Engadget asked Motorola for a comment on the recent controversy regarding the Droid X's eFuse technology and bootloader and got a response from Motorola. Apparently, the eFuse technology will, in Engadget's words, "shut down a phone with an unapproved bootloader -- but it won't brick the phone, it just needs "approved software" to be dropped back on there."
"Motorola's primary focus is the security of our end users and protection of their data, while also meeting carrier, partner and legal requirements. The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed. Checking for a valid software configuration is a common practice within the industry to protect the user against potential malicious software threats. Motorola has been a long time advocate of open platforms and provides a number of resources to developers to foster the ecosystem including tools and access to devices via MOTODEV at http://developer.motorola.com."
BoyGeniusReport tries to make the message a little easier to understand. Apparently, "if un-approved software is detected on the device, the device will not boot until the approved software is restored."
As for whether the term "bricked" should apply to the phone after this event happens, Phandroid writes that:
The term “bricked” is usually used to describe a device that’s practically useless (more accurately, it renders the phone inoperable at hardware or software level), and a phone that can only boot into recovery until official Motorola software is reinstalled sounds pretty useless to me. Anyone trying to throw custom firmware on it would have to hope that a system dump is kept in tact for them to throw onto their microSD card and attempt to bring their phone back to (usable) life.
Android Central adds that "I'm sure has a big old target on it now -- the biggest challenge draws the brightest people :) I hope Moto's new trick doesn't work, and that they change their ways in the future, but I'm not expecting it."
Those of you thinking of buying the Droid X (or already have it) can breathe a little easier now that Motorola "isn't out to destroy your multi-hundred-dollar investment."
Image from Engadget