As we all know, AT&T and Verizon tragically and maliciously locked the bootloaders of their Galaxy S 4 models. We don’t know why Samsung is letting these carriers walk all over them, but that’s how it is. However, to compensate, Samsung is releasing developer editions of these two models. These devices are virtually identical to the originals, with the same processor, camera, display, and 16GB of internal memory (no option of 32GB currently), but they will have unlocked bootloaders so you can mess around with them and will not be subsidized. Be prepared to pay quite a bit for them.
For Verizon owners, this might be a good thing. It’ll be an official way of getting your bootloader unlocked, instead of hacking it with the subsidized model. It’ll also preserve your unlimited data plan, because you will be buying it off contract for full retail price. You can always go the hacking way, with a nice subsidy, but this is a decent option.
For AT&T users, it’s arguable whether this is any use. Google will soon be releasing their Google Edition of the Galaxy S 4, which will also have an unlocked bootloader but will also get updates straight from Google. Now it’s a choice of either TouchWiz or AOSP, though if you’re buying a phone for the unlocked bootloader, you’ll probably be modifying it. The TouchWiz version will get AOSP ROMs, and the AOSP version might just be able to run TouchWiz ROMs. In the end, there isn’t much difference if the price ends up being the same.
It’s sad that we have to resort to buying special versions of devices just for the freedom to do what we want with them. But that’s the way AT&T and Verizon want it. So will any of you consider picking one of these up? They currently only appear in Black Mist, so you may not be able to get a white version for a while. Is it worth it?