Verizon ruins everything we love. Or at least it seems that way sometimes. The carrier has confirmed to the Verge that its version of the Samsung Galaxy S III will come with a locked bootloader, making it much harder to root.
Here's what Verizon told the Verge:
Verizon Wireless has established a standard of excellence in customer experience with our branded devices and customer service. There is an expectation that if a customer has a question, they can call Verizon Wireless for answers that help them maximize their enjoyment and use of their wireless phone. Depending on the device, an open boot loader could prevent Verizon Wireless from providing the same level of customer experience and support because it would allow users to change the phone or otherwise modify the software and, potentially, negatively impact how the phone connects with the network. The addition of unapproved software could also negatively impact the wireless experience for other customers. It is always a delicate balance for any company to manage the technology choices we make for our branded devices and the requests of a few who may want a different device experience. We always review our technology choices to ensure that we provide the best solution for as many customers as possible.
Let's look past the part where Verizon has sat out on a ton of good phones, leaving its top tier selection at, basically, the Razr Maxx and now, finally, the S III. (But really, where the hell are all your phones, Verizon?) The custom-software-ruining-user-experience argument makes some sense until you take a step back. What rooting does, before anything else, is strip away custom software, leaving you with a nice serving of stock Ice Cream Sandwich. And as for Verizon customer support being screwed up? Chances are anyone with the knowhow or inclination to root their phone isn't going to be crawling back to the big, red mothership looking for pity.
The phone is still rootable, it just takes more effort and steps. Maybe that filters out more people who have no business tinkering with their firmware, but it smells more like an arbitrary iron fist from Verizon. Top notch network performance is great and all, but the little pains in the ass like missing out on new phones like the HTC One series, features like Google Wallet, and now easily rootable phones are starting to pile up.
The S III is one of the best Android phones out right now, and undeniably the best on Verizon. Problem is, it's even better everywhere else. [The Verge]