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.
Google quietly brought Play Books today to four new countries: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Portugal. The aforementioned countries only had access to Google Play Apps and Music before, so I'm sure the book lovers among those of you who reside in the four territories are ecstatic.
The new Books section as seen in Ireland
Google has been very slow to roll out various content stores worldwide. The last time Play Books expanded was all the way back in March and only included one country - Mexico.
The pace at which Samsung is pushing out Galaxy S III Jelly Bean updates is picking up steam in Europe with the much anticipated arrival of Android 4.1.1 for unbranded UK handsets. The Brits aren't the only ones getting it today - in fact, the list is quite sizeable. Here, check it out:
- UK unbranded
- Switzerland unbranded
- Luxemburg unbranded (update: supposedly, Belgian S IIIs use the same version too)
- Denmark (Three)
- Bulgaria (Mobiltel)
- Romania (Cosmote)
- Ireland (Meteor, Vodafone)
- Czech Republic (O2)
- Sweden (Tre)
- Croatia (Vipnet)
Not bad at all - looks like the next platform distribution update won't be as depressing.
European O2 and Vodafone Galaxy S III owners, it's finally your turn to check out Jelly Bean first hand. Following last week's updates on Hutchison Whampoa networks (Three/3/H3G), now O2 and Vodafone joined the party and started pushing out Android 4.1.1 to Galaxy S IIIs in at least the following locations:
- O2: United Kingdom, Ireland
- Vodafone: United Kingdom, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany
The Vodafone launch started today right on schedule, as per this post from a few days ago.
The Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III is steadily spreading to more countries in Europe, in addition to Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Romania, and Austria. Today, it started rolling out in Italy (H3G), United Kingdom (H3G), Switzerland (Swisscom), and Ireland (Three), as well as on another Austrian carrier called 3 Austria. As far as I can tell, H3G, Three, and 3 are all owned by the same giant company - Hutchison Whampoa (some names are even interchangeable), so four out of five pushes today seem to be a coordinated effort.
While the UK has had the Desire HD since early last week, the EVO look-a-like model and its sibling are only starting to trickle into Irish stores. Currently Vodafone appears to be the only carrier offering one of the new Desires, with the Desire HD available on pre-pay for €479 or €229 on an 18 month €35 contract. However, many Irish Android users appear to be holding out for their network of choice, Meteor, to announce the Desire HD and to a lesser extent the Desire Z.
Last week, Google announced that over the next 2 weeks, support for purchasing paid apps was coming to 18 more countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan.
This morning, reports are trickling in that the switch has been indeed flipped, at least in some of these countries. So far, we've been able to confirm Sweden, Denmark, and India.