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Rooted Atrix Users Work around Latest Motorola Update
March 31, 2011
Thomas Mennecke
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The Motorola Atrix has proven to be at the cutting edge of mobile technology, however, fans of this device are dismayed at just how locked down this mini-computer is. One of the discouraging features is that the bootloader, which controls how the operating system fires up, is digitally encrypted and has yet to be cracked. This fact of life prevents custom ROMs (homebrew operating systems) or Android Honeycomb from being installed on the Atrix.

But that’s OK…rooting is still possible with the Atrix, which allows for custom hacks such as side loading (installing non-AT&T endorsed programs), WiFi tethering, and the webtop hack (which allows the Arix to convert into a computer via HDMI instead of the pricey dock). There’s only one problem with all this.

If you’ve modded the Atrix, especially with the webtop hack, future upgrade problems loom. For instance, Motorola just release firmware update version 4.1.57 (from 4.1.26) – this update fixes several minor/moderate issues with the Atrix:

• Bluetooth: Improved multimedia experience with Bluetooth devices as well as the ability to use phone with additional headsets

• Fingerprint reader: Improved fingerprint reader performance

• Battery: Improved battery performance for longer battery life

• Screen: Display will turn off automatically now while charging directly on wall charger

• Phone stability: Improved stability resulting in fewer occurrences of touch unresponsiveness and/or programs quitting unexpectedly.

• Car dock: Improved performance of car dock and 3.5mm jack

Here’s the thing – if you’re an Atrix user and you’ve already modded the device, you’re in a bit of trouble, but not much. With the webtop hack, the updating ability of the Atrix is knocked offline – a big price to pay to get webtop access. It’s a big price to pay because if you want to upgrade to version 4.1.57, you can’t unless you uninstall the mod, which is a perilous venture at best.

The safest way to upgrade to the latest firmware is to flash the Atrix back to stock 4.1.26 (and lose everything in the process). To avoid this, a good piece of advice is to use Titanium Backup, which eliminates the hassle of reconfiguring your device and redownloading all your lost apps. At that point, you can begin the process of upgrading to 4.1.57, which, although it eliminates old root exploits, introduces new ones that the Android community has already exploited.

Shortly after the latest firmware release, developers at XDA had version 4.1.57 rooted. For some, the update went very smoothly, but for those with webtop hack, it’s a bit more of a challenge. What’s unsure at this time is whether the webtop hack is compatible with the latest Motorola firmware update – we’ll report back more soon.

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