Verizon has been criticized for its decision to ship the Samsung Galaxy S3 with an encrypted bootloader due to what it says is to prevent users to change the phone or otherwise modify the software that could negatively impact how the phone connects with the network. Given that Galaxy S3 models from other carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have all shipped with unlocked bootloaders, Verizon's move to offer a locked Galaxy S3 was quite disappointing.
However, now it seems that Samsung is looking to set things right. After releasing the source code for the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S3, the manufacturer is reportedly going to offer a developer edition of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone on the same carrier.
Both CNET and Android Central came up with individual reports Tuesday, saying that the South Korean technology giant would offer a Verizon Galaxy S3 that would feature an unlockable bootloader, meaning that the device would allow developers and enthusiasts to tinker around on their devices.
The developer edition of the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 would be available through Samsung's developer portal for $599, the same price as a 16GB off-contract Galaxy S3 from Verizon's own site, CNET reported.
There has not been any official word, regarding the availability of the device. However, Samsung has shared a brief Q&A that provides key details about the developer edition.
Who is this for?
Samsung and Verizon Wireless recognize that there are many enthusiasts and professional developers 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 S3 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 S3 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 the Verizon Wireless version locked?
Depending on the device, an open bootloader 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 from our other current Galaxy S3 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 S3. Users interested in performing these actions should proceed with caution and at their own risk. Out of warranty Galaxy S3 Developer Edition devices will be serviced directly through Samsung and service charges will apply.
Samsung Galaxy S3 features a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, which is surrounded by an ultra-thin bezel to maximize the viewing area of the handset. It weighs 4.7 ounces (133.24 grams) and is 8.6 millimeters thin.
The device sports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 4G LTE connectivity, 2GB of RAM, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP Front-facing camera and a 2100 mAh battery.
From the connectivity part, the smartphone comes with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA and WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n.