Motorola seeks to counter its bad reputation among developers in the Android modification community by offering unlockable bootloaders in software updates later this year. The company currently provides an unlockable/relockable bootloader on the Xoom tablet, however other recent products including the Motorola Atrix 4G do not have the feature.
Advanced users install modding software such as CyanogenMod on their phones to add and customize features of the Android operating system. Some developers have moved away from using Motorola devices as a platform for innovation, as phones including the Droid Two and Droid X were released without an unlockable/relockable bootloader. When the bootloader is locked, modding software can't be installed to customize the device.
According to Wired, Motorola Atrix user Irwin Proud contacted Motorola when he discovered he couldn't modify his phone, and started a petition to ask the company to change its ways. With over 9,000 signatures and a correspondence with Motorola customer service representatives, Proud has received a statement from the company indicating it would change course.
Wired confirmed the news, reporting this statement from Motorola:
Motorola will enable an unlockable/relockable bootloader, currently found on Motorola Xoom, in future software releases where carrier and operator partners will allow it. It is our intention to include the unlockable/relockable bootloader in software releases starting in late 2011.
Earlier Motorola Android devices including the original Droid shipped with an unlockable bootloader. Ever since, Motorola has been suffering from disappointing sales projections and waning consumer interest. Catering to the Android developer community could revive the company's image, assuming they follow through with the software releases they have described.