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A Few Thoughts on a Galaxy S3 “Developer Edition” for Verizon [Opinion]

Now that we have had a full day to sit on this oddly spread announcement from Samsung that they would be selling a “developer edition” Galaxy S3 to Verizon customers, we thought we would share some thoughts on it. It’s a move that we have seen from companies like Motorola in the past, but is it a move that will actually benefit anyone? Is it just a PR move? Will it make for a robust ROM community? Let’s talk about it. 

Thanks to Samsung

First of all, a big “Thanks!” goes out to Samsung for making this phone available. From what I understand, they fought a bit to give Verizon customers an option. While it may be an expensive option with a warranty that we would love to know more about, it’s at least going to be there for the taking.

Two Developer Scenes

On paper, having a “developer edition” phone might sound like an excellent choice for those that truly can’t live without an unlockable bootloader. But think about this situation for a second. If you have a locked down version that the majority of the public has, plus this developer version that very few will likely buy due to price, you will have two developer scenes. Unless this developer edition gives us some sort of key to unlock the subsidized version, we’ll have two different communities. The unlockable phone will have developers busting out full AOSP ROMs and freely doing whatever they please to their phone, while the rest of the world will be stuck with kexec hackjobs. That might sound negative, but all I’m imagining is a split community and a bunch of confusion. Which do you go with – unlockable and potentially smaller community or locked and big community?

More Bricks

In theory, locking bootloaders probably means less bricked phones since you are trying to keep people from doing too much damage, right? But what about the theory that people will continue to try everything in their power to hack on their phone because it is locked, which could lead to more bricks? Not only that, but it’s much more risky to hack on a phone with a locked bootloader than one that is open to anything. Sure, we have a factory ROM for the phone already, but you could argue that even that is just giving people more incentive to hack away and potentially brick. Tough to tell which is correct. I just don’t know that locking is going to save Verizon the hassle of dealing with customer issues.

Hypocritical

I couldn’t think of a better word to describe this situation. Verizon claims that they locked down the subsidized version of this phone because unlockable bootloaders lead to issues with phones that their customer service reps aren’t prepared to handle and because unapproved software could affect the network and other  customers. But if that’s the case, why allow Samsung to offer this phone at all? This unlockable version is still going to run on VZW’s network, people are going to load unapproved software on it, and if the volume rocker stops working or the display dies, they are going to call Verizon to get support. So you can pay $600 and do whatever you want to your phone on their network, but they won’t let you do it at a discount. Or they simply do not expect anyone to buy it.

Price

Two things to mention there. First. the price is unfortunate at $599. While it matches the full retail price that Verizon is selling it at, I can’t imagine that very many will buy this thing. Most of the readers that bought the Galaxy S3 were using their last upgrade, so that they could keep unlimited data and also to put off buying full retail phones for another 2 years. I don’t know the pricing breakdown of parts for the GS3, but Google has managed to sell the Galaxy Nexus for $350 through their store. If an unlockable bootloader is that important to you and you are thinking of paying full retail for a phone, why not go with the ultimate tinkerer’s toy and save yourself $250?

With that said, I have mentioned a couple of times over the last month that I hope people can start to think differently about the way they pay for smartphones. If you are buying a phone every 2 years, why not save up and pay for it at full retail? It keeps you off contract, with flexibility, and with all of the power. Plus, Verizon could very well do this in the future with all of their phones. They may lock them all down and force those that want to actually own their phone, to buy them at full retail. No better way to get in that mindset than with a “developer edition” Galaxy S3, right?

  • tonysvar

    Questions…

    If the development community is able to unlock the bootloader of devices purchased from VZW, will all other development work fall in line (i.e. ROMs developed for S3 on other networks will work without issue on hacked VZW phones as well)? Or will it still require that ROMs be modified (even slightly) specifically for the VZW S3 due to the different method by which it was unlocked?

    Do you think Samsung will actually sell the developer version or is this announcement just posturing to put the pressure back on VZW? (It’s still not available on their website) If so, when? Days, Weeks, Months? If not, is VZW capable of unlocking (unencrypting) the bootloader of devices that they’ve already sold (assuming they become willing)?

    If Samsung does release a developer version, does it not just become part of the general S3 development community with everything that has been done for other networks naturally transferring over to it?

    Personally, I’m at the point of buying phones outright to keep my unlimited data anyway. But the answers to these questions would affect whether I buy the Verizon version (from Best Buy so I don’t have to actually give money to my local VZW store) or the Samsung development version.

    Thanks.

  • Dshim

    Buying phones at full price only makes sense if you’re going to go with GSM carriers, really. I mean, yes – you would be free of Verizon’s ETF, but you couldn’t bring the phone with you to your new carrier as you could in Europe, severely limiting one’s options. Because you’d still have to buy another unsubsidized phone on the carrier you changed to in the US.

  • rockstar323

    Being on Verizon without a contract and paying full price for a phone is not worth it. People will say “Not being under contract means you can leave whenever you want”. True, but if you’re paying full retail to keep unlimited data or Verizon coverage it’s pretty much the same thing, except you don’t get the benefit of subsidized phones. I’m lucky enough to live and work in an area where I have other options for carriers that work almost as good as Verizon, excluding 4G, so if work didn’t pay for my service I would switch to another carrier. Being the best network is matter of opinion. To me, it’s one that allows me to have the phone I want that isn’t locked down and service that works but doesn’t cost me an arm and leg. 4G does’t matter too much since I am near wifi 90% of the day.

    I also doubt grandfathered unlimited data plans will be around much longer, end of 2013 tops but wouldn’t be surprised if they did away with it before 2012 is up.
    I see it happening a few ways:
    1. They just come out and say no more unlimited data, those out of contract can’t do anything about it, those under contract will get the option to change plans or leave ETF free.
    2. They will say that you can keep it if you purchase phones at full retail but I could see them forcing tiered if you buy a phone from an outside source, e.g. Samsung or Play store. Probably using the “it could danger network integrity” excuse.
    3. They could start claiming certain phones are not compatible with the unlimited data rate plan and if you want to update to the latest and greatest it will switch your data plan automatically when you activate it. They have done this in the past with rate plans and features, i could see them doing it again.
    I’m not trying to hate on Verizon, I use them and my service is great, but that doesn’t mean they are my only option. I also understand how business works, they care about one thing and that’s their bottom line. If you want to complain and threaten to go somewhere else because you’re losing unlimited data or have a locked/encrypted bootloader, go, they don’t care. You are a small minority that would do so and in the end if you’re using +10 GB of data a month you will actually be saving them money by leaving.

    tl;dr version: Best network is subjective. Grandfathered unlimited data will eventually be phased out. Verizon cares about money, not you.

  • Superguy

    This also makes the assumption that the GNex is a better phone. Yeah, it has some nice things about it, but you won’t have LTE on AT&T and the reception sucked on Verizon (yes, I owned one and my Rezound did a LOT better).

    I buy my phones off contract anyway, and anyone that wants to keep unlimited data is going to have to do so from now on too. Sure, it may be a niche product, but I think developers will be able to do more with a fully unlocked phone. While it may fragment the GS3 community, going forward, I think you’ll likely see XDA’ers and the like going for a dev edition phone than a crappified Verizon version.

  • Christopher Bauman

    For all the data I use.. 4-8+gb a month with normal usage. (I don’t tether, or do torrents from my phone) It’s probably cheaper for me to just buy a new phone in full when I would normally have an upgrade. Seeing how crappy the price tiers are for the pitiful amount data they give you, I’m pretty sure I save money over the 2 years by keeping my unlimited. Though Verizon needs to figure their Sh…stuff out. If I subsidized the phone then I guess I’d have to live with a locked bootloader, but if I’m buying in full then I EXPECT it to be unlocked and unencrypted (it is my phone afterfall if i paid full). Otherwise all these manufacturers will have to do like Samsung which I imagine will be a pain in the ass.

    Though the price for full on this thing is not bad at all. I don’t see why anyone can complain about it. I mean pftt yeah it’s more than the subsidized price you get for selling your soul^h^h^h^h using your upgrade. but compared to most high end phones it’s cheap. Hell our almost 1 year old Galaxy nexus’s are still priced $649.99 for full retail at verizon. I think when it came out it was like $998 or something too. So $599 is a bargain to me.

  • smartguy05

    I think the smart phone manufacturers should start making world phones that support all bands. That way you can buy a phone cash and use any service off contract. If your current carrier pisses you off, switch. That way you don’t have to buy a new phone, they phone manufacturers don’t have to deal with carriers and everyone is happy, except the carriers (and screw those guys). It would force the carriers to actually compete in the market and not just try to lock people into using their service. If this was the case I’d port my number to Google Talk and just go where the wind blows me, and buy a new phone every 18-24 months anyway.

  • AndroidUser00110001

    AT&T full retail is $550
    There was a time when cell companies did charge different prices if you were on contract or not. Financially it makes no sense to buy a phone at full retail since you are paying the same monthly fees which have some of the cost of subsidized phone price built io a small portion of your payment is for a phone you paid full retail for.

    Plus with Verizon you can not switch carriers so easy…

    Also to restrict software on a 4G network is not legal according to the spectrum deals…

  • http://twitter.com/codelinx abba dalla

    verizon is selling LTE bands to not be compatible with other carriers…

  • http://twitter.com/havens1515 Randroid

    I don’t get it… Motorola releases a developer edition of the Razr and people are up in arms, ready to cut heads off of the execs at Moto. Samsung releases a dev version, and suddenly it’s an awesome idea, and people are praising Sammy. Have I missed something here?

  • Bionic_Pags

    From now on i will always be paying the full price for a phone in order to keep my unlimited data and never sign another contract with the red devil. So i would gladly pay it for an unlocked one as well… Let’s face it, this is what you pay for to have a reliable network and at the same time be free from them jerking you around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1500563529 David Imel
  • NorCalGuy

    they should all be like the gnex if you unlock it it will boot with the GOOGLE unlock, and then they know they are not responsible at VZ, if it is locked then its VZ’s problem. Even if you “brick” your phone it still shows this screen, as far as i know. And to be honest there has not been one thing that vz has ever fixed for me before a dev has, and not to mention thanks to guys like Pete “BB” we still get to enjoy AOSP in a timely matter, hours after its released! As much as i love the inovation and continued speed of development in android it is killing it self, they now have JB out and still phones are being sold with GB and still some phones are running froyo, with only a few phones actually running ICS this fragmentation has to be killing devs more than the difference in unlocked and locked devices. It will aslo help if the manufactures follow the moto suit and phones that are close enough, RAZR and RAZR MAXX and hopefully RAZR HD, will have close enough specs that similar software will work on the different devices.

  • Mike_Cook7

    The idea of VZ locking it up due to support is stupid. If you are unlocking the boot loader you most likely know more about the phone than they do anyway.

  • gk08

    I have absolutely no problem with saving up to buy a cell phone at retail and shopping for service separately. I think it will force providers to improve their service when they have a customer base that can easily switch as opposed to a herd that is locked in for two years.

    My only problem is the lack of discounted rates available for people who want to use this option. Neither Verizon nor AT&T will give you a cheaper rate if you bring your own cell phone with you. So basically they are padding their wallets with the money they would be spending to subsidize your equipment. I just cannot stomach this. This is an area begging for some regulation.

  • C

    Lets see where are all the “locked bootloader then no thanks” people are. Put your money where your mouth is!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Section179 Section179

      They’ll probably buy a Nexus. I’m not sure why anybody who likes to customize their phone would buy an android phone that wasn’t a nexus.

  • Knlegend1

    You mentioned two communities but wouldn’t that already have been the case? Unless you mean the GSM, CDMA and now another CDMA version. I don’t just a thought.

  • JohnNilsson

    200 for sub phone from verizon with 2 year contract
    Sell online for 500, 300 in profit
    Pay extra hundred for unlocked phone
    Total cost for phone 300
    Drop service from verizon after one year pay 175 cancellation fee
    Sell the device if no longer using for prob est. 400
    Total cost of phone 75$
    Lets get real samsung isnt blessing us. Verizon pays for the extra cost of the phone on contract they are automatically loosing 350 off the bat. You think samasung isnt giving verizon a kickback. Your still buying a phone that can only be used on this network without service what good is it. Follow my advice above sell your phone keep your contract the etf fee goes down each month even if you pay the full etf you still have less invested in the phone than if you bought it direct from samsung.

  • interstellarmind

    what a mess.

    when i ordered my SGSIII, I fully intended to root it and throw AOKP on it – that was the only reason for me to get this phone and ditch my GNex.

    I just hope the dev community takes pity on us locked down guys and still continues to dev for us. Or maybe they can learn from the unlocked version a way to unlock vzw’s subsidized phone.

    why can’t they just offer an unlock tool? I’ll happily sign away my warranty (that pertains to software issues) for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ryan57ford Ryan Chapman

    Verizon should think of this… Right now I have unlimited data… They can sell me the phone, upgrade me to a non unlimited plan and enjoy me using my 4G, OR they can make me shell out $600, I stay on my 4G and I WIFI teather the hell out of it for the next couple years while I keep my unlimited plan. Choice is yours Big Red

  • http://www.facebook.com/Ryan57ford Ryan Chapman

    I think the fact that there is a phone (exact same phone minus the locked bootloader) That you can straight up and buy, that Verizon should realize they aren’t saving anyone from anything. If the only thing keeping you from doing what you want with your phone is a couple hundred dollars (that Verizon doesn’t collect on) why don’t they use the same logic and say the only thing keeping you from a unlocked phone is you doing a unlock and voiding your warranty? It shouldn’t be that the only people allowed to customize something they bought are the ones who can shell out a couple extra Benjamins.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Robson/1317522018 Chris Robson

    I wouldn’t mind having the developer’s model, but I’m happy with using my last upgrade on this phone. I will let you guys know this that is does voice and data simultaneous over 3g something that I have not really seen high-lighted, but that I noticed when my IM was working while on the phone today. Thanks Qualcomm for giving another plus to this phone.

  • Jayden Robins

    If you are like me and bought an iPhone 4S last October then this is a good deal because whatever phone I buy will be unsubsidized. I might as well get this version over the bootloader.

  • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

    I don’t think the argument that it will be a small community for the dev version holds up. The Galaxy S III has a huge collective community between all it’s versions. Much of that work is shared among all of the different versions. Since there is no hacking needed, it will be very easy for devs to bring roms to the developer version.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DCasper Dustin Casper

    They knew it would have a locked bootloader when shipped to Verizon customers, so I think its highly convenient that they all-the-sudden release a “developer edition”. They know they’re going to sucker some people into spending way more than they had to to get a fully FREE device.

  • New_Guy

    This is very easy to explain. With all the crap we talk about buying phones full price to stay on the unlimited plans and to get them unlocked, VZW just put out a feeler to see if we’ll actually do it. When (notice I say when) we don’t do it, they will see the truth and continue “as is”. This is simply a test of the emergency broadcast system; nothing more.

  • Paul

    Is anyone else in agreement with me that the type of person hacking their phone and loading custom roms and kernels probably isn’t the type of person to contact Verzion customer service for help if something goes wrong?

    • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

      The problem is that hardware issues are a very real possibility. For that you would normally talk to VZW, but this device will likely be serviced exclusively by Samsung, for better or worse.

    • Doan

      .. .

    • http://twitter.com/jinhao jinhao

      maybe the community is larger than we think from a cost to VZW standpoint. if you hard bricked ur phone tomorrow, I’m pretty sure a lot of us won’t just say “serves me right to tinker” and go buy it again at $600. We’ll take it to VZW and say it stopped working and ask for a new one.

      locking the bootloader makes sense and probably at a minimal cost…but their inconsistency is what doesn’t make sense.

      • Cyaniris

        Isn’t that just as simple as “we VZW don’t want to subsidize trouble-making users, pay full price and let Sammie serve you” ?

  • Butters619

    Or better yet, use your upgrade to buy a phone, sell it, and then buy the unlocked version. Yeah you are tied to a contract, but let’s face it, you probably have no plans of leaving soon if you are about to drop $600 on a phone.

  • jaybar

    the hypocritical statement

  • RW-1

    There you go, any other discussion about this is mute: VZ will allow unlocked bootloaders on the network.
    Nothing more has to be said here, the fact that an unlocked device is going to be on it a direct condradiction to their PR BS statement.
    A lawyer should take that and run with it …
    Their likely response about it being a dev version and full price to Sammy? BS, they are getting something back from it, but even so go back to teh top – it’s being allowed on the network.
    Extra costs of a device that won’t be given support, full price and allowed on the network.
    VZ is approaching Moto in terms of the BS, actually they went way past it when they hit the upgrade fee.

  • DinoRick

    And this is why I’m returning my locked S3 for a Nexus

  • counsel dew

    Perhaps devs who buy this may have fewer reasons to work on hacking the bootloader for the masses…

  • Zachary F

    I just don’t understand why Verizon GS3 users have to pay $600 for a unlocked phone that all the other carriers are selling for the regular subsidized price, And I agree Kellex if this “dev” phone is going to be so damaging to the network then why sell it at all? Why carry the GNex as well since it’s bootloader can be unlocked.

    • frankandsimple

      because.. Verizon is stupid.. Verizon has clout.. Verizon has money.. and Verizon can bend you over and do as it pleases…
      Truth and nothing but the Truth.

      • http://twitter.com/Belatukadro Justtyn Hutcheson

        Slightly more crude than my own verbiage would have been, but agree wholeheartedly. Verizon is arguably the most powerful mobile service provider in the world.

  • joe blow

    Can we finally just make a phone that will work on ANY carrier that has all of the chipsets in it??? Then we can get over this phone discount by the carrier BS

    • frankandsimple

      you can.. with a Verizon iphone 4s.. unlocked with Gevey Sim.

    • Jake

      You can with this device from Samsung and no mods. Not sure what sprint or other CDMA carriers would say about you want to activate it on there network or if there is something with the SIMed CDMA aspect of it that will be incompatible, but should technically work. For all the GSM carriers you just drop your SIM in and run. Won’t get AT&T LTE, but most don’t have access to that network in their area anyhow.

    • tlspatt

      true that, but people forget that subsidizing phones made and still makes the carriers a lot of money in the long run–they wouldn’t have done it for years & years otherwise; remember the days with one-year contracts? the problem is that the carriers are just not constantly increasing profits (which doesn’t appease Wall St investors) now that the market is essentially saturated because every person over the age of 8 finally has a cell phone. companies have to constantly grow profits which means new streams of revenue and this is just their latest concoction. you think $50 for 1GB of data on the new plans is ridiculous? do the math on what how many texts you can send for one GB and they charge you 10-cents per text!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graham-Cluck/1848256183 Graham Cluck

        Where are you getting $50 for 1 GB? WAY off the the mark, friend. And under the Share Everything plans, texting is automatically unlimited as are minutes. You’re also incorrect in assuming subsidizing phones makes them money. Uh, no. Forget retail, COST on a RAZR is about $540, so obviously they lose money on every phone (especially iPhone, where they have to pay an ADDITIONAL $400 on each one sold to Apple. Yeah…). Put someone on a single line on a S.E. plan with 2 GB, that puts you at $70 plus tax. So basically they gotta make up $480 before they start hitting profit. So, 7 1/2 months roughly til they reach a point of profit. So answer me this, with Apple handicapping them, and them trying to build the best voice and data network out there (LOTS of money invested there), what do you want them to do? The only money to be made in this day and age is off of data anyway, and that goes for all carriers. Trust me I am NOT a fan of losing my unlimited, but that is far from a deal breaker. Give me the better devices, better coverage, and far superior 4G network. You get what you pay for.

  • trixnkix637

    Wait I’m confused. Is the locked bootloader edition for those who bought it subsidy only? As in if you pay full retail value for the Verizon version, do you receive the locked bootloader or not?

    • jonny6pak

      Only those who purchase the dev edition phone directly from Samsung will have the unlocked bootloader. Verizon is not offering this phone to its customers as far as I can tell.

      • trixnkix637

        See that doesn’t make much sense to me. If you’re getting the phone at a discount, I could somewhat in a parallel universe sort of way see Verizon locking the bootloader, but if you paid upfront full price for the device, then they’re just greedy. Hmm.. Greedy & Verizon?? I found the reason/connection.

  • Ben Schulz

    My guess as to this “locking” event.

    Those who unlock are more likely to (from Verizon’s perspective):
    – have unlimited internet
    – exploit free wifi-tether via root method
    – use more data than those who do not unlock their device
    – call in to tech support when something is messed up

    I realize that FoxFi exists, and that maybe not all rooted/unlocked customers use significantly more data, but when Verizon does a cost benefit analysis, it just makes good business sense to lock the boot-loader. I’m willing to be that in two years when the contracts are data capped/ tiered, Verizon will not object to unlocking boot-loaders.

    Does this suck? Yes. Is it shocking surprising? No.

    • chris125

      except you can still root and tether for free with the locked bootloader

  • http://twitter.com/tgwaste tgwaste

    Dear HTC,

    Please save us from both Verizon and Samsung.

    Kind Regards,

    -tg

    • HTC FTW

      HTC …they already saved us. Look like HTC is the way to go.

  • Splicer78

    Take the locked version sell it to some sucker on eBay and buy the dev version or a gneiss and pocket the profits

  • Jason Purp

    Motorola made a developer version of the RAZR and they were bashed for it.
    Samsung did the same thing for the GS3 and they were praised.
    Huh

    • kixofmyg0t

      People just want to hate on Motorola because they’re not Samsung.

      • Jake

        Not at all. It’s because Motorola tends to lock devices as a rule rather than a network exception. The Milestone was locked for example while the OG Droid was not AND that was on VZW, but Google was more heavily involved in the OG’s setup than they were the milestone. The hate is derived from Motorola’s in built nature to want to lock device not even tied to any network demanding it be so. HTC and Samsung would never leave a device 100% unlockable if it weren’t tied to any network demands, but MOTOROLA does and did with the GSM RAZR. The disgust was in the fact that a standard GSM RAZR was not unlockable and one needed to hunt down a special Dev version when neither device was tied to any carrier specifically demanding a lock.

        • kixofmyg0t

          I understand your point and it’s very valid. I just can’t believe how much acceptance the VZW locked and encrypted S3 is getting by the very community that swore they would never touch anything with a locked bootloader.

          • Jake

            As per today’s picture posted by Kellex I do not believe this is the case. And even if what you say is true to some degree, it’s only because Samsung left ALL OTHER SIII’s FULLY unlockable and probably did so through negotiation with the networks and demands they be that way. They couldn’t with with VZW, but did convince VZW to allow them to sell an unlockable version.

            Motorola would NEVER behave this way. They prefer their devices be locked and only run official Moto stuff. Until Motorola shows otherwise, this will be the assumption. They are part of Google now and that should be the number ONE thing Google is pressuring them to change. The fact of the matter is that Moto and VZW are like two peas in a pod on this issue. Even the BRAND spanking new Atrix HD that is just a value oriented device for AT&T at $99 is hitting the market AS WE SPEAK with no way on day one to unlock it and only a weak promise from Moto they will try and find a way to make that happen. AT&T would rather a device be locked also and Motorola tends to agree so hasn’t pressured AT&T for a launch ability to unlock from day one. These facts are the reason Moto gets killed on this issue.

    • chris125

      except all moto devices were locked down, in this case only the verizon version was locked down. Not really the same.

  • jak_341

    This is why Samsung is the leader in Android phones. Even though Verizon went all Motorola on Samsung, they still on for what consumers really want. Kudos to Samsung and continued share leading/

  • http://twitter.com/kwhodson Ken Hodson

    Here is the transcript of a chat I had with Samsung:

    Please wait for a Samsung Agent to respond.

    You are now chatting with ‘Rachael’. There will be a brief survey at the end of our chat to share feedback on my performance today.

    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK56401313393X

    Rachael: Hi, thank you for contacting Samsung Technical Support. How may I help you today?
    Rachael: We have not heard from you. Do you wish to continue the chat?
    ken: I have heard rumors that Samsung will be releasing a developer edition of the Galaxy S3 on verizon network. Is that true, and if so so you have an ETA?
    Rachael: I understand that you want to know if Samsung is releasing a developer edition of the Galaxy S3 on Verizon network. Is this correct?
    ken: Yes, and when it might be available to purchase
    Rachael: I am sorry, as of now we do not have any such information about the release of developer edition of the Galaxy S3 on Verizon network. Please contact Samsung voice support team for further information. I will provide you with the support number.
    Rachael: You can contact our dedicated Galaxy S phones voice support team at 1-877-EZ2GALAXY (1-877-392-4252).Mon-Fri: 7 AM – 9 PM (CST), Sat: 9 AM – 6 PM (CST).
    ken: Ok, thanks

    I then called the number. Neither the tech support or sales team is aware of any plans to release a developer edition of the Verizon SGS3 or any “unlocked device” on the Verizon network. They are very aware that the device is lock and they specifically said;

    ” We are sorry about the SGS3 being locked, however we are required to supply the phone to the specific carrier per their requirements. In this case, Verizon required the SGS3 to be a lock device”

    So, where do we stand? Will there be a developer edition?

    • sc4fpse

      There will be. This sounds like an instance of the right hand not talking to the left, and nothing more. I would not worry about this.

    • joe blow

      Of course they don’t know about it! It was just announced by Samsung corporate. You were probably chatting with some poor outsourced worker in a third world country… Ask then in about 4 months and they may know!

    • chris125

      probably months later.

  • kixofmyg0t

    I’m just disappointed that when Motorola tried this EVERYONE and their brother bashed them but as soon as Samsung does it people love them.

    I’m still hoping that the VZW S3 gets broken so it can get more dev love.

    • DROID DOES

      Except Samsung had no choice, all the other carrier variants don’t have a locked bootloader.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      The unlocked Razr didn’t help anyone as it was unlocked for GSM carriers. Verizon people are affected by this.

      • kixofmyg0t

        You are right, but I remember people just bashing Motorola for even trying. A unlocked GSM RAZR would have been able to be fully supported by AOSP but people didn’t see that.

    • Jake

      Ummmm….Moto NEVER did this!! They offered a non-VZW GSM Global RAZR of this ilk, but NOT, I repeat NOT a dev oriented Droid RAZR or RAZR Maxx clone.

      This is VERY VERY VERY different! And very welcome change with a VZW hardware device. Shoot even if you want a subsidy you can always get the locked one, sell it and then buy this one and probably have some cash left over if you get the locked one sold before demand starts to wane.

      • kixofmyg0t

        You are right. I didnt clarify that. What I meant is people bashed Motorola for even thinking of releasing a “developer edition” phone.

        • Jake

          Yes, but that is also different as the standard GSIII is unlockable and the standard RAZR was not. If it’s not tied to a network WHY would you keep it locked up? And they have various phones they refuse to EVER unlock. While HTC and Samsung allow unlocking of about ANY device that isn’t locked for Network demanded reason. Motorola as an OEM would rather sell LOCKED devices and get KILLED by enthusiasts, RIGHTLY SO, for this stance.

          • kixofmyg0t

            We are all in agreement that it’s Verizon that has a hard on for locked bootloaders. Motorola’s best market is from Verizon and they are the smallest of the 3 main OEM’s. I thought it would have been better than nothing especially with people jumping off Verizon thx to the share your wallet plans etc. But no, everyone just wants Motorola to burn because they’re not Samsung.

          • Jake

            No the disgust with Motorola is because noncarrier sponsored versions of their devices are almost always 100% locked just like carrier sponsored ones and they tried to fix that issue by releasing a limited production hard to find unlockable device rather than just making the standard device unlockable since no carrier was influencing the normal one. This has nothing to do with VZW and all to do with Motorola’s insistence on locking EVEN noncarrier devices.

          • kixofmyg0t

            I have both locked and unlocked Motorola devices(tablets and phones-plural on both) and my stance on bootloaders is I would rather them be UNLOCKABLE but it doesn’t affect my purchase.

          • Jake

            What unlocked do you have? Only I know of are Dev RAZR, OG Droid, Xoom, and maybe some Tegra 2 devices that had no fort nox like ability toward locking as the OMAP versions do. So 2 I know of forced by Google, one that was a totally scam since they refused to sell an unlockable generic SIM unlocked GSM device in a broad way, and the rest are probably mostly related to lack of good and easy way to lock.

          • kixofmyg0t

            I own,

            OG-unlocked
            D2G-Locked
            D3-locked
            Atrix-Unlocked
            Bionic-favorite until yesterday and locked
            Xoom-unlocked
            NDA-You’ll just have to wait until someone else sends pics of cuz im not doing it, but im typing this on it. Its not the RAZR HD either.

          • Jake

            Will NDA be unlockable at launch is the question?? If not Moto get no new respect from me.

          • Jake

            If it is unlockable, has physical qwerty, on vzw, and about 5″ screen I will be Moto customer when its out.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Read these words.

            The Atrix HD looks cool. I wish that was on Verizon.

          • Jake

            Battery to small on Matrix HD, since not upgradable. OK as value device.

          • kixofmyg0t

            I think it would be ok, especially if it turned up the power sipping S4 chip.

            If they could get it to undercut the Incredible 4G in price and release the unlock tool we would have a winner.

          • Jake

            I can agree with that. It is a very nice device for the price. Not sure what full retail would be though?? That is what confuses me sometimes. You can get a brand new GNex for $350. I can’t see this device being a great retail deal for anymore than $400. Really it’s a less premium device than the GNex was new though. And if screen is more important than processor to you it would be overpriced compared to the GNex. Although you can’t get a VZW GNex new for $350.

          • chris125

            all it is is a razr with a 720p screen.

          • kixofmyg0t

            And a much faster SoC. Wouldn’t it be cool if it came to Verizon and had NFC too?

          • chris125

            it is coming to verizon. The razr hd remember?

          • kixofmyg0t

            Nah, I’m thinking something smaller. Something with a really small bezel.

          • chris125

            small bezel and moto do not go together

          • kixofmyg0t

            Trust me when I say this.

            That’s about to change.

          • chris125

            ha I’m sure. Not anytime soon though since the razr hd already leaked and unless they are going to go back and redesign the whole thing and delay it 8 months like with the bionic.

          • kixofmyg0t

            Nah. Theirs more in the pipeline than the RAZR HD. You may even get to see Mr blurrycam pics soon.

          • chris125

            I would hope they have more in the pipeline because the razr hd isn’t anything special. Plus it will be even more locked down than the sgs3

          • kixofmyg0t

            If matching the S3 in every spec but having RAZR MAXX battery size isn’t anything special then you are right. Here’s hoping Verizon sucks it up about the unlock tool.

          • chris125

            except for camera and ram. and no I don’t care it has a 12/13mp camera the sample pics that leaked still showed the same old crappy moto cameras.

          • Jake

            Gotta agree on Moto camera’s also. Nokia went all out on camera development LONG LONG before Moto or any other smartphone people for that matter and if Windows Phone ever picks up traction Nokia will be rewarded dearly for this know how. Moto needs to pick up their game in this department big time and it’s an easy thing to do as it just requires sourcing better and bigger sensors and worrying less about RAZRishness of the device. I just go done buying a 3850mah battery for my GNex and there is a HUGE market for these massively device fattening aftermarket parts so DO NOT tell me there isn’t a similarly not so concerned market for a device that had such a thickness for something with a 1″ sensor in it.

          • Jake

            And just so you know, OBVIOUSLY it affects my purchase! LOL. I had the OG Droid and Galaxy Nexus so far. This Samsung move with the VZW SIII is AWESOME in my opinion and the exact opposite of Motorola. Motorola has less clout in such things than Samsung, but pretty sure their engineers and others inside the company side with the networks to a great degree on locking. Definitely WAY more than their competitors or many enthusiast customers do. I will hate on MOTO until Google forces a change in this respect.

  • Greg Morgan

    You’re “Hypocritical” section is the best part to me. VZW makes a big deal bc putting software can cause bricks and what not. But by locking the phone, that leads to more returns then if it was unlocked. Personally I think VZW just does it to piss off their clients.

    • Pedro

      Maybe they know that those who choose to pay $600 for the phone are probably capable enough to not brick the phone. And if they do, meh. No support from them. That being said, I wish they’d create something similar to HTC and issue unlock codes to those that agree to void the warranty. You get the phone you want, they get the cash they want, and if you screw it up, you get to fix it.

    • moelsen8

      Yeah seriously how hard would it be to release a one-click formware flashing tool for these phones. Save themselves tons of time and effort and money. I dont get it. Except that they treat people ple like idiots.

  • Mike Majewski

    Two things:
    1. I would guess support for the unlocked version is going to be the responsibility of Samsung–that’s why it’s only for sale on samsung.com
    2. I would love to buy phones off contract, but I really can’t justify it as long as doing so causes me to get screwed. If I’m not receiving a subsidized phone, I should be receiving a discount on the rate plan. It’s something that the US carriers will never go for though.

    • Tom

      You are getting a subsidized phone because you agree to a two year contract. Why should they discount service for you just because you paid full price? Now maybe if you sign a new 2 year agreement with them, but at that point you might as well have bought a subsidized phone from them.

      • chris125

        because by you paying full price that is less they have to subsidize so yes you should get cheaper service a month which happens on other carriers.

    • nightscout13

      Unfortunately, carriers don’t offer discounted monthly rate once you are out of contract. They still charge you the monthly rate as if you are subsidized.

    • Jake

      Get the locked on subsidy, sell it before demand wanes and use cash to buy this. At the moment you could probably e-bay a new in box GSIII for more than it will eventually cost to get this Dev device. Technically could make money and end up with the unlocked one if you get on this before the word is out about locking and alternative options and such.

  • David Hussey

    Verizon’s argument that unlocked bootloaders makes support troublesome is nonsense… anyone who takes the time to understand how to flash a custom ROM won’t be turning to Verizon for support, they turn rootzwiki, xda-dev, etc. The ROM community already has robust support.

    • angermeans

      I agree but most don’t do this then they run into an issue and panic and immediately call Verizon or others for a replament instead of taking responsibility. It happens more than you think and they play dumb and Verizon has to take their word for it and send out another device. People are lazy and all these one click options and people scared to learn a dB but want to flash ROMs has attracted a lot of people that have no reason to be tinkering at all

      • Diablo81588

        +1!!

  • NastyEmu

    I didn’t think you could buy the Galaxy Nexus through the Play Store if you are on VZW.

    • TheMan876

      You can’t. It infuriates me that this is even mentioned as an option.

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        The point is, if you are going to buy phones at full price, that means you can go to any carrier you choose.

        • nightscout13

          But Verizon has the best 4G network… Why would you NOT want to choose Verizon over the others?

          EDIT: If Google sold the Gnex from play store as an LTE phone, then that’s fine. But they only sell the HSPA+ which will not work on Verizon.

          • ERIFNOMI

            Hmmm. Most expensive (especially with the new Share Everything plans) and probably the most evil (see locked S III). Those are just two that come to mind immediately.

            Note, I do have Verizon. Doesn’t mean I have to like them.

          • nightscout13

            They are expensive, but you get what you pay for. (Can’t argue that)

          • ERIFNOMI

            I wouldn’t say they’re so much better that it makes up for the expense. Depends on where you live of course. Where I am, Verizon has the best service. But that’s not true everywhere.

          • nightscout13

            Verizon has the most amount of towers, period. Even if there is a few percent of people who don’t get coverage, they still have the best coverage. (3G and 4G) And having that coverage comes at a price.

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            Damn straight! I own a house in a suburb outside a major city, I’m not isolated at all, houses and apartments all around me. You know what my Rezound is getting for a single right now? 1X. Yep, my expensive as sh!t 4G phone has been getting 1X for quite a while now. “Oh well, it must just be the Rezound’s fault, should have gone with (plug in your fanatic phone of choice here) and you wouldn’t have that issue. Well bull phucking sh!t I wouldn’t! I have had horrible coverage forever on all my phones!

            I even had some of the Verizon tech geniuses drive out here, in front of my damn house, to test the coverage here. I had to call them back to find out the results of course, and they tell me that coverage at myhouse and in my area is less than moderate and close to poor. So i say, yeah, you might recall I told you this already Verizon. And I ask to get one of those devices that boost your cell signal and you can link all the phones in the house to it, of which there are many in my household. They say, yes of course, we can sell you one for $200. They also say my coverage is so bad that they are also willing to let me out of my contract with no Early Termination Fee. Well, this isn’t a viable option for me, seeing as all of my friends and family are on Verizon’s network. So I say “So you are telling me my only two options are either A) I pay you $200 to fix your highly inadequate service you’re providing that I’ve been paying you thousands of dollars for, or B) We don’t value your loyalty all these years, and we will be glad to send you on your way, and we are so generous we won’t demand you pay a gigantic Early Termination Fee?”. And there was just dead silence on the other end, as thestupid rep. had nothing to say to my query.

            So yeah, this situation, along with many other things (obliterating unlimited plans, getting rid of new every 2 years, adding on a new fee for when you are already paying hugely marked prices for a new phone, and just all the other bogus fee’s they have, like the best is paying them money to give them more money, aka- the early upgrade fee….hahahahaha!), has really strengthened my resolve to try and find the best way I can get as far away from Verizon as I can when mycontract is up. Oh and , I haven’t even gone into the more recent horrifying episode where they charged me for two new phones when I bought my Rezound recently, then were the worstand most stupid company on the face of the earth to try and fix their mistake, and the whole time I’m trying to help them fix their mistake, I have P.O.S. Verizon Collections people calling 4 times a day every day for two months, demanding that I pay this charge for the new phone I never even had possession of and had cancelled the order the day after I ordered it. And I had talked to literally close to 20-25 different people in the financial department, technical department, and customer service department. And not a single one of those brilliant special people, could leave notes on my account properly, and they absolutely could not communicate my problem amongst different departments or reps. So each I called one of these brain-dead morons, or they called me demandingI pay for their error, well I had to explain my very long story of how they screwed up royally, just like I was telling it to the very first person I had ever talked to about this fiasco……you can see how this might make one want to commit suicide after explaining this all over again, to literally the 26th and 30th persons. So yeah, I don’t have Verizon on my speed dial, for best buddies in my phone. They hire the most idiotic people that can’t think on their own, and will only do the minimal amount of work required, and constantly lie to you. And their system for dealing with anything, is the most archaic and inept system the world has known.

          • chris125

            no more unlimited data. Once they take my grandfathered unlimited data I am off cdma. At least if i am getting less data I want to be able to get whatever phone I want and unlocked.

          • nightscout13

            Even if it’s not unlimited, Verizon still have the best coverage.

          • chris125

            I guess for some, but for me I have options and why pay more for less data and other crap verizon charges for. I will go gsm and then really not have to deal with carrier bs when I buy unlocked.

          • Christopher Bauman

            You don’t lose unlimited if you buy the phone full price… you only lose your unlimited data if you subsidize the phone

        • TheMan876

          Even if you get the one from Google you lose LTE and your only choices are ATT and T-Mobile. Not ANY carrier.

          • ERIFNOMI

            Any carrier but Verizon and Spint (and those who piggy back on their network). There are plenty of smaller GSM networks you could jump onto. Not that I would, but you could.

            And of course this is apposed to the toro and toroplus which ONLY work on Verizon and Sprint respectively.

        • sc4fpse

          Correct me if I’m wrong, but won’t the Verizon Galaxy S III eventually have global functionality? Meaning, support for HSPA+ on AT&T? Granted, you won’t be enjoying any LTE goodness, but the phone would not be locked to only Big Red. Crippled on other networks, yes, but not completely locked to VZW.

          • Jake

            You are correct. And I HIGHLY doubt Samsung would put this phone up for sale with this aspect of the underlying hardware somehow restricted as it would only restrict the sales of such a device. Such a device could be pretty popular though as fighting for mad customers money over the odd data pricing changes gets going. If they don’t leave they will be force to pay full price for a device anyhow and if they figure they might want to leave they might opt for something like this and just go uncontracted 100% to leave the networks uneasy about where their business will be from month to month.

          • WickedToby741

            No. Verizon disables the use of American GSM carriers. No global phone Verizon has released, without modification, has been able to be used on AT&T or T-Mobile.

          • michael arazan

            I think I just read recently that verizon, which wants all their phones to be 4g, also wants their phones to be global too, just not sure why they want all their phones to be global unless they are planning to expand their market to other countries.

        • Jake

          Yep. GSM and HSPA stuffs that exist in this VZW device will probably be unlocked and availabe for use on AT&T with a DEV version of the device. You would be out LTE for AT&T, but still it’s a nice option and most don’t have AT&T LTE coverage anyhow.

        • tlspatt

          that’s a great point, Kellen, but only true once we can start buying SGS3s or G-Nexii (whatever the plural is) from Sammie and/or Google directly AND they have both sets of radios in them for both GSM and CDMA/LTE. until then we’re still largely tied to choosing between two carriers depending on our baseband. my only option to switch now would be to Sprint, perhaps, if they ever join the LTE game…

        • Christopher Bauman

          Except you can’t. If you buy a full price phone for verizon you are stuck with verizon since they are the only CDMA/LTE carrier. you’d have the buy the GSM HSPA+ version or whatever it’s called of a phone to move to other carriers. Also from my experience in my area, Verizon has the best coverage as well as the best speeds. almost 26+MB/s down and 15-25MB/s up.

          The only carrier I know of that comes close I think besides sprint? is maybe Tmobile, whenever they have phones that can do their dual band HSPA++ or whatever it is for the 42MB/s speeds.

          I’d also be out my unlimited data, does tmobile still have that? even if they did it would have to be faster than verizon on a consistant basis to merit a switch. Either that or have coverage absolutley everywhere in there version of “4g”.

          And then there is the big cloud on this parade. Unless you opt for month to month (which surely would eliminate any perks or unlimited data you have) you will be breaking contract which is extremely expensive. like around $350 sometimes higher sometimes lower. Not sure what other carriers charge. since most sign up for 2 year plans as month to month doesn’t really offer much for people using lots of bandwidth.

          • John Pisano

            Ehhh kinda wrong there, the RAZR with the ICS update is also now a GSM unlocked device. Popped an AT&T sim in mine and it worked no problem

      • ERIFNOMI

        It’s not mentioned as an option, it’s a comparison. Google can sell their phone directly, i.e. without going through a carrier, for $350. Samsung is doing this same thing but charging the same price as Verizon would charge off contract.

        Now, this isn’t really a fair comparison. Yes, Samsung could probably come down a little from what Verizon is asking, but Google can come down even more because they will be making money from the services the phone will be using (ads). Plus, the S III is a newer phone, but I won’t get into that.

        • Hunter

          Verizon is no doubt dictating the price to Samsung, they don’t want Sammy’s offering to infringe on their subsidized offerings.

  • Chad O’Hara

    I hope this means the devs can use this unlocked version to unlock the locked one. I didn’t realize how much I would miss my CM9