Next-gen Kindles have locked bootloaders
Amazon's next-gen Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are reportedly equipped with locked bootloaders. Essentially, this means the creation of custom ROMs could take just a little while to get off the ground.
"For those who may not know, the bootloader is responsible for checking the firmware's signature before a device boots," explained Cameron Summerson of AndroidPolice.
"In this case, if it doesn't match what Amazon says it should, then it simply won't do anything. In order to make it work, this key needs to be cracked or otherwise bypassed, which isn't always an easy task."
According to KinFauns of XDA Devs, the MLO (xloader, 1st stage bootloader) is signed and the boot header is the type used for HS (high security) OMAP devices with the M-Shield turned on.
"If the setup is comparable to the Nook Tablet, this is not good news for those hoping to modify these devices in one way or another. The Nook Tablet's exploit was to utilize the external sdcard as an alternate boot device and that doesn't really help with these 2nd generation KFs," KinFauns wrote in an XDA forum post.
"[Yes], it's all subject to verification by someone who has a device in hand, but it doesn't look good. This is not to say that it's impossible, but it will be considerably more difficult to manipulate these devices than their 1st generation cousin."
As such, says KinFauns, potential Kindle HD owners should hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
"So if you plan to buy one of these devices, buy them as an Amazon tablet to be used in the Kindle Fire ecosystem. Don't buy them expecting to run Jelly Bean the day after tomorrow," he added.