In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
Good news, the long-awaited Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S III is now rolling out to Verizon customers. Sure, it comes after peers received the goodies first on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, but that's just the way the wind blows sometimes. Oftentimes, actually. This is Verizon we're talking about. But here it is, build number I535VRUCML1, complete with the last Jelly Bean release and Galaxy Gear compatibility.
You know what? There are entirely too many versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4. I feel like I've written this same story a half-dozen times, though that's probably because it's essentially the same software update across the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II. In any case, if you're rocking Samsung's 2013 flagship on budget carrier Cricket, you might see an over the air update prompt today: it's your turn to get Android 4.3.
Samsung has been rolling out Galaxy Gear support to additional devices since the end of October, lumping the functionality in with updates to Android 4.3. A leaked schedule provided a timeline of when to expect various Galaxy handsets across the big four American carriers to get updated, and many OTAs started rolling out right on schedule. Others have not. The AT&T Galaxy Note II's update has been somewhat of a tortoise, but it may soon cross the finish line, as the long-awaited OTA is finally inbound.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is a good tablet, as long as you can live with its less-than-exciting build quality. Samsung plastics are a touchy subject, but some of us would like for a device this large and expensive to feel, well, premium. Yet if you want a tablet that comes with a stylus and is crammed with features, here's a deal from eBay that cuts the 32GB LTE Note 10.1 2014's high price down by $100.
Love it or hate it, you can't deny that the Galaxy S4 Zoom is unique. This hybrid offspring from Samsung's mobile and camera divisions (which have since tied the knot) doesn't really compete with the Galaxy S4 as far as specs go, but if you want a solid point-and-shoot camera that makes calls, you probably can't do any better. If you also want that device cheap, Amazon is offering it for just one penny, so long as you also want a new AT&T contract.
The Google Play Edition update train keeps rolling along. Hot on the heels of yesterday's HTC One GPE update, Galaxy S4 GPE owners are reporting a new OTA update as well. This update was alluded to yesterday, when Samsung released a new set of kernel source and framework files for the device. The firmware version is I9505GUEUCML4, which is Android 4.4.2/KOT49H. This brings it up to date with current Nexus devices.
Having rechargeable batteries is nice, but everything comes with its own cable these days. As a result, attempting to charge multiple devices at once can turn the space behind that nightstand into an unmanageable cluster of cables. But more and more devices now support wireless charging, and if you want to add your Galaxy Note 3 to that list, you need to invest in a wireless charging cover. While this extension would normally cost $39.99, today you can get it for just $19.99 from the Samsung store.
The list of devices that offer support for Samsung's first smartwatch is constantly growing, and today Verizon's Galaxy S 4 Mini gets to join that elite crew. The support docs just updated with details of the OTA, which highlights the Gear's potential usefulness.
Gear support isn't all you'll find in this update, either. It also brings about some new bloatware (imagine that), like Verizon's MyInfoZone Widget, VMware, and Verizon Cloud. Exciting stuff.
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.