AndroidEditorialsGood and EVO

If HTC really wants to woo developers, it needs to follow in Sony’s footsteps

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

For a long time now, HTC has been pretending to cater to the developer crowd. For example, it started HTCdev.com a few years ago as a way to make it easier to unlock HTC phones; however, as most of us have come to realize, HTC’s definition of “unlocked” is much different than most of the rest of the Android world. (For a quick run down on the differences between unlocking your phone with HTCdev and gaining true S-OFF, check out Paul’s post from last year.) I personally experienced quite a headache with my own unlocked EVO 4G LTE: I learned that since I still had S-ON, after the official Jelly Bean update I could no longer make any root-level system changes on my device stick after a reboot, even though the bootloader was technically unlocked.

HTC has also gone out of its way to place roadblocks in front of developers by sending shutdown requests to websites that distribute HTC Sense-based ROMs and software. HTC then refused to directly answer simple questions about why. And at the same time, it makes people want to root their devices and phones, because official updates take forever and people don’t like being spied on.

That’s why I think that if HTC really wants to woo developers, it needs to follow in Sony’s footsteps. Recently, Sony demonstrated its commitment to open source software by releasing all of the source code for its most recent flagship device, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. It’s available for download, and because it’s open source, it can be freely distributed and modified. Sony also makes it fairly easy to fully unlock a device’s bootloader, without jumping through the sometimes dangerous hoops that HTC requires in order to gain full S-OFF.

Quite frankly, HTC needs to stop the BS. It says that it supports developers, but then its actions tell another story. It’s no secret that HTC has struggled to keep its sales numbers up throughout the past year, so it can’t afford to alienate any segment of the population – especially phone enthusiasts, who often make the smartphone purchasing decisions for the rest of their friends and families.

While Sony lets developers do whatever they want on their phones, HTC’s bootloaders remain an unnecessary obstacle, and its camera drivers and radios remain closed source. Sony, on the other hand, has demonstrated that you don’t necessarily need a Nexus or a Google Play Experience device to truly unlock a phone’s potential. HTC apparently still has a lot to learn.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

Avatar of John F

9 thoughts on “If HTC really wants to woo developers, it needs to follow in Sony’s footsteps

  • Avatar of Fifth313ment

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. One of the reasons I’ve dropped HTC is they don’t listen to their customers. No removable battery or microSD card slot is a lose lose for me and I’m done until they come back to reality, or go out of business. Although I think the latter might happen first.

    5th

    Reply
  • I’m not so sure Sony is the example to follow – take a look at the Tablet S – this is a tablet that has no unlock, and they keep releasing updates that down it.

    Got it rooted after months stuck with the R5A firmware, but they’ve destroyed development on the thing with a locked bootloader, updates that just address root exploits, etc.

    Then again, I’m only really experienced with that tablet in their line of stuff

    Reply
    • Yeah I agree sony isnt alway great. Truth is if you want an unlocked phone these days nexus is gonna the only option. Take for example Samsung, its a great phone but custom roms almost always suck as samsung doesntrelease the binaries so no point in having bootloader unlocked anyway. Having said that when looking at the latest 4.3 and how root is handled, you have to ask yourself how long android will still be custom rom paradise.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Fifth313ment

        I think John was saying that they are trying to change (changing) and moving in the right direction, while HTC says they are changing but staying stagnant. Sony is at least trying to turn it around. Just the vibe I got from John’s editorial.

        5th

        Reply
        • Yes – maybe that wasn’t clear enough. Sony has obviously learned from its past mistakes, and it’s moving forward. HTC say it has learned, but its actions don’t really indicate any significant changes.

          Reply
  • After 5 HTC devices in row I jumped to the S4 due to bootloader drama, SD card and removable battery. issue. I really wanted the HTC One but got tired of the dance for S-Off I had with EVO LTE. I truly hope they change their tune or I’ll never return.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Fifth313ment

      Exactly, I’m going to the Note 3. I started to root my EVO LTE and it was such a pain in the butt I gave up, lol. I just don’t have the time.

      5th

      Reply
  • Avatar of guitardoc64

    The first line sums it up. 100% of the reason I switched to Samsung from HTC is the disregard they show to real development. They have continued to relieve themselves in their food bowl.

    Reply
  • Don’t forget they never release source in a timely manner. 6 months from launch of device is not compliant.

    Reply

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