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  • AT&T's Galaxy S4 Has A Locked/Non-Unlockable Bootloader



    I know this isn't Cricket/CDMA related, but I thought a lot of ya'll would find this interesting... What are your thoughts on this?


    SOURCE: Android Police

    If you bought/plan on buying AT&T's variant of the Galaxy S4, we have some bad news for those of you who like to flash custom ROMs, kernels, and the like: it's locked down tight.

    Historically, Samsung devices up to and including the SIII have been bootloader-unlocked on AT&T. The Galaxy S4 brings a major change in that respect, as Steve Kondik (Cyanogen) has confirmed that it is indeed locked, in that it "authenticates the recovery and boot images before executing them." In layman's terms, that essentially means that it won't allow any sort of custom recovery or boot image to be flashed and/or run. Ouch.

    Steve goes on to say that he "would not recommend buying this device on AT&T if you want to run CyanogenMod or another custom ROM, or if you are a developer and need to work or debug the lower layers." We know that a lot of you are big fans of CM, so this is a pretty substantial statement coming from Cyanogen himself.

    "Yep, it's confirmed. The AT&T S4 authenticates the recovery and boot images before executing them.

    I can't see what AT&T has to possibly gain from this. GSM and LTE aren't magical, tethering is controllable on the server side, and theft-of-services is not possible from the application processor side (or even from the modem side as far as I know). The same device is available on every carrier, so it's not an exclusivity issue either. The modem processor has always been locked, and the casual user doesn't want to mess with that part anyway. Samsung has always been developer-friendly, so I am guessing their hand was forced.

    The only outcome I see here is stacks of bricked devices being sent back for warranty replacement due to the ease of causing a permanent boot failure, especially since the device is trivially rootable.

    The arms race continues. News flash: MILLIONS of people run custom firmware (and I have the STATS to prove it). This is just a stupid move that will cost you customers and money.

    I would not recommend buying this device on AT&T if you want to run CyanogenMod or another custom ROM, or if you are a developer and need to work with or debug the lower layers."

    While we can't say for sure, it's probably a safe bet that Verizon's variant of the device will be the same way. Unlike AT&T, Verizon has a reputation of locking down all devices, which includes its versions of the Galaxy S III and Note II. No reason to think that the GS4 will be any different.

    Unfortunately, it looks like this may become the new norm for carrier-branded devices in the US.


    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T's Galaxy S4 Has A Locked/Non-Unlockable Bootloader started by knewsom32 View original post
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. PoopooTickler's Avatar
      PoopooTickler -
      Wow that sucks. I mean what's the point of getting an Android if you're not going to root it? Fail on ATTs part.
    1. salas's Avatar
      salas -
      Quote Originally Posted by PoopooTickler View Post
      Wow that sucks. I mean what's the point of getting an Android if you're not going to root it? Fail on ATTs part.
      Att doesn't want you to root it. That's why. Either way people or going to but it, if anything, win on atts part.
      Edit: it is root able. But you cannot run a custom/modified OS

      Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    1. PlayfulGod's Avatar
      PlayfulGod -
      I beat it gets cracked.
    1. Shabbypenguin's Avatar
      Shabbypenguin -
      rooting ha snothing to do with unlocking the bootloader, anyways sprint, tmobile and uscc are all unlocked as well so my money is on cricket having a varinat of uscc's (you guys share lte bands and cdma) thus you will be free to flash cwm/twrp that we will port when the time is right and the phone is out
    1. wiseoldman's Avatar
      wiseoldman -
      Would seem to be in direct violation of the recently "overturned" laws/policies which now allow unlocked phones on differrent carriers. But i guess no one said phone makers had to design them as unlockable first.
    1. Shabbypenguin's Avatar
      Shabbypenguin -
      thsi isnt about unlocking them for gsm world use, this is purely bootloader stuff which is completely different.
    1. eburgan's Avatar
      eburgan -
      Reminds me of the Droid X.
    1. dmplus's Avatar
      dmplus -
      Return it and get the T-mobile version instead. If you want to sim unlock it to use it on ATT I guess you could but I personally would avoid carriers who lock phones like this.
    1. salas's Avatar
      salas -
      Quote Originally Posted by dmplus View Post
      Return it and get the T-mobile version instead. If you want to sim unlock it to use it on ATT I guess you could but I personally would avoid carriers who lock phones like this.
      I think it would be illegal to sim unlock now.

      Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    1. Stephen Proffitt's Avatar
      Stephen Proffitt -
      Quote Originally Posted by salas View Post
      I think it would be illegal to sim unlock now.

      Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
      The White House overturned the law making it illegal to sim unlock a device

      Sent from my SCH-R530C using Tapatalk 2
    1. knewsom32's Avatar
      knewsom32 -
      Thread updated.
    1. Stephen Proffitt's Avatar
      Stephen Proffitt -
      Quote Originally Posted by knewsom32 View Post
      Thread updated.
      That's freaking sexy. Nice find

      Sent from my SCH-R530C using Tapatalk 2
    1. salas's Avatar
      salas -
      I remember same thing happened when ios6 was finally jailbroken for iPhone and iPod 5. We had to wait for evasi0n to release.

      Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    1. Gmash's Avatar
      Gmash -
      The Sprint version ships unlocked, and that's probably closer to what Cricket will get, anyway. But cool that they hacked it already.
    1. Shabbypenguin's Avatar
      Shabbypenguin -
      the uscc is teh one most like the cricket variant, it has an unlocked bootloader so chances are... you guys will as well.

      i already have a custom recovery for yall just waiting for the phone to come out (anyone know when that is?)
    1. Stephen Proffitt's Avatar
      Stephen Proffitt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shabbypenguin View Post
      i already have a custom recovery for yall just waiting for the phone to come out (anyone know when that is?)
      Probably June from what I understand

      Sent from my SCH-R530C using Tapatalk 2
    1. Shabbypenguin's Avatar
      Shabbypenguin -
      :O but thats so far away :P

      anyways stephen if youd like next time you are in irc you can get the OUDHS recovery for teh d2cri as well
    1. Stephen Proffitt's Avatar
      Stephen Proffitt -
      Aight. Will be later and I'll test it out

      Sent from my SCH-R530C using Tapatalk 2
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