May 26, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that back in November of last year, we shared a leaked Samsung internal memo detailing the OEM’s tentative plans for updating its Galaxy line up to Android 4.4 KitKat. And with the exception of the canceled update for the International S3, this schedule has mostly held true, as we’ve seen KitKat roll out to many of the Korean company’s newer high end devices. Now, more internal documentation has appeared, giving us a clearer picture of what Samsung’s working on in its internal labs.
First up, we have the Galaxy S5 (SM-G900F and SM-G900H) and Galaxy S4 LTE-A (GT-I9506). According to internal Samsung documentation from five days ago, Android 4.4.3 KTU70 is now being actively worked on for these three device variants. For the S4 LTE-A, the firmware in progress comes in at version XXUDQNE4, and for the two S5 variants, we’re looking at versions XXU0BNE3 and XXU0BNE6. The builds for all three device variants are currently in the integration stage, which means that Samsung is adding its OEM customizations to the firmwares. Assuming all goes well with the integration and testing, it’s not unreasonable to speculate that we may see 4.4.3 arrive on these three devices in the next couple of months.
Next up, we have more information regarding Android 4.4.2 KOT49H updates for various older Samsung devices. According to the leaked documentation, Android 4.4.2 will make its way out to the Galaxy S3 LTE, Note II LTE, and Note 3 Neo later this month. Then some time next month, the S 4 Mini, S 4 Mini LTE, Grand 2, Mega 5.8, and Mega 6.3 will receive their own official Android 4.4.2 builds. Unfortunately, the update for the standard (1 GB RAM) S3 is still marked as “unstable,” and given Samsung’s public statement on the matter, it’s increasingly unlikely that this will change in the near future.
Do you own any of these Samsung devices and are you looking forward to these OEM-provided updates? Or instead, have you rooted and installed an AOSP-derived custom ROM? Let us know in the comments below.
May 13, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Not too long ago, we learned that Samsung canceled its plans to release KitKat for their former flagship device from the first quarter of 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S III. This is due to their failure “to load system apps” because of the limited amount of device RAM—or at least that’s what we’re told in an official statement.
But of course, this is XDA, and our devs immediately undertook the task of getting TouchWiz-laden KitKat onto the device. From the same article linked above, you may have noticed that the Samsung Galaxy Note II has already received a fully functional official KitKat build. And given the similarities in hardware, it didn’t take long to see users attempt to port its ROM for use on the Galaxy SIII.
XDA Senior Member forumber2 noticed that eMMC partition is too small to run bloated TouchWiz properly, so he decided to try his luck booting from the SD card. After swapping kernels, the Note II’s build started properly and almost everything was running as intended. Well, other than sensors, WiFi, RIL, and a few other device features.
Forumber2 made a video demonstrating KitKat on the i9300. Now, it is believed that using some bits and pieces from GT-i9305 (a Qualcomm-based variant of the Galaxy S III) will help solving all of the remaining issues. Hopefully, soon everyone can enjoy TouchWiz-laden KitKat on the not-so-old S III.
The thread demonstrating KitKat on Samsung Galaxy S III can be found here. Hopefully the community will once again show the OEM that “impossible” is just a term to describe their laziness.
Update: If you are eager to try KitKat on your Galaxy S III, XDA Recognized Contributors JustArchi and Kryten2k35 have already released an experimental port of Note II’s KitKat firmware, which can be found in its development thread. It’s still in testing, so keep in mind that there are certain issues that need to be ironed out with RIL and sensors. However, WiFi, 3G, text messaging, camera, and most functions appear to be working fine, so it’s worth a try if you’re looking for Samsung-flavored KitKat on your SGS3.
[Big thanks to XDA Forum Moderator Siberian Tiger for the tip.]
May 9, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Two days ago, we shared leaked documentation showing Samsung’s progress in bringing Android 4.4 KitKat to their older generation devices. These internal documents unfortunately indicated that the official KitKat update for the International Galaxy S III GT-I9300 had been “canceled for now.”
For those keeping track, this documentation also stated that the hangup was due to the failure to implement Samsung’s proprietary applications (i.e. bloatware) onto the device. Because of this, we were quick to speculate that the most plausible explanation was that the device’s 1 GB of RAM would make it incapable of bearing the full weight of Samsung’s latest generation TouchWiz bloatware.
Now in an official statement given to the folks over at Sammobile, Samsung UK has confirmed both that the International Galaxy S III GT-I9300 won’t be getting KitKat, as well as why it can’t handle the
In order to facilitate an effective upgrade on the Google platform, various hardware performances such as the memory (RAM, ROM, etc.), multi-tasking capabilities, and display must meet certain technical expectations. The Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions come equipped with 1GB RAM, which does not allow them to effectively support the platform upgrade. As a result of the Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions’ hardware limitation, they cannot effectively support the platform upgrade while continuing to provide the best consumer experience. Samsung has decided not to roll-out the KitKat upgrade to Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions, and the KitKat upgrade will be available to the Galaxy S3 LTE version as the device’s 2GB RAM is enough to support the platform upgrade.
Sadly, this also brings bad news for Galaxy S III Mini owners, as they too will not be receiving the official KitKat love. However, Samsung reiterated that the Galaxy S III LTE will indeed receive the official OTA thanks to the device’s 2 GB of RAM.
It’s quite unfortunate that the relatively new Galaxy S III and S III Mini won’t receive KitKat. This flies in the face of Google’s efforts with Project Svelte to make the OS run on devices with limited hardware specifications and as little as 512 MB of RAM. But judging from the amount of
bloatware features that Samsung shoehorns onto their devices, this should come as no big surprise for anyone. That still doesn’t make it right, and perhaps Samsung should take this as a sign that they should consider trimming off some of the fat in their custom UI.
May 1, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
You may recall that yesterday, we talked about how Sprint was preparing to release an official update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat for the Sprint Galaxy S III. This news came courtesy of XDA Senior Member poit, who noticed that Samsung had updated its Open Source Release Center page for the Sprint variant of the SGS3 to include the upcoming L710VPND8 update. And just one day later, the update is now here.
As expected, today’s update comes in at firmware version L710VPND8. And according to Sprint’s update support page, ND8 brings the device’s long awaited “Android 4.4 Kit Kat update.” Aside from the increase in Android version number and the incorporation of Linux kernel 3.4, not much is known just yet about this update and what it brings. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect that ND8 brings with it some of the same refinements we’ve seen on other KitKat updates for Samsung devices such as a transparent status bar with white icons, and so on.
The update is currently making its way out to consumer devices via a staged OTA rollout. This rollout began a couple of hours ago, and will continue over the course of the next week or so. Unfortunately, not every device will be in the initial wave. But thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor CNexus, this is not an issue, as he was able to capture the OTA update link directly on Google’s servers.
But before you get to flashing, there are a few caveats with the OTA. For starters, ND8 brings a new Knox-enabled bootloader. Furthermore, this update has not yet been rooted. But if these issues aren’t a big deal for you, flash away. Just make sure that you’re on a stock, unmodified MK3 ROM first, and that you are running stock recovery.
If you wish to get in on the update before it’s pushed to your device, head over to the captured OTA thread. And if you wish to discuss what this update brings to the table, head over to the KitKat discussion thread.
[Many thanks to XDA Senior Member shekinahsmoke for the tip!]
April 30, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Just like most other variants of the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Sprint Galaxy S III it still stuck on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Rolling out back in late November of last year, the official L710VPMK3 build has been out for quite some time. And while we already know that KitKat will eventually make its way to the device, many users are starting to wonder when those official KitKat goods will arrive.
While we don’t have an exact date just yet, Sprint SGS3 owners can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that the time is near. Recently, Samsung updated its Open Source Release Center page for the Sprint variant of the SGS3 to include the upcoming L710VPND8 update. This was first spotted and posted to the forums by XDA Senior Member poit. Then, XDA Recognized Contributor CNexus was able to determine that in addition to bringing KitKat, this update will feature the Linux 3.4 kernel.
Head over to the discussion thread to learn more and Samsung’s Open Source Release Center to download the source yourself. Naturally, there’s no mention of any sort of update on Sprint’s support page, but we’ll be sure to update you all when the update goes live.
[Many thanks as always to XDA Portal Supporter Titokhan for the heads up!]
March 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that this was the Android 4.3 update for the device. Apologies for the mistake.
While several recent high end devices have finally been upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, many are still running Android 4.3. The T-Mobile Galaxy S III is one of these devices. While it has just started receiving a new it finally received its official Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update.
The update comes in the form of build ID UVUENC2. And while it retains the same Android 4.3 version, it updates your baseband firmware. According to T-Mobile support documents, this 37 MB update is available both via OTA and through Samsung Kies. But if you intend on updating through either of the above methods, you can’t be rooted, and you must have at least 50% battery.
As the update is rolling out in stages, your device may not see the OTA for some time. Luckily, XDA Recognized Developer Synthetic.Nightmare was kind enough to mirror the update for those who would like to install the components manually. Furthermore, since he also includes the modem separately, you can install the update without the modem or the modem without the update.
Those looking to learn more about the update can do so by visiting the update discussion thread. And if you’re looking to get in on the firmware a bit early, head over to Synthetic.Nightmware’s firmware mirror.
[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter titokhan for yet another tip!]
If you’ve been looking for a more interesting battery charging animation to replace the rather dull and conventional battery icon you have now, there are a wealth of options available ranging from battery mod compilations to 3rd party apps, and even a Windows tool. But if these options just don’t seem to cut it for you and you’d rather create your own battery animation from scratch, you may want to check out XDA Recognized Contributor erikalin’s tutorial.
Because of the personalized and limitless nature of the procedure, Erikalin keeps the tutorial clean and simple. It is broken up into two parts: things you have to get, such as 7zip and Paint (or any other image editor of choice), and things you have to do. If you fancy yourself as being more of a visual learner, this has also been catered for by Erikalin, who has made a video tutorial. It can be said that the video tutorial is more thorough than the written counterpart, as it shows exactly what Erikalin did to create his own battery animation.
Before you rush and open up Windows Paint, it should be noted that you will be editing 203 very small images, a task that is both time consuming and may not be healthy for your eyes if you’re at it for extended periods of time. Nevertheless, if you’re up for the challenge and would like to get started creating your own battery charging animation for your Samsung Galaxy S 3, head over to the original thread for more information.
February 19, 2014 By: Tomek Kondrat
Before Motorola was acquired by Lenovo, the OEM released two very interesting smartphones. The Moto X and Moto G were the first and probably the last devices made by the formerly American OEM in a cooperation with Google. Not so long ago, we talked about the Moto G receiving an unofficial CyanogenMod port. Now, however, the G and a few other Motorola devices will receive official CyanogenMod nightlies.
The CM team has released three unified builds, which is a bit of a surprising move, considering that the list of supported devices is quite long. The “mysterious” moto_msm8960 build will work with the Photon Q, Atrix HD, Razr M, and Droid Razr HD. The second build, dubbed moto_msm8960dt, should work with dual-core devices like the Moto X, Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, and Droid Ultra. You need to figure out which phones are which, as builds for other devices will simply not work properly or even can brick your device. So be sure to double check before flashing, and check your home forum here on XDA to get the necessary info.
A build for the Moto G is separate due to its internal hardware. And I can’t can’t write about official nightlies for device code named falcon without mentioning XDA Senior Member dhacker29, who did a terrific job bringing up the device tree for this phone.
Motorola devices aren’t the only receiving these new unified builds. A couple of Samsung devices will receive unified builds as well. The list of phones is quite long and includes following devices:
Builds include only Qualcomm-based devices, as Exynos devices are still using platform-specified builds.
As you can see, the CyanogenMod team are on fire and make things as easy as possible both for developers and end users. The builds are located over on the official CyanogenMod download page. You can also check out the source code by visiting team’s Github and typing the name of the device in the search box.
[Big thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor herna for the tip!]
February 18, 2014 By: Will Verduzco
Before today, Samsung has been very cautious in tempering expectations regarding official Android 4.4 KitKat updates for its recent devices. While certain phones have already received the 4.4.2 goods, much of the rest of the company’s lineup is still in Jelly Bean limbo. We’ve seen leaks fly around left and right for the Galaxy S 4, but official word regarding KitKat for the device has been lacking. And since this is just for their latest and greatest, the future didn’t look so hot for Samsung’s older devices.
Some time ago, we saw a leaked internal memo pointing to a potential KitKat release schedule for various devices. Now, however, Samsung has broken the silence by stating which devices will receive official updates to Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Unfortunately, they aren’t stating when, though.
Samsung Galaxy U.S. devices currently scheduled to receive the KitKat update include select carrier variants of the Galaxy Note® 3, Galaxy Note® II, Galaxy S® 4, Galaxy S® 4 mini™, Galaxy S® 4 Active™, Galaxy S® 4 zoom™, Galaxy S® III, Galaxy S® III mini™, Galaxy Mega®, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note® 8.0, Galaxy Tab® 3, Galaxy Note® 10.1, Galaxy Note® 10.1 2014 Edition.
In addition to the Android version bump, the update will also pack the following additional features:
- Location Menu: An integrated location menu enables users to easily activate GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks, while simultaneously checking the battery usage of apps running location service capabilities.
- Enhanced Messaging: Enables users to choose between Messages or Hangouts as their preferred default messaging application, and select from a larger assortment of updated Emoji icons.
- Upgraded Google Mobile Service™ (GMS) apps: Users can automatically back up photos and video and can open, view, rename and share Google Docs and files.
While the update news is a few months later than we would have liked, it’s nice to see that older devices like the Note II, S III, and Note 10.1 will get to enjoy the KitKat goods in official capacity. However, the presence of the word “select” when talking about which carrier-branded devices leaves us more than a bit skeptical about certain US-based carriers with less than stellar track records. Furthermore, we’d still like to know when exactly Samsung plans on delivering the goods!
If you own a Samsung device, you have undoubtedly heard of the EFS partition. If you haven’t, let me explain. EFS is a partition where quite a bit of important radio data is stored. Without this data, you won’t be able to use your phone correctly. It’s extremely important to keep a local copy of your EFS partition, and we’ve already presented a Windows utility and application to backup the EFS partition on Samsung devices.
The two aforementioned utilities are not the only tools available to backup your EFS partition. Rather, XDA Senior Member ricky310711 created another application that gives users the option to backup or restore the EFS partition, as well as reboot your phone in four different modes.
With the appropriately titled Samsung Tool, you can hot-reboot your device, go to recovery, or enter mode. The application stores a copy of the EFS backup in the /data/media/SamsungTool folder. But in future releases, we might see external SD card support. Samsung Tool works with many Samsung devices, but only Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note 10.1 are officially supported.
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to restore your EFS partition. However, it’s never a bad idea to make a backup copy. To learn more, make your way to the application thread and give this a shot.
December 18, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Just yesterday, we wrote about how the Verizon variant of the HTC One finally received its Android 4.3 update—quite some time after the International variant and other US carrier variants. Well the Verizon-flavored One isn’t the only device on America’s largest carrier that is receiving the official Android 4.3 goods. Now, the Verizon Galaxy S III gets to join in on the fun as well.
Today’s update brings the Verizon device to Android 4.3 (I535VRUCML1). In addition to simply bumping up the Android version, the update also brings support for the Samsung Galaxy Gear, as well as Samsung KNOX.
Unfortunately, the update also brings some forced bloatware, as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from the carrier. And just like the carrier’s HTC One update, it now packs the VZ Cloud app. Strangely, this is the same Verizon that showed so much promise once before.
Rather than launching as a staged rollout, this update appears to be rolling out to everyone running stock firmware and recovery, so it’s time to check for system updates if you haven’t already received the OTA. Make your way over to the update discussion thread and our Verizon Galaxy S III forums to get in on the action.
What are your thoughts on Verizon’s recent trend towards adding bloatware via OTA updates? Luckily, the vast majority of readers here will root and remove the unnecessary bits. But for those who stay at stock, added bloat can’t be fun. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
December 12, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
New firmware updates have begun rolling out for two popular carrier-branded Samsung devices in the last few days. These updates are for the T-Mobile Galaxy S III LTE (T999L) and the Verizon Galaxy S 4.
The update for the T999L comes in at version T999LUVUBMK4 and brings the device up to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. In addition to upgrading the device to Android 4.3, the update also brings Samsung KNOX technology and Galaxy Gear support. This update comes in the form of a staged rollout, so you can expect to receive an OTA update notification in the coming days if you haven’t already. You can also manually update to MK4 via Samsung Kies. For your convenience, XDA Forum Member red rocket has mirrored the OTA update on his Google Drive account. And those who’d rather install a KNOX-Free and pre-rooted version can do so, thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor DocHoliday77 who took the official MK4 OTA, rooted it, and removed KNOX and CiQ.
The Verizon Galaxy S 4 update, on the other hand, is a much smaller update. It is only a 28.1 MB incremental OTA that fixes various bugs relating to data performance and charging with non-Samsung chargers. If you wish to get your hands on the update a bit early, you can thanks to XDA Senior Member Sir_Eagle who mirrored the OTA on Dropbox.
Have you received the OTAs on your T-Mobile Galaxy S III LTE or Verizon Galaxy S 4? If so, let us know your experiences with the latest firmwares.
December 5, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
No, it’s not Android 4.4 KitKat, but it’s a step in the right direction—one that was started a little over a month ago. You may remember that not too long ago Samsung pulled the Android 4.3 that was rolling out to the International Galaxy S III. This was the same XXUGMMJ9 firmware that was initially shared as a leaked build, and then became official two days later. Unfortunately, the previous build had quite a few bugs, including wake up lag, random freezing, battery drain, Bluetooth audio issues, stuttering music playback, freezes, poor multitasking, and WiFi issues. In other words, it was a clear demonstration of Murphy’s Law.
Now, the next chapter in the Android 4.3 update saga for the Galaxy S III is here, thanks to the new XXUGMK6 update for the device. The update brings several key improvements such as reduced lag, camera enhancements, improved battery life, and support for Galaxy Gear. And for those wondering, just like the previous official XXUGMJ9 build, this appears to not feature Samsung’s KNOX technology.
The update should arrive OTA to stock devices, but it can also be manually installed via Kies. To learn more, visit the Android 4.3 Discussion Thread for the Galaxy S III. The fun starts around page 181, with users sharing their (largely positive) experiences with the new firmware.
[Photo courtesy of Neil Carless on Facebook]