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Samsung to Offer a Galaxy S3 “Developer Edition” on Verizon for $599 With an Unlockable Bootloader

Since the version of the Galaxy S3 on Verizon that thousands of you pre-ordered has a locked bootloader, Samsung apparently wants to give you an option that’s a little more open. That option, if you truly value an unlockable bootloader, is a “developer edition” model that will run you $599. It can be purchased directly through Samsung’s site in the near future and that’s that. From what we can tell, this won’t be subsidized in any form, so again, if you want an unlockable bootloader, you get to pay $599 for one.

We ran a poll yesterday that asked if unlockable bootloaders matter to you – this is your chance to show the world how much they matter.

Props to Samsung for providing an option. We’ll save our choice words for the other involved party for another day. There is a Q&A provided by them after the break that should cover most questions.

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 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 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.

Via:  Engadget

Cheers Jamie!

  • Mike

    It’s still $150 cheaper than the locked version, for those of us that kept their unlimited plan and didnt have an upgrade near.

  • HueThree

    Just go GSM and save yourself all the hassle

  • buckley101

    I am leaving Verizon because of this issue. They are the ONLY carrier in the world to lock the bootloader. This is absolutley ridiculous

  • Robert Jakiel


  • 1z2def

    Good job Samsung. I hope others follow your lead. Hello people. Verizon is still the way to go. With the new shared data plans all future phones that you want will be full price if you want to keep unlimited data. 599 is more than reasonable for a high end phone. For you folks saying you are going to sprint good luck with that. You are spitting yourself for no reason

    • Gareth Cove

      I love Verizon, but you sir, are a bit of a whore.

    • JoshGroff


    • Hopefully the other carriers can step up their network game to match Verizon’s.

  • wel

    Cancelled my preorder on the locked down version specifically to get this, not because I mod, but because I want unlocked bootloaders in the Wolfe and money is the only thing companies understand. If people buy this, others will folks.

  • JazzoRenee

    This is just dumb.

  • Michael

    I’ll just get a Verizon Galaxy Nexus just for custom roms or switch carriers and get GSM version from Google that would be heavenly. Verizon’s just way to greedy. How many of you use a unlocked Galaxy Nexus on T-mobile prepaid?

  • cancerous_it

    Sounds like win/win. If you want to keep your unlimited, you have to buy un-subsidized anyway. Samsung isn’t charging VZW $599 for the phone. VZW gets it at wholesale.
    Buying directly from Samsung means that no revenue is flowed to VZW for the purchase of the device. You get to keep your unlimited, have an unlocked phone and get to stick it to VZW even if it’s just a few bucks.

  • stush0104

    Someone correct my thinking, please, but wouldn’t Verizon want us to stay with the same phone forever or buy phones off contract? When we get a subsidized phone, VZW is essentially paying the difference up front. They make that money back through the life of the contract. Whether or not you buy a phone off contract or a subsidized one doesn’t matter to your monthly bill. It is the same either way. So wouldn’t it go that VZW makes more money off of you with a phone you bought on your own?

    • JoshGroff

      Yes, but then you have the freedom to switch.

    • cancerous_it

      Yes VZW wants you to use your current phone for as long as possible. They don’t want you getting a new subsidized phone every 20 months because that’s another $4-500 that they have to cover for the phone.

      It’s important to note who is selling this unlocked phone. It’s coming from Samsung directly. I don’t think VZW wants unlocked phones on their network; therefore, they won’t sell it. For this reason, I don’t think you’ll be seeing another Nexus device on VZW, but I hope I’m wrong. Samsung is selling the unlocked phones and probably taking any and all responsibility for warranty claims on the phone.

  • Poker_Vol

    What I take from this is that it is ok to “negatively impact” the Verizon network and potentially other customers’ experiences, as long as you pay $600 to do it. Tells me its not that big of a deal, otherwise, Verizon wouldn’t even allow the option for this phone.

  • ElixirBlack

    This smells like the beginning of the end: enthusiasts are going to have to pay a premium for unlocked devices. Unlike the semiconductor industry where AMD offers unlocked chips at every price point (and forced Intel to offer its “K” series of unlocked chips), carriers have no competition except for existing carriers. The barriers to entry for a new, user-friendly carrier are too high.

  • MikeCiggy

    In every blog post about share everything plans every single one of you said you were planning on buying an un subsidized phone. Here you go, an unlocked developer edition of the best phone out and you don’t lose your grandfather priledges.

  • Jimbo

    Step 1 – buy subsidized Galaxy S III from VZW.
    Step 2 – sell for profit on ebay
    Step 3 – Buy developer phone, kick in extra cash if needed (gotta pay to play kiddies)
    Step 4 – Don’t jack Verizon’s costs (which get passed on to the rest of us) by making a warranty claim if you muff your phone

    Seems like a perfect situation to me.

    Read more here:

    • JoshGroff

      I was just going to post that advice, the unsubsidized phone would run around $400 total out of pocket expense (assuming you sell the phone ~$500) at that point accounting for swappa sales fees and shipping as well. You should never sell a $500 phone on eBay, that’s a $50 hit from seller fees alone and that still leaves PayPal and shipping to rip you another $20-30 (which you can’t really avoid either way.) Anything $100+, it’s cheaper to list and sell on swappa since the sale fee is a flat $10 as opposed to 9.7% on eBay if I recall correctly, at $200+ you can feature the listing for an additional $10 and it’s still cheaper.

      I’ve bought 5 android devices through them and sold 3, haven’t had a single problem so far.

  • linli574

    welcome to the tinyurl.com/cozaa3k

  • Nick

    So who is actually getting this? I for one love my stock, unrooted GS3. It is the fastest phone I have ever used stock, even matching or exceeding some modded phones I had before when you throw Nova Launcher on it. It meets my expectations in every way (except the BL of course). I couldn’t imagine paying that much for a phone just because it has an unlocked bootloader! I could go out and buy a pretty nice laptop with an i5 processor and 6gb’s of ram for that price! I am just too happy with my GS3 to take it back for that. I will leave it up to the devs to unlock the bootloader. If they can’t, well that’s too bad. It will still have some great ROMS and other mods. I feel like the huge dev community can at least find a work around for the bootloader (I believe they have one in the works already), but we will just have to wait and see. Anyways, I am still interested in who is going to get this.

  • schoat333

    I will be buying one as soon as it is up for sale. I paid more for my Gnex off contract.

  • P.S. this phone is pretty bad ass even at stock.

  • i would love to spend 5 minutes speaking with the dopes at VZW who thought this locked bootloader was a good idea. The private dev community is a whole lot smarter than the rank and file VZW is outsourcing to India to develop for them, so it makes no sense that they would think they could permanently lock this device. If Samsung is willing to release a special edition of this phone that is unlocked, what makes anyone think they wouldn’t leak a way around the locked bootloader to the dev community?

    As ridiculous as this whole situation is, those who are rattling the swords about leaving VZW need to remember how much better their mobile network is than the other carriers….and that is what the most important at the end of all this.

  • Stewie

    No, this isn’t acceptable. We all know this is a line of BS from VZ, other carriers seem to have no issues here. Only VZ …
    Yes, to avoid the crap everything plans you go unsub, so you would be going unsub now to get it anyways.
    I believe VZ backtracked here because for you to get a locked phone for an unsubbed price would generate a few legal entanglements for them.
    Plain and simple IMO – VZ doesnt want anyone extending the life of their phone beyond what they consider acceptable, that’s what it comes down to, because you wouldn’t have to upgrade if you could flash a new OS, flash a new faster kernel, etc. Missed upgrades and the chance to rape you with fees and changing your plan ….

  • nightscout13

    Whoever buys this phone, please feel free to give us a copy of that unlocked bootloader.

  • This is actually good news…if Verizon lets an unlocked Galaxy III on the network it seems they most likely will let the next wave of Nexus devices on to. Same deal if you break it dont bring it to Verizon.

  • feztheforeigner

    Why wasn’t this available when I pre-ordered!!!

    I’m so filled with regrets…

  • Tony Allen

    Hopefully this device will help get the other version unlocked.

  • I’m actually totally okay with this. It angers me when carriers limit a device that you paid for…but much more so one they dont even subsidize. This option is a rare one with CDMA phones, and I welcome the choice to go around the carrier.

  • fanboy1974

    It’s better than nothing guys. Especially if we have to buy phones outright to keep unlimited data anyways. Only question is how popular would this model be for developers if a greater percentage has the locked version? I wonder if the resell will be greater on this unit compared to the locked one.
    Or how about this option. Instead of paying $200 for a locked version have the developer version for $250. I would pay a $50 premium for a developer edition with stock android on it.

  • Because of share everything plans I would have to pay full price in order to keep my unlimited data. The $599 price tag doesn’t seem that bad now. How sad…….

  • AnAngryJOE

    Also what was the point of samsung releasing the factory img for the s3 in the first place again? I mean after all this insanity someone enlighten me

  • what the fack

  • Knlegend1


  • This is an acceptable workaround, IMO. My only wishes is that from now on, all carrier locked Android smartphones — at least the flagships — will be sold in this way. Also, it will be EXTREMELY helpful if the manufacturer can announce the availability of the developer unlockable version BEFORE the carriers begin to take our orders!!!!

    Now, the chance of having a new Nexus for Verizon this year suddenly jump back from 0 to 50. Google, if Samsung can do it, you can too. Please don’t disappoint us. There are folks like me who are grandfathered into Verizon’s unlimited data plan and don’t want to leave!

  • Wow they allow thousands upon thousands who actually care about the boot loader preorder and receive their locked version, and THEN announce this… Douche move by both VZW and Samsung…

    • Timothy McGovern

      You can just cancel your order….

      • Oh yeah? Cancel an order for something you’ve already received? Interesting… (if you’re not aware, most have already received theirs)

        • There’s always selling the one you received to fund the purchase of this one. There’s even a good chance you’ll break even on the deal. Just a thought.

          • exactly. common do people not have brains anymore? sell the phone you just got which is new and you can easily make 400-500 bucks then buy this one instead. stop being a whiney cry baby .. the phone already has been rooted and has cwm anyway so i dont see the issue anymore ..

          • That’s beside the point. Of course you could sell your locked version and get the unlocked one, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a dick move. It’s obvious that they did this in order to attempt to lessen the # of unlocked phones on their network. Instead of announcing this beforehand they allowed tons of people to purchase and receive the locked version before they announced it. Yeah, many WILL sell theirs and get the dev edition, but they also know that many won’t hassle with it.
            Where am I being a whiny cry baby? I was simply stating that it was a douche move… I really couldn’t care less, as I’m not even getting this phone. I’m just sick of the state of mobile phones and more specifically the role that Verizon is playing.
            Also, if you don’t see the issue due to the phone being rooted and don’t understand the benefits of the boot loader being unlocked as well.. I don’t know what to tell you…

        • Timothy McGovern

          You do know you get thirty days to try the phone out don’t you. Just send it back.

          • You’re living in the past, its been 14 days for a while now. And there’s a $35 restocking fee on any return or exchange. Again, that’s totally beside the point of it being a calculated dick move on their part. Just because there’s a solution doesn’t make it right.

  • Kenneth Hung

    I’m hoping this is Samsung’s way of secretly slipping us a key to the bootloader while verizon’s not looking. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but maybe devs can find a way to use the dev version to unlock the locked down subsidized versions.

  • Just an observation…how is it a 10″ tablet costs $300, but a less-than-5″ phone still costs $600?

    • One reason is that those $300 tablets don’t come with cellular radios. Once you include them, those tablet prices will shoot up at least $100 to $150.

    • Detonation

      Manufacturing costs as well possibly. I imagine it costs a lot more to put all that hardware in a 5″ space than it does a 10″ space, not to mention the extra radios, etc.

  • Who ever came up with locking it and then selling it for this hefty price should accidently fall off a bridge with concrete shoes.

    • CapnShiner

      It is the same price, if not less, than the regular version. The only difference is that it is not carrier-subsidized. The only reason it ends up costing more is because you don’t get a discount on the service by declining the discount on the phone.

  • wm snyder

    aaaahhmmm it may very well be just gsm version that there selling sound familiar and quadcore and lte

  • Is this a thing now? Motorola did that with the RAZR, too. Why can’t they announce these developer editions BEFORE selling the locked version? I can’t imagine how many people bought the non-developer version and now wish they had held out.

    • interstellarmind


  • so basically VZW is saying that “hey if you buy the subsidized one we don’t want unapproved software on our network”..buuuuut……if you give Sammy some extra $$ then we’ll let it slide. ….wait hold on. I’ll finish this comment in a bit…someone is calling me on my Galaxy Nexus.

    • fartbubbler

      was it Kanye?

    • Detonation

      Samsung gets the same amount of money either way.

      Off Contract: Consumer pays $600.
      On Contract: Consumer pays $200, Verizon pays $400, knowing they will make that back and more over a 2 year contract.

  • wm snyder

    $349.00 You got a deal! other wise ill keep the extra $250.00

  • I think a good question here is what happens if I buy this unlocked version and I need to replace the phone. Verizon damn well better supply an unlocked replacement. So on a side note, who is to say I buy the locked version and call in a replacement and tell them it “is” a developer phone and they would have to send you an unlocked version.

    Just sayin…

    • Call who and tell them its a Dev edition? You have to buy it through Samsung… Ain’t gonna work…

    • That’s the whole point. Verizon will not service your device. At all. Ever. Even for hardware issues, you must deal directly with Samsung. And these will likely have a unique id of some sort, and you’ll be charged with fraud if you try and trade this one in as a “standard” VZW GS3

    • same thing would happen if you buy any verizon phone and try to get it serviced with it unlocked, your phone will be returned with the claim that your warranty is voided.

      Verizon doesnt service anything but locked down phones. Anything else you are on your own for.