Update: Further probing has shown bootloader is ‘signed’ not ‘encrypted’. This makes things a little easier for devs to try and crack, but it’s still not ideal.

Just last night the Motorola Atrix was rooted, even before it’s released to the general public, but that’s pretty much where the good news stops. With the newly attained root access, developers over at XDA got straight into ripping out the Atrix’s system files to check for a locked bootloader, and lo’ and behold, it is locked up. So this isn’t a phone Motorola are making ‘developer friendly’.

What does this mean? Well, with root access you can install apps that have more control over your phone, which are usually cooler and have more features. The locked bootloader on the other hand means that you won’t be able to flash any custom builds of Android (ie, CyanogenMod). This usually isn’t a big deal for the average user, but if you’re reading this site you’re not that average user, so you may question this device before you purchase it from a carrier here.

Source: XDA Developers.
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Ian Tester

As far as I understand*, you can load custom ‘Roms’ on locked Motorola phones, you just can’t use a custom kernel. You’re stuck with whatever kernels Motorola release. So, presumably, no BFS or any other clever kernel hacks. But you can compile kernel modules and load them for e.g CIFS/SMB, NFS, etc. * I’m still an Android virgin. About to get a Milestone soon, so this is just from what I’ve read. It’ll be a second-hand Milestone too, so Motorola doesn’t get any of my money – I’m not happy about this signed bootloader/kernel BS, but everything I’ve read say… Read more ยป


Oh gees.
Motorola! Will you ever learn?
Unfortunately I don’t think that they will stop locking the bootloader down as the average user won’t even know what a custom ROM is and will buy it anyway.
The irony of the 1984 Motorola ad is so incredible it’s not even funny.
Shame on you Motorola.


I’m guessing that the bionic will be the same. Well well maybe two lightning bolts aren’t bad.

geoff fieldew

Motofail, again! When will they wake up? So Apple-esque.

Buzz Moody

At this rate, never.


Galaxy 2 here I come

geoff fieldew

Same here, SGS II, atw.


lets hope the galaxy s2 isnt locked down too

Buzz Moody

I will cry if it is.


I think you’ll probably find that it will be. The froyo update for the Galaxy S included a signed bootloader. Luckily you can flash a different bootloader with odin and load on custom roms to your hearts content. Not sure if there is a similar process available for Motorola phones.


Damn. The Atrix was probably the best out of the 3 dual core phones.