Xiaomi has announced a move, which could possibly be one of the worst things we have seen in the world of Android for a long time.
The Chinese OEM, has said that it has begun locking the bootloader for the Redmi Note 3, Mi 4c, and Mi Note Pro.
Prior controversies: Lack of Android Updates, no flagship in 2015:
This isn’t the first controversial decision from the company. Xiaomi refused to update its Android devices to Lollipop, with its forum mods repeatedly bashing users for requesting an update. The excuses were always “there are few developers” or “MIUI 7 is just as good as Lollipop”, which it wasn’t. For a company which recently claimed it sold 70 million devices in 2015, the “few developers” excuse is incredibly lame.
And then there is the fact that it did not release a flagship device globally for more than a year, with the Mi 5 expected to debut next month.
Xiaomi’s excuse is weak:
Xiaomi in its defense has used the very fact. that since its devices aren’t available globally, third party sellers tend to install malware or bloatware on the devices, before shipping them to unaware buyers. ?It claims this issue exists in China too, possibly a reference to the grey market.
But Xiaomi fails to understand is the fact, that such buyers are probably well aware of the issue, and tend to factory reset and wipe the device, and install a fresh clean ROM. This of course, is impossible when the bootloader is locked. This only applies to Chinese Developer ROMS, but could change soon.
MIUI Forums and bizarre rules:
Xiaomi’s MIUI forums has been a bizarre one ever since I’ve know it existed. Users have to comment to thread to unlock the download link, attached to a post. In other words, they invite users to spam the thread to download.
As a result of this ridiculous rule, it is pretty much impossible to find an honest feedback post, in a thread that is miles and miles long because of garbage posts which users posted to get access to the file. So, it is not remotely surprising that the Chinese OEM, chose the controversial forums requirement to
make force, users to unlock their bootloader.
Complicated unlocking procedure nd potential warranty issues:
The unlocking procedure is actually quite complicated. First the user will need to download a recovery file from the ROM and copy it to the phone. and install it using the updater app. This will completely erase the device’s content and the next step is logging into an Mi Account, which needs to have unlocking permission enabled. Basically you need to have an MIUI forums account, and have to apply for unlocking, and get it approved. After which you will need to use a PC and the Mi Flash Tool on it to unlock the device.
To make things worse, the unlocked status is stored on Xiaomi’s server, and could mean that there may be potential warranty issues.
Xiaomi faces user backlash after making the announcement:
Naturally users were anything but pleased ad took to its forums, to slam the company’s decision. Not all users use the Mi Account on their phone, due to privacy concerns, and making this a mandatory one, is also likely to frustrate or even put off users.
We honestly think that locking the bootloader of its phones is such a bad move, that power users, who flash roms/root the device, will no longer buy the company’s products. This could hurt Xiaomi’s sales badly, and we hope it rethinks the decision.