Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e, and S10+ kernel sources are now available
Following the release of the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy S10 series of smartphones, the company has now released the kernel source code for the Snapdragon variants of all three devices released. The Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10e, and Galaxy S10+ are all flagship smartphones powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in the US, Hong Kong, and some Latin American countries, while the Exynos-powered devices are released everywhere else. Samsung has to use Snapdragon chipsets in the US for CDMA support, a technology that Qualcomm has a lot of patents relating to. The Exynos variant of the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphones already has kernel source code available.
Sadly, practically none of the Snapdragon-powered Samsung Galaxy smartphones can actually be bootloader unlocked. Barring a select few that have been released in Hong Kong and several Latin American countries, these devices come entirely locked down. It’s a shame as Exynos-powered smartphones are notoriously more difficult for developers to work on than Snapdragon chipsets. This is helped not only by comprehensive documentation but by CAF as well. CAF is one of the reasons why Android smartphones with Qualcomm chips are so popular with the development community on XDA. While the GPLv2 license requires that vendors release their kernel sources, that isn’t always enough for creating custom ROMs based on AOSP.
Releasing chipset-specific code is not required for SoC vendors, but Qualcomm often provides the public part of their chipset specific code for HALs, framework branches, and more, which is a great benefit for developers. Developers can build for the platform without having to know how the new chipset features work. Without access to that code, it becomes a lot more difficult to build an AOSP-based custom ROM for a device. This is why, even though international Samsung phones can typically be unlocked, there is little interest in developing for them.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the kernel source and potentially developing for the Samsung Galaxy S10, you can. Just follow the link below, though be warned that it’s buggy in different browsers. I personally can’t access it on my desktop using Google Chrome, though my phone with Google Chrome can.
Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy S10 kernel sources