It's been just over two years since Samsung introduced the capacious Galaxy Note to an intrigued press corps at IFA in Berlin. Who'd have thought that it would turn out to be nothing less than a phenomenon, spawning a new sub-category in smartphones and innumerable flattering attempts at imitation? The original Note sold 10 million units by August 2012, but according to Samsung, the Note 3 has reached the same lofty goal in just two months.
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.
Lets face it, some updates are more exciting than others. The OTA that Sprint is now rolling out to the Galaxy S4 is not one of them. That's not a bad thing per se, as a small update is better than no update - just don't expect much here. The list of enhancements for this one is just one line long. Software version MK2 "resolves sleep mode issues." That's it. If your phone wasn't sleeping well, it should rest more easily now.
White and black. Black and white. Every new flagship phone seems to offer these choices before anything else - you never get, for example, a phone launching exclusively in neon green. Today Samsung is officially expanding its offering of Galaxy Note 3 colors to bring the line a little bit of high-class luster. You'll soon be able to purchase the Note 3 in Rose Gold White, Rose Gold Black, and Merlot Red colors.
The AT&T-branded Samsung Galaxy S4 is once again getting its Android 4.3 update as an OTA. After an unexplained issue with the last Android 4.3 push, everything looks to be getting back underway according to Samsung's site and early reports on XDA. This is a big update for the GS4, but AT&T is probably going to take it slowly this time.
If you've been hankering for a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the high price for Verizon's contract phone may be off-putting. Wirefly is offering the Verizon Note 3 for $199.99 with a new contract, but Amazon has one-upped them - they've got the same phone-contract combo for just $169.99. The price for both is $249.99 ($50 off Verizon's price) for returning customers.
You could take the view that Wirefly has a better deal here, at least if you're willing to wait.
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.
In a post to the Android Google+ account this evening, Google officially announced the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition would be joining the HTC One Google Play Edition in the realm of timely updates, with KitKat upgrades rolling out "starting today."
Starting today, Samsung GS4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices are getting an update to Android 4.4! Learn more about Android 4.4, KitKat: http://www.android.com/versions/kit-kat-4-4
We just saw HTC post its KitKat open source files for the Google Play Edition One, and now here's Samsung doing the same thing for the GPe Galaxy S4. Although, its open source website is a lot less attractive. What's with that, Samsung? At any rate, you can grab the kernel source right now at the link below.
A big phone usually comes with a big price tag, but Samsung is still committed to expanding options at the more affordable end of the market. The company just announced the Galaxy Grand 2 with mid-range specs and an emphasis on media.
The Galaxy Grand 2 packs a 5.25-inch 720p LCD, which works out to 280 pixels per inch. That's still pretty respectable. The RAM is only half of Samsung's flagship phones at 1.5GB, and the storage is stuck at 8GB.