Though Android manufacturers have made strides in becoming more developer friendly, the politics of service providers have gotten in the way on more than one occasion. So seems to be the case with the newly announced Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T. Motorola confirmed via their official Twitter account that the phone will ship with a locked bootloader “to meet requirements,” a phrase that seems to indicate AT&T requested that the device have certain safeguards in place to prevent tampering with its software. For those that are hoping to do just that, Motorola followed up by saying they plan to issue tools to unlock the phone’s bootloader at a later date.
It’s a tricky situation for manufacturers and carriers attempting to please the widest audience as possible. Reality is that hackers and modders make up only a small portion of the Android userbase, so it’s easy to see why their requests for more hackable devices are often ignored. Still, most major players in the industry have opened up to the idea, understanding that a major draw for some is Android’s large community of dedicated developers looking to create customized experiences for all.
But that won’t change the fact that the Atrix HD will ship with its bootloader locked. We imagine it will only be a matter of time before a workaround is discovered.