Oct 24 AT 1:10 PM Edgar Cervantes 46 Comments

Verizon locks down phones; will it affect the Samsung Galaxy Nexus?


For many Android fans, tinkering around with devices is one of the most fun advantages of the platform (rooting, ROMs, etc.). This is why locked bootloaders have always been a problem for true believers of Android’s open ecosystem. Even after many months of debate, this problem is still very prominent.

But whose fault is this? Many tend to blame the manufacturers; they take a lot of heat from consumers. We must remember that they’re not the only ones making decisions, though. The carriers play a big role in locking these devices. Verizon is one of the biggest advocates of such practices.

Motorola recently announced one of the best devices to come in the near-future, the Motorola DROID RAZR. This super-thin smartphone is not only among the best-looking, but it carries some awesome power under the hood. This means nothing to the unlocked bootloader fans, though.

Motorola has stated that the DROID RAZR will, in fact, be locked down. Sadly, this is not their decision (or so they say). They claim the decision was made at Verizon‘s request. We’ve seen HTC attempt to unlock their devices, but it’s still not possible for Big Red or AT&T customers. Sadly, the DROID RAZR will fall into the same prison, but only in the US. Most carriers outside the States will probably allow unlocked bootloaders and keep their customers happy.

This brings us to our biggest concern – the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Verizon customers are having the time of their lives, knowing that a Nexus device is finally coming to their carrier. Not only is this the first Nexus device to come to Verizon, but it’s also the first to come with Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest and most revolutionary Android update available. We wonder if Verizon’s philosophy will affect the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Nexus devices are meant to be pure Google, completely unlocked phones. We do not know the details yet, but we sure hope Verizon will keep their hands off of this one. Many customers would probably not mind a locked bootloader, since the Samsung Galaxy Nexus would still be an awesome phone. Locking down a device like this would be morally wrong, though, due to its nature.

So, there you go, guys. Let’s remember to also bother Verizon and all the other carriers, so they may someday give us what we ask for. They play a huge role in these decisions and most times don’t have to deal with complaining customers. As for the DROID RAZR, will you guys still be purchasing it? What about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus? Would you purchase it if Verizon ends up changing Google’s Nexus line traditions? We sure hope that Google will not let that happen.

Via: Droid Life

Source: Droid Life

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • Derek

    Droid Razr will be a flop. For one it has a locked bootloader, two it’s going head to head against the best phone ever.

    • Cody

      Totally agree. Plus with the Razr you have to wait for Ice Cream Sandwich until an unspecified date. Add to that, the Razr has a custom UI on top of Android. Ugh.

      • Brett

        I have to disagree with both you. Most people are not like us Android fans who know about the latest and greatest things coming to Android. A lot of people will see a super thin phone, 8 megapixel camera and hear the word Kevlar and want to buy it. The average consumer probably doesn’t even care or know about a locked bootloader. I know for me personally I will be getting the Nexus phone.

        • themanwithsauce

          Agree with brett, the razr has sex appeal and to people turned off by an unchanged iphone design it will be a big hit with those who want a good all around smartphone with a sense of style. Much better imo than the HTC rhyme whos style was meant to appeal only to women. Plus moto is going for business appeal with this one so they’re after a different crowd than the power users the nexus line goes after.

          Still a bummer you can’t special order an unlocked version though.

        • Rushi

          Agreeing with Brett here. Let’s not forget that the RAZR was one of the best selling phones of all time. Just by using the same name, Motorola will attract fans. “I used to have that phone and I loved it…they must be somewhat similar if they have the same name.”

      • Dags

        It’s not exactly unspecified, the date is as precise as Moto is able to make it – 6 weeks after ICS source is released. Probably around Christmas.

  • Noah

    It’s a Nexus. A Nexus is by definition a developer phone. Google would have never allowed Verizon to have exclusive first access to the ICS developer phone if they were going to lock down the bootloader. Google wants ICS compatible apps, particularly apps using ICS features, hitting the market as soon as possible, and giving developers a fully unlocked phone is part of making that happen. There is absolutely no basis for the assumption that Verizon is going to lock it down, and the suggestion in the post is pure rumor mongering.

    • Noah

      PS the source link to Droid Life specifically describes the Nexus as “the only unlocked phone we’re going to see for a while.” No need to mention that?

      • Edgar Cervantes

        We highly doubt this would happen. Like you said, it is just rumors. Verizon has never carried a Nexus, though, and one naturally wonders how things will be with a carrier like Verizon. It would be quite insane if Verizon were to lock it, and it can be almost assured that they won’t. The device could be affected in other ways, though…

        Verizon has been doing weird stuff lately. Blocking their customers from downloading certain apps from the market, not to the usual things like bloatware. It definitely won’t be the same as the T-Mobile Nexus S. It was on T-Mobile’s network, but worked kind of independently. It is not even sold in their stores.

        Just to show you a slight difference that we might be seeing. T-Mobile’s Nexus S was carrier unlocked (SIM unlocked). I am almost sure that Verizon will not support, or like it, if you want to get this device in another network. Partly it is due to the technology (CDMA vs. GSM). But the general attitude from Verizon will stay the same as any other device they have.

        The changes won’t be in the phone itself, but in the way Verizon does business many times…

        • DoCastle

          Google advertisements refer to the Galaxy Nexus as “pure google.” Enough said. Move on people.

          • Chad

            You’re right but the carrier makes decisions that go against Google’s original intent as well, for example when Google makes updates readily available for current devices (ex: froyo to gingerbread) and carriers don’t send the OTA’s to customers simply b/c they want you to buy a newer phone or just like Google has built hotspot/tehtering features in their phones with the original intent to be free but carriers make you pay extra for a feature that is originally built into the phone…Don’t fool yourself Edgar’s point is valid, these carriers have just as much power

        • nexus15

          You doubt this would happen but IMHO it shows a lack of confidence with Google, the nexus brand, and Samsung to cast such doubt and write this post. Most of us see the word nexus and think the complete opposite as should you have had. Google has so much clout, as does apple, to make demands of their nexus phones from Verizon.

          I firmly believe, as you should have, the conditions upon which Verizon got this phone was to sign away all control over this device. If they didn’t agree to those terms it surely would have been a T-Mobile 42mbps HSPA+ device at launch.

  • Bill

    Remember, the original Droid, which was Verizon’s first and, up until now, only pure Google phone, had an unlocked bootloader… There is reason to hope!


    • NotRelevent

      It actually wasn’t unlocked by moto or VZW there was just a security flaw in it that allowed unsigned updates to install and run.


    just speculation guys…lets wait for official word

  • antg001

    Well if it does come down to it and Verizon does lock it if everybody takes a stand maybe we can get them to change it. We will have to wait and see I for one will not buy it if they screw us over like that.

  • Nathan

    Hopefully it wouldn’t happen

  • Aaron

    Come on now people, it’s Google’s phone. Even if Verizon would to lock it (highly unlikely), all the brilliant devs that make our phones that much more outstanding would only look at it as a speedbump. Plus, they would have support from Google on this. And through Verizon’s perspective, if they locked it, think about how many people they would lose. On something this huge, you want to turn down no one.

  • chris

    Even my Nexus S had a locked bootloader, I’m pretty sure all phones do. The trouble is when the bootloader is digitally signed or encrypted.

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      I don’t particularly care if they choose to lock it, it’s when they go to the trouble of trying to make it so that users cannot unlock it (e.g., eFuse) that I get upset.

    • Dags

      Samsung doesn’t lock their bootloaders. At least, the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II were unlocked.

  • AceoStar

    Can’t imagine google would go for this and still launch the prime with verizon.

  • sap26

    Of course it’s wrong and inhumane but would you call that a deal breaker for the Galaxy Nexus? Everyone will still buy it regardless.

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Yeah, definitely. Personally, I would still buy it…

    • Steve Barry

      I don’t think everyone will. It’s the Android enthusiast who is really excited about the Nexus, not your average Joe. AJ doesn’t know jack about locked bootloaders while AEs do. The Nexus is geared towards AEs, so it would be a HUGE blow if they did something to piss off their biggest group of potential buyers of the phone.

      AJ – Average Joe
      AE – Android Enthusiast

      Having a locked bootloader on something like the RAZR likely won’t have that big of an effect for that specific reason.

    • themanwithsauce

      I would not. If the bootloader is locked then I’d rather get the motorola razr. Better design, potentially better hardware (besides lacking NFC….), and from the sounds of it a much better build quality. And the HTC rezound could see heavy use as well. If memory serves correct it actually has the best hardware muscle out of these three phones. plus HTC typically has very good cameras and their UI is actually an improvement over the standard UI in some ways. Plus you again get high build quality.

      If I’m getting the nexus phone, I want the nexus experience. Last I checked, that meant unlocked bootloaders so you can test and hack at will. The OG droid got me hooked on this freedom. I want another helping please :)

  • Starship

    I’m guessing that if it is unlocked, you won’t see too many commercials for this phone. The RAZR is going to be Verizon’s flagship phone and I’m sure they want to sell as many locked phones as possible. The main stream people don’t care about Nexus – they want a DROID! But I will be giving the Nexus all my attention because I know better.

  • DragonPhyre

    While this is speculation, and subject to change at any time, we do have a few factors to go on here:

    1. Google has stated many times in the past that the Nexus devices is not just a simple OEM slapping the Nexus name on a device. It is an entire project that has end-to-end requirements that HAVE to be met before it will even be considered to be a device. There are requirements that GOOGLE sets–not the carriers. Not the OEM. Google has ultimate control over the final device, as they are using these exact same phones internally to make the OS.

    2. The event that announced the Nexus phone, was NOT a carrier event. It was a Samsung (the OEM) and Google event. So while Samsung has to submit their devices to the carriers to allow them on the network, they do NOT get to set policy on the devices as it is out of Samsung’s hands because they are just making the hardware and Google is making the software. You either say YES or NO to having the device. You can’t say “Yes, but you have to change X, Y, and Z.” It is an all or nothing deal.

    3. VZW said that they were going to pass on the SGSII device which all the other carriers picked up because they had another device that was going to be too similar to it. The SGSII is pretty close spec wise to the Galaxy Nexus, at least to a marketing standpoint which is what they would have to try and explain to the stores/customers… and that is hard, considering that most people just go in and want the one that their friends have and they don’t care what it actually is or can do.

    I am going to go on record as stating that if they do somehow, in some magical way get Google to do all the crap that they do to the phones… I am going to switch carriers. I have the OG Droid, and I am WELL past my contract end date and I have no problems switching to follow the device and the specs that I want in my phone. Even though all the other wireless providers have WORSE coverage at my house–and I have zip for VZW except for by my front windows.

    Let me make it abundantly clear: I am going to suffer WORSE service just to have the device that I want, the way that I want it configured and unlocked. You listening VZW?

  • cb2000a

    As of November my contract is up with Verizon and I am leaving. Their policies and prices have driven me away. I don’t NEED the latest smartphone nor do I NEED sky high pricing. I am headed to pre paid and $40 less a month for unlimited everything (which I do not have now) and NO contract.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Honestly even if it is locked I will buy it why because it is GOOGLE and that means everything. Google will not allow Verizon to control anything verizon needs this device very badly on their network and verizon passed on the Galaxy S2 for the Galaxy Nexus. I just don’t want to see any of that garbage verizon places on all the devices they have from a BLOATWARE STANDPOINT. At the end of the day it’s GOOGLE in the drivers seat and this device will be given the VERY BEST UPDATES AND CARE BECAUSE OF GOOGLE NOT BECAUSE OF VERIZON.

    • snowbdr89

      Your like a fart that lingers

      • Richard Yarrell

        I suppose you would know all there is about lingering farts. Let me give you some advice KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED IT WILL SMELL BETTER..

        • snowbdr89

          That’s your upper lip your smelling dick

        • squiddy20

          I gotta say, the fact that you respond to such low, immature insults with even lower, more immature insults is a real testament to how “grown-up” you are. You act like a 6 year old but you’re older than 45. I’m well under half your age and come up with better insults than you. That’s pretty damn sad.

  • SG

    The XOOM was a google experience device with an unlockable bootloader and was a verizon exclusive…so i’m pretty sure the Galaxy Nexus will follow the same trend.

  • kwills88

    Don’t think it will affect it too much, gotta remember That when it comes to android we here happens to be the 1%, the average customer don’t care or even know what a boot loader is and why it’s a nuisance

  • xsynth

    I’m so glad none of the carriers in my country demand the phones get locked, especially network locks!

  • mmalakai10

    Personally I hope they keep the big red paws off the nexus line. I’m considering leaving T-Mobile to go to Verizon wireless just for this phone. I just don’t want to be disappointed with news that Verizon will be locking down the boot loader for this super device. If the iPhone can not be touched so can the nexus device.

    • Richard Yarrell

      Gotta say you have definitely got a point. Apple controlled verizon and it’s clearly time for Google to do the same. Great example

  • enga

    I remember AT&T wasn’t allowing side-loading on their Android devices in 2010 and it wasn’t until Spring 2011 many months later they finally gave in. HSPA was also not working on their first fake 4G devices until people broken down the door on Facebook and the morons took action.

    I expect the same problem to happen to the first LTE smartphone they release in December or January. WHERE’S MY LTE11!!!!11

  • Rick

    If Verizon locks down the Galaxy Nexus it will be what finally pushes me off of Verizon. I will be done with this controlling communist like company and head off to find freedom with a less controlling provider and I will never look back.
    Verizon this could be your downfall…. be careful how far you push the American consumer. We will rise up and revolt with our wallets!

  • http://klout.com/#/SliestDragon SliestDragon

    I highly doubt they’ll lock it. Only time will tell though…

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    I really hope the Nexus is not locked. The RAZR will only be bought by people because they aren’t hardcore Android fans like some of us here :)

  • some internet dude

    That’s why I avoid Verizon, they are famous for crippling there devices. Be it bootloaders, not unlocking the phone or just as simply disabling the Bluetooth. Plus they charge outrages prices.

  • counsel

    “Morally wrong” or just something you don’t want or appreciate?

    I don’t like them either, but I don’t think that makes it amoral…

  • pritams

    I didn’t see this..