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- - - - -

Orange: San Diego is bootloader locked and staying that way


Following on from our review of the Orange San Diego, we've been looking into the bootloader lock / rooting / security situation including asking for an official line from Orange. This morning, my worst fears were confirmed... the device is completely locked down.

In the words of an Orange spokesperson...

Security of the platform is very important to our customers. The device comes with an OS that is fairly flexible and you can load a large number of apps that don’t impact the ROM on the phone itself. If phones aren’t security locked it’s possible that someone could develop a virus that could cause a large amount of harm to the device and/or personal security of our customers.

One of the features of our devices is the programmable security engine on the platform. This is done to protect the ROM and the boot loader from corruption or from being overwritten. All production devices are secured utilizing keyed encryption.

For these reasons, the San Diego can’t be unlocked, and we don’t have any future plans to offer the ability to unlock it.


This confirms what I have seen in my research to date - the device will not boot a modified boot or recovery image. This also suggests that if we DO get root via an exploit and manage to write the Superuser files to the system partition, the device then may also not boot if the main system partition is being checked too. We have seen numerous Ice Cream Sandwich leaks for the devices (engineering releases with Superuser access), but these do not flash to retail devices, suggesting test devices have unlocked bootloaders and recovery partitions that flash test signed update zips.

This news will be quite a disappointment to those (myself included) who hoped the San Diego would succeed the San Francisco as the enthusiasts phone of choice. Aside from messing around with ROMs and the like, a number of applications I use on a daily basis NEED root access so the phone really isn't for me (to the extent I now have to decide whether to sell it on).

The big manufacturers have learnt now that this isn't the way forward and giving consumers choice is the way to be successful... it seems Orange have yet to learn this (I was going to write 'the networks' but kudos to Vodafone for shipping the Ascend G300 with an open configuration).

A final thought for Orange / Intel... although you've locked down the phone, you haven't done a great job. A user with a basic (dangerous) level of fastboot knowledge can 'fastboot flash' both the boot and recovery partitions, effectively 'bricking' the phone.

About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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206 Comments

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boristhespie
Jun 20 2012 04:39 PM
Barein mind Orange are a French company. As such, as a consumer you are all wrong. The French are always right. They don't do changes of opinion. So Orange wont budge.
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razzmataz1478
Jun 20 2012 04:48 PM
I thought the phone was made by Gigabyte??
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There are 3 companies that make it (or at least 3 names) http://www.modaco.co...r-the-San-Diego
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razzmataz1478
Jun 20 2012 04:54 PM
But as far as I know, Gigabyte will be the manufacturer, so has anyone asked them?

Gigabyte: http://rootzwiki.com...lava-xolo-x900/
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captainkremmen
Jun 20 2012 05:26 PM

There are 3 companies that make it (or at least 3 names) http://www.modaco.co...r-the-San-Diego


The Orange San Diego is apparently only made by Gigabyte though. The other models, although pretty much identical in that they too have stuck to the Intel reference design with only minor cosmetic changes, are made by other companies. I guess you could compare it to the PC market, in that you may have three PCs that have identical specs but one is made by Lenovo, another by Dell and the third by Gateway. Under the hood they are the same machines, with components from the same companies, and even their cases may be similar, but they are made by different companies on different production lines and have minor differences in such things as the bios (or bootloader perhaps in the case of phones) and differences in software.
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May I add my own thoughts? Not rants, but just listed.

First, thank you Paul for all the effort on this. I understand your wish to move on.

Second, Gigabyte are not an unknown/minor/never heard of company. They are well known in the computer hardware world as motherboard and graphics card manufacturers and also make other computer peripherals. And they also have their own branded smartphones, just they're not seen on the UK market. (I've no axe to grind on their behalf.)

Third, I don't think it would serve any point going direct to either Intel or Gigabyte. They have contracts with Orange which will probably have included full specifications of the phone, including this non-bootloader unlocking. Therefore any provision by Intel or Gigabyte to allow us any means of getting round this issue would likely mean they would be in breach of contract with Orange. Gigabyte probably aren't concerned one way or the other about this restriction (apart from contract breach) but Intel almost certainly are. It's their baby and they (think they) know best how to bring it up. We disagree with them, but it's their choice.

Fourth, I appreciate that people like Paul may have a need for an unlocked/rooted/etc phone to run certain apps, but surely not everone on here regards this issue as a "deal breaker"? In its own right, the San Diego is a good phone, even ignoring its low price. The general consensus on the net and several reviews I've seen say so too. I was glad to get rid of everything orange on my SF (thanks again Paul), and have a clean version of Android 2.3.7 on it in the end, but although disappointed that I can't (yet) do the same with the SD I'm not going to get too upset and lose sleep. After all, I still have a fairly good looking phone, a decent camera, it plays flash, web browsing is fine. And it's good as a phone too. Having set my own desktop wallpaper (a picture of the Eagle Nebula, my daughter's studying astrophysics!) and installed a few apps of preference (Smartkeyboard Pro, Dolphin, etc) I can I can put up with the bloat and simply ignore the Orange stuff.

Fifth, I can't comprehend the lack of ICS at launch but at least Orange are making a firm committment to ugrade, unlike their vague intimations in the early days of the SF.

Now, what's Microsoft's new tablet going to be like to use?...
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I was considering this phone as a gift to my wife, very frustrating news.
Nevertheless, I had Motorola Defy which bootloader was locked too but this fact didn't prevent it from posibility to flash some custom ROMs, lets hope for best :)
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Exactly what I think.
This device is absolutely awesome for the price and it does everything one would need from a device.
The features easily make me forget root and custom roms,yeah would be nice but certainly not a deal breaker for me.
The full HD video,High res display and intel atom processor is all good with me :D
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I'm with jikobutsu on this one! It's a fantastic device (although I don't own one yet - have played with it in an Orange shop) but i guess most people visiting this forum knew that already! I was thinking, to bring a positive out of this dark news of the imminent lack of rooting ability that maybe their sales would suffer as a result... meaning an even more bargainacious device for those patient enough to wait.

That theory was blown out the water however with the arrival (yesterday) of the OSD television advert on Orange's YouTube :-(



But, to turn it around again, with Orange and Intel insisting that this is a hit by throwing gold bars at it, there will inevitably be an imminent mass of peeps trying to find a rooting solution.

Oh, btw (above) Gigabyte manufactured the xolo x900, Orange San Diego, and Orange avec Intel Inside (French version of OSD) the only physical difference is the back cover.
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That advert scares the life out of me. So much CGI.... hopefully more people will get this now....
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If anyone is interested in selling there phone I would be interested. I have a zte crescent but really like the sound of these and will use my zte for Modding
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That advert scares the life out of me. So much CGI.... hopefully more people will get this now....


Hell yeah.. I think I've seen that driver before (on kids tv in the 80's)! lol

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glossywhite
Jun 20 2012 09:14 PM

May I add my own thoughts? Not rants, but just listed.

First, thank you Paul for all the effort on this. I understand your wish to move on.

Second, Gigabyte are not an unknown/minor/never heard of company. They are well known in the computer hardware world as motherboard and graphics card manufacturers and also make other computer peripherals. And they also have their own branded smartphones, just they're not seen on the UK market. (I've no axe to grind on their behalf.)

Third, I don't think it would serve any point going direct to either Intel or Gigabyte. They have contracts with Orange which will probably have included full specifications of the phone, including this non-bootloader unlocking. Therefore any provision by Intel or Gigabyte to allow us any means of getting round this issue would likely mean they would be in breach of contract with Orange. Gigabyte probably aren't concerned one way or the other about this restriction (apart from contract breach) but Intel almost certainly are. It's their baby and they (think they) know best how to bring it up. We disagree with them, but it's their choice.

Fourth, I appreciate that people like Paul may have a need for an unlocked/rooted/etc phone to run certain apps, but surely not everone on here regards this issue as a "deal breaker"? In its own right, the San Diego is a good phone, even ignoring its low price. The general consensus on the net and several reviews I've seen say so too. I was glad to get rid of everything orange on my SF (thanks again Paul), and have a clean version of Android 2.3.7 on it in the end, but although disappointed that I can't (yet) do the same with the SD I'm not going to get too upset and lose sleep. After all, I still have a fairly good looking phone, a decent camera, it plays flash, web browsing is fine. And it's good as a phone too. Having set my own desktop wallpaper (a picture of the Eagle Nebula, my daughter's studying astrophysics!) and installed a few apps of preference (Smartkeyboard Pro, Dolphin, etc) I can I can put up with the bloat and simply ignore the Orange stuff.

Fifth, I can't comprehend the lack of ICS at launch but at least Orange are making a firm committment to ugrade, unlike their vague intimations in the early days of the SF.

Now, what's Microsoft's new tablet going to be like to use?...


Well said, and I agree with all said.
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boristhespie
Jun 20 2012 10:55 PM
Don't care re rooting other than to get sd slot working.
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I'm still fighting whether i can live without root...just for the fantastic specs of the SD! It would last me while i know that much... Still think the closest thing is the Huawei Honor and it's not near as good...
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glossywhite
Jun 20 2012 11:59 PM

I'm still fighting whether i can live without root...just for the fantastic specs of the SD! It would last me while i know that much... Still think the closest thing is the Huawei Honor and it's not near as good...


Ahh, but I'd love to see Windows XP on the SD! :D
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I'm still fighting whether i can live without root...just for the fantastic specs of the SD! It would last me while i know that much... Still think the closest thing is the Huawei Honor and it's not near as good...


I am in same situation frankish.The way I see it,I have a g300 for playing with,and the san diego for a more day to day stable phone with great specs.
Obviously I am hopeful that some leak will come in future to free this bad boy from its chains.
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I am in same situation frankish.The way I see it,I have a g300 for playing with,and the san diego for a more day to day stable phone with great specs.
Obviously I am hopeful that some leak will come in future to free this bad boy from its chains.

you know what will happen is that a new phone with a bit better specs will come for the same price and then the bootloader will appear for the OSD :wacko:
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Remember an engineering bootloader might not even help. It could well be a 'locked' flag set somewhere...

P
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So there may be no hope at all for this device :(

I understand that this is a whole new ball game as this is basically an intel phone,but there have been locked bootloaders before that have been cracked right ? So this must be possible here.
My worry is that any dev thinking of buying this will be quickly changing there minds upon hearing the bootloader is and staying locked.
It is a real shame,very sad indeed,as this device has so much potential it almost makes me sick that orange would lock it down so hard knowing that the android community is a large part of their business :wacko:
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SAD NEWS .... No one will beat the San Fransisco/ZTE Blade , and if they beat the phone it won't be so popular than San Fransisco/ZTE Blade.

But , i hope this device will be bootloader cracked in a near future , in safety ways of course.
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The way I feel is that, no matter how nice the phone is. It could be much faster, and I have no control over it. I'm a bit of a 'buy low, mod high', kinda guy.
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SAD NEWS .... No one will beat the San Fransisco/ZTE Blade , and if they beat the phone it won't be so popular than San Fransisco/ZTE Blade.

But , i hope this device will be bootloader cracked in a near future , in safety ways of course.

i dont know, for what its worth the Huawei G300 is certainly worth a look. make the Blade feel rather rubbish if im honest
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Glad I went for the G300. Intel probably wants to keep the device secure and Orange have no realised the reason for it's previous success was the ability to improve the device that had been provided. Expect the Intel offering to be going cheap soon in the future as most main stream users won't want it and the hackers will now avoid it as they cannot customise it. It is a bit of a large brick of a phone from what I have seen, whereas the G300 is a skinny but powerful device and seems to have a longer battery than my Skate.
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I think it's thinner than my g300 at least it seems that way.
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