1. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Recently I saw on Reddit a post showing the changelog for Huawei's Android Pie update. So "what's so special about that?", you might ask. Well, they decided to BAN third party launchers using the update. This piece of news sparked, yet again, my long-running fear of excessive manufacturer/government control over devices that belong to us.

    It all started when Huawei announced that they would quit unlocking bootloaders. There explanation for it was totally stupid. I initially passed it off as a security measure that wouldn't affect me since I don't own any Huawei devices. Well, fast forward to earlier this week when I saw said Reddit post about Huawei banning third party launchers. This not only sealed my decision not to ever get a Huawei phone, but it also made me realize what might happen in the future. I'm afraid that other companies (and maybe even Google itself) might follow Huawei's example and start putting unexceptable restrictions on devices, combined with non-unlockable bootloaders to prevent you from loading custom ROMs that you would normally load to get around restrictions or extend the useful life of your device. I'm scared that in the future, we will end up with devices being force-obsoleted every year (or less even) and having crazy restrictions like near-zero customization or no APK sideloading and not being able to revive the devices by loading custom ROMs short of hacking an encrypted bootloader. I mean, why do people just seem to accept this form of "tech totalitarianism"? Combine above mentioned possible scenario along with the fact that the internet freedom is being messed with by big corporations and governments, and we could end up losing our freedom to do with our own devices whatever we want. I'm super afraid of a possible technologically-induced dystopia situation. I normally wouldn't be scared about a simple theory like this, but the fact that every tech thing (good or bad) I've predicted in the past several years has come true 2-3 years earlier than expected means that I am quite worried about what the future might hold. I love technology, but hate being told what to do with it.

    Any ideas or alternative theories/opinions would be nice to hear.
    12-13-2018 04:01 PM
  2. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Manufacturers have the right to impose any restriction on their devices they want. Sure, you purchased it, but it's similar to music. You may have bought the CD, but you are still restricted on how to use it (in that case, due to copyright laws).

    Will others follow suit with what Huawei is doing? Only time will tell but I do think it's too early to get worked up over. If the backlash is bad enough, other manufacturers won't even consider those things. Then again, we have the notch... At some point we'll have to vote with our dollars. I'm already doing that by holding on to my V20. Everything on the market today has too many downsides for me to justify replacing it with a newer phone (I refuse to call current devices a true upgrade).

    Don't forget, the biggest selling point for Android is individuality and accessibility. I'm sure options will be there for years to come. After all, if I wanted an Apple device and locked into everything, I'd just go buy an iPhone.
    12-13-2018 04:24 PM
  3. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    This might be a temporary thing too. Huawei might not think it's temporary, but like Mooncatt said, if enough people buy other phones, the message might get through.

    However....I would say that anyone who knows you can change the launcher, and in effect most of the UI of the phone, is in the upper 25% of users. And that number might be generous. So this might be a thing to stay for Huawei.
    milleniumdroid likes this.
    12-13-2018 09:14 PM
  4. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Ok, yeah. I understand both of you views. I really had started to panic when I saw the news about that stupidity from Huawei, since I am a power user who's heavily dependent on custom launchers and the a ability to sideload apps. Also, what do you guys think about the hardware restrictions? I'm really tired of this non-removable battery trend.
    J Dubbs likes this.
    12-14-2018 12:33 AM
  5. L0n3N1nja's Avatar
    I see no more control happening now than I did a few years ago. Android OEMs have always done things differently from one another.

    Hauwei decided to remove 3rd party launchers, well that's their decision and probably won't hurt them.

    Google removed Miracast from Android, but Samsung and others still use it, but Google wants to force Pixel owners to use Chromecast.

    Samsung has had locked down bootloaders for years making it near impossible to install a ROM on some models. Samsung has also never allowed an SD card to be used as adoptable storage when nearly every Android OEM did.

    LG decided we didn't need an app drawer anymore, went to all icons like an iPhone.

    Apple, obviously not Android, but iOS has always been restricted and people don't seem to care.

    The device manufacturers have always controlled and placed restrictions on their hardware. Just because you bought it doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with it.

    I also don't view the sealed batteries as a hardware restriction. It doesn't in anyway restrict or limit how I would use the phone.
    12-14-2018 01:39 AM
  6. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Ok, those small things like casting don't really bother me since I don't cast stuff. The reason I don't like non-removable batteries is that they are basically telling you how long you can use your phone and that it will be obsolete once they stop offering replacement services. With removable batteries you can slap in ANY third-party battery and get a really old phone working for whatever you might want to use it for. Also, when you PAY for a phone, it becomes your property and you should be allowed to do whatever software mods you want, and all that WITHOUT voiding the warranty. Imagine you bought a Windows 10 laptop but wanted to, for example, dual boot it with ReactOS or Ubuntu, and that that simple dual-boot procedure voided your warranty. Even worse, imagine that they android-style voided your warranty if you simply reinstalled Windows! How come we can mess around with the OS on our computers all we want, but not on our smartphones and tablets?! Imagine your PC had a locked bootloader/BIOS and you got malware that messed up your OS. You can't fix it yourself since your bootloader is locked. I still have a few devices in my retired device cabinet from looooong before they put together the whole locked bootloader crap. Two of these are both running custom ROMs (one of them shipped with 4.2 and I have LineageOS 14.1 on it!). Why can't we have that old freedom that we used to have?! This is starting to become like a tech version of fascism!
    12-14-2018 03:39 AM
  7. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Also, when you PAY for a phone, it becomes your property and you should be allowed to do whatever software mods you want, and all that WITHOUT voiding the warranty.
    So you're saying that if someone starts meddling with things in their phone that was never designed or intended for the general public to access, and that causes the phone to no longer work, they should be able to make a warranty claim? That's what it sounds like you're saying, which I would disagree with. Warranties are for manufacturer defects, not user error/abuse.
    12-14-2018 06:11 AM
  8. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    If you can do it on a PC and retain warranty, the you should on phone too. Reinstalling firmware is like reinstalling PC OS.
    12-14-2018 06:52 AM
  9. Mooncatt's Avatar
    If you can do it on a PC and retain warranty, the you should on phone too. Reinstalling firmware is like reinstalling PC OS.
    The general public isn't meant to be able to reinstall the OS, but factory resetting is the equivalent for Android and does not void your warranty.

    To some extent not everything voids the warranty and there are laws in the U.S. that protect consumers from improperly denied warranty claims (the Magnusson Moss Act, I believe). The problem is that if you were making changes not designed for by the OEM, you'd have to prove what you did was not the cause for the defect. The time and effort needed to prove that would cost more than the price of fixing the phone out of pocket. So for all intents and purposes, you may as well say you voided the warranty.
    milleniumdroid likes this.
    12-14-2018 07:00 AM
  10. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Ok, I get the point. I know about those laws and in some countries custom ROMs or at least rooting will NOT void your warranty. I guess maybe I'm a little to carried away thinking ROMs shouldn't void the warranty, but root access??? That is like taking admin permissions combined with taking system level permissions in Windows, which doesn't void your PC warranty. I think they should, to prevent issues, have a DEDICATED read-only chip in phones that if a user messed up, it reflashes the whole system to stock and puts back the warranty bit. This would allow users, even less experienced ones, to mess around all they want without voiding warranties or possibly ruining their phones. Kinda like the recovery partition found on many brand-name laptops, but just on a separate chip that is hardware protected against modifications.
    12-14-2018 07:50 AM
  11. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    Ok, I get the point. I know about those laws and in some countries custom ROMs or at least rooting will NOT void your warranty. I guess maybe I'm a little to carried away thinking ROMs shouldn't void the warranty, but root access??? That is like taking admin permissions combined with taking system level permissions in Windows, which doesn't void your PC warranty. I think they should, to prevent issues, have a DEDICATED read-only chip in phones that if a user messed up, it reflashes the whole system to stock and puts back the warranty bit. This would allow users, even less experienced ones, to mess around all they want without voiding warranties or possibly ruining their phones. Kinda like the recovery partition found on many brand-name laptops, but just on a separate chip that is hardware protected against modifications.
    Let's look at the PC thing from a different perspective. I've built several PCs. On a PC and an Android phone, you push the power button and a small script fires the CPU and RAM, beginning the boot process. Now, here is where we need to differentiate between a phone and a PC. The bootloader on a PC is in the motherboard. It has to be, because you can build a PC with no OS on a drive, and you get a splash screen of the board OEM, and then it tells you that there is no OS on any of the drives. In fact, the previously mentioned screen is something many builders do to ensure all the new parts made a POST (Power On Self Test) correctly. If you don't see that screen something has gone wrong.

    ASUS does not warranty boards if there has been modifications made by non authorized personnel. Link So if you apply a BIOS update and flash the wrong one, not only will that brick the board, but if ASUS can find out that happened (and it wouldn't surprise me if they could), that would be a denied warranty.

    The fact that the BIOS is a separate program (even an OS by rough definition) may be part of the reason why OEMs of PCs don't care what you did to Windows. In fact, ASUS (let's say this is an ASUS PC) may even say that's a Windows thing, not ours.

    Now to the phone side of things: You buy a phone from Samsung, and root it, you have now messed with their version of Android. Root access can do wonderful things; and some very horrible things. Anything can be deleted with root access....even files needed to boot the device. I know; I've done it myself. Accidentally deleted a data file that bricked a Galaxy 2.

    Now to go off on a third path....I really think OEMs should offer people a method to root their device from day one. Have them create an account on a developer version of the website, download all the tools needed with instructions. But, here is the caveat; once downloaded you sign an agreement that rooting voids the warranty.
    12-14-2018 10:02 AM
  12. itic's Avatar
    Were living in a era where data..its harvesting, processing, and value drive the process and not the other way around. I didnt know that Huawei's IU was as if not more invasive than say apple or samsung. Arent all manufacturers now requiring keys to unlock bootloaders or like Huawei, saying sorry nope you cant unlock the bootloader? I think its the manufacturers way of securing their harvesting of user profile data thats seems more profitable then the devices they make.

    In regard to PC OSs, ive about had it with the dame MS 10 environment and am about to stick to using the chrome OS on everything. There just seems like theres no need to have to deal with the likes of MS-windows crap.
    12-14-2018 11:48 AM
  13. hallux's Avatar
    I think some of it comes down to the banks wanting to ensure your account information in Google Pay (or Samsung Pay) remains secure. When you open up root access, that could be seen as opening a security hole so Google locks out Google Pay on rooted devices (unless efforts are made to mask root from the app, but the risk is still there).
    12-14-2018 12:06 PM
  14. Mooncatt's Avatar
    The fact that the BIOS is a separate program (even an OS by rough definition) may be part of the reason why OEMs of PCs don't care what you did to Windows. In fact, ASUS (let's say this is an ASUS PC) may even say that's a Windows thing, not ours.
    Which leads to so much finger pointing and claims of "that's their problem, not ours," that you may as well give up on any warranty claim and bite the bullet to pay for a repair shop to fix it anyway.
    12-14-2018 12:08 PM
  15. milleniumdroid's Avatar
    Ok, so I know about the whole BIOS update thing on PCs. In Windows, there is a bootloader too, in pre-Win10 it was NTLDR. Why do you need that if you already have your BIOS/UEFI to throw you into the kernel? On the other hand it seems to me, from what I've read, that the bootloader on Android resides on the SAME internal storage and REPLACES the BIOS by loading the linux kernel and then handing over complete control of everything to that kernel which in turn boots Android. it seems to be a UEFI bootloader, which is basically a replacement for a standard UEFI-enabled BIOS that can be found on newer computers. I mean, I know our phones are using hardware for embedded devices alright, but couldn't they have offloaded the bootloader to a separate chip so that they wouldn't have a basis to void your warranty if you messed up something when using root access or flashing customROMs (they would at most charge you a small reflashing fee if you didn't want to fix it yourself, just like a computer shop such as my local one would charge just under $10 for a fresh install of Windows if you didn't wanna do it yourself or did not own a copy)? Sometimes I think manufacturers do this crap on purpose so that they can ensure they sell more phones, which is an extremely dishonest practice and should be investigated sooner or later. I honestly cannot wait for a decently-speced open-source phone to come out, although that might happen soon if chipmakers start bulk-adopting RISC V architecture and somebody gets ARM to RISC V translation working under Android/Linux.
    12-14-2018 12:26 PM
  16. Golfdriver97's Avatar
    Ok, so I know about the whole BIOS update thing on PCs. In Windows, there is a bootloader too, in pre-Win10 it was NTLDR. Why do you need that if you already have your BIOS/UEFI to throw you into the kernel? On the other hand it seems to me, from what I've read, that the bootloader on Android resides on the SAME internal storage and REPLACES the BIOS by loading the linux kernel and then handing over complete control of everything to that kernel which in turn boots Android. it seems to be a UEFI bootloader, which is basically a replacement for a standard UEFI-enabled BIOS that can be found on newer computers. I mean, I know our phones are using hardware for embedded devices alright, but couldn't they have offloaded the bootloader to a separate chip so that they wouldn't have a basis to void your warranty if you messed up something when using root access or flashing customROMs (they would at most charge you a small reflashing fee if you didn't want to fix it yourself, just like a computer shop such as my local one would charge just under $10 for a fresh install of Windows if you didn't wanna do it yourself or did not own a copy)? Sometimes I think manufacturers do this crap on purpose so that they can ensure they sell more phones, which is an extremely dishonest practice and should be investigated sooner or later. I honestly cannot wait for a decently-speced open-source phone to come out, although that might happen soon if chipmakers start bulk-adopting RISC V architecture and somebody gets ARM to RISC V translation working under Android/Linux.
    There is a somewhat open source phone. https://forums.androidcentral.com/sh...d.php?t=929668

    So I went down a rabbit hole called 'the internet' this morning....
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    12-14-2018 01:03 PM

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