Right now, the attention of Samsung Galaxy S3 owners is fixated on the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update that continues to roll out in the United States, and elsewhere. However, there are plenty of Samsung Galaxy S3 owners who likely have an eye on the future, an eye on what comes after its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. Here, we take a look at our expectations.
All the way back in November of last year, Samsung debuted the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update, a piece of software that introduced some new features, enhancements and fixes to Android users. Shortly after its debut on the Nexus 4, the software emerge for Google’s Nexus devices including the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus. Companies like Samsung remained mum on their plans for Android 4.2 but many users, especially owners of new devices like the Galaxy Note 2, just assumed that they would be getting the update in 2013.
In the case of Samsung, that did not happen. Instead, the company skipped Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for its two aging flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and rolled out Android 4.3 Jelly Bean instead. The Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 update in particular started rolling out just a few short weeks ago and while it hasn’t finished in the United States, it’s close.
T-Mobile’s Galaxy S3 LTE and the Verizon Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update are the final two major Galaxy S3 updates in the United States. And once those updates roll out, all eyes will be on what’s next for the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Rumor and logic point to Android 4.4 KitKat, Google’s brand new update that could arrive in the first half of 2014. Samsung hasn’t announced anything yet unfortunately. With that in mind, we want to offer a broad look at the software future of the Galaxy S3, after the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean roll out.
Lingering Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Problems
The first thing that Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean owners will want to expect are lingering issues with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. There are plenty of people that are already running into issues with the software, whether it’s slow charging, lag, battery drain problems, issues with Wi-Fi, and more. We’ve seen users on all U.S. carriers complain about problems, it’s not just limited to one device.
Those problems are going to linger because Samsung, and its carriers, won’t be quick to upgrade the devices with a bug fix update. Sure, we’ve seen updates halted but what users will be after is an incremental bug fix update aimed at tackling the remaining issues. These typically don’t fly out of the gate so issues are going to linger.
Of course, we also expect Galaxy S3 users to start seeing problems emerge in the weeks ahead. Bugs don’t always show their face on day. Often times, it takes a few weeks for things to settle in before problems are found. So, Galaxy S3 owners should be vigilant and keep an eye on their software and an eye on the web for temporary, or even permanent fixes for these issues.
An Update Before Android 4.4 KitKat
That said, Galaxy S3 owners should expect to see an incremental update prior to the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat next year. While we can’t say what version it would be, it would likely be Android 4.3.x Jelly Bean, perhaps, a Galaxy SS Android 4.3.2 update. It’s clear that there are a variety of issues that Samsung users are dealing with and we would be shocked if Samsung didn’t act relatively quickly to deliver some fixes. Remember, Android 4.4 KitKat isn’t thought to be arriving for four months at least.
We don’t expect to see a massive upgrade like the Premium Suite was in Android 4.2, but at this point, users should expect Samsung and its carriers to offer bug fix updates considering how buggy this roll out and this software has been.
Android 4.4 KitKat: Final Major Update
We’ve already gone into great deal about our expectations on the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade. One, we think it’s coming and two, we think it rolls out before the middle of the year arrives. We have one more thing to add.
The Android 4.4 KitKat update should be the final major Android update for the Galaxy S3. The device, which is going on two years old, will soon reach the dreaded 18 month mark which means that it will fall beyond Google’s recommended age for software upgrades. HTC adheres to this and so does Google. Remember, we just saw the Galaxy Nexus stay on Android 4.3.
Nothing is set in stone but we’d be shocked if Samsung decided to can Android 4.4 KitKat. The Galaxy S3 is too popular for it to do that. Instead, we expect Android 4.4 KitKat but we expect it to be the final major upgrade for Galaxy S3 owners. While that would be a bummer, it’s hard to complain. This is a phone that started on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Most phones only dream of living the life that this phone has lived.
Post-Android 4.4 KitKat Updates
Of course, we don’t expect support to completely stop. Users should expect bug fix updates to roll out in the months after an Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade. There won’t be any warning of course or any way of predicting what will be on board or when the updates will roll out, but users should expect carriers to keep trying to improve the software on board their Galaxy S3 variants.
Not only is this common, but there are tons and tons of Galaxy S3 users in the United States, and elsewhere, that carriers need to keep happy. Look for incremental bug fix updates after Android 4.4, if Android 4.4 rolls out.
Android 4.4 KitKat Issues
And yes, if Android 4.4 KitKat does roll out, expect there to be issues. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean was supposedly canned because of issues with TouchWiz and we’re already seeing problems with Android 4.3. Users should expect Android 4.4 KitKat to bring issues as well. These companies work extremely hard to try and make sure software is as stable as possible but software is never one hundred percent stable. The Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update won’t be.
Some, But Not All, Galaxy S5/Galaxy Note 3 Features
Samsung loves to upgrade its Galaxy devices with new TouchWiz features. For instance, the Galaxy S3 got several of the features included on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, including Multi-Window View. If and when Android 4.4 KitKat rolls out, we expect the device to get at least some of the features found on the Galaxy S5 and or the Galaxy Note 3.
Given its age, the features will likely be limited, much in the same way Apple limits the iOS feature set on its older devices, but we should see Samsung offer some new features to Galaxy S3 users.
Even if Android 4.4 KitKat doesn’t roll out, we would expect a Premium Update to deliver some of the functionality found on Samsung’s new and improved smartphones.
No Need to Upgrade
Finally, Samsung Galaxy S3 owners should expect no pressing reason to upgrade. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and its features should offer enough to help most Galaxy S3 devices feel fresh. If Android 4.4 KitKat comes along, even better. These updates help to keep the device in the hands of its users, delaying the upgrade process.
There will be people that simply feel like they need to upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone but as we look the to future, the Galaxy S3 and its hardware and software should hold up well enough that an upgrade won’t be absolutely necessary for many people. That’s the beauty of technology and a tribute to how far smartphones have come.