The CyanogenMod team has already granted official ROM support for the LTE version of Samsung's diminutive Galaxy S4 Mini, and now the international 3G variant gets a chance. The first build for the S4 Mini 3G was posted to Get.CM on Friday night, but if you're waiting for a bleeding-edge build, you're going to be disappointed. It's CyanogenMod 10.1, based on Android 4.2, which is what the S4 Mini runs under TouchWiz.
Back in the days of the original Galaxy S and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung was frequently accused of copying Apple at every turn (often by Apple themselves). And let's not kid ourselves, Android fans: back then, Samsung kinda had it coming. Over the last three years Sammy has been forging its own identity with unique hardware designs, massive software development, and enough money to make King Midas feel insecure. So why are they still pining after Apple like a love-struck college freshman stalking the starting quarterback?
If you have your eyes set on the Galaxy S4 and you aren't turned off by the quality of Sprint's network, Amazon's new price for Samsung's flagship handset might just make your day. The retailer is currently offering the Sprint Galaxy S4 for $49.99 with a new two-year contract. This deal is available regardless of whether you want the phone in black, white, or purple.
Amazon's previous offer for the Sprint Galaxy S4 used to be $99.
Those of you looking for a cheap, small phone running Android will have one more option on AT&T starting later this month. The company issued a press release this morning finally announcing the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. That's Samsung's cheaper, smaller version of the GSIII which actually has very little in common with the GSIII in terms of hardware. It will launch on AT&T on September 27th for $.99 on a two-year contract.
Now that the HTC One Google Play Edition is dancing in the club that exclusively admits devices running the latest bleeding-edge version of Android, it's time for Samsung's Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition to do the same. For some reason Samsung seems a lot less coy about the update - while only a few users on the XDA forums are reporting that they've received the latest software (labeled MH5), both the kernel source code and the official over-the-air update have been posted to the usual spots.
It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.
A few days ago Android watchers were abuzz after a new version of Verizon's Galaxy S4 appeared on Samsung's site. Listed as model number SCH-I545L, there was some speculation it could be a spec bump on the original GS4. Maybe even a version of the device with LTE-Advanced? The truth behind that extra "L" at the end of the model number is much more mundane. It's for rural carriers, according to Verizon.
These days, it seems like everybody is trying to make Android more secure. As usual, rooting and modding are often casualties of this effort. Just over a month ago Android 4.3 broke the existing model for root, forcing updates to existing methods, and now Samsung is rolling out updated Android 4.2.2 firmwares for the Galaxy S 4 which fully enable the company's heavily secured KNOX environment. Fortunately, Chainfire is already on top of it and has updated his popular root software, SuperSU, to be compatible with the new system.
Developer types, take note. Samsung has just posted the kernel source for the Galaxy S4 Zoom LTE and the Galaxy S4 LTE-A. Getting a piece of the open source Jelly Bean code will allow developers to better support the devices, which might actually be important in the case of the oddball GS4 Zoom.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is basically a GS4 Mini with a giant point-and-shoot camera grafted on the back.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a neat device that's ruggedized and water-resistant. However, there's that accursed USB port. The port on this device is covered by a flimsy plastic flap that's tough to close properly, and feels like it could break off at any moment. It would be nice if you didn't have to mess with the port to charge the device, but Samsung hasn't released a wireless charging back for the S4 Active.