Motorola has a reputation for releasing smartphones with locked bootloaders, which means that while user have been able to install some custom software, Android phones like the Motorola Atrix 4G simply won’t support custom kernels which make it possible to make deep changes to the phone’s software.
The Motorola XOOM Android tablet, on the other hand, has a bootloader which can easily be unlocked or relocked. As the first tablet to ship with Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the XOOM was designed as a developer-friendly device.
Now it looks like there’s reason to hope that future phones and tablets from Motorola may be just as easy to unlock or relock as the XOOM. In response to a petition started by Irwin Proud, a Motorola rep said the company plans to enable bootloader unlocking on all devices starting in late 2011.
There’s one major caveat though. While Motorola will support unlocking the bootloader, mobile carriers and operators may not. I suspect more petitons may be needed before unlockable bootloaders become the norm.