After the fallout from confirmation that Verizon’s version of the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S III would have its bootloader locked, in a possible attempt to head off angry enthusiasts and developers, Samsung has hastily confirmed the near simultaneous availability of a Developer Edition of the Verizon Galaxy S III at the same time as the retail launch of the phone on Friday, with a couple of major exceptions.
First is the price, with the Developer Edition going for $599.99 with no additional subsidy and availability limitations, as it will only be offered directly via Samsung’s Developer portal with a strict quantity limit per customer. Samsung has provided the press with a copy of its FAQ on the Developer Edition, found 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 atdeveloper.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.
For its part Verizon justifies locked bootloaders on its Android lineup by stating that unlocked bootloaders pose safety and security risks, as well as the increased likelihood of warranty claims from device issues due to user error.