Verizon SGS III

Oh Verizon, why must you constantly mess with perfection? Hackers with early access to the Verizon Galaxy S III have discovered that the phone has a protected bootloader -- meaning no easy hacking or flashing unsigned images. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the Galaxy S III phones, or previous phones in the Galaxy series, or any other Samsung-built Android phone known to mankind. 

Not all hope is lost, but things are looking pretty bleak. It's possible a different version of Odin is needed, or there's an issue with the way the images are being packed, but it truly looks like the bootloader is locked up in typical Verizon fashion. Now this doesn't mean the phone won't ever get rooted or hacked. It just means that it won't be as easy as is typical with Samsung phones, and trickery will need be involved like HTC or Motorola phones on Big Red. 

And no, we don't know what prompted Verizon's decision to go this way, but I've asked for some clarification. My guess is that they will point to the Galaxy Nexus when they hear the word "hacking". Hell of a way to start the weekend, isn't it?

Source: XDA. via Android Central forums

 

Reader comments

Verizon's Galaxy S III looks to have a protected bootloader

90 Comments

All I could say is the JOKE is on Verizon customers. It amazes me how they feel they need to do the things that they do which shows clear disregard for it's customers. All Verizon cares about is themselves and their silly crappy DROID RAZR/MAXX devices. After they trashed the Galaxy Nexus I was so happy to kick there butt to the curb with it's overpriced and overrated LTE network. My Galaxy Nexus never got clear reception or signal even in the strongest LTE market Manhattan New York..Enter Tmobile and it's superior GSM NETWORK all I can say is thank god my Galaxy S3 has great reception perfect 4G coverage and speeds that pimp slaps any Verizon devices. All that glitters isn't gold my friends just because you pay the most doesn't mean you are the best. Tmobile shits on Verizon here in New York City my Galaxy S3 works in places my Galaxy Nexus on Verizon never did. Plus with Verizon being the biggest JOKE IN CARRIER LAND when it comes to updates look how long it took for a simple update to a stock device which had to wait till June for 4.0.4. If your not leaving Verizon after all this then your just mislead. Verizon can go piss on itself.

My Galaxy Nexus has no problems with reception on VZWs 3G or 4G networks.

Also, to claim Tmobile is a superior network, you are lying to yourself and everyone who read this comment section. Please, it might be the best for YOU, but it is not the superior network. There are multiple surveys and studies to back this up. I suggest searching Google.

VZW covers most of my state. T-Mobiles coverage is the size of the parking lot at the local mall. I would switch to tmobile if they had good service by me, but they do not. Only AT&T and VZW. Sprint is terrible here as well. They waived the ETF for me because of the amount of dropped calls I had.

I've got a simple solution for you, leave Verizon for a different carrier and switch to decaf.

And yes, in my area they are the best. And in some areas I travel to, they're not only the best, they're the only.

First off, rage more kid. Second, it's New York, New York not Manhattan, New York. Third, T Mobile is the weakest carrier in NYC and Verizon is the best. You must be from Jersey.

I think I agree with everything you posted. If Verizon had an exclusive for the GSIII they probably would have charged $299 for it.

"All Verizon cares about is themselves and their silly crappy DROID RAZR/MAXX devices." You don't say? A carrier that cares about it's TRUE flagship phones (under the Droid brand) much like the Evo brand with Sprint? The same Evo brand that you said was "legendary" and kinds of other crap? You really are retarded.
"I was so happy to kick there butt to the curb with it's overpriced and overrated LTE network." A) It's spelled "their". "There" means a location. Go back to grade school and learn something for a change. B) When you were with Sprint not even a year ago, you wouldn't shut up about how Verizon was "the devil", how it's phones were "overpriced and underspeced", how their 4G network was "shitty", or how every other carrier was "pissing on" Verizon. And yet you signed a contract with them. Again I say, you really are a moron.
"just because you pay the most doesn't mean you are the best." Hahahaha! After insulting me about my owning what you called a "useless" Samsung Moment, that's refreshing to hear! Sad that it took you 8 months on Verizon to realize that, but hey, at least you're FINALLY learning something!
"If your not leaving Verizon after all this then your just mislead." Good luck convincing the 109 million or so Verizon customers to leave based on *your* pitifully ridiculous interactions with them.

ha come on dick you say the same shit on every site. Tmo does not compare to verizon carrier wise. You bad mouthed verizon when you had sprint yet you switched the verizon then you bad mouthed tmo and you switched to them. You are the biggest douche and hypocrite on the internet.

GSM is far from superior. The only reason it is more "open" is because the European Union have forced it to be that way. CDMA is a newer and forfor all intents and purposes technologically superior. The GSM carriers had to add a newer parallel network to even get 2G to work (WCDMA). Then they updated that to an even newer data network (HSPA) to get the 3G/"4G" speeds. So all this GSM is better data is misguided. The GSM doesn't handle any data outside of text messaging (because it can't). The openness we like is really because the EU has forced it to be a standard. GSM is Nokia's tech and CDMA is Qualcomm's the difference is that there was no government setting the rules for Qualcomm. Eventually we'll all use LTE and we can make fun of this GSM vs CDMA debate.

GSM networks handle data, either though the good old "connected" way or with newer GPRS and finally EDGE. So data works in a 2G GSM network. GPRS for always on connectivity reached the handsets in Sweden around 2001.

W-CDMA or UMTS is the 3G technology and is completely different and has nothing to do with GSM - it is a new kind of network. For higher data speeds, HSDPA and later HSPA+ subtechnogies has been developed.

I don't see that CDMA is "more modern" than W-CDMA or the newer HSDPA/HSPA+ developments. With my old HTC HD2, I have experienced very good data speeds on the Hi3G HSDPA network. The same applies to my E90 that could handle 3.6 Mb/s back in 1997.

The speeds are as follows:

W-CDMA: 0.384 Mbit/s
HSDPA 3.6: 3.6 Mbit/s
HSDPA 7.2: 7.2 Mbit/s
HSPA+ up to 22-42 Mbit/s
LTE - up to 100+ Mbit/s

In Sweden, the fastest LTE connections offers speeds of more than 100 Mbit/s.

Check out this link:

http://4g-patrullen.se/

I don't think Verizon 4G is something to brag too much about.;)

Keep in mind that WCDMA/UMTS/HSDPA are all built on CDMA technology and CDMA concepts. (spread-spectrum) That's why the European telco's pay big royalties to Qualcomm. (the inventor of CDMA) So while people love to point out that CDMA lost the war to GSM, it was a revolutionary technology that was miles ahead of the GSM that was available at the time, and it paved the way for the data networks we all enjoy today.

PLEASE STOP CONFUSING CMDA2000 AND CDMA.

CDMA is a SPECTRUM Division method, although CDMA2000 is usually shortened to CDMA

Your comparing a devision method and a technology.

Its like comparing a cow to a car!

My point was that the TDMA networks, like GSM, are the old dinosaur s in the digital cellular communications world. GSM depends on a newer parallel network to handle data traffic. TheCDMA carriers would likely be doing better if they had upgraded to newer versions of their CDMA tech. (like EVDO Rev.B or SVDO like sprint is preparing to do.) The speed differences wouldn't be as stark if the CDMA carriers had bothered to do the "minor" updates instead of putting it off waiting until it was time to build the next generation network.

I have both carriers, I live in Boston and T-Mobile delivers kick ass speeds. I get over 17 MB down during the day. Verizon struggles many days to push those speeds. T-Mobile has a very fast and reliable network and it gets better every day. I could have bought my SGS3 from either Carrier, I chose T-Mobile, great speed, no battery issues and the price. I. Got the Pebble Blue with 32 gb of internal memory. I am thrilled.

Dude. T-Mobile was about to be bought out by AT&T.

If they're so god damn exceptional, don' you think they would be a financially stable company..?

Use your head.

Motorola Mobility was bought by Google.... was it because of financial instability? Companies prefer to buy other companies that raise their position, not drag them down.

I am can't stand Tmobile, but if they work for you, great. I love how you sparked a little war with the Verizon fan boys! Take a chill pill guys! Why do you care his preferences. Maybe, from his experience, Tmobile has been the best. For me, Sprint has been Superior, but I'm fully aware that is my experience based on how I use my phone. Fan boys of all kind are silly... this was blown way out of context & the personal attacks simply show the irrationality of your response! Go ahead & do the same to me now, if you must.

I live on Long Island about 30 mins east of Manhattan, and I've been getting significant trickle reception 4g from NYC for the past year. Stop making #%$& up, you look like a foo!

Blame Samsung, not Verizon for your lack of coverage. The radios in the Nexus aren't the best... I believe Samsung resolved that issue with the S3.

Well that's just a great way to start my weekend, knowing I get my GS3 on Monday or Tuesday and now I will have to wait months for custom ROMs

Doesn't matter, when will they learn that this will stop nothing. Hasn't stopped us from exploiting other models on Verizon. Jerks...

Yup, yet another reason not to renew my VZW contract. Next phone will be a Nexus device. Sick and tired of carrier BS.

Speeds on Tmobile and it's HSPA PLUS 42MPS simply pimp slaps Verizon and it's battery draining LTE network. Verizon should be losing lots of customers soon people deserve better for all the money they have shelled out to big red. Glad it's not me anymore...

Yea I live in North Jersey and get about the same. T-mobile friend struggles sometimes for signal in certain areas. Verizon still pisses me off with there stance on things. I'm still probably not going to re-new with Verizon just on philosophy alone. They need a couple million people to leave them so they could stop thinking they can do whatever they want without repercussions.

The fact that you think Joe Public gives any craps about locked bootloaders shows how out of touch with reality you truly are. Not to mention your statement is objectively wrong.

Like the screenshot posted, Ill hit 42 mbps (thats how you actually spell the acronym by the way) around town, and when I'm near a tower I'll get over 45 with ease.

LTE.

Im sorry but last time I checked, its LEGAL to hack/root a phone and Verizon might stop this if we all banded together and pressured them to stop. Big Red will do what ever it wants and it needs to be taught a lesson.

It might be legal to root your phone, but Verizon does not have to provide you service. I'm sure they're doing this because they're tired of people who don't know what they're doing bricking their phones and then lying about it in order to get a new one that they might brick all over again.

My Verizon Nexus with Jelly Bean looks better and better every day...

Rooted Galaxy Nexus overclocked @ 1680GHz running JellyBean 4.1 murdering HTC X and S3's in benchmarks. Gnex is the way to go!

OC Nexus can only be compared to OC One X and GSIII. OC one of those and they'll murder the OC Nexus in benchmarks.

First they pass on the One X, then they delay the S3 and now this. If Sprint had their LTE network up and running, I'd switch to them.

This is the reason why I don´t think I will touch a US carrier device again. From now on I will only go for clean, unmodified European devices like the Galaxy Note N7000 I am using now.

It is also worth to mention that you can get a Galaxy S III for approximately $50 per month - $0 in store - on contract in Sweden. Paying $199 for it plus $2400 (24 x $100) is out of the question for me.

So to everyone that is sick of this malpractice with locked bootloaders: get the European version and simply skip the main carriers altogether. The exception is obviously if the coverage makes it absolutely necessary to get one of the big four.

Same reason I'm with them. I'm a college student, so I won't be traveling much for the next few years, so if I lost my unlimited data I'd jump on Sprint, who also has great service in my area.

I am new to Verizon and don't like the sound of this at all. Sprint had no 4g but at least they played nice with the other kids. Geez.

I'll give you that Sprint isn't Verizon-bad, but they're no angels either. While it can be rooted, the Evo3D can be a pain, depending on what bootloader you've got. Which is especially crap given how unwilling they are to part with the official ICS update they've been sitting on for at least a month.

I'll be new to Verizon too shortly. With a work discount and the new family plan, it'll be right in line with Sprint. Capped data shouldn't be a problem for a long time for me - I'm so conditioned to just use WiFi with Sprint's non-existant data network that my monthly usage most efficiently expressed in kilobytes.

I preordered the device and am currently using the gnex. Now I'm contemplating keeping the gnex or going for the S3 and sucking it up.

What do you want out of your phone? For it to "just work" and have someone to complain to and blame when it doesn't, higher MP camera, etc.? Or to be able to have rooted and running different ROMs based on your own preference, always get the latest updates to the core Android OS as soon as they're available (like running Jelly Bean already, which isn't even technically available yet), contour display, etc.? If the former, than stick to getting the S3. If the latter, then stick to your GNex. Personally, I'm on the latter crowd (prefer immediate updates to android over someone to complain to, even if I have to do the update myself, love the contour display, and the camera etc. are more than good enough for my needs), but you need to ask yourself that and go with your own needs/desires.

Thanks for the response! I love flashing and having the latest updates. The more I use the phone the more I am loving it!! I already rooted this one and flashed jb! Running very smooth! I think I'm going to stick with the gnex and have my gf get the SG3. She doesn't like rooting and flashing!

You want to root your phone gs3 then buy a nexus end of story. Also wheres the crying on the wifi notification hm loving ny nexus with jelly bean

Why would anyone that's crying about root, cry about the wifi notification? If they have root, the wifi notification is a null issue.

Had I known about the locked bootloader (I kinda guessed it when all the test/review units were Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T) sooner (before 6/28) I would have cancelled my pre-order and saved $50 bucks and got the GNex. Jelly Bean and unlocked bootloader glory and all. Oh well.

It's not the end of the world, even if it is locked. My DX has a locked bootloader and I am running ICS with no issues. Even overclocked.

But you can't install a custom kernel, which really limits the device in a lot of people's eyes. I loved my Droid X, but the customization available to my Galaxy Nexus is unparalleled because it's so much more of an open device.

As lame as this, it is in no way surprising. Verizon had been heading this way for a while. Hopefully they keep releasing Nexus devices for those of us that enjoy tinkering. Highly doubtful I know but hey, a boy can dream.

I can't figure out why any smartphone enthusiast (aka, anyone who frequents a site like this) would put up with Verizon. I mean I get why the general public uses them, but that's it. They have such a long, sordid history of this nonsense it's unbelievable. Plus, now you have to put up with a battery-draining LTE phone just to compensate for their legacy 3G network. And not only are the "Droid" line of phones the ugliest phones in the world, Verizon has the ugliest logo of any company in the history of companies. What a complete yuck they are!

For me up until the "Share Everything" plan, it was the price. I have a family plan with 2 smart phones and 2 feature "dumb" phones and as a family we don't use a lot of anytime minutes so the 700 minute plan works fine. We don't text (those of us in the family that do use data texting alternatives like Google Voice, Facebook Messenger, etc). I have grandfathered unlimited data and an employee discount. So after taxes I pay $150 a month. Hard to beat that and Verizon's network was just the icing on the cake.

Now I knew Share Everything was coming so I quickly pre-ordered the S3 figuring I might as well get the best possible phone using my 1 available upgrade before the May 28th doomsday hit. At first I thought about leaving Verizon now but I had only 1 line off contract. Not upgrading and then upgrading after the 28th for my plan would mean my $150 a month bill would balloon to well over $200. I was happy with my decision to delay my departure from Verizon.

But this was before Jelly Bean announcement and the ports to the Verizon GNex (the price drop to $150 also) and the locked bootloader of the Verizon S3. So my one mistake was I probably should have went with the Gnex. As far as leaving Verizon, yes I want to badly, but as long as I have grandfathered unlimited data and an employee discount I am staying. I have 2 phones (S3 and Droid Razr) to get me through my contract and then I guess I will choose the lesser of the 3 other evils and most likely buy direct from Google unlocked Nexus phones.

And that's a totally fair reason. Certainly some people have sweetheart deals and/or coverage reasons that they just cant give up - I get that.

Objectively they have the best network, I like using my smart phone for smart phone things, for that I need a signal. Pretty simple really. Sorry you can't figure it out.

Sometimes having a signal isn't enough, sometimes you need decent speeds to do real work. Not sure why you're having such a hard time with this. Objectively, Verizon has the best network. This has been shown numerous times throughout the years.

LTE will be great when it's everywhere. Until that time (3 - 5 yrs from now maybe?) arrives, you have to deal with the following:

1. You're stuck with a slow 3G network that is slower than the GSM' competitors 3G networks.

2. Handoff problems between CDMA and LTE. With a GSM carrier, the GSM/UMTS radio can be in passive mode and only connect with a handoff is needed. With CDMA, you need both radios to be actively connected in order to handle a handoff. This is a battery killing 2-for-1.

Combine that with Verizon's history of *being unfriendly to smartphone geeks like us* and you have a mess IMO. That's why I'm "having a hard time" understanding why a gadget nerd would even bother with Verizon, UNLESS it's you're only option for halfway decent coverage. (or you have some crazy, grandfathered plan that is too good to give up)

* you're probably too young to remember, but I recall the days when Verizon used to remove wifi from smartphones so that customers were forced to buy expensive data plans from them. (fortunately that didn't last long) They also have a history of crippling GPS on certain phones so that customers would be steered towards paying for their own branded navigation services. Locking bootloaders is just another example of their BS.

Obviously you like Verizon and that's great, enjoy them.

I thought there have been locked phones in the past. And people have still been able to unlock them, so if anything people just need to be patient, and by the end of next week, I'm convinced the phone will be unlocked. They probably did that so people would not brick their phone with a custom ROM, and then lie about it to get a return/exchange.

People act like Verizon is the only bad guy and that Sprint and T-Mobile will save us. You're only kidding yourself. Sprint and T-Mobile are interested in profits as much as Big Red is. The reason Sprint can still offer unlimited data is because it doesn't have as many users as AT&T or Verizon. Don't think for a second that Sprint would keep unlimited data if it got a mass influx of pissed users. The telecom market is going the way of shared data, and soon AT&T and Sprint will join.

Also, realize that there is probably less than 10% that cares about Share Everything plans, as it seems to have proven to be beneficial for the majority of users. Even less is the amount of people who care about unlocked bootloaders, probably 1%. Ask Joe Public what "unlocked bootloader" is, he'll probably say that's how you unlock the screen. And complaining about it to a rep won't help either, because they probably have no idea what it means either.

You want to really get back at the carriers? Get behind a company like Virgin Mobile or Cricket or StraightTalk. Since they don't have contracts, they can't force you to do anything; they have to work harder to keep you as customer knowing that you could potentially leave at any time without penalty. Yes, their data networks are not as good, but conditions may improve with more customers.

Anyone who dislikes this and stays with VZW is the biggest looser in the end!!! Within the past year Verizon really has gone down hill and became what AT&T ONCE was. AT&T, so far, is NOT making these ludicrous decisions.

This website also seems to favor Verizon & Sprint and now I'm really laughing at that and anyone who defends VZW!! Hahahaha have a nice day!!!

I am confused by this. I understand why this is bad. However, I do not understand people acting like it is the end of the world. I came to the GSIII from an OG Inc. It had a locked bootloader. However, that did not stop devs from getting S/OFF and root on it.

I've had an OG Inc, and I loved the hackery that came with it. But I'm coming directly from a Droid Bionic. This here Bionic has a locked bootloader to hell, with no success what so ever except for a "2nd int" recovery, which only lets you write to anything but the kernel.

Without custom kernels, you can't progress to newer android versions, like Jelly Bean, without compromises (possibly loss of camera function), and the inability to overclock/have custom governors without kernel modules.

We may obtain root, but we won't be able to have fully featured jellybean, probably. That is until Samsung (and freaking Verizon) releases it officially. Mostly because things like Google Now require things only available in a new kernel (in the case of Google Now, the voice function).

Sadly, I'm not shocked. Hopefully a workaround can be easily found. I guess it goes to show its not just a "Motorola problem" but a "Verizon problem". I can feel for those SGS3 owners who spent their last "free" upgrade on this with the expectation that it would behave like everyone else's. Oh,BTW, this just me makes me love my Rezound that much more. Just proves that any phone VZW doesn't promote must be doing something right.

Right on the money. I did one of those pre orders myself with one of the 2 upgrades i had on my acct. Frankly after playing with the phone since it arrived Thursday I'm not that impressed. Is it nice? Yep. Runs great. Faster than Lolo Jones on Nitrous? Probably that too. But this version of Touchwiz is all over the place. Plus my lingering memory of the good old Fascinate & how it was shit on by Verizon/Samsung had me thinking history will repeat itself. The locked bootloader makes me feel this is a certainty.

If I don't just decide to let my son have this as his phone (locked bootloader means he can't do much harm right?) I'll probably send it back. Like you I'm sticking with my Rezound running leaked ICS as my main phone & this unlocked Galaxy Nexus on Straight Talk as my hobbyist phone. The Rezound having been abandoned to die slowly by Verizon/HTC is proving to have probably been the best thing for it. Unlockable bootloader, S Off, custom ROMs aplenty & it's a world phone with simultaneous voice & data over 3G (rare on Verizon). The screen, far superior to this one on the GS3 or G Nex, sorry but thems the facts, is icing on the cake.

When the contract is up next November Verizon will probably lose me & my 5 lines.

The only reason I use VZW is the coverage. If it weren't for my grandfathered unlimited data and great LTE coverage in my area. I would probably go elsewhere.

And though the locked bootloader is annoying I ordered the GS3 for my wife how doesn't care in the slightest. I will be keeping hold of my GNex until it doesn't work anymore... Either due to age or software not working well on the hardware anymore.

If any other carrier had coverage where I live I would leave Verizon without thinking twice. I pre-ordered the GS3, if anyone thinks this phone won't get rooted you're crazy. Too many devs with to much determination will be working on this phone for it to stay locked down.

congrats! you are all crazy...root exists already, as well as roms...however no kernel yet, which means no true AOSP.

I was on Verizon for 10 years. Never going back. Worst coverage of all the networks in San Diego.

Well October my contract is up and I'll be going to At&t. I'd love to go to T-mobile but the coverage in my area is terrible. What is Verizon trying to stop by locking the boot loader? I mean its not going to affect there profits. I don't get it. I mean I never had any issues with their network but after the whole getting rid of the unlimited plan, turning down the One X and then this. My next renewal I'm out.

It took Sammy a while to get FIPS for the SII and my guess is they are going to take this Verizon SIII and try and get it certified quickly. With RIM having much publicized problems this might be an excellent opportunity for them to get folks thinking about the sweet SIII instead of another BlackBerry who won't have a new phone until sometime in 2013.

**** UPDATE ****

The boot.img & recovery.img are signed thus causing the issue. However the system.img is not signed and has been used to provide the Verizon GS3 with root and custom recovery. (credit invisiblek on XDA)

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1756885

While this method will give us root, we still wont be able to use custom kernels or flash updated radios leaving most ASOP roms out of the picture for now. Also, this may cause issues with OTA updates..

Hope a devs finds a way around all this.

anyone who has a problem with this needs to go the VZW Facebook page and give them write a huge F*** You about this issue. I just did.

I've just rooted my GS3 using invisiblek's method. I'm perfectly satisfied with being able to at least remove all of the bloatware verizon installs. Custom rom flashing will come soon enough. I can wait!

So what I would like to do is just remove the crapwear the vzw has put onto the phone as well as be able to use the mobile hotspot that came with the phone (reupped to this phone to keep my grandfathered unlimited plan for a reason)

If the problem is uneducated people unlocking and bricking their phone then don't warranty it. They claim to not cover altered devices already. Sell a locked phone with an extended warranty or an unlocked phone with restricted warranty to an expert willing to take that chance. At least let us decide. We don't rent these things we own them! It should be our right!