The newly-launched Essential Phone, developed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, features an unlockable bootloader.
The company confirmed that the bootloader is unlockable in response to a Twitter inquiry. A bootloader starts up the Android operating system when a phone turns on. Many bootloaders contain an extra layer of security that ensures the phone only loads an authorized operating system, meaning that users can’t run any operating system that the phone manufacturer doesn’t approve.
Hey there Ruvort, the Essential Phone will have an unlockable bootloader.
— Essential (@essential) June 1, 2017
Unlocking the bootloader allows users to run a custom ROM, like LineageOS (formerly CyanogenMod). The decision to make the bootloader unlockable is in keeping with the open-source mentality that has pervaded much of Rubin’s career with Android.
Other than the Essential Phone, devices that feature bootloaders that are easy to unlock include Google’s Nexus and Pixel handsets and the near-stock Android OnePlus handset.
The Essential Phone has a 5.7-inch, 19:10, 2560 x 1312 pixel QHD edge-to-edge screen and runs on a Snapdragon 835 chipset with 4GB of RAM.