Late last week, Samsung and Verizon drew considerable ire from Android enthusiasts after customers who had preordered their SGS3s and received them early noticed that the device included a locked bootloader. While an exploit was later discovered that worked around this protection for rooting the device and booting unsigned ROMs, the move to a locked bootloader for the Verizon variant alarmed many, as Samsung has previously shipped devices with unlocked bootloaders on all US carriers. 

Today, Samsung announced that it will begin selling an unlocked "developer edition" Galaxy S III for use on Verizon Wireless direct through its own developer portal. The device will run $599, which is essentially standard fare for purchasing a high end smartphone out of contract these days. This is essentially the same route that Motorola was forced to take with the RAZR for Verizon some months ago, and is an obvious parallel. Locked bootloaders are almost always done at the bequest of the carrier, putting handset vendors in a challenging position inbetween the carrier and end users who want full control over devices they've purchased.

As an aside, we'll have our Verizon SGS3 variant in the next couple of days and a piece with battery life testing and any other relevant deltas from the other USA SGS3s we've already reviewed

Source: Samsung (Thanks Francois Simond @supercurio)

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  • ExodusC - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I am absolutely floored they would try to pull this.

    Verizon is the only carrier in the world who decided to lock the bootloader on the Galaxy S3. Then, Samsung is selling a "Developer Edition" that Verizon is willing to activate on their network, despite claims that these devices -supposedly- cause people to "abuse their network"?

    This is completely ridiculous, and I hope this fails like the RAZR Developer Edition, or even better, I hope it allows developers to find a bootloader unlock method for the rest of us.

    Absolutely disgusting.
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    It's not just that. Verizon doesn't want to support phones with custom ROMs, for example. This puts the support on Samsung's shoulders.
  • ExodusC - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    While I am glad Samsung is at least trying to do SOMETHING about the situation, I honestly would have preferred they did what Apple would have done, and said "Sorry, if you want to mess with our phone, you get no phone at all."

    Unfortunately even Google had issues trying to do that with the Galaxy Nexus (supposedly- what with Google Wallet and all).

    Still, this blows my mind. I hope developers find a solid workaround to this nonsense.
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Hopefully more people will switch to purchasing phones from phone makers, and buying connectivity from service providers. Shell or Exxon doesn't sell cars that run on their gas, why should providers sell phones than run on their pipes?
  • greylica - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    + 1 , best comment of the day !
  • prophet001 - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    ^ protip comment
  • robinthakur - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - link

    Yer, it works that way in the rest of the world really, so I don't know why not in America. Having said that, the SGS3 is no way worth $600. I've never purchased anything so expensive which felt so cheap and the back of the phone feels like a strong wind could snap it in two. More practically, the Home button feels really flimsy considering how often you have to push it and I think this is a major weak point in the design. After a week of ownership I was especially alarmed that there is now a big blob of dust under the camera lens. Coming from Apple devices, it seems pretty inconceivable that the lens wouldn't be sealed tbh, so I've made the decision to sell it and recoup my $600 and then wait it out for the iPhone 5.
  • phatboye - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Let's place blame where blame is due, Verizon, not Samsung. Sure Samsung is a soulless/spineless blob but they are doing what any company would do to push their product to the consumer. At least they give you the option of purchasing the unlocked version of the phone if one chooses to go that route.

    If you want to be angry at anyone direct your frustrations solely at Verizon who is requiring Samsung to lock down the SGSIII. Send them an angry letter how you are sick of Verizon's crap and threaten to leave if they do not change their ways.
  • mevans336 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Does anyone see the link to buy one via the link in the article? I can't seem to find it.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    It isn't live yet, but will be from the Samsung developers portal page:


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