Verizon chose to be the only carrier in the world (!) to lock the bootloader of their device, so hackability was in serious questionability-territory this weekend. However, it appears their locking mechanism is less comprehensive than the one that Motorola uses on the Droid X/X2/2/3/4/Bionic/Atrix/Razr/MAXX, so it's already been bypassed to some extent. It involves a sort of convoluted Linux boot command (kexec) to load an alternative kernel from internal storage rather than the system image files (which the locked bootloader runs a signature check on during every bootup).
Still, it's something to start with, so at least there should be ROMs and custom kernels well beyond Samsung's official support end-date.
The phone is ludicrously smooth, feels amazing in the hand, and has a great deal of options. Samsung's skin (especially in the settings area) is pretty shitty, to be entirely honest, so I am really holding out for a pure 4.0 (or 4.1 :D) ROM to strip out that Touchwiz noise and give me ICS as God(oogle) intended.
Still pissed at VZW for locking down modding on this device though. Seriously. This is the only variant in the entire world that got fucked with like this and no one knew till preorders started to roll out. Now Verizon and Samsung are pointing fingers at each other via support channels and no one really wants to admit who's to blame or who has the power to fix it.
I find it hilarious that Verizon really expects anyone with a brain to believe they have the ONLY version of the phone on the planet with a locked boot loader and it's somehow not their idea.
I mean really? Who believes for even a second that Samsung just randomly decided to do that for no particular reason?
What a joke.
They didn't say that at all. What Verizon said in their release is basically that people with rooted/jailbroken phones tend to have more problems, and they don't want to pay the support costs, and they know what's better for you anyway. They didn't blame it on Samsung, they just up and told users to fuck yourselves.
Verizon support blamed Samsung basically.
That original response was what I was referring to.
And then Samsung knocks it back into VZW's park:
I worked in tech support too long to not recognize this shit. Pass the blame and the customer till they get frustrated and either leave or deal with it.
And Samsung have now announced that they'll be releasing a bootloader-unlocked "Developer" version of the Verizon SGS3, sold directly through their own store for $600. Since it appears the bootloader lock is on the hardware level, we likely won't be able to flash the unlocked one to the old phones, although ROM devs will be able to develop kernels and OSes for it at least, then hopefully port them over to original models via the kexec kernel workaround.
Strongly considering eBaying or Swappaing my VZW SGS3 for the unlocked model, but I may wait a bit to see if the dev community for our particular branch of the SGS3 community decides to stick around. Not a lot of point in buying an easily flashable device if no one decides to make anything to flash onto it -.-
Just got mine today. Awesome phone...a significant upgrade from my good ole trusty but long in the tooth Droid Incredible.
Just gotta root it and remove the bloatware now.
Sounds like they are removing universal on-device search from the S3, carrier by carrier, to possibly comply with ongoing litigation with Apple. Stupid as shit.
This is definitely for legal reasons. This is the functionality that got the sale of the Galaxy Nexus blocked, and which Google removed from that device.
Originally Posted by Armiger
Because, you know, Apple invented searching; no way could Google have figured THAT out.
A less-than-encouraging event:
Last night I was reading twitter before going to bed when I noticed that my GPS kept ticking on and off after I'd posted an update (I let my twitter app access GPS to assign my location to tweets). Thinking that odd, I rebooted.
Talk about the reboot from hell.
Approximately 30 seconds after booting back up, the phone locked: I could tap buttons and feel haptic feedback, but no changes to the screen occurred. I eventually got the bright idea to lock it and unlock it; pressing the lock key blacked the screen, but pressing it again did not bring the screen back. Scared, I eventually pulled the battery and started up again.
It happened again. And again. In the midst of all this, I slowly learned a few things: it wasn't tied to any of the new apps I'd installed (I had enough "functional time" each boot to uninstall a couple of things), it wasn't tied to internet connectivity or GPS (I had time to turn both off), and the SGS3 has a dev option to monitor CPU usage of various apps/threads. That little HUD, which overlayed everything else, would remain updating through a lock, and I found that a process named "df" was starting up and immediately sucking up the entire CPU and not letting go.
I eventually found that it worked the processor so hard that the phone would overheat if left alone and "soft reboot" (OS restarts, but no Verizon/Samsung loading screens).
I turned it off and let it cool down for a few hours whilst googling: no results anywhere for a similar problem or regarding the "df" process. Bringing it back up had no positive effect. The lockup time was so quick that I couldn't even initiate a factory reset--it would lock up in the midst of preparing to perform it!
I eventually restarted it into the bootloader to poke around and got a really scary image: a "Custom" screen before the bootloader starts that the hackers are saying means that system apps have been modified. Now, since I don't have root yet (no hacking/voiding warranty JUST yet), I am not ABLE to modify system apps, which means that something got tweaked all by its lonesome, and THAT isn't supposed to happen. It was probably what was causing the lock, though--some driver somewhere that's supposed to say "Processor, don't try to calculate pi to infinity" got hosed or whatever.
I eventually got into stock recovery and was able to initiate the factory reset from there without the use of the actual OS (thus avoiding the hard lock). The phone rebooted fine, let me sign into google, and spent the rest of the night redownloading apps. It's fine now.
EXTREMELY worrisome. Possibly a hardware fault with the EMMC chips holding my OS or something--there's not a lot that can knock out system files on a non-rooted device. At least it doesn't appear common, insofar as all my Googling leads to no results at all.
I wonder what percentage of Android owners root their new phones nowadays. Has anyone seen any numbers around that?
I haven't. Based on the people I know, in my circle it seems to be about 1 in 10 or so. Probably 2 or 3 in 10 HAVE rooted at some point, but it doesn't seem uncommon to go back to stock at some point.
I only know 3 people who are currently running a rooted device.
I think stats pegged active Cyanogenmod installs at around 3mil recently, and I'd guesstimate they represent at least half of all ROM installs. There might be as many as 6 million ROMed phones; simple roots might account for that number over again for ~12mil. Very guesstimatey, but it feels right.
Originally Posted by Murph
Needless to say, 12mil is an extremely small, but measurable, fraction of the total Android install base. I think I was reading recently they account for more than half the smartphones in the US and most of Europe. In Spain it's something like 80% Android.