Mar 08 AT 8:33 PM Taylor Wimberly 18 Comments

Motorola Atrix 4G hacks enable webtop without dock and working hotspot without tethering plan

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

Motorola webtop

Webtop can now be accessed without an expensive dock.

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.

Source: XDA Developers

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Techrocket9

    *facepalm* at the suggestion that having the same CPU as a device with a stock unlockable bootloader will in any way help with unlocking the Atrix /facepalm

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Hey they are similar architectures so you never know. Hackers have taken elements from certain HTC devices and used them over again to crack a newer device. I expect the Xoom will play some role in the Atrix being hacked.

  • http://Website RacecarBMW

    Taylor did you end up getting an Atrix.

    If you did, where is the review?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I’m not doing a review, but look for my first report card later this week.

      • http://Website RacecarBMW

        Thanks. I am going to be getting the Bell Atrix here in Canada next week. Can you just tell me if its worth it.

        • Taylor Wimberly

          I have some gripes about the software, but all those can be addressed in future updates. I would say the hardware is the most future-proof you can buy right now so yes it is worth it.

  • Motorola Atrix 4G
  • http://Website josh

    Unlike the Motorola Xoom which features a bootloader than can be unlocked and enables…
    –did you mean “bootloader THAT can be unlocked”–

    apart from that, awesome job for bringing these options to light.
    i think it’s ridiculous that Motorola would push a $500 peripheral for this phone.

    “Here’s your brand new Hummer. oh, you want to go off-roading? that’ll be $90,000 extra to install the 4WD ionic flux capacitor enabler. yes, it’s real. Hummer would not lie to us dealers.”

  • Drew

    “Hopefully AT&T allows Motorola to enable this feature in a newer software version and stops forcing us to buy a dock.”

    Doubt it

  • IceCrush

    If you put a dual core and tegra you are targeting the geeks out there, yet you lock the bootloader…
    Doesn’t make sense.

  • HackNet

    Thanks for the hacks. I will be testing it out tonight. The hell with At&t/Motorola. (agreeing with IceCrush) How can you seriously lock the BL when mostly geeks will purchase this device. idiots.

  • http://Website univision

    This does not work anymore. Motorola pushed out a new update and you now can no longer do any tethering for free. Will rooting the device bypass this new feature lock?

    • http://Website casualfrank

      @univision, I have an AT&T Atrix on the latest 4.1.83 and can easily tether my device without the tether plan by adding new APNs. I don’t think this is specific to a rooted phone, but mine is rooted and capable of free tethering.

    • http://Website jojo

      not true. I have latest Motorola software on my Atrix and was able to do the tethering free just yesterday.

  • http://Website cortney

    how do i root my phone and get free tethering, someone pleaze help!

  • Renato Conti

    Hey I have a Atrix 4G and Android 2.3.4 oficial release from AT&T. Im living in Brazil and I use the APN TIM Brasil for the acess to the data signal of my operator. Well my question is, why my WiFi router hotspot dont work on my Atrix? He say that my phone dont have an acconut on can you tell my why this problem occur? Thanks! Renato Conti

  • Jeff

    Hello everyone.

    Just for clarification, if i was to root my Atrix (t-mobile uk) does that mean i won’t be able to use the webtop function when the HD multimedia dock is connected?I quite like browsing the net and listening to music from my device via my HDTV and would rather stay with the stock ROM if there are no alternatives to allow this functionality when rooted.

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