Talk about a mixed message. Sony is still recovering from their recent hacks, and blaming anonymous hackers for helping breach their "security". On the other hand Sony Ericsson Blog has recently posted instruction on how people can unlock and hack their own phones.
Sure, Sony and Sony Ericsson are different enough, but this still seems a little odd.
Of course it is great that there is information available about people can have full control over the devices they have purchased, however it is rare for a company to post such information themselves.
Their blog post gives information on how one can compile a custom kernel for their Android-based Xperia phone in order to change it's functionality in ways that weren't possible with the original software. The guide provides an overview of what the Linux kernel is, why modify it, how to get the kernel source, how to configure the kernel source, how to compile it, and subsequently flash it to your device. It's a good read even if you don't have a lot of knowledge of Linux development. Go ahead, read it.
Of course there one needs to be aware that doing so will permanently void the warranty of the phone, even if one flashes back the original ROM in the device. This is only fair though.
The software world has somehow come to rely on locking measures that the world of hardware never had to deal with. We are quite used to getting our microwaves, and TVs services by 3rd parties, especially when out of warranty. We have also come to understand that modifying our devices in any way not permitted by the manufacturer will void the warranty contract we have with them. Surely it isn't always fair, but it often reaches a middle-ground in protecting the manufacturers and the customers.
One would expect similar freedom with software, especially since damaged software can always be "re flashed" / "reset" to its original state. Middle ground can easily be reached by giving people an option to unlock their device and use whatever software on it they wish. However that is often not the case.
It is good to see that Sony Erricson understands this. Unfortunately Sony still remains stubbornly obtuse.
To discuss this article visit its forum entry here