It was only a couple of weeks ago when we reported on Sony and the fact that they were turning down people needing their Android devices repaired if they have, or have had, their bootloaders unlocked. While we discussed this issue back then and the irony about the situation, Sony has come out to speak on the matter a bit more.
For a quick recap on what has happened, Sony was turning down repairs on Sony Android devices who have had their bootloaders unlocked. Ironically, Sony Ericsson provided tools for doing exactly this which Sony continued on doing after they bought out Sony Ericsson. They even provide step-by-step guides for unlocking Sony Android devices and their bootloaders. Some people who had sent their devices in while unlocked tried again after returning their device to normal, only to be shipped back still broken.
Speaking with Phone Arena on the matter, Sony was a little more than blunt when it comes to this whole situation. Here is the full statement from Sony about the matter:
“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 center 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.”
Considering the people who unlock their devices tend to be more on the tech savvy side, doing a wide variety of things with their newly unlocked phones, Sony apparently has a bit of a different outlook on people who unlock their bootloaders, calling them ‘less sophisticated’. Like we pointed out in our previous article about this issue, perhaps people wouldn’t be surprised at being turned down repairs due to their warranty being voided if the warning was a bit more definitive about it, saying it will void the warranty instead of saying it may void it.
Another solution, don’t provide a dedicated section to unlocking them with guides and tools to do so, at least not publicly and maybe only to developers who sign up for it and acknowledge the whole voiding of the warranty in the process, since the rest of the Android world who does it seems to be a little less sophisticated.