Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.
There are many reasons to prefer shopping at one store over another, but anyone who prefers for their handsets to come in blue would be advised to turn their eyes towards Best Buy. The big box retailer is now offering the Galaxy S4 in glossy, plastic blue - or as they would call it, Blue Arctic. The handset will become available next Thursday, November 14th, but pre-orders are launching tomorrow for Elite and Elite Plus members, and November 10th for everyone else.
There was an unusually specific leak from Samsung last month, showing a relatively accelerated schedule for updates on the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II on all four major American carriers. That isn't much comfort for those customers on US Cellular, since the #5 carrier wasn't quite important enough to be included in the leak. But now there's a new leak in town, helpfully provided by an anonymous tipster, showing that the US Cellular Galaxy S4 will be updated on Friday the 8th.
It's a good time to be a Samsung owner, at least if you've got some recent hardware. After beginning an extensive campaign of Android 4.3 updates for US models of the Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note II (likely motivated by the Galaxy Gear compatibility it provides), Samsung is now starting to update the massively popular international SIII model, the GT-I9300. According to SamMobile, Irish S III owners on Vodafone are the first to get the update, with no other regions reporting in at the moment.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is what you get if you hold a Galaxy S4 in one hand, a digital camera in the other, and slam them together. Samsung unveiled the device early in the summer, and while it didn't take long to arrive in other areas of the world, it's only just now coming to the US. Come November 8th, AT&T will become the first camera to offer the Galaxy S4 Zoom on this side of the pond.
Samsung, for whatever reason, has not released a back plate for the Galaxy S4 Active that allows it to take advantage of Qi wireless charging. The folks at Monster Watts seemed to have a solution with their WIQIQi battery attachment, and even managed to pull off a successful Indiegogo campaign. However, legal issues have forced the cancellation of the product.
The company makes WIQIQi attachments for several other devices, but according to the campaign site, legal issues with the water-resistance claims of the GS4 Active gave them pause.
Verizon got it first (for once), but now it's time for Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Sprint to get their Android 4.3 update on. The over-the-air download should be disseminating today, though we've yet to see confirmation from Sprint itself. Assuming that it is indeed going out, the update comes right on schedule, according to a leaked Samsung document.
In addition to the standard Android 4.3 features, the OTA download (L720VPUAMJA) delivers compatibility with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Samsung's Knox encryption system.
Update 10/28/13 10:30pm PT: The update is rolling out now (thanks, bdh and ohbuckeyeman!):
Samsung has added details about the upcoming I545VRUEMJ7 software update that will, among other things, make the device compatible with the Galaxy Gear. That means anyone who ran out and purchased the watch before discovering that it was only compatible with the Note 3 can now breathe a bit easier (I'm sure at least one person did that, right?).
If you've got a Samsung phone from before the Note 3 and you're on an American carrier, you're probably wondering where your Android 4.3 update is already. The leaked schedule below has been verified to Android Police by two reliable sources, and shows when the 4.3 update is scheduled for the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 Active, and Galaxy Note II on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. This update will also add support for the Galaxy Gear to these devices.
Samsung makes a lot of phones, and that means it has a lot of open source packages to post. Today it's taking the time to drop the kernel source for two Galaxy S4 variants after the Android 4.3 update, as well as the code from the AT&T Galaxy Mega giganto-phone.