It’s been a long, slow wait for owners of the Motorola (NYSE: MMI) Atrix hoping to use the fast 4G connections promised to them by AT&T’s marketing pitch for the device. Motorola announced Tuesday that the Atrix is finally ready for a software update that will unlock the faster hardware already present in the phones, and AT&T (NYSE: T) is pushing the update to Atrix phones over the course of the day.
The wireless industry scramble to 4G networking technology has not been without a few pitfalls, and AT&T’s decision to market the Atrix as 4G without activating the HSPA+ modem inside the phone that can actually hit those speeds raised more than a few eyebrows. AT&T’s problem was that its network wasn’t fully ready to support phones running at that speed by the time the Atrix was ready to ship, so it disabled the modem and promised a software update.
AT&T attempted to argue this wasn’t putting a “cap” on the Atrix, but all semantics aside, selling a phone advertised as capable of speeds it temporarily can’t hit because of a software configuration decision is sort of lame. Atrix owners should be seeing the update pushed to them as a notification, and they can also force the update by going into the About Phone menu and selecting “System Updates.” Bear in mind AT&T still might not have rolled out 4G networking in your neighborhood, you can check its site here for an update on where exactly 4G is available, which includes a few more metropolitan areas than were present the last time we considered this issue in March.
Although it didn’t disclose hard numbers for Atrix sales, Motorola said last week that the phone was a strong part of a quarter in which it shipped 4.1 million smartphones.