Galaxy S4s running on the C Spire Wireless network started receiving OTA updates to Android 4.3 a week ago, bringing the devices up to the latest version of Jelly Bean. Now Samsung's older flagship is having its day in the sun. C Spire customers with Galaxy S IIIs are now getting the Galaxy Gear compatibility that has been rolling out to Samsung's high-end devices since the launch of the Galaxy Note 3.
Remember when T-Mobile didn't have LTE service? You know, just under two years ago? Remember when they released a version of the Galaxy S III without LTE (SGH-T999), then another with LTE (SGH-T999L), ensuring that some customers would be pissed and others would be confused? If you do, and you bought the latter LTE-enabled version of Samsung's 2012 flagship, check your status bar: you might just have a software update waiting.
T-Mobile customers with the Galaxy Note II, your day has finally arrived: the Jelly Bean 4.3 over-the-air update is finally rolling out, according to this XDA thread. Samsung's Galaxy S4, S III, and the Note II have been getting the same update on other American carriers, but T-Mobile is behind the leaked release schedule (though not by much). The Note II is the last Samsung phone on T-Mobile scheduled to get the update, at least for the moment.
Samsung isn't saying exactly how many Galaxy Gears have been sold, just that it shipped 800,000. The Qualcomm Toq is going to be a much more limited in scope. Qualcomm is only going to make about 100,000 and now is your chance to get one. Yes, as promised, the Toq is on sale direct from Qualcomm starting today.
The Toq will be $50 more expensive than the Galaxy Gear at $349.99.
If you've been waiting for your magenta-flavored Galaxy S4 to get its long-awaited Android 4.3 update, check your notification bar now. According to both T-Mobile's official support page and some evidence from the denizens of XDA, the phone is getting its final Jelly Bean release as you read this.
screenshot credit: jbreeze228
The 4.3 update for this and other Samsung phones packs more than the usual updated software: it also makes Samsung's later phones compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, previously restricted to the Galaxy Note 3.
Minus a couple of hiccups, Samsung is reliably updating its later models to the last version of Jelly Bean. Sprint's branded version of the Galaxy Note II is the latest phone to get the Android 4.3 magic, complete with updated compatibility with Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Gotta sell those $300 add-ons, eh Sprint?
Samsung is following its release schedule almost to the letter. In addition to Android 4.3 goodies and Gear compatibility, this particular update (L900VPAMK4) adds HD Voice enhancements, Samsung KNOW compatibility, and a few visual touches to bring the Note II more in line with UI elements found on the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.
The Galaxy Note II came out over a year ago rocking Android 4.1.1. That was great at the time, but now that a giant KitKat statue is standing up in front of the Googleplex, it's time to move things along. Samsung never bothered with bringing 4.2.2 to the Note 2, but customers will likely forgive them now that 4.3 is rolling out to devices across the globe. It's moving in phases, though, so for the time being the only models to start receiving the update have been the GT-N7100 and the GT-N7105.
Update: Samsung has confirmed that it meant 800k shipments – not sales. The confusion might have resulted from Samsung's claim that the Gear is the best selling smart watch, which might still be true. We don't know how many have actually been sold, or if that rumored 50k sales number from last week is accurate.
Samsung's foray into the nascent smart watch market has not been as much of a failure as some recent reports would have you believe.
The Galaxy Gear is twice the price of the Pebble and pricier than both iterations of Sony's SmartWatch, but it isn't necessarily a more complete product. A particular sore spot is how the watch handles notifications, limiting not only which apps can send them, but not actually displaying the contents for most apps. The latest update to the Galaxy Gear Manager app alleviates this somewhat. Now users can pick which apps send messages to the Gear and even read the contents on the watch itself.
So far Samsung has been right on the money when it comes to the much-anticipated Android 4.3 update for its major phones. Today customers with the AT&T model of the Galaxy S4 are getting the last version of Jelly Bean, according to this (very long) thread on XDA. It looks like the update file started going out to customers a few hours after midnight, so technically Samsung is a day late - then again, the schedule was leaked, so it's hard to hold that against them.