Unlocked phones and user-installed software pose much higher risk of infection by malware or corruption of system software. Most bootloader unlock apps include either a method or reminder to users to back up system images of the phones to restore them more easily if necessary.
HTC views unlockes OSes as a way to encourage both ISVs and owners to get more involved developing apps and mods for the phones, according to an interview in the WSJ with HTC CEO Peter Chou.
HTC did investigate whether it should build its own operating system to compete with Android, as Samsung has done.
It decided to stick with Android for the size and activity level of developers and owners already in the market.
"I think there's a lot we can do...it's not the operating system, it's the ecosystem...so we think we can find a way to differentiate to add value, but at the same time leverage our partners, Google and Microsoft, since we have such a great relationship with them," Chou told Dow Jones Newsires during an interview.
The first U.S. device that can use the bootloader is the EVO 3D. It only works on software version 2.08.651.2 and above, so some users may have to go through the carriers' process of firmware update before using it. EU version s of the HTC Sensation got the update earlier.
The bootloader and HTC's detailed instructions for using it are posted at the HTC developer's site HTCDEV.