Last month, a flurry of Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean updates arrived in the United States. Unlike Android 4.1.2 updates in other parts of the world though, they arrived without Samsung’s Premium Suite of features including Multi-Window View. And now, even as Samsung has promised Galaxy S4 features for the Galaxy S3 in the future, the Premium Suite remains a source of mystery in the United States.
Back in December, Samsung rolled out an incremental Android update for users of its aging smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S3. That update, Android 4.1.2, may have been incremental, but it brought a ton of new features to owners of the Galaxy S3 in the form of what Samsung calls, the Premium Suite.
Premium Suite is the name used describe a batch of new Samsung software features that arrived with Android 4.1.2 including the highly regarded Multi-Window View feature from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Multi-Window View is a feature that allows for Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners to run two separate applications on screen at the same time. It’s extremely useful to those that may be heavy multitaskers.
Of course, that’s not the only feature that came with the Premium Suite. In addition, Galaxy S3 users got even more functionality, including:
- Page Buddy – When a user plugs in headphones the Galaxy S III will bring up a page with the music player.
- Contextual Menu – When looking at apps, sort by most frequently used apps.
- Contextual Tag - Tag the weather, date and place a photo is taken right after snapping it.
- Auto Share Shot Pairing with NFC – Quickly share photos with Auto Shot Share to other Galaxy S III and S-Beam devices.
- Reader Mode - Control the text size of the web browser and tap on a page to share.
- Facebook Lock Ticker – View a Facebook News Feed on the Galaxy S III lock screen.
Suffice to say, Android 4.1.2 for the Galaxy S3 was not a typical, incremental Android update.
Shortly after the Galaxy S3 received the update, it started rolling out elsewhere. In late December, it hit Europe. Just a few days later, it rolled out to the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, the model that U.S. carriers use as their variants.
In mid-January, the update rolled out to owners of an unbranded Galaxy S3 in Australia. Then, silence. That is, until last month when the Verizon Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 leaked, an update that foreshadowed the present day for Galaxy S3 owners in the United States.
Here now, we take a detailed look at the situation surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S3 Premium Suite update in the U.S. and break down what has happened to each device since Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean rolled out at the end of last year.
AT&T Galaxy S3
Unlike other carriers, AT&T has yet to roll out its Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update, instead focusing on getting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out to an assortment of its other devices, the most recent being the LG Optimus G.
So far, AT&T has not mentioned anything about the Premium Suite, or lack thereof, which means that it’s currently an open book. This is a good thing as it means that there is still a slim chance that Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean could roll out between now and the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update that is likely in the cards for some point later this year.
We imagine that it’s also possible that Android 4.2 Jelly Bean itself will bring Premium Suite features to owners of the AT&T Galaxy S3. At this point though, that is merely speculation as AT&T has not revealed any details in regards to its plans for the Galaxy S3 Premium Suite or Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update.
Sprint Galaxy S3
Sprint Galaxy S3 were one of the unlucky recipients of an Android 4.1.2 update void of Premium Suite features.
Like the Verizon Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 update, the update was small, like a typical incremental Android update, and brought about some minor fixes for owners of Sprint’s Galaxy S3 variant. Needless to say, owners were not the least bit pleased with the lack of features.
The roll out has now left Galaxy S3 owners hoping for one thing: That Sprint will bring the Premium Suite features with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean when and if it arrives.
T-Mobile Galaxy S3
T-Mobile Galaxy S3 users are in the same boat as AT&T Galaxy S3 owners in that T-Mobile has yet to roll out an Android 4.1.2 update for the Galaxy S3. This of course means that it’s still possible that the Premium Suite will be on board the software when it arrives, if it arrives.
The carrier has not given any sign that it’s preparing an Android 4.1.2 update and so far, we haven’t seen any software leak out. Like the AT&T Galaxy S3, it means that the device may get the new features with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or quite possibly, not at all.
The best responses we’ve seen in regards to the update is from a T-Mobile rep who says that:
The newest software versions are definitely nice to get. When ever there’s a software update released, we do evaluate the software and determine whether or not it will benefit the devices on our network. At this time, we don’t have any information about the next GSIII update, but do definitely keep an eye on our site for any changes to that status.
That’s as good as it’s going to get for T-Mobile Galaxy S3 owners, at least for now.
U.S. Cellular Galaxy S3
The Galaxy S3 variant on the nation’s fifth largest carrier, U.S. Cellular, was recently updated to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean but like the Sprint and Verizon updates, it was without the Premium Suite.
Instead, U.S. Cellular’s device included two known features, a bump up in version to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and a fix for an audio issue with streaming media.
Like the others, the carrier has not announced whether it will be bringing Premium Suite to the Galaxy S3 with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or another update in the future.
Verizon Galaxy S3
The Verizon Galaxy S3 was the first to get the Android 4.1.2 update and thus, it was the device to usher in the disappointment that has been felt amongst Galaxy S3 owners in the United States.
Verizon’s Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update came with a load of enhancements and fixes but unfortunately, did not have Multi-Window View or any of the other fantastic features of Premium Suite.
Like the others, Verizon has yet to announce if and when the update will be rolling out. Verizon is typically slow to software upgrades which means that owners might be waiting for quite awhile for Premium Suite if it ever does arrive.
One other Android 4.1.2 update has arrived and that update was for the C Spire Wireless Galaxy S3 which received its update at the beginning of March. Oddly enough, C Spire’s update did bring its variant up to speed with a few features that Samsung says are part of the Premium Suite, including Easy Mode, but the full Premium Suite of features remains missing.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any good news for those in the U.S. with a Galaxy S3. The carriers that have rolled out Android 4.1.2 updates have done so without Premium Suite and the carriers that haven’t rolled out the update haven’t said if they will be offering Premium Suite or if they will even be offering an update to Android 4.1.2.
Even worse, it’s unclear when Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the most logical choice for an update that could bring these features in the future, will be rolling out in the U.S. Rumors suggest May or June for the international model which means if the Premium Suite does come with Android 4.2, Galaxy S3 owners in the U.S. could be in for a wait.
What’s more is that the Galaxy S3 Android 4.2 update leaked for the international version of the device which already has access to the new features, meaning, it’s unclear if the update will bring anything new to the Galaxy S3 in the U.S.
What this means for the future is not clear. Samsung has promised some of the Galaxy S4 features for the Galaxy S3 with the new camera software being a front-runner for arrival. But given that U.S. carriers want to sell a lot of Samsung Galaxy S4’s, and given the lack of Premium Suite support, it’s unclear if Galaxy S3 owners in the United States will ever see any of these new features.