For the average consumer, saying the word "bootloader" will get you a blank stare. But for hardcore Android
hackers, it's a touchy subject. You see, an unlocked bootloader gives users the ability to easily root their phone and install a custom ROM. In other words, hack into their phone and put a custom build of Android on there. Phone makers are bashed or praised based on if one's bootloader is able to be unlocked, but oftentimes carriers have something to say about it as well. In the case of the Samsung
Galaxy S III, a new Android smartphone that's available across a number of U.S. carriers, Samsung has realized that there's a vocal minority that cares deeply about unlockability.
For them, Samsung and VZW are introducing a "Galaxy S III Developer Edition," which -- unlike the non-dev edition -- will allow users to unlock the bootloader without mass panic. The Developer Edition will be sold online directly from Samsung, but it's not available to order just yet. There's no word on pricing, either, but it shouldn't be too much more than a standard off-contract Android device.
Three cheers for openness, right?