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XDA dev Chainfire roots Samsung Galaxy S3 weeks ahead of release

May 19, 2012
This will be the phone to beat in 2012 - the Samsung Galaxy S3

What do we have here? The well-known Android developer that goes by the name of Chainfire has managed to root the Samsung Galaxy S3 even before the phone is released. Isn’t that amazing? Well if this is the first time you hear such news it is indeed amazing. But for the more avid Android fans, this news is nothing new. For one thing, Chainfire is an established developer and many of those who follow him expected this to happen. Also, Samsung has this penchant for not making it too hard for developers to root an upcoming device, even way before the device is released.

The interesting part here is that Chainfire doesn’t have the Samsung Galaxy S3 yet. Not even a pre-release unit. Still, he managed to root the Samsung Galaxy S3. How did he do it? First, he did it remotely via a leaker who provided the source firmware of the Samsung Galaxy S3. According to Chainfire, rooting the Samsung Galaxy S3 was just a matter of repacking the stock kernel with a modified adbd binary. This then gave him access to all db root commands and enabled him to install SuperSU manually.

Don’t worry if those all sound too geekspeak to you. It sounds geekspeak to me too. What’s important to note here is that, through the procedures we just mentioned, Chainfire was able to obtain access to all the important aspects of the Samsung Galaxy S3’s leaked firmware.

That said, Chainfire also mentioned some limitations that he experienced while doing the “deed”. And here are his words.

Unfortunately, I am not able to share the “insecure” kernel with you at the moment, because of fears it is traceable to the leaker (this is said to be the last traceable firmware revision).

This root is, as expected, trivial. It was a simple matter of repacking the stock kernel, with a modified adbd binary that thinks (even if This gives access to all adb root commands (see screenshots). Then SuperSU was installed manually.

Kernel – The modification was trivial, because this time around, Samsung is using the standard boot.img format, instead of the zImage format used for SGS1, SGS2, SGNote, etc, that is much harder to repackage.

Recovery – The recovery partition is also being used this time around. And thus we can flash recoveries separately from the kernel.

Bootloaders – There was no warning triangle at boot-up after flashing the modified kernel, but download mode did show a custom kernel flash counter which increased. Whether or not flashing a custom recovery also triggers this counter is as of yet unknown.

Final note – This was all tested on a current (release candidate) SGS3 firmware. There may be a newer firmware on true retail/production devices. Though some things may change, it is unlikely to changemuch. Let’s hope nothing 

Also, Triangle Away did not work. They have hidden the boot partitions again as on the latest SGNote firmwares.

(No, I don’t have an SGS3 yet, everything was done remotely)

So now tell me, folks. Does this news add to the excitement of getting your hands on the Samsung Galaxy S3? If you’re planning to get the this much awaited phone, are you going to root it right away?