Motorola Pulls A Sony: Atrix 4G Won’t Be Getting Ice Cream Sandwich

    October 1, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Sony caught a lot of flak earlier this year when they failed on their promise to upgrade the Xperia Play to Android 4.0. They cited technical difficulties as the cause, but the comments on our original story showed that consumers were a little more than unhappy with Sony’s decision. It’s looks like Motorola is about to have their own Sony moment.

Motorola released an updated upgrade chart today that gives us a better idea of when Android 4.0 will be hitting their smartphones. The original upgrade chart, according to Ars Technica, featured the Atrix 4G as being one of the lucky phones to receive ICS. That’s no longer the case as that particular model has been updated to say, “Will remain on Gingerbread.”

Quite a few devices such as the Droid 4 and the Atrix 2 will be getting upgrades to ICS, but an even larger number of devices are being left to rot on the aging Android 2.3 OS. Here’s the full upgrade list:

Motorola Atrix ICS

To add insult to injury, a recent software update for the Atrix 4G disabled the bootloader. Owners who installed this update will not be able to load a custom ICS ROM onto their phone. It’s a little underhanded on the part of Motorola, who’s now owned by the maker of Android, to keep people from updating their devices.

When Sony went back on their word, they cited technical reasons as to why the Xperia Play would not be getting ICS. Motorola’s Software Lead, Punit Soni, shares a similar tale:

Motorola Mobility continues to review how each device can deliver the very best experience possible, and at times, this can mean making tough choices – especially as it relates to Android software upgrades. Today, we need to let you know about some tough choices related to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades. Specifically, ATRIX 4G, Photon 4G and Electrify will not receive the ICS upgrade, but continue to be supported with maintenance releases to ensure optimum performance for the consumer.

Motorola’s move just further explains why Android 2.3 is still the most used Android OS on the market. The business model of offering hardware subsidies on the back of a two-year contract isn’t helping the adoption of Android 4.0 either. Most smartphone shoppers only buy phones when their contract is up for renewal. Either Google has to force carriers to be more aggressive about upgrades, or carriers need to offer more frequent upgrade options to keep the Android ecosystem from becoming too overburdened by obsolete versions of the OS.

  • D.Barron

    I have the ATRIX 2, and still no update ti ICS… Just talked to Motorola support, and apparently I am not in the current “wave” of those to receive the update for ICS. Motorola could not give me any time frame of when I “may” receive the update either. Not exactly a happy customer. Although I really feel for the people with the devices which ” will not” get the update at all.

  • Max Sinclair

    I got the Atrix 4g launch week. I have loved this phone and was hoping to keep it around for quite some time. I recognized that as an early adopter of such technology that I would likely have some issues, what I didnt expect was to be abandoned by the manufacturer before my contract is even up. I am not eligible for an upgrade for quite a while yet, and I was planning on keeping this phone for a long time after I was eligible for an upgrade. No I just feel somewhat betrayed that we were lead to believe that Moto was working on a 4.0 upgrade for us, only to find out after their original timeframe (they were supposed to push the update Q3 2012) that we wont be getting the update.

    To top it all off, they did push an update recently that prevents us from modding the phone to suit out needs. You dont want to support an update to the phone, fine; but it was an awful move to prevent anyone else from providing what you failed to provide.

    In the words of a younger generation: Thats a pretty dick move Motorola.

    Motorola, you are really harshing my xen thing. I do believe that I am sworn off Motorola forever, Samsung and Apple may now compete directly for my business.

  • Jake

    I have owned the Atrix since it first launched. I don’t understand why we would not be getting the update to ICS considering our phone is still one of the best phones out IMHO. It’s still blazing fast and could be absolutely compatible with ICS. And to disable the bootloader too? What the hell Moto….you not only gave us false promises, but just bent us over a table and f***ed us. You’ll definitely be losing my business from now on, and I’m sure many more will follow suit.
    This is a terrible way to treat customers, hopefully Samsung won’t handle situations with customers like this.

  • Jason B

    Thats total BS Motorola! I have been waiting all year for the ICS update. I love my Atrix 4G but to be left software 2 versions behind after stating an upgrade would be released and then giving us the middle finger makes it clear I need to get a new phone. Thats OK I want the Samsung Galaxy SIII anyway. Bye Motorola!

  • Allen

    Total BS! I got the phone launch week. I was super loyal to this phone, even as better phones from other brands were launched with superior attributes. I will be switching to a Samsung Galaxy SIII in November when my contract is up. Too bad Motorola… I was planning on keeping this phone for another year with ICS. Eventually I wanted to upgrade to another Atrix family member, possibly the HD. However after this year of wait and being lied too, I’d rather stay away from your product line altogether. Goodbye forever Motorola, you suck!

  • Todd

    My next phone will not be a Motorola

  • Michelle

    Motorola not only lost my business, but I will be telling anyone who will listen to stay away from this company when buying a cellphone. They are liars & don’t give a damn about their customers!

  • http://martian-imperium.com Lokifish Marz

    “Motorola released an updated upgrade chart today”
    This is incorrect. The chart was changed on the 28th however the update time stamp was not changed until the 1st. I know as I made an effort to make sure a numbers of tech sites were aware of the change on the 28th and 29th.

    I now have a page on my site martian-imperium.com dedicated to information regarding the Google/Moto abandonment of the ICS/JB for the following devices;
    Atrix MB860
    Atrix MB861
    Atrix ME860
    Electrify MB853
    Photon MB855
    DROID X2 MB870

    It has links to press coverage, forum threads, Facebook pages. If anybody emails Google/Moto about this or the $100 credit and receives a response please forward it to me via the site. Should legal action be taken the info I am trying to compile will be key.

  • Billy

    Motorola, if no update than remove the lock you have forced on the atrix 4g so we can do whatever with our mind you not yours but ours. I paid for the phone so it is mine!!! If I upgrade and it doesn’t work anymore so what, throw it in the garbage can and go get a Samsung.

  • Ol_Jethro

    This is an outrage!. I specifically bought an Atrix 4G thinking about the future. 2 Years is a really long time in the tech world. When deciding to buy a new smartphone, i had a choice between a single core HTC an iPhone or the Atrix. I chose the Atrix because of the ICS upgrade and it was from a reliable company such Motorola…or so i thought. This $100 rebate is a disrespectful slap in the face i feel. They need to stop forcing us to purchase a new expensive device when our contracts expire and give us an update. If a dual core phone that was released the same year as ICS cant get ICS from the same company that makes ICS then Moto deserves to be bought and put out to pasture by Google.

  • bill

    I asked a motorola tech support a question about this upgrade on 9/5/12 and this is the reply:

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks for reaching out to Motorola.

    I do apologize but we currently do not have any notifications regarding the exact release date of the official Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for the Motorola ATRIX 4G. It is still scheduled to roll out as an over the air upgrade this third quarter of 2012. You will receive a notification on your device once the upgrade is already available for download. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. Please try to regularly check the same link as we will post the release date for the ICS upgrade of your phone there first.

    We hope that you find this information useful and we look forward to assisting you in the future.

    For information about Motorola products and services, please visit us at http://www.motorola.com/

    Thank you for contacting Motorola e-mail support.

    Best Regards,


    So… lied to that late of a date by motorola? Makes me definitely say i WILL NOT renew my 5 smartphones on my plan as motorola on any of them. You would think they could at least live up to an update on such an awesome phone to prove they SUPPORT their equipment past when it rolls of the shelves..

  • http://martian-imperium.com Lokifish Marz

    A unified campaign backed by developers and you requesting Ice Cream Sandwich & Jellybean updates, source code, and unlocked bootloaders for the owners of Atrix MB860, Atrix MB861, Atrix ME860, Electrify MB853 ,Photon MB855, DROID X2, MB870, XT882, MT870

  • http://www.facebook.com Kokomo aruba jamaica etc

    Don’t bother talking to customer support about things like this. They aren’t important people who are in the know. They are low ranking peasants and peons, and they enjoy the same status as janitor in the company at large. In fact, I’d be willing to bet janitor pays more. Technical support is the Mcdonalds of the tech world. I know because I used to work for technical support at another company. They will at best point you to the website or blithely read the schedule you already know to you.

  • Mark Orr

    Well, I already have my Samsung replacement for my Atrix, after seeing how MOTO treates their customers I have gone from HELLO MOTO… to HELL NO MOTO!!!!

    • DC

      Same here. i will be eligible for an upgrade in 6 weeks and I will be going to Samsung. Sad, I have been a loyal Motorola user since my first Cell Phone, but no longer after seeing how they reward loyalty.

  • Mark Orr

    By the way, isn’t Motorola now owned by Goog? Isn’t Googs motto “do no evil” isn’t disabling the boot loader and stranding your customers deliberately on an obsolete OS pretty evil? Maybe by next phone will be a NOK….

  • Mick

    I have used motorola phones for a long time and bought the atrix 4g specifically as it would get ICS in the future (a future proof phone)but after this kick in the nads I will look to another manufacturer next time.


  • James

    I purchased an Atrix 4G over a year ago. ATT told me I would be getting 4G speeds. I checked my account and this whole time I have been on a 30/Month Data plan that will only provide me 3g data. Now my question is… Is AT&T at fault for not being able to provide me 4gG HSpda speeds or is Motorola at fault for not allowing the update that will increase data speeds. My Atrix 4G is a worthless phone for browsing the web… And i have been paying 30/Month since Sept 2011. Who should i go after AT&T or Motorola??!! Both companies are to blame.

  • george

    With Punit SONI on board, it makes sense Motorola pulled up a SONY. But, seriously, what a pathetic move by Moto. I have this Atrix 4G, my first and last Android device. My dependable Nokia E71 is miles ahead in design, despite being 4 years old it still does a great job. Plus 3 to 4 days of battery life., at least, Nokia would not leave users out in the cold if they promised any update. Out of Android world, back to Nokia or moving to iPhone.