Gingerbread Update for the Motorola Atrix 4G Brings Fully Unlockable Bootloader


Holy cow. If only you could see my face right now. I can’t believe this. Yesterday we talked about some of the new features Motorola Atrix 4G users can look forward to in the new Android 2.3.3 update supposedly rolling out in July, but even I didn’t expect this. Yes, folks. The new Gingerbread update will, in fact, bring a fully unlocked bootloader for the Atrix 4G.

This might not come as too much of a surprise to some seeing how Motorola has already issued statements that they would begin the unlocking of bootloaders on their devices sometime later this year and it looks like they’re coming through even for older devices. Even though the leaked ROM in question is specifically for Chinese markets, we can expect similar for devices overseas as well. But what does an unlockable bootloader mean for Atrix users? Simple. After issuing the command “fastboot OEM unlock” via ADB, users will finally be able to flash (install) custom ROMs and kernels onto their device. Something many HTC users have taken been taking advantage of for quite some time now. You want stock Gingerbread on your Atrix? Done. MIUI? Done. A super tweaked undervolted kernel to give you days of battery life? Done. The previously untapped Tegra 2 can now be pushed to its limits.

I don’t even own the device and I’m excited. So, a tip of the hat to all you Atrix users out there. This news may give some hope to locked down Sensation and Evo 3D users who were given similar promises from HTC. The times, they are a changin’.

[Via BriefMobile]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. hell to the freaking yes!!!!!!!

  2. DROID X????????????

    1. Agree should of came to the x

  3. might just go droid bionic after all. 

  4. Read this news gave me chills

  5. You could always get roms its the kernel that is big

  6. It’s 100% guaranteed that some n00b will brick their phone within minutes of the OTA being released.

    1. hahahaha. your comment made me LOL for real.

      i think that officially makes me a nerd. :|

    2. I’ve read XDA, it’s already occurred. 

  7. This is COOL! I don’t mind Motoblur too much but I really like the idea of stock Gingerbread.

    1. Be careful what you wish for.  Stock Gingerbread may sound nice, but you never know what kind of optimizations it *doesn’t* have for your specific platform.  

      1. Looking at the smartbench 2011 scores, the atrix shows to be much slower than optimus 2x, hough the atrix has better hardware other than the tegra 2.This means that motorola made no optimizations for the hardware.

  8. What this story doesn’t mention that the xda thread brief got the story from does is that motorola is saying that once you unlock the bootloader it is IRREVERSIBLE. That means no relocking it if you have to make a warranty claim. Not only that, but they are hypothesizing that this will not only void your warranty but it will also make you unable to get OTAs or able to sbf the phone.

    edit: link http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1136327

    1. They mention “future retail .sbfs”

      I wonder if that means it can only be .sbf’ed back to versions previous to when you unlocked the bootloader?

      Still, either way, I think I’d rather have an perm. unlocked bootloader, regardless of the risks, the xda people can find a way to do anything with just about any device.

      1. They couldn’t crack the bootloader.

      2. yeah you can reflash previous sbf files
        i had to reflash mine to get root access and side loading, the unlocking procedure made me lose it for some reason.

    2. Actually…it didn’t come from that thread. Kenneth is the one with the unlocked bootloader on his Atrix

    3. Maybe you can re-lock just as in Motorola XOOM (fastboot oem lock), but anyhow, you’re right, warranty is void (yes, even locking it again it’s possible to tell that)

  9. Man now I wish the DX2 would have been LTE even more.

  10. Although better than nothing, this still isn’t good enough for me. Motorola needs to ship their phones with an unencrypted bootloader, the same way Samsung does it, so then we don’t void our warranties.

    Until then, I will stay with Samsung and HTC.

    1. The reason they void your warranty is because playing in non-user space can be dangerous and there is no reason that they should have to replace equipment because people don’t know what they’re doing. Just because they’re unlocking the encryption doesn’t mean you have to root your phone. If you overclock the processors in your computer to the point where they overheat and you fry them, should the computer companies be required to give you another computer?

      1. Agreed. The only way it would void your warranty is if you manage to brick the phone. No one is forcing you to unlock the bootloader in the first place. 

      2. Ya know what?

        All this time…and this is probably the first time I saw this perfect analogy applied to this situation.

        I agree 100%.

        Even if it is shipped open like Samsung and HTC, same should still apply.

      3. Exactly right.  The unlock is intended for use by developers (which is why its accessed through ADB).  If a developer screws up their phone they should eat that as the cost of doing business.  If an average user unlocks their phone to play with it, and screws things up, it should also be on their head.  Why should the rest of the community have to subsidize those who unlock and brick their phones because they don’t know what they’re doing?

        Already people have been screwing up rooted phones and returning them as “faulty” (i.e., committing fraud).  At least now, there will be a way to know it was unlocked and not a valid warranty claim. 

      4. What’s so wrong with the idea of not being able to void a warranty??

        Samsung makes it open so its virtually really really hard to actually “brick” your device.
        Meaning safet adventurers for the newbies coming into the world of modding.

        Chill. And don’t get your knickers in a twist.

        1. They buy a Samsung and go away happy if they give you what you want.  

          Unless that’s not what you want.  Perhaps you want everything but personal responsibility? Do you want the freedom to do anything, with anything, and if you screw it up get someone else to pay for your mistakes?  Good luck with that.

          Moto just gave modders the Holy Grail.  Now we get to tell who was actually serious about wanted an unlockable bootloader, and who was whining for the sake of whining.

          1. Last paragraph ….so true…..

          2. +1 Well said.

        2. Basically, echoing what Talking Moose has already stated, there are people who brick their phones and call the companies or underwriters (insurance companies) and give them a sob story about how their phone inexplicably “just stopped working” or “it keeps showing me the [insert boot image here] logo over and over again (a boot loop),” and, in many cases, the companies/underwriters end up replacing them because they really can’t be sure if it was a legitimate complaint or fraud. I think that this is a very reasonable and intelligent response on Motorola’s part – the dev/root community wants non-encrypted bootloaders, and OEMs/carriers/underwriters shouldn’t have to pay for your mistakes.
           If you owned or are financially responsible for one of these companies – you aren’t a hippie commune, you are in business to make as much money as possible,- and there are 1000 returned phones in one month – that is literally hundreds of thousands of dollars that your company didn’t make that month because people who don’t know what they’re doing not only bricked their phone, and they don’t know how to use an sbf, or the phone was truly bricked (which is very rare, but still happens), but they lied about it (committed fraud – a felony in most places) to get a replacement device. It probably wouldn’t sit too well with you, or your shareholders if your company is losing a few hundred thousand dollars a month because of this – whether that is a significant or small fraction of your overall profits.
          FTR, my “knickers” weren’t “in a twist”, and I don’t think I came across that way. I was simply pointing out what should be obvious to any thinking, objective person.

          1. And to add to that, remember than when you unlock, even if it’s just to remove the so-called “bloatware”, you bought it.  If the phone has crappy battery performance, too bad.  If it can’t keep a signal, too bad.  Once you deviate from the tested, approved build, you’re on your own.  There’s no way that any company can guarantee a system they don’t control, and an unlocked system is no longer in their control. 

            If you want to unlock, have at it.  But own it.  Every last bit of it.  It was your choice, and choices have consequences.

  11. Go Moto.

    About time.

  12. OMG WTF is that owesome!
    My Atrix need 2.3.3!

  13. If this is true I’m gonna lay off Motorola.

  14. WooHoo Moto sees the light !

  15. Will this also be for the bell network? Or only for AT and T?

  16. great work motorola, now if we can just live wallpapers down we will be set. i own a droid x and i cant believe how laggy live wallpapers are and the quality of the camera blew untill gingerbread. my friend owens the atrix and i play with it alot, it too with a dual core is flippin laggy. the only was we solved it is good ole launcher pro plus. WHATEVER IT TAKES FIX THIS CURSED MOTOBLUR and make a ui that you can actually be proud of. oh yea and pentile screens blow get a super+amoled and throw that in there too. oh and another-thing no more plastic, backs spend the extra 20bucks get a damn aluminum back it. its crazy they go all the way with the gorilla glass but when it comes to the back of a phone NOPE cant do it because it would make us better then the apple guys.

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