Motorola has announced in a new release this morning that it has added a new device to its Developer Edition lineup meant for developers and enthusiasts looking to refine their Android development skills in the Atrix HD, currently available as an AT&T exclusive in the US.
While the phone is identical to the version sold by AT&T, the one major difference is the inclusion of a sanctioned unlockable bootloader, crucial for allowing developers and enthusiasts to flash different builds of Android on the device in order to test software builds and combinations necessary for ROM and software development.
In addition, the commercially available consumer version of the phone will be added to Motorola’s Bootloader Unlock program, whereby the phone will be added to the growing list of devices that are explicitly allowed to have their bootloaders unlocked, provided that users understand that doing so voids the device warranty, owing to the nature of the change allowing unsigned Android builds to be run on the device.
With Motorola still dealing with the fallout from the Webtop-enabled smartphone ICS update debacle, allowing the successor device in the Atrix HD to have its bootloader unlocked may be a tacit olive branch being offered to those that were affected as a means to encourage upgrades, as well as those enthusiasts that want to purchase Motorola devices, but have refused to do so due to Motorola’s policies on bootloader locking for commercially sold devices.
With carriers still having a final say on whether branded devices can ship on networks with locked or unlocked bootloaders, the growing trend of Developer Editions and specific manufacturer-endorsed bootloader unlocking programs stand as an increasingly popular alternative to relying solely on carriers and manufacturers for updates, as well as allowing owners the capability to more easily tinker with devices in order to learn how Android works.
Motorola will reveal more details lon pricing and availability of the Atrix HD Developer Edition at a later date, while the Bootloader Unlock page will be updated with information on the bootloader unlock for current retail devices soon.