There’s a $18,000 bounty for anyone who can root a Galaxy S5 on Verizon and AT&T

Samsung Galaxy S5 review macro front

 For smartphone owners over at XDA-Developers, a new flagship smartphone is as good as useless without root. Just ask the thousands of AT&T and Verizon Galaxy S5 owners in their 7th week of waiting. So far it looks like Samsung, AT&T or Verizon won’t offer a way to unlock the device for rooting and in the meantime the community has put up a bounty for the first developer to find a way to root the Galaxy S5 from Verizon and AT&T. That bounty is currently nearing $18,000 in value.

With a root, an Android-powered smartphone owner can access all sorts of powerful apps and software that can, among many other functions, control battery usage, allow automated backup and remotely monitor the device if stolen. However, rooting requires a device with an unlocked bootloader or some sort of exploit that allows a developer to access software at the core of the Android Operating System. AT&T and Verizon have so-far locked the bootloader within the new Galaxy S5, meaning root functionality is not possible without an exploit.

With a root, an Android-powered smartphone owner can access all sorts of powerful apps and software.

To help fund the search for such an exploit, the XDA-Developers community has started a bounty, where users can pitch in money that will be rewarded if a way to root the Verizon and AT&T Galaxy S5 is found. So far that bounty is up to an impressive $17,600 across both devices, with nearly $10,000 for the Verizon Galaxy S5 alone. If someone can find a way to root both devices with a single exploit, they’re entitled to the whole fortune. The bounty is on an honor system, and the winner would have to contact all of the community members to arrange collecting it if successful. This is different compared to sites like Kickstarter, which hold the money in escrow until a project is completed or fully funded.

Not all devices have this problem with bootloaders and rooting. While carriers can lock the bootloader, the manufacturer ultimately has the power to override those locks with their own internal software. Some manufacturers, like HTC, extend this functionality to the end-user. Even if you own a device with a locked bootloader, such as the One M8, HTC has a website where you can sign up and unlock your device’s bootloader after agreeing to a waiver. Even if AT&T and Verizon lock the bootloader, any user with a PC and a little patience can unlock it in an hour. This makes HTC devices developer-friendly despite what restrictions carriers may set on the device.

We reached out to Samsung to ask why they choose not to offer a similar program like HTC. A Samsung representative told us to talk to the carriers about the bootloader-locking policy as a whole and would not comment on anything else. We’re currently waiting to hear back from AT&T and Verizon about their own feelings about locked bootloaders.

Hopefully AT&T and Verizon Galaxy S5 owners won’t have to wait much longer for a way to root their devices and use them to their full potential. If a developer does find a way to attain root on the S5 with a new exploit, they’re in for one huge reward. Maybe Samsung needs to reconsider its own bootloader policies with carriers, otherwise it might start encouraging developers to jump ship to HTC.

Mobile

Photos attributed to midrange Google Pixel Sargo suggest flagship-quality camera

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Mobile

Common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Mobile

5G version of upcoming Galaxy S10 may feature 6.7-inch display, six cameras

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Smart Home

You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices

Amazon's Alexa can now make video and voice calls with Microsoft's Skype audio and video calling. Alexa-enabled devices can make voice calls. Alexa devices with video can make video calls to computers, mobile devices, and Xboxes.
Mobile

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T phones get some improvements in update

The new OnePlus 6T continues OnePlus's tradition, coming with flagship power, camera performance, and the gorgeous design you want -- but for under $600. Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint offers holiday buy one, get one free deal for iPhone XR lease

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

Google replaces its classic Search page with Discover on mobile devices

As part of its 20th anniversary, Google unveiled its plans to improve Search, starting with its Google Feed. Now known as Discover, the update brings along a redesign to help you find content that aligns with your interests.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best wireless earbuds around.
Deals

The best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? We have a simple guide right here that will help you to locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older model.