Reports surfaced last week claiming that Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a locked bootloader, making rooting and or else hacking the handset much more difficult for the developer community. Given that Galaxy S3 models from other carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have all shipped with unlocked bootloaders, the news of Verizon's locked Galaxy S3 was quite disappointing.
The carrier also confirmed the locked bootloader on its Galaxy S3 variant to The Verge, explaining the reason for the move in the following statement:
Verizon Wireless has established a standard of excellence in customer experience with our branded devices and customer service. There is an expectation that if a customer has a question, they can call Verizon Wireless for answers that help them maximize their enjoyment and use of their wireless phone. 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. It is always a delicate balance for any company to manage the technology choices we make for our branded devices and the requests of a few who may want a different device experience. We always review our technology choices to ensure that we provide the best solution for as many customers as possible.
However, the locked bootloader hasn't prevented developers from rooting the Galaxy S3. Hackers over at XDA and RootzWiki have already managed to bypass the lock, achieve root and flash ClockworkMod recovery, according to Android Police. For more information, click on these links - RootzWiki, XDA (1), (2)
At a time when Verizon has been criticized by customers for its decision to ship the Galaxy S3 with an encrypted bootloader, Samsung is apparently looking to set things right.
Android Authority reported that the South Korean tech giant released the source code for the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S3, as it has already done with the AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint variants, in an effort to give a helping hand to the tweakers and tinkerers at xda-developers and any other places.
The source code for the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 is a big file of 218 MB in size. Available to download on Samsung's open source website, the source code is expected to provide developers with some much-needed ammunition to deal with the locked bootloader ordeal of the phone, said the report.
Meanwhile, CyanogenMod's Team Epic has successfully figured out a new workaround named kexec hardboot (kernel execution hard boot) that can help users effectively 'sideload' custom kernels without having to actually flash them on the device by bundling the kernel with the custom recovery, according to a report by Android Police.
In a bid to show that the workaround indeed allows the Verizon Galaxy S3 to use custom kernels, Team Epic developers developed a proof-of-concept kernel built from source. Although it doesn't make any change over the stock kernel, it does prove that the kexec hardboot works. It also allows developers to experiment with it. For more information, click here.
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.