Amid the song and dance that ushered in Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy Note 3 and the brand new Galaxy Gear smartwatch on Wednesday, some more good news popped up. Samsung confirmed during its Unpacked event that the Galaxy S4 will be updated to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean sometime in October (just in time for Android 4.4 KitKat’s arrival, perhaps). What’s more, last year’s flagship model, the Galaxy S III, will be updated to Android 4.3 next month as well, so users with older devices won’t be left hanging. Different carriers will undoubtedly release the update at different times, of course, so don’t be surprised if October comes and goes and your S III or S4 is still waiting to be updated.
The past week has been among the roughest BlackBerry has seen in recent history as its share price plunged more than 25% following a huge earnings flop. As analysts continue to back away from the stock and paint ever-worsening pictures of BlackBerry’s future in their research, a small startup has managed to find a new way to kick BlackBerry while it’s down. In a press release titled “Blackberry’s Future Further Endangered By Physical Keyboard Case: Keasy,” a small U.K.-based upstart is looking to exploit BlackBerry’s woes in an effort to gain backers for its KickStarter project, which offers a protective case for the Galaxy S III smartphone that features a detachable physical keyboard. The project has received crowd-sourced funding totaling £2,266 of its £45,000 goal as of the time of this writing. Keasy’s full press release pitching its keyboard case, which it calls a “nail in BlackBerry’s coffin,” follows below. More →
Samsung is staying true to its word and will soon bring new features from its Galaxy S4 smartphone to its older Galaxy S III. SamMobile has got hold of a leaked version of the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III and has found that it will bring several Galaxy S4 features to the Galaxy S III, including the new version of S-Voice, a revamped settings UI that will feature a tabbed interface and the Galaxy S4′s new lock screen system. SamMobile says that Samsung will push out the Android 4.2.2 update to Galaxy S III owners starting in June. Samsung said earlier this year that any new features for the Galaxy S4 that aren’t reliant on hardware will also be brought to its other flagship smartphones such as its Galaxy Note line of phablets.
Owners of older Samsung (005930) smartphones may be feeling envious of the newly announced Galaxy S 4, which is chock-full of new features. They shouldn’t be too worried, however, because the company has promised to bring some of Galaxy S 4′s top features to both the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. Samsung’s vice president of portfolio planning, Nick DiCarlo, revealed in an interview with PCMag that any feature that doesn’t rely on hardware will be brought to “all the flagship devices.” The executive hinted that features such as the new camera interface and new filters may arrive on earlier models later this year. It is also speculated that Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, S Translator and S Health will also be made available.
The iPhone and Galaxy Note II both contain vulnerabilities that allow unauthorized users to bypass the device’s lock screen. Recent reports suggest that the Galaxy S III running Android 4.1.2 can also be added to the list of vulnerable smartphones. Similar to the earlier methods, the bug in the Galaxy S III utilizes a flaw in the “Emergency Call” button on the lock screen, however unlike the other methods it gives complete access to the phone. More →
During the three-month period ending in January, Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system once again surpassed iOS in U.S. smartphone sales thanks to the help of an unlikely partner. According to Kantar Worldpanel, Android smartphone sales at Sprint (S) helped the operating system climb 6.4 percentage points to account for nearly half, or 49.4%, of all U.S. smartphone sales. In the same period, iPhone sales dropped 4.7 points from a year ago to make up 45.9% of U.S. smartphone sales, while sales of Windows Phone’s share increased to 3.2%. More →
When picking out hardware for your big comeback smartphone, why not go with what’s already proven to work? That’s apparently the philosophy that the team at BlackBerry (BBRY) decided to adopt, as a teardown of the BlackBerry Z10 by UMB TechInsights shows that much of the new device’s hardware is the same hardware used in Samsung’s (005930) smash hit Galaxy S III device. More →
Wireless charging isn’t something that really resonates with smartphone users at this point, but it’s still a nice feature to have in the few smartphones that support it. While no wildly popular handsets include wireless charging out of the box, recent rumors suggest Samsung (005930) may look to make wireless charging mainstream with its next-generation Galaxy S IV. But whether or not the rumor pans out, Galaxy phone fans don’t have to wait for wireless charging thanks to a simple hack. More →
Back in December a forum member on XDA Developers discovered a major vulnerability for devices equipped with Samsung’s (005930) Exynos processors. The company confirmed the exploit, which made smartphones such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II vulnerable to app-based attacks, and promised to address it as quickly as possible. It appears that Samsung has begun to patch the vulnerability on select devices. T-Mobile on Wednesday released an over-the-air update that brought “Exynos and other security enhancements” to the Galaxy Note II, while Sprint offered a “security update” for Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch owners. Other Samsung models, such as the international Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note, remain vulnerable and have not yet been patched.
When a new smartphone from Apple (AAPL) or Samsung (005930) is released, sales generally level off over the following months. The Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II have been an exception, however. Despite rumors of next-generation devices, Samsung’s smartphones have remained “red-hot” and consumers are still eating them up. More →
A study released Monday by Arieso found that for the first time ever, smartphones consistently used more data than tablets in Europe. The “hungriest” mobile devices in 2011 were the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and original iPad. In 2012, however, the hungriest devices were all smartphones — iPhone 5, Galaxy S III and Sensation XL. It was discovered that iPhone 5 users consumed four times as much data as iPhone 3G users and 50% more than iPhone 4S users, while Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 users demanded 20% more data than iPad users. The firm, which specializes in mobile network optimization, notes that the study’s results can be applied to carriers around the world and not just Europe because “relative consumption between device users remains constant between geographies.”
Now that Samsung (005930) has bested Apple in the consumer smartphone market, at least where shipment volume is concerned, the company is setting its sights on Research in Motion’s (RIMM) corporate user base. The company is investing heavily in enterprise devices that incorporate a higher level of security and reliability than consumers require. Various government agencies and corporations aren’t fully sold on RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system and are still unsure if will satisfy their needs. As a result, they have begun to explore alternatives for their employees. More →
It was previously reported that several Galaxy S III owners were experiencing problems with their devices. Users discovered that the flash memory in the handset was becoming corrupt and failing, causing the phone’s mainboard to die. Devices were reportedly lasting between 150 and 200 days before permanently dying, at which point Samsung (005930) was replacing them with no questions asked. A company spokesperson revealed to Dutch site Tweakers that the problem is in a firmware bug that can be easily solved with a small update. The spokesperson confirmed that the issue has only been affecting “a very limited number of Galaxy S III models with 16GB memory” and the company is working on a fix that will be released as soon as possible, though no timeframe was provided.