Sony: only 'less sophisticated users' would fail to realise risks of unlocking the bootloader
Same users shocked by shininess of screen
A couple of weeks ago, we ran a story about Sony Xperia devices being refused repairs because their owners had unlocked their bootloader.
The process was deemed a breach of the warranty, even though Sony has a dedicated section on its website for those looking to unlock the bootloader.
Speaking to Phone Arena, Sony has now clarified its position on unlocked bootloaders, and it's fair to say that the company isn't mincing its words.Honour thy words
"For most issues/problems, unlocking the bootloader voids the warranty. Sony Mobile only honours the warranty if it is a known issue in that model/batch of phones or if it is an issue that clearly could not have been caused by flashing a different ROM.
"Because a new ROM can have a wide range of consequences (e.g., it can overheat the battery or change the voltage, which can damage other components), that basically means that only a small subset of issues are still covered by the warranty.
"Therefore, even when the phone is in warranty, the service centre usually has to do a very costly board swap in order to get the phone back to its original state before it can perform any repair. The end-user has to pay for that part of the repair.
"We are proud of providing the unlock feature to the developer community. Previously, there was a large risk of bricking the phone when unlocking with third party software. Sony Mobile's solution removes that risk.
"When we initially provided the unlock feature, it was presumed that only highly skilled developers and super-users would take advantage of it. From blogs and discussion boards, it was clear that the community understood the risks and that unlocking largely voided the warranty.
"It appears that less sophisticated users (despite all our warnings) might be using the feature, and are now surprised by the consequences."Spoils of war
As we all know, Android users are the most sophisticated smartphone owners around, but Sony seems to think a dirty underclass has been trying to free up its phones without really knowing what it's getting into and spoiling it for the rest of us.
The message is clear, though: mess around with your bootloader and you void your warranty. UNLESS the problem that requires fixing is an issue with a batch of phones... and even then you're likely to be turned away.
Our advice: check in the mirror before you start tinkering. If you're wearing a monocle and sipping a brandy, you're probably sophisticated enough to continue.