the 6850, I don't think that the method has yet been discovered. (Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.) Another example would be that HTC locks the bootloader of our handsets so that they must be hacked to even begin accepting a non-stock ROM. What purpose does that serve?

I'm aware that carriers play a role in the development cycle of the handsets, and have likely requested some of the stuff I'm talking about, but you would think that HTC would prefer to have the reputation of being hackable (ala Tivo), which is a notable boost in the eyes of gadget users. Why don't they embrace us? It's almost as if they are actively fighting us.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:12 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

It's so that some people who think that are UBER L337 don't start messing around with the ROMs that they find, and end up losing features, that sprint, verizon, telus, and altell have to spend time diagnosing despite it being the fault of the user.
Sure it makes it harder for those of us on PPCGEEKS, XDA, etc., but there are many people that are clueless...

It's the same reason car dealers reject the warrenty on modified cars, they simply do not want to deal with any faults of others.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:16 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

I had a talk with an HTC rep at a conference I went to, about this very topic.

He said they're aware of the hacking community, and they appreciate the fan following it creates, but at the same time they don't want to encourage that sort of thing.
Look, if you can put Windows 6.1 on a 6700, there's less of an incentive to upgrade to the next handset when it comes out.
Also, Microsoft has been giving a lot of heat about illegal distribution of "copyrighted material"... in fact, XDA-Developers got hit with a C&D order from MS's lawyers a few years back if I'm not mistaken- they had to take down the XDA ftp server that hosted many of the ROMs.

Still, I explained to the rep that without the community helping perfect these devices, many of us wouldn't hold on to them for long enough. But still, its a business decision on their part.
Look at Symbol's devices- they make those industrial Pocket PCs that are used in stores like Target to scan inventory, or other in-the-field deployment devices. Symbol actually gives companies a set of tools to build their own firmware (similar to our "kitchens") so that each company can customize the software running on it to fit their needs. They don't want the Target employees flashing those devices and putting coreplayer on them, now do they? Does Symbol care if they do? Not really, but Target is their customer, and THEY care.

HTC is the same thing. They release the tools to Sprint, Verizon, etc, to customize the firmware for their users. If the users figure out how to get around this stuff and do it on their own, that's our prerogative, however we are not their client. The client is the carrier, who does not want us to be able to do whatever we want on their network. So, they have to cater to the client.

If you want a company that supports and backs the sort of stuff we do around here, buy a Symbol Pocket PC and go to town on it (I'll admit they're not much to look at).
Or at least go with an open-source solution like Android that encourages you to mess with it, and won't send lawyers to sites that are trading code...
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:18 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

exactly, they want to make it just hard enough, that by the time it is found hackable, the person can "unhack" it for tech support issues. also theres big money things like sprint nav, sprint tv, sprint radio, etc that they charge monthly services for and want to make sure people use them. just like how vzw always screwed with the bluetooth so that people had to use the get it now features.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:21 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by u8myfoood View Post
It's so that some people who think that are UBER L337 don't start messing around with the ROMs that they find, and end up losing features, that sprint, verizon, telus, and altell have to spend time diagnosing despite it being the fault of the user.
Sure it makes it harder for those of us on PPCGEEKS, XDA, etc., but there are many people that are clueless...

It's the same reason car dealers reject the warrenty on modified cars, they simply do not want to deal with any faults of others.
But that would be relatively easy to solve - A BIG warning in the manual or box that non-carrier supplied system software violates the warranty if it is ever returned for service in a modified condition. Create a web page with a troubleshooting chart, appropriate stock files, and instructions on how to completely restore the handset, and they've done their bit to cover their asses.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:23 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

Thanks dishe for the very well written post.

Maybe I'm in a odd place, but what does the Touch Pro not do that the manual and ad materials say it should do? We tinker with our devices to make them do more and go the distance, but I don't rem. reading anything from HTC or Sprint saying it can do something that I can't do.

ATM I still run the Stock ROM and haven't found a reason, yet, to flash to something else (but I'm more of a ROM conservative).
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:27 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frazell View Post
Thanks dishe for the very well written post.

Maybe I'm in a odd place, but what does the Touch Pro not do that the manual and ad materials say it should do? We tinker with our devices to make them do more and go the distance, but I don't rem. reading anything from HTC or Sprint saying it can do something that I can't do.

ATM I still run the Stock ROM and haven't found a reason, yet, to flash to something else (but I'm more of a ROM conservative).
yea some people have a skewed reality on what they were promised on getting. I cant find one reputable article that said the CDMA versions of the diamond or pro were going to have the second camera/fm. It sucks that other versions had more, but those people in europe also pay way more than we do for their phones.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:33 PM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dishe View Post
Or at least go with an open-source solution like Android that encourages you to mess with it, and won't send lawyers to sites that are trading code...
Once Sprint releases an Android handset with hardware equivalent to or better than the Touch Pro, I'll likely do just that.

For the record, I was invited to a focus group about a year ago which focused on what I (and about 5 other techy users) wanted to see on a phone in 5 years if technology were not an obstacle. For 2 hours they had us brainstorming aloud and sketching on whiteboards in front of a huge piece of 2-way mirror with unidentified parties behind it. Oddly enough, my Touch Pro contains some of the very things I requested during the group - I specifically remember using my Mogul as an example of a powerful platform hobbled by lack of RAM and suggested that they quadruple it. I even went so far as to turn it on and load up Opera with several tabs and cause it to give out of memory errors which I then held up to the mirror for it to be viewed, along with my . I walked out of that group with $225 in cash and even helped spread the word of WMWiFiRouter to a couple other people afterward.

Oddly enough, I just got a call from the same focus group company a week or so ago, and will be doing another similar focus group that seems to be centering on early adopters of tech in about 10 days. Here's to hoping it works out as well as the last one.
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:46 AM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

there where aliens behind the mirror
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:28 AM
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Re: HTC & Open Design - Why not?

It's the same reason why you have to "jailbreak" your iPhone or ipod touch in Apple Land.

If they control the hardware *and* software, they gain several advantages
* forced obsolescence (more so in the WimMo case, since the carries refuse to provide updates)
* easier support (need only train reps on one, or at most a couple releases)
* reduced risk of failure during upgrades (people do the darnedest things)
* better control of the user experience

In the case of WinMo up until recently greed was the name of the game. Get as much as you can out of the customer... Mostly on the carrier side, but HTC I'm sure didn't mind. Apple claims the last reason is their primary one - "to protect people from themselves" mostly.

The game is changing, fortunately.
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