Verizon customers who want to indulge in the more in-depth parts of Android don't often get the chance, thanks to the carrier's tendency to lock down bootloaders and close off most of the avenues to custom ROMs. But for major releases, manufacturers often sell contract-free variants with an unlockable bootloader. Like the S4 before it, the Galaxy S5 now has the option, and you can buy one directly from Samsung. Verizon won't sell it to customers online or in retail stores.

dev edition

The 16GB Galaxy S5 Developer Edition costs $599.99 (the same as the contract-free price at Verizon) and comes in any color you want, so long as you want black. Unlike Google Play Editions, Developer Edition phones come with the same additional software as their retail counterparts - in this case, Samsung's TouchWiz on top of Android 4.4. (A stock Android Google Play version of the S5 is probably coming eventually, but not for Verizon.) The unlockable bootloader on the Developer Edition allows end users to easily flash a custom recovery, and then root or flash a custom ROM. Other than the unlockable bootloader, this Galaxy S5 is exactly the same as the standard Verizon model in both hardware and software.

Buying a Developer Edition versus a discounted, on-contract model with the intention of rooting or other modifications is a bit of a gamble. There's always the chance that someone will be able to unlock the bootloader on the retail carrier version, but that's getting less and less common these days. Of course if you intended to buy one off-contract anyway, there's no reason not to get the Developer Edition, unless you really have to have it in white.

Source: Samsung via Droid-Life

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Mike Goff

    Should take long then for someone to use this to develop a way to unlock the regular Verizon S5's bootloader.

    • MaroonMushroom

      Well the Verizon S4 has been out for a year. How much progress was made unlocking that bootloader?

      • Jon

        so you mean the bootloader has not been unlocked for the S4 on verizon?

        • ReturnOfTheMack

          Nope. This is one of the reasons I went with the HTC One over the S4.

      • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

        The S4 is a slightly different beast. When the VZW S4 was released you actually could do whatever you wanted using LOKI, the problem was that VZW/AT&T & Samsung fairly quickly released an update to close the hole that LOKI exploited and that update blew a software fuse.

        Now obviously the LOKI exploit is not in the S5 but on the other hand the software fuse is still intact.

        I guess in that way the S4 is in a slightly better position, if there's a new exploit found it's likely to apply to the S4 as well as the S5 and since the S4's software fuse has already been blown there's little that Samsung can do to fix any new exploits that are discovered.

        I'm just glad that my own S4 never took that OTA so I'm still fat & happy using LOKI to run a Google Edition ROM.

    • tlogank

      They haven't even found root for the VZW/AT&T S5 still (all other variants were rooted within 24 hours), and for that reason, I won't get this phone...otherwise I would be all over it.

      • David Li

        Same with the Note 3 on kitkat, released months earlier

  • mark boyle

    Phones aren't being rooted as frequently? I guess android is maturing.

    • David Li

      He ment bootloader unlocking (from an unlockable state) is getting less common.

  • jon

    If I was to get this s5 developer edition, would I be able to flash any s5 variant role or would it have to be vzw specific rom? Please anyone? I have about 3 days to return my s5 verizon carrier phone

    • Michael

      You can use other variants as long as they are on the same carrier network. For example you can use a VZW Note3 on TMobile as long as the settings are correct.

  • Jeffrey Fazal

    That’s cool
    deal! Verizon offering Galaxy S5 Developer edition! I was waiting for this
    edition and definitely look to buy it along with qi charger in order to flash a
    custom ROM in it.

  • David Martin

    it's certainly a great news. I think Galaxy S5 could be the best smartphone available in the market. It's second post first is http://www.onlinephonecontracts.co.uk/deals/samsunggalaxys5.asp#review that given me an insight about this high-end device. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • droid4lif3

    If only someone could save the Verizon S4, with it's stupid locked bootloader.

  • http://www.asuntest.com Golden Chen

    rubber grip inner of the case for samsung s5, with 5 colors, white, black, blue, dark blue, coffee color, with high quality,and retail package cost USD4.2. source from gadget2us