Dev edition S4

The same Galaxy S4 we all know and love, with less bootloader protection and more good karma 

If you're the type who would rather not play the cat and mouse game with Samsung to keep your bootloader open on the Galaxy S4, here's some interesting news. The Developer Edition Galaxy S4 looks to be headed to both AT&T and Verizon. While we don't have any full details, we expect these to be identical to the standard 16GB versions, but with less bootloader protection. We also expect them to be full price, as carriers don't want to make it easy to get your hands on something they don't control.

Word from Samsung on both is just "coming soon" and neither AT&T or Verizon has had anything to say concerning these. Hopefully, they will be better received that the Developer Edition Galaxy S3 was last year, so Samsung knows it's worthwhile to continue to build developer-friendly versions of their carrier locked phones.

Source: Samsung (1), (2); via : Phandroid

There are 29 comments

brendilon says:

Is it worthwhile though? They've got the full GS4 and the Google/Nexus Edition. Does there really need to be something in between?

JayPhill89 says:

Won't the S4 sold through the Google store already support AT&T bands already? Hopefully LTE as well. I'd like to avoid giving the carrier any extra money for this device but it would also be good to show them there is a market for these developer devices.

ReggieTee says:

The one being sold through Play Store is the Nexus experience. This is just an unlocked bootloader.


miller7796 says:

Isn't the T-Mo version pretty easy to unlock? In other words, not an encrypted bootloader..?

Mtn_Scott says:

yeah, some people get off bitchin'

Has anyone here on AC actually bought a developer edition of any of these phones?

We got the HTC One developer editions, and last year tried to get the Verizon GS3 versions, but they never became available.

We're firm believers in them. Carriers demand that Samsung lock them, buying unlocked versions shows that there is high interest in having full use of the hardware you buy. If nobody buys them, OEMs won't bother making them.

Unobtanium says:


I am looking for my next phone, and had generally thought I had settled on the Casio C811 if it materialized. However, I've been intrigued by the S4 and the S4 Active. I am (probably) going to pay full retail to keep my Unlimited data. And now I see the Seidio OBEX and the Otterbox Armor cases, which might render my perceived need for the C811 intrinsic ruggedness moot. And an unlocked bootloader for the same price I was looking at anyway.

Going to be an interesting summer.

DWR_31 says:

Here's the gist of it guys.
GS4 Carrier Edition = full bells and whistle, locked up tight.
GS4 Google Edition = stock Android no bells and whistles.
GS4 Developer Edition = full bells and whistles, open to play with.

arundc says:

Don't forget, the Google ed gets 1st dibs on new updates. Carriers will take forever!

XChrisX says:

But then you lose out on the awesome camera features in TouchWiz. That's the one thing making me think twice about the Google Edition S4.

semp1 says:

I have a developers edition htc one along with many others on the forum. Who wants bloatware and carrier brands? For sure not me.

bboyairwreck says:

Since the exploit for unlocking the bootloader on the regular VZ S4, wouldn't that make the Developer version pointless?

tr-1 says:

I'd like to know the answer to this as well.
What's the difference?

318sugarhill says:

Well, the exploit was released today, but it's not a full unlock. It's a workaround to a locked bootloader. Basically it lets you do things that you need an unlocked bootloader for, just without fully unlocking it. It's enough that it's not worth buying this. It might be simpler for Sammy to just continue making locks that are easy to crack so we have them from day 1, but the carriers get their false sense of control.

jtc276 says:

My god this is ridiculous. I'm glad I bought the One where every variant is essentially the same exact thing. I don't have to deal with all the different "editions" (international, US/UK, developer, Nexus for the S4) and I can simply flash any rom I want from the AT&T forum, international forum, or any other carrier. It's nice to have a phone where there're really only one variant.

SlimJ87D says:

If you are on AT&T, don't bother purchasing this version. Get the T-Mobile one will will function perfectly fine.

it supports 6 bands of LTE, 4 of those are AT&T's bands.

It is Quantabanded as well.

LTE: Bands 1/4/7/17; HSPA+/UMTS: 850/1900/2100MHz; GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz

LTE: Bands 1/2/4/5/7/17; HSPA+/UMTS: 850/AWS/1900/2100MHz; GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz

And easy unlocking method for T-Mobile here, you just do dialer codes:

So if you are going to pay full price, then get the T-Mobile one. If you upgrade, might as well sell your phone for $600 and pay the extra price to get the T-Mobile version if you are into flashing.

addicuss says:

Thats sim unlock. People are buying these for the bootloader unlock. big difference.

sstrenn says:

For folks on Verizon like me, this is a big deal. I think it's as close to a Nexus phone as we're likely to get in the next decade without having to flash a ROM.

This phone is going onto my wish list.

tr-1 says:

Why not just unlock one yourself and save 400$?
I still don't really understand what's the difference

danman7 says:

I can't speak for others, but in my case, it's to continue to keep my unlimited data plan.

ChillFactorz says:

The way I see this, a lot of carriers out of the US give better pricing when off contract. Pay full price and, not sign a 2 year contract, get a cheaper monthly rate. The US carriers seem to not offer a cheaper rate for being off contract. So where is the motivation to pay full price for a phone?

XChrisX says:

Some carriers are nixing unlimited data plans when you upgrade so that's one incentive. Second you get to keep your upgrade for when you need it I suppose. And lastly, for the people where price is not a concern, they can upgrade whenever they choose.

SlimJ87D says:

THey do, they just don't have unlimited features. One company is known at Straight Talk and it actually uses ATT's satellites.

jazzbassist1 says:

As a Verizon customer with an upgrade in about a month, this is very good news. Hopefully they release it by the time my upgrade comes around (I mean, c'mon Verizon, 6 weeks is plenty of time)

To everyone who is asking why this is necessary, at least for a Verizon customer: Despite the fact that there is not a bootloader workaround for the VZ GS4, it is not the same as having a fully unlocked bootloader.

I had a bootloader locked Droid X (which in its prime was one of the best developer-supported phones via bootloader workarounds) that I replaced with a Verizon Galaxy Nexus (true unlocked bootloader). There is no comparison. I could always tell when I was running a custom ROM on my DX, but that feeling is nonexistent with the GNex.

So yeah, I can't wait for another unlocked phone. I just hope Verizon doesn't chicken out on it like the GS3 last year

codiusprime says:

We also expect them to be full price, as carriers don't want to make it easy to get your hands on something they don't control.

deadlock4400 says:

@Jerry Hildenbrand

Thanks for the post.

cool news but samsung should do minimum 32 gb from now on in their high end smartphone.

Thanks in Advance

Unless Samsung is going to exchange the not under contract crapware bloated S4 with a locked bootloader with a dev edition one, then F them.