Asus to release encrypted kernel sources for their ZenFone Max Pro M1, Max Pro M2 and Max M2

The Zenfone Max Pro M1 has a open kernel which helped improve sales within the developer community

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Asus Zenfone runs on almost stock Android

The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 has been one of the more interesting smartphones from the company, especially in the budget segment in the past few years. The phone ticked a lot of boxes in terms of offering probably the best performance in its segment at that time along with a cleaner look with the stock Android. The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 follows the path set down by their predecessor and goes on to compete against the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro overcoming its predecessor’s shortcomings.

In a rather controversial move, it seems that the company has been releasing encrypted kernels for their Zenfone Max Pro M1 and Zenfone Max Pro M2 which disturbs tampering with the devices quite hard for developers. The same issue of the encrypted kernel also exists with the ZenFone Max M2, as developers are finding out now. The initial kernel releases of the Zenfone Max Pro M1 were normal. However, since the past two updates have the company has started to encrypt the kernels. The Zenfone Max Pro M2 and Zenfone Max M2 have implement this since the start.

So now I’m doubting @ASUS and/or Huaqin’s commitment to make Max Pro M series developer friendly or at least release GPL compliant source code. With unusable kernel source, we’ve nothing to do but keep nagging the company to comply with GPL. :/— KudDroid (@KudDroid) December 11, 2018

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Releasing an encrypted kernel file without any proper means of decryption the kernel sources are pointless, as the data so released is unusable for any practical purposes. With that in mind, what remains the point of such a release is still unknown. All it is doing is attracting bad press and ultimately leading to the loss of hard-earned reputation within the enthusiast community of the Zenfone Max Pro M1. Consumers who considered “developer friendliness” with the open kernel and stock android while buying the Zenfone Max Pro M1 will surely be dissapointed and this will lead to developer’s retaining to buy Asus devices 

We’ve reached out to ASUS India for comments and clarifications on the issue. We’ll update the article when they respond. We hope that such a release was unintentional and that ASUS plans to release proper kernel sources for its popular devices