As many of you know, the Verizon Galaxy S III features a locked bootloader, unlike the rest of the U.S. variants. This irked a lot of Verizon customers, but it looks as if Samsung wants to make right. The company has now announced that it will be offering a developer edition of the Galaxy S III with an unlocked bootloader for Verizon customers. The developer edition will be sold through Samsung’s developer site for $599 without a contract. This most likely means that it was Verizon’s decision to lock down its consumer model, after all.
Below is Samsung’s full statement.
Samsung is pleased to announce the Galaxy S III Developer Edition for Verizon Wireless. The Developer Edition will be sold only through Samsung.com. This special edition device features a user-unlockable bootloader.
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 for $599.
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 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.
It would have been nice if Samsung and Verizon had acknowledged that the device would be locked down before customers shelled out hundreds of dollars for it, but we’ll take what we can get.