AT&T owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 have something to celebrate today. The long-awaited Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update has finally made its way to Samsung’s flagship 4.8-inch device on AT&T’s network.
At the moment, the only way to install Jelly Bean is to connect the device via Kies, according to GSM Arena. Kies is Samsung’s proprietary software compatible with both Windows and Mac-based computers. It allows users to share multimedia files and update their devices, similar to how iTunes performs these functions for iOS handsets and tablets. There is no over-the-air option yet for the Android 4.1 upgrade, but AT&T will probably roll it out soon. Users should receive a prompt from Kies when checking for updates within the software.
AT&T is the third major carrier in the U.S. to launch Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on its Galaxy S3 handsets. Sprint released the latest treat-themed version of Android on its network at the end of October, and T-Mobile followed suit last month. This means that Verizon and US Cellular are the only major carriers that have not made any announcements concerning the update.
Galaxy S3 owners in the US aren’t the only ones enjoying Google’s recent mobile operating system update. On Monday, Sam Mobile reported that Samsung Canada had begun rolling out Android 4.1.1 to carriers up north such as Bell, Telus, SaskTel and Rogers.
While Android Jelly Bean has made a somewhat slow and sluggish debut on devices across carriers, the software is beginning to make more of a presence in the market. Although Android 2.3 Gingerbread continues to be the most widely used version of Android, both 4.1 and 4.2 versions of Jelly Bean have seen a significant jump in usage over the past month.
According to new data collected over a 14-month period, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean now accounts for 5.9 percent of Android devices while 4.2, the newest version of Jelly Bean, is present on 0.8 percent of handsets and tablets. This may sound like a tiny number, but last month’s statistics indicated that Jelly Bean was only found on 2.7 percent on Android devices.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich also jumped from 25.8 to 27.5 percent, making it the second most common operating system among Android users. Google obtained these numbers, which have been published by ZDNet, by monitoring devices that entered the Google Play Store within a two-week period that ended on Dec. 3.
Jelly Bean represents a noteworthy jump from Ice Cream Sandwich, and brings the following features to Android-powered devices:
Android Beam: This lets users share photos and videos by touching two Android devices back to back.
Accessibility: A variety of features make it easier to navigate the user interface, such as the addition of gesture-enabled controls and the ability to move more precisely between blocks of text in SMS messages.
Improved browser experience: Web browser now supports HTML5 video.
Project Butter: This is Google’s term for the smooth and seamless user interface experience that comes with Jelly Bean. This is especially noticeable in apps such as the Calendar, which now features smoother transitions between pages and an improved notification system.
Google Now: Google Now essentially acts as an automated assistant. This feature presents informational cards throughout the day as users need them and appear as a notification if it is something important.
In addition to these features, other significant improvements are found in the texting/typing keyboard and the software’s camera app. For the full list of Jelly Bean improvements, visit Android’s official website here.
Google unveiled Jelly Bean back in June at its I/O developers’ conference, and the company is already rumored to have named its next iteration of Android Key Lime Pie.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...