HTC is promising the company will no longer lock the bootloaders on its phones, tablets, or other devices. Historically HTC phones have been some of the easiest to hack, but recent phones such as the HTC Sensation are more challenging due to locked bootloaders.
While you can root a phone with a locked bootloader in order to install officially unsupported apps and gain deeper access to settings and files, you can’t load custom kernels for the device.
HTC’s decision comes in response to complaints from users.
Of course, loading custom firmware on your device can lead to a world of problems not covered by your warranty. But it’s not really that risky for a company like HTC to leave a bootloader unlocked, because most users are unlikely to ever even figure out how to install a custom ROM or custom kernel, and most who do are well aware of the risks involved.
Motorola recently announced that its future devices would all have unlockable bootloaders as well… as long as it’s OK with carriers.