Of course, any discussion of the OMAP 3630 series would be incomplete without mention of the recent headlines involving Motorola’s potentially locked down bootloader.

The original controversy stemmed from speculation that Motorola would be blowing e-Fuses on the OMAP platform. If you’ve been following console modifications the last few years, you’ll likely recall that Microsoft has been using and blowing e-fuses for years now to prevent users from downgrading the Xbox 360 kernel. The reality is that TI has included mobile security and e-fuses through M-Shield on their SoCs for some time now, including the OMAP 3430 on the original Droid. We pinged TI just to clarify our suspicions:

“TI's M-Shield technology, which is integrated on the OMAP processors, does include OEM-specific, one-time-programmable keys (e-fuse) that are only accessible from inside the secure environment for authentication and encryption. It is up to our customers - Motorola in this case - to comment on how this component is utilized on our chips.”

So M-Shield and e-fuses have always been on the TI datasheet, Motorola has just decided to use them on the X. It’s highly likely that the X will have an encrypted and locked down bootloader just like the original Droid’s European cousin, the Motorola Milestone - a device which is still unbroken months later. If Motorola goes this route, it’s possible that it will be a long time before we see the same kind of custom ROMs on the X as we did the original Droid, and if a phone’s bootloader isn’t unlocked within a few months, the phone will likely be forgotten and replaced with the latest and greatest. 

Motorola’s official statement on the matter is that while they won’t be bricking devices, they will be enforcing official firmware for the OS and baseband - and the mechanism for doing so is with e-fuses. The result is that if you aren’t running updated and approved software (assumedly OS and baseband), the X will go into recovery mode and won’t boot until approved software is re-installed. 

Motorola is in an interesting bind here - there are carrier requirements and other legal requirements which force them to lock the bootloader. However, bootloaders from HTC devices are famously (in fact, possibly purposefully) easy to crack, making it easy for anyone to cook and flash their own ROMs and enable all kinds of customization. If the X truly is as locked down or more locked down than the Milestone, it might not even see that kind of development at all. As it stands now, if that kind of modification is important to you, you’re better off with an HTC device.

Android’s openness is an interesting subject. The platform is undeniably more open, but users are still forced to unlock bootloaders and flash custom ROMs, or root their devices to play around with things like overclocking or even loading different skins (Sense, Blur, stock, or others). Though it’s unquestionably less locked down than iOS, Google and its partners could do well to take a look at Nokia, which famously provides instructions for and even encourages users to gain root on devices like the N900. 

CPU and General Use Performance What's Next? OMAP 4 in 2011, Mainstream 3630
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  • homebredcorgi - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Who do we have to blame for the “Droid” moniker? Verizon or Motorola?

    I have a Nexus One and continually get asked, “Is that a Droid?” or “Does that run Droid?” to which I usually reply yes and let sleeping dogs lie…but seriously, why name it so similar to the operating system? And then why make “Droid” a series of phones if your first phone is just known simply as “Droid”?! At least call it the "Droid One" or something to differentiate from the series of phones....

    So now we have the Droid, Droid Eris, Droid X, and will soon have the Droid 2 which are all phones in the Droid series, all running on various builds of Android. Yeesh. Could they have made that any more confusing?

    All in all, the Droid X looks very nice. I personally think the original Droid had all the flair of a TI-82 calculator (ugly as sin in a blocky retro way), but the Droid X seems to have modernized its looks. Still not sure if I would want a phone that large though….
    Reply
  • metafor - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Verizon owns the rights to the "Droid" trademark from Star Wars. So they decided to capitalize on that and name their whole line of Android phones "Droids".

    I think it's kinda cheezy but hey, it's selling and is something that people can focus on. With the army of phones coming out every week, it's difficult for the average person to keep up. It helps if they can just go to a store and ask for a Droid.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - link

    Actually they have only been using Droid on the high-end phones, the Devour and Ally were not Droids.

    There is also rumor of a special edition Droid 2 coming with R2-D2 on the battery cover...
    Reply
  • lewchenko74 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    The best, most comprehensive review of the Droid X Ive read so far. Thank you.

    Just got to wait until it arrives in the UK unlocked now, but personally I think Im going to get the Droid 2 instead with the keyboard.

    I am amazed at the pace the smartphone market is moving at. Im 1yr into a 2yr contract with a HTC Hero. It feels like an antique! These 2yr contracts really are a ball and chain.

    It also seems like HTC is starting to lag behind Samsung and Moto now in terms of processor and features. Sense also seems a little 'old' compared to other UI layers (or maybe thats just me).

    Disappointed that it only runs Android 2.1 when 2.2 is now out though.... That would be like Apple releasing iPhone4 running OS3.2 whilst saying OS4 is out there too but not quite available yet! (I guess Apple actually did that though with the iPad ;-) )
    Reply
  • mvmorr01 - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    What app are you using for those CPU utilization graphs? I did a quick search and couldn't find it in the market. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    It's an application called "SystemPanel" which I found a while back. If you turn logging on, it'll give you some very cool graphs of battery use over time and CPU utilization over days even. Produces some very cool results when I do battery life testing.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • 529th - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    First of all I want to say I love mine! :) Bought it the day it came out.

    Wow what a great review!!!

    I didn't know you could run benchmarks on a phone! Linpack!?? WOW awesome!

    I can't wait till Froyo! :)

    Thanks again chief!

    <3 Anandtech reviews!
    Reply
  • WaltFrench - Saturday, July 24, 2010 - link

    Linpack is a 90s-era benchmark that performs a specific matrix solution. As much as possible, all floating point adds and muls.

    I've tried in other forums to find an app, prior to 6/1/2010, that actually uses Gaussian elimination with partial pivoting. The particular method works best to find complex patterns within large data sets; that's great for my statistical investment models and for a lot of other stuff. It's strongly suggestive of performance on weather simulations, quantum chemistry, etc., stuff that no sane person would attempt (today) on a smartphone.

    Others claim Linpack scores around 40 on overclocked ARM chips with Froyo (the JITting being fabulously helpful for highly repetitive benchmark code). I got ~35 on my iPhone. These scores are ~ 13X–16X what the Linpack author quoted long ago for his 486 (/487, I presume).

    I don't know a lot about graphics but presume 3D work that calls for lots of floating point Add/Mul work would get routed to the GPU, so I think these scores are of extremely limited relevance to any smartphone app I can envision.
    Reply
  • vshin - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    Where are the antenna attenuation tests? No weak spots? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - link

    There's definitely attenuation tests in there, and weak spots. The bottom of the phone as expected causes a 15 dB drop. It's on page 14: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3826/motorola-droid-...

    -Brian
    Reply

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