For those Verizon customers who are looking to pick up the one of the new Google Pixel phones, be aware that the bootloader will be locked to the carrier. To this point, Google has kept their Nexus devices with an unlocked bootloader. For those who aren’t familiar with what a bootloader is exactly, it is the first thing that runs when you power up an Android phone. It is the boot sequence of the device and the loading of the Operating System. Carriers generally like these locked because the do not want someone loading a custom ROM on the device to bypass their software or other settings.
Prior to this announcement, Google kept their bootloaders unlocked on the Nexus lineup which gave you
the option to run custom Android builds like Paranoid Android. The news that the new Pixel phones will be locked on Verizon isn’t really all that surprising. This is a normal carrier move and clearly Google is willing to give this up to get their new devices out there.
All is not lost however. If you are a Verizon customer and buy your Pixel from Google directly, it will be bootloader unlocked and will work with the carrier. So the real question for readers is if this is important. For most the answer is probably no but for those on Verizon who want to potentially load a custom ROM, you may want to go get the Google store to pick up your new Pixel. The other thing to consider is if you are thinking of leaving Verizon. If you get your Pixel from them, you may not be able to take it to another carrier while the Google Store version should let you move along to whichever carrier you chose.