We knew the Atrix 4G would be shipping without some features enabled (like 1080p video capture), but there were a few surprise omissions like the lack of HSUPA speeds and the inability to access webtop without an official dock. Most of these features should be available with a future software update, but the more adventurous Atrix owners can unlock them with a few simple hacks.
Webtop over HDMI
First we have webtop via HDMI without a dock thanks for xda-developers member Fenny. This hack requires root access and allows your Atrix 4G to launch Motorola’s webtop mode when connected to any HDMI display. Users can then connect a bluetooth mouse and keyboard for a full desktop experience.
I had assumed that Motorola would let you run webtop over HDMI out of the box, but instead they limited it to their $500 lapdock accessory or the $80 multimedia dock. Thanks to the desktop Firefox browser found in webtop, you can now access the full web on your HDTV with this hack.
Hopefully AT&T allows Motorola to enable this feature in a newer software version and stops forcing us to buy a dock.
Working hotspot without tethering plan
Next we have a hack that allows working hotspot without tethering by richhed. The Motorola Atrix 4G ships with an application for wireless hotspot, but AT&T forces you to buy their $20 tethering plan with 2 GB of data in order to access it. This modification requires root access, but it will allow you to tether with a normal data plan and unlock some other cool features.
Motorola’s lapdock and webtop application require the tethering plan if you wish to use them over a mobile network, but they can still be used free of cost over WiFi. If you combine this hotspot hack with the webtop hack above, you can now use webtop without a dock on your mobile connection or use webtop over 3G without the tethering plan.
Atrix bootloader still locked
Unlike the Motorola Xoom which features a bootloader than can be unlocked and enables developers to access hardware for development, the Atrix includes a locked bootloader that hackers have been unable to crack so far. This will slow the development of custom ROMs and other hacks, but both devices share similar Tegra 2 platforms so hopefully that will help the Atrix bootloader to eventually be defeated.
Overall I’m glad to see that some hackers have embraced the Atrix 4G and I hope they one day fully unlock this phone. The Atrix 4G offers best-in-class hardware and I’d love to see what developers could do with the software when they have the ability to flash custom ROMs.