It's that time again: the software engineers at Samsung are on an open-source bender, and they won't stop until every last Galaxy phone has been served. Today Samsung posted kernel files for some big (as in widely-used) devices, and some not-so-big (but still actually pretty big) devices. Verizon's version of the Galaxy S4, the vanilla Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, the Galaxy Mega 5.8 Duos, and the GSM version of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 all have kernel source code posted at Samsung's open source repository.
Samsung just won't let anybody catch their breath when it comes to hardware releases. Just a few weeks after the worldwide release of the Galaxy S4, the company has posted public information for a new press event, explicitly declaring that new Galaxy and ATIV devices will be on display. Galaxy is of course Samsung's everything, everywhere brand for Android, and for those not in the know, ATIV is their newer generation of Windows products.
If you saw the Aurora Red version of the omnipresent Samsung Galaxy S4 yesterday and decided you just had to have it, AT&T has got you covered. Just let your fingers do the walking to the AT&T web store and get a pre-order in, and it'll be on its way in a little over two weeks. At present the $200 16GB model ($639.99 off-contract) is the only one available in a hue that matches your ruby slippers.
Developer editions of the Galaxy S4 have appeared on Samsung's site, and they have their sights set on AT&T and Verizon customers. Note, this is not the $649 Nexus-like version that Google unveiled at Google I/O. This developer edition is good for tinkerers who still want all of Samsung's software and Verizon customers who really don't have any other option if they want a Galaxy S4 with an unlocked bootloader. Variants for both carriers seem to be only offered in Black Mist color.
When news broke that Verizon's and AT&T's versions of the Galaxy S4 would ship with locked/non-unlockable bootloaders, people were... upset. This sort of action was basically expected from Verizon, but AT&T had historically left its device's bootloaders unlocked, allowing users to do what they wanted with their own handsets. To make matters worse, the Galaxy S4's bootloader signature verification is nearly impossible to crack.
Then, at the first of the month, all-around genius hacker Dan Rosenberg released a teaser for his upcoming tool that would "hack" the AT&T's versions bootloader.
Attention, Verizon-shackled Samsung fans (like me): the Galaxy S4 is available today. Like, right now - you could probably drive down to the Verizon store and it would just be sitting there, waiting for you to fondle its 1080p screen. If you want to take it home, it'll cost you $199.99 with a new or extended two-year contract. Still clinging to that unlimited data like the last slice of pizza in the frat house?
Give the community enough time and almost any device can be cracked open, no matter how determined a carrier or OEM is to keep it locked down. The Verizon Galaxy S4 has proven a tough nut to crack, but a new root method is much less convoluted than previous ones. Just flash a kernel, run some tools, flash again, and you're done! Well, it's a little more involved than that, but not much.
Cricket Wireless wants you to know that they'll have the Samsung Galaxy S4, just like the big boys. They just don't have it yet. In a press release issued today, Cricket revealed its own special version of the Galaxy S4 (which is exactly like all the other LTE Galaxy S4 models), and it will be available to customers in-store, online, and at authorized resellers on June 7th. The cost for Cricket's unsubsidized phone is a wallet-searing $599.99, but those who are short on green can put $54.99 down and pay it off over a couple of years.
In case you hadn't heard, Samsung is making a little extra effort to secure the Galaxy S4 via tougher software kernels, which aren't susceptible to some of the more common root methods from previous Galaxy models. But where there's a will, there's a way, and noted Android developer/modder Chainfire has found a way around the security on the stock kernel for the Galaxy S4 i9505 - that's the Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered LTE variant, and the model sold for AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States.
The ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active is real. It's been spotted on camera before, not to mention in various less dramatic leaks. The folks at MobileTechReview got their hands on one, and it looks pretty close to finished, assuming that they don't already have a production model. In the video below, you can see the tougher red chassis (probably water and dust-resistant to some degree) and physical navigation buttons, as previously featured on Samsung's Rugby models.