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]
November 25, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Two days ago, we wrote about how the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S III was finally receiving its update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. While the Moto X and the current fleet of Nexus devices have already received updates to Android 4.4 KitKat, any step forward is a step in the right direction, even if it is still one step behind.
Unfortunately for Sprint SGS3 owners, the officially released 4.3 build also brought with it Samsung’s KNOX technology. Thankfully, XDA Recognized Contributor CNexus was quick to modify the stock 4.3 MK3 ROM to remove KNOX and deliver it pre-rooted for those looking to save themselves from the hassle of doing it manually.
The ROM is available in Odexed and Deodexed form. The Deodexed ROM is rooted, and there are both rooted and unrooted options for the Odexed ROM (unrooted will be ready for download soon). After flashing through a custom recovery, flash the WiFi fix and KNOX remover. One thing of note is that installing the WiFi fix currently breaks screen rotation, but this is currently being worked on.
If you were holding off on the 4.3 update for your Sprint SGS3 because of KNOX, make your way over to the original thread to get started with this KNOX-free near-stock build.
[Many thanks to Senior Moderator kennyglass123 for the tip!]
November 23, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
While the Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T variants of the Moto X are already receiving the Android 4.4 love, most current generation non-Nexus devices still have many months to go before they are graced with KitKat in official capacity. In fact, the majority of consumer devices, especially those from last generation, haven’t even been updated to Android 4.3.
Thankfully, Samsung is now updating the Sprint and US Cellular variants of the former flagship Galaxy S III to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This news comes only a few days after the AT&T and T-Mobile variants of the SGS3 received their Android 4.3 updates. And for those keeping track, this is also a few days after Samsung pulled the 4.3 update for the international version of the SGS3.
The update for the Sprint variant comes in at version L710VPMK3, whereas the US Cellular variant weighs in at R530UVXUBMJA. While the updates will be gradually rolling out via OTA, not everyone has the patience to wait for their turn. To manually install the updates, head over to the Samsung Simple Upgrade Tool pages for the Sprint and US Cellular variants.
While this isn’t KitKat just quite yet, it’s a step in the right direction. Plus, at least we know that the KitKat update is in the works for at least some variants of the SGS3. Don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comments below.
November 22, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
When Google released Android 4.4 KitKat 23 days ago, we all knew that it would be quite some time before most users would have the chance to play with the OS on their own devices. Sure, the Google Nexus 5 launched with the OS, but what about those with older phones? Thankfully, the update news has been gradually coming through, with most manufacturers giving timetables as to when the the updates will come. Then there’s Motorola, which has gone above and beyond by actually starting the rollouts on certain variants of the Moto X.
Unfortunately, Samsung has yet to officially state when their Galaxy line up will receive the KitKat goods. Moreover, they haven’t even said which devices will receive updates. But now thanks to a leaked internal memo, it looks like the updates are at least in the works. Naturally, the company’s new flagships (the Galaxy S 4 and the Note 3) will receive the updates first. This leaked memo states an anticipated January 2014 date. Next up are the Galaxy S III and Note II, which should receive the goods between March and April.
While the update won’t be here in time for the Holiday season, at least we now know that it’s (probably) coming relatively soon. Are you pleased with Samsung’s update schedule, or are you disappointed that the updates are lagging far behind Good Guy Moto? Let us know in the comments below!
November 20, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
With so much Android 4.4 KitKat news stirring about, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that other versions of the OS do indeed exist. That said, most devices other than the current Nexus lineup and certain Moto X variants haven’t yet received the 4.4 goods in official capacity. Moreover, most end-user devices haven’t even been updated to Android 4.3.
Thankfully, the AT&T and T-Mobile carrier-branded versions of the Galaxy S III are soon to receive the Android 4.3 goods. While it’s not KitKat, at least it’s a step in the right direction. The update for the AT&T Galaxy S III (I737) comes in at version I747UCUEMJB, while the update for the T-Mobile Galaxy S III (T999) comes in at version T999UVUEMJC. So far, a few users in the forums have reported already receiving the OTA on the AT&T device.
Thankfully for AT&T SGS3 owners who haven’t yet received the update, XDA Recognized Developer loserskater has taken the incremental update from his device and mirrored it. Naturally since it’s an incremental update, you need to be on stock 4.1.2 for this to work.
You can learn more about the update for the AT&T device in this post and this thread. To update the AT&T device before you receive the OTA, head over to this post. And if you’ve got the T-Mobile device, more information about updating manually via Kies can be found on T-Mobile’s support site.
November 19, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Samsung has had a relatively good track record as of late for providing (relatively) timely Android firmware updates. Most relatively recent flagship-level Samsung devices have already received official updates to the final version of Jelly Bean (Android 4.3), and this is no small feat considering the level of customization in their TouchWiz UI.
New to the 4.3 party, the the iconic Galaxy Note II LTE N7105 now has an official Android 4.3 update of its own. And for those keeping track, this comes a few weeks after the leaked 4.3 XXUEMJ5 build for the N7100, which has now since been superseded by the XXUEMK4 update. Originally intended for Nordic countries, this new build for the N7105 comes in at version XXUEMK5. While it is available via OTA and Kies, you can also install the update manually.
However, not all is well in Samsung 4.3 land. Namely, the official updates for the international Galaxy S III I9300 and AT&T variant of the Galaxy S 4 I337 are being temporarily suspended. Those who care to rewind a few weeks will remember the official 4.3 build for the S III is the same firmware that was previously leaked almost three weeks ago.
The causes for the update pull on the S III include wake up lag, random freezing, battery drain, Bluetooth audio issues, stuttering music playback, freezes, poor multitasking, and WiFi issues. Basically, what can go wrong, has gone wrong. On the other hand, there is no official word as to why the update was pulled on the AT&T variant of the S 4, but we can only assume that the device is facing similar issues.
If you’re an S III owner who has already installed the update, what have your experiences been like so far? Let us know in the comments below.
November 15, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
As the flood of Android 4.4 KitKat ROMs continues to flow through, more and more devices are seeing the fruits of Google’s latest and greatest version of Android. Most of these devices that are now getting aftermarket 4.4 builds will not see an official KitKat release for quite some time—that is, if they even receive the update at all. That said, most of the devices receiving highly functional ports are high-end (former) flagship-level devices.
One of the relatively high-end devices that has now received a highly functional KitKat build is the International Galaxy S III GT-I9300. Samsung’s former flagship just recently received Android 4.3 in official capacity. And now thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developers XpLoDWilD, Entropy512, and Rebellos, the SGS3 also has a highly functional build of Android 4.4 KitKat-based OmniROM.
Although publicly available, Xplodwild is labeling these builds as test builds. That said, quite a lot seems to be working. Essentially, the only known issues at this time involve video playback and camera functionality. Those functions work, but they’re not quite optimal as of yet. It is also important to note that you must be using the correct recovery for this to work. If you are not using CWM Touch 126.96.36.199 (or newer) or the latest TWRP, you will likely have a metadata error when flashing.
If you want to try out KitKat on your SGS3 I9300 and are willing to put up with a few video playback and camera issues, make your way over to the ROM thread and give this a shot!
November 10, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Ever since Android 4.4 KitKat was released to AOSP, we knew that a deluge of source-built ROMs was incoming. We’ve since seen various devices get the goods—most of which will not receive official updates to KitKat for quite some time, if at all. Now, a build has appeared for the I747 (AT&T) and T999 (T-Mobile) variants of the Samsung Galaxy S III.
The build comes from XDA Senior Member jermaine151. The initial build released two days ago was fairly rough. It lacked sound and thus couldn’t function as a phone. However, dramatic progress has been made in the past two days. Then once the sound was fixed, GPS, camera, LED flash, and almost everything else seemed to work. In fact, the only major problem at the time seems to be external SD card mounting. Now in the latest build that arrived this morning, this has been fixed as well.
If you want a taste of the KitKat goods on your I747 or T999, head over to the ROM thread to get started.
[Thanks to L33HDX for the tip!]
November 4, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Two days ago, we posted about the leaked Android 4.3 (XXUGMJ9) firmware for the International version of the Samsung Galaxy S III (GT-I9300).
At the time, we noted that the leak brought many of the new features previously seen on the latest Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3 official firmwares, as well as what we saw on the leaked build for the Galaxy Note II. This includes cool features such as Galaxy Gear support, a refreshed interface, and more. One thing curiously absent at the time, however, was Samsung’s increasingly ubiquitous KNOX technology.
Now, the previously leaked firmware has gone official, as noted by XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab. Faryaab (courtesy of the folks over at Sammobile) also happened to post the update to our forums, as well as instructions on how to get this installed on your own device. So if you’re one of the few who held off on the leak in anticipation of Samsung’s official build, you have no reason not to jump.
Since this is the same build as the previously leaked (and KNOX-free) XXUGMJ9 firmware, there is no KNOX to be found—to our knowledge, that’s a first for an official Android 4.3 build from Samsung. However, it is unknown at this point whether this will hold true in future versions. And given the previous track record, it’s safe to assume that it will come to the SGS3 at some point. That said, we can hope that the SGS3 will remain KNOX-free in the future.
Make your way over to the official firmware collection thread to get started.
November 2, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
With the KitKat Kraze (sorry, I had to) in full effect, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that other versions of Android do indeed exist—namely Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, a version that some OEMs are seemingly going to skip, in favor of direct updates to Android 4.4. However, this doesn’t stop firmware leaks from appearing, and who are we to complain!
XDA Recognized Developer Faryaab has posted the leak to our forums, courtesy of Sammobile, along with simple instructions on how to get it up and running on your device. The build is intended for the international Galaxy S III (GT-I9300), and it brings many new features that were previously seen in official capacity on the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note 3, as well as the leaked build for the Galaxy Note II. Surprisingly, Knox is not yet implemented in this build. However, it’s highly likely to be included by the time the final build ships.
Make your way over to the leaked firmware thread to get started.
[Many thanks to Faryaab for the heads up!]
October 28, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
Firmware updates and leaks seem to be popping up left and right these days. We recently saw a leaked update to Android 4.3 (XXUEMJ5) for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, corresponding to the XXUEMJ5 update that was officially released to the Galaxy S 4 a week earlier. Now, there is a similar update for the I747 variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III, albeit with a different build display ID.
XDA Recognized Developer designgears shared the leak in our forums in Heimdall-flashable form. As has been seen on recent Samsung firmwares for other devices, this brings SELinux and KNOX to the device.
Then for those who would prefer to only flash the update or the bootloader/modem, XDA Recognized Developer loserskater repacked the update, separating the pieces. He shared a pre-rooted ROM with KNOX disabled as well. These updates, as well as the bootloader/modem repack can be flashed through recovery.
If you have an Galaxy S III I747 (AT&T, Rogers, Bell, Telus variants), head over to the threads below to get in on the action:
[Many thanks to MercilessLTD for the tip!]
One strange behavior in Android that you’ve likely never noticed on Android relates to incoming text messaging sounds. In order to adjust your incoming text message notification volume, you normally need to adjust your notification volume rather than your incoming call volume. However, a text message is more related to your device’s “phone” functionality than, let’s say, an incoming Hangouts notification. Therefore, it makes sense to have your ringer volume adjust your incoming text message sound instead.
The reason for this behavior is that incoming text message sounds are processed through the notification audio stream, rather than going through the ringer audio stream. Thus, changing ringer volume does not affect incoming text messages. Thanks to XDA Senior Member OXINARF, however, this is no longer an issue.
OXINARF’s modification comes in the form of an Xposed module, so naturally, you’ll need to have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework (thread) installed. After that, simply install and activate the module, reboot, and enjoy your slightly more logical volume management. While originally intended for the Samsung Galaxy S III, the developer says that it should work on pretty much any device.
October 26, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that Samsung has seen incredible success with its Galaxy line of Android phones. In fact, the company’s profitability makes up such a large slice of the Android pie, that the Android ecosystem is quickly turning into the Samsung ecosystem. While much of Samsung’s success is due to their heavy marketing presence, the rest is down to the various innovations found in their products and how they cater well towards their users. That said, not everything is perfect for every user with Samsung’s offerings. And to the many who prefer vanilla Android, TouchWiz is a drawback rather than an asset.
Sure, you can wipe your default firmware and install a custom, AOSP-based ROM on your device. In fact, that’s what a good number of us do when installing source-built ROMs such as Paranoid Android, Omni, and PACRom. However, we don’t always want to leave behind the value-added OEM software. Instead, we can get back the look and feel of stock Android, while keeping the default ROM and OEM apps alive.
XDA Senior Member MohammadAG has created a simple modification that allows you to get back the AOSP lock screen on your TouchWiz device. While this mod was originally developed for the Samsung Galaxy Note II, it should also work on the Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III.
Since this is an Xposed module, you will need to have XDA Recognized Developer rovo89‘s Xposed Framework (thread) installed. After that, you simply activate the module, reboot, and enjoy your AOSP lock screen.
Make your way over to the module thread to get started.