The Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 has begun to roll out right on time, as promised by Samsung during the Galaxy Note 3 unveiling in September.
As predicted, the first Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 goes to an international model, the unlocked GT-I9505 out of Germany. The I9505XXUEMJ5 build firmware is currently available through Samsung Kies, and is expected to be available to other markets and various carrier models soon. Notably, unlocked models around the world will receive Android 4.3 before carrier models due to various certifications required for updated to roll out. North American models may be among the last to receive the update.
With the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update come such improvements as OpenGL 3.0 support and Galaxy Gear support, as was expected. In Android 4.3 Samsung Knox and Samsung Wallet are now standard. The update also brings various performance improvements, including a faster and smoother TouchWiz UI, improved graphics and multimedia, and updated Bluetooth. Other features updated in Android 4.3 are the Samsung Keyboard, Samsung Browser, Read Mode and the Camera UI. Minor Android 4.3 fixes include tweaks to the Contacts app, Flashlight Widget and dialog boxes. The update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 notably does not include such Galaxy Note 3 specific features as Air Command.
Users should keep in mind that with Android 4.3 they won’t be able to downgrade to a previous version of Android. According to the Android 4.3 change log, this is due a matter of security; however, many note the problems that may arise for Galaxy S4 owners should the handset ever update to Android 4.4. That Android version is expected to implement the same region lock, which has been a problem for many Galaxy Note 3 owners. It may not be necessary to jump the gun with worry just yet, but it is something savvy Galaxy S4 owners should keep in mind if they plan to update.
Samsung also announced that the Galaxy S3 will receive Android 4.3 sometime in October. The Galaxy Note 2, which is expected soon to receive Galaxy Gear support software, may update sometime in November or December.
Meanwhile, the German unlocked model of the Samsung Galaxy S4 isn’t the only S4 model receiving an update at this time. The Verizon Galaxy S4 model recently received a minor software update to improve the Samsung Optical Reader app as well as to address Wi-Fi and S Memo issues. In addition, the update brings roaming support to various rural and foreign networks.
Though Samsung is known for letting time drag between software updates on its handsets, it appears to be a lot more diligent with the upkeep of the Galaxy S4. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been on the market for about six months.
Are you glad to know the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update has begun to roll out for the Samsung Galaxy S4? Let us know in the comments below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.