The Sprint Samsung Galaxy S10 5G may be bootloader-unlockable

Tech journalists have noticed something unusual about the Galaxy S10 5G sold by Sprint. (Source: The Verge)
Tech journalists have noticed something unusual about the Galaxy S10 5G sold by Sprint. (Source: The Verge)
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G sold by Sprint is reportedly the Exynos-powered variant of this phone, and not the Qualcomm Snapdragon variant that may be sold elsewhere in the United States. Therefore, the former may be OEM-unlockable, whereas the latter may not. This could be an advantage in terms of custom development for the Sprint version of this super-expensive phone.

The carrier Sprint asks about US$1300 outright for Samung's first 5G phone. For all that, it seems it offers a feature that has not been seen in Galaxy flagship devices sold in the US for many years now. Some XDA contributors have found that the S10 5G sold by Sprint is the Exynos version. This is a crucial difference among variants of this phone.

There are 2 main types of Galaxy S10 5G: those powered by the Snapdragon 855 processor, and those that feature Samsung's in-house Exynos 9820 SoC instead. The former do not support bootloader (or OEM) unlocking, as have numerous generations of their Galaxy S-line predecessors. They are also typically the units sold in the United States, whereas their Exynos counterparts are often the more international units.

This means that custom development, or the ability to install ROMs that are not from Samsung and thus contain more stock Android features, is often extremely limited in Galaxy S phones sold in the US. It seems now that the Sprint S10 5G is the exception. A recognized developer who goes by the username elliwigy at XDA has reported the ability to activate the "Allow OEM unlocking" radio button in the settings of a Galaxy S10 5G unit on display at a Sprint store.

This was followed up by 2 subsequent claims by 2 separate individuals in different locations that they could do the same with units of the same phone in their own local Sprint stores. These phones allegedly ran the same software found on those sold to customers. Accordingly, it may be possible to install custom ROMs, or indeed apps from sources other than the Google Play Store, on this phone. The potential additional level of flexibility may make the S10 5G's extremely premium price-point more worthwhile in this case.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > The Sprint Samsung Galaxy S10 5G may be bootloader-unlockable
Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-07-20 (Update: 2019-07-20)
Deirdre O'Donnell
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.