In case you haven’t already heard the bad news, the Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a locked bootloader. Meaning, it makes it an awfully lot harder (than it has to be, at least) to root the device and flash your favorite custom ROMs and kernels. Verizon, unlike any of the other carriers selling the Galaxy S3, is the one who is requiring the locked bootloader “for customer safety.”
Thankfully, for all you Verizon customers who can’t stand the idea of having a locked bootloader, Samsung is going to be offering a “developer edition” SGS3 that is the same as the Verizon version but has an unlocked bootloader. The downside? The warranty doesn’t cover if you “brick” your phone and it will cost you a cool $600 (contract free, of course) to get it. Check out Samsung’s press release below.
Who is this for?
Samsung and Verizon Wireless recognize that there are many enthusiasts and professional developers that are interested in customizing their device with third-party ROM software. Unlocking the bootloader can put the stability of the phone in jeopardy; therefore, only experienced developers should attempt to unlock the bootloader.
What about the other carriers?
Other versions of the Galaxy S III are sold with a user-unlockable bootloader as a standard feature. Those models are available directly from the respective carriers.
Where can I buy the Galaxy S III Developer Edition?
The Developer Edition will be sold online directly from Samsung. When the device is available for purchase, it will be sold through the Samsung developer portal at developer.samsung.com
Why is Verizon Wireless’ version locked?
Depending on the device, an open boot loader could prevent Verizon Wireless from providing the same level of customer experience and support because it would allow users to change the phone or otherwise modify the software and, potentially, negatively impact how the phone connects with the network. The addition of unapproved software could also negatively impact the wireless experience for other customers. Unlocking the device also voids the warranty.
Has Samsung always unlocked the bootloader on its phones?
While not all previous Samsung Android devices have had an easily unlockable bootloader, all of our other current Galaxy S III flagship lineup, and all Nexus-branded devices, support the standard bootloader unlocking procedure.
What happens if I load custom software and damage (“brick”) my phone?
Problems caused by your unlocking the bootloader and installing custom software will not be covered by the warranty. Problems with third-party and customized bootloader software can cause irreparable harm to the Galaxy S III. Users interested in performing these actions should proceed with caution and at their own risk. Out of warranty Galaxy S III Developer Edition devices will be serviced directly through Samsung, and service charges will apply.