[PLUG-TALK] Rooting Android phone

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Mon Mar 7 14:58:00 PST 2011

On Mon, 7 Mar 2011 10:02:30 -0800
wes <plug at the-wes.com> dijo:

>> >> But if I install vanilla Android, will the phone still work?
>> >>
>> >> I am seriously considering just returning the phone.
>> >The only answer I can give you is "it should work." Someone has to
>> >do it first, so I suggest you look for reports from those who have.
>> The Atrix 4G is an awesome phone/computer, but Motorola and AT&T both
>> suck. When I got the phone the sales dude at the AT&T Activate store
>> entered my name incorrectly in Motoblur. It turns out that I cannot
>> change anything on my Motoblur account. And in order to find that
>> out I had to subscribe to the Motoblur forums, which itself required
>> signing over the rights to everything I own and taking a loyalty
>> oath. And having done so, I then discovered that I cannot
>> unsubscribe from the forums.
>> The default browser is programmed so that you cannot set up a blank
>> home page. Every time you launch the browser it has to go out on the
>> net and find some page. You can specify what page, but it annoys me
>> that it is clearly designed to use more data than it needs to,
>> increasing the user's data charges. So Gatesian.
>> AT&T's much ballyhooed "4G" is pathetic. Saturday I went hiking in
>> the city for two hours (about 10 km). On the way I tried to stream
>> internet radio stations to my Bluetooth headphones. Every few
>> minutes the station would stop and the phone would announce
>> "buffering." That includes our local classical station. The top
>> panel always says H+, which I understands means that I am on "4G,"
>> but I never get more than three bars, and usually only two.
>> Sunday I went to the AT&T store at the Lloyd Center (where I got the
>> phone) to ask some questions. While there the data service
>> disappeared. The salesperson verified that he couldn't go anywhere
>> on his phone either. I mean, they lost the signal? At the *store*?
>> I love the phone, but I'm so disgusted with Motorola and AT&T that
>> I'm probably going to return it. T-Mobile has better/cheaper data
>> plans, so I'm going to check them out next. On the other hand, they
>> may be worse.

>Does the Atrix have an option to turn off 4g?

Not that I know of. But I don't know much yet.

Today I went to the T-Mobile store on Broadway, located (amazingly)
right next door to the corporate AT&T store. I spoke at length with a
sales guy about their Android phones, their bandwidth, and their plans.
Their plans beat AT&T easily. I pay AT&T $65 for essentially unlimited
voice, 2GB data and no texting. If I go to 4GB data it goes up to $85,
and adding minimal texting increases it to $90. T-Mobile offers me
unlimited voice, text and data for $80. I don't have any way to compare
the bandwidth, though. All I know is that AT&T has poor bandwidth in my

The T-Mobile guy also suggested that if I unlock the Atrix 4G they
could just put a T-Mobile SIM card in it. Of course, I'd still have to
pay AT&T for the next two years. Or I could return it to AT&T and buy a
no-contract unlocked Atrix 4G on eBay for $500 - $550. But then I'd
still have Motorola to deal with. And the T-Mobile guy said that they
have a lot of customers unhappy with Motorola. He was pushing a new
Samsung 4G phone.

After talking to the T-Mobile people I went next door to AT&T. I
explained how unhappy I was with Motorola and with the AT&T bandwidth,
and that I was considering returning the phone. As to the Motoblur
account an AT&T guy told that I can reset the phone to factory presets,
whereupon I can create a new account as soon as I turn it on. Note the
word "can." What he meant was "must." But I can do it myself.
Unfortunately, it will wipe out all the apps I have installed, plus
customizations and tweaks. In theory I can back the whole thing up to
my computer over USB and then restore. Figuring out how may be beyond
my job description, however.

As to the bandwidth issue, the AT&T guy told me to install an app
called AT&T Mark the Spot. When you're in an area with slow or no data
you run the app and it reports the location to the "network team."
Presumably eventually they will then upgrade the bandwidth. Of course,
if you have no signal the app may have difficulty reporting. And it
uses up data that I am paying for. I'm not sure it's my obligation to
tell AT&T where they have poor coverage, considering that I have to pay
to do so.

>T-Mobile is on the way to destruction. I might softly suggest your
>issue is more with Motorola than AT&T. How did the guy in the store
>react when his phone's data service dropped? Was it mild surprise, but
>ultimately acceptance? I think this is what you'll find with most
>smartphone users, on any network. Sometimes it breaks. But then it
>works again. That's the New Way.

The guy at the Activate AT&T store in the Lloyd Center did not act
overly surprised when the data service dropped. I had the impression he
was used to it.

I have also decided that I am going to root the phone. There are too
many junk apps that came pre-installed that I cannot uninstall. 

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