If any of you new AT&T Samsung Galaxy S4 owners in the United States were hoping for that version of the device to be showered with custom ROMs aplenty, you might want to put those dreams on hold for a while. Steve Kondik, of CyanogenMod fame, has confirmed that the Ma Bell version of the Galaxy S4 launches with a locked bootloader.
Locked doesn’t always mean encrypted, of course, and although Kondik never used the latter word he seems to feel strongly about the fact that this model wouldn’t be ideal to buy for those looking to flash custom ROMs like CyanogenMod or work with low-level hardware stuff. The general feeling is that this isn’t a Samsung thing, but a carrier thing.
That said, we all know how the development community works. More often than not, the locked becomes the unlockable, the unhackable becomes hackable, and users and their devices go on living happily ever after. Even several Motorola devices, which have a history of being locked down tight, have been beaten at the hands of developers recently. That said, nothing’s ever guaranteed so if you don’t want to be roped into a device with an uncertain future in the hands of the development community then I’d take Steve’s advice and hold off for now.