The Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone from Verizon seems to have a protected bootloader onboard. For developers interested in trying to get root access on the smartphone, this means only bad news. Over at the xda developers forum, some are so enraged about the discovery and are even looking into returning the phone to Verizon and demanding for a refund. Fuelling this indignation is the fact that the version of the smartphone released by Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T do not come with locked bootloaders.
The locked bootloader will significantly increase the difficulty of interfering with the smartphone. As such, loading custom ROMS will be out of the question. Custom kernels likewise would be hard to flash. Developers, however, could eventually find a way around it, although it is doubtful that the solution would be permanent. Upcoming Verizon updates will surely check for any security gaps and prevent further tinkering. In time, developers might once again hack the device, turning the situation into a cat and mouse game.
The locked bootloader has been discovered by someone who has received the device after purchasing it on the pre-order basis. The smartphone itself, however, will not be launched until July 10th. Pending the launch, Verizon has not made an official statement regarding the bootloader. Nonetheless, developers should not expect Big Red to suddenly make an announcement about its unlocking. Verizon had earlier voiced its disapproval of bootloaders as they are believed to be necessary in providing a good and equal customer experience across Verizon subscribers. On the other hand, bootloaders bars users from getting the benefits of Verizon customer support.
Developers would naturally disagree. Many, in fact, are willing to risk these factors for full root access to the smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S III, in particular, has been an interesting device for developers because of its hardware specifications and features. Moreover, many developers have had previous experience with rooting Samsung devices since the South Korean firm had always kept its bootloaders unprotected on its devices. In the end, the locked bootloader might even make the smartphone more attractive to developers since it comes with a challenge not found on others.
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