News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday October 17, 2012.
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Samsung has made a rather strange announcement today. The company said that it will deliver an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update to the U.S. variants of the Galaxy S III, but would say only that the update will arrive "in the coming months." The announcement is strange because it's stating the obvious. One could reasonably expect that a flagship device used by millions of people in one of the largest smartphone markets in the world would be treated to software released shortly after it went on sale. The statement is also just a repeated declaration of Samsung's promise to deliver Android 4.1 earlier this month.
Specific dates or even a general timeframe were not shared by Samsung, but it did say that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and U.S. Cellular will ultimately decide when to reveal when each individual carrier will reveal the update path for its Galaxy S III model. Samsung, which has already begun delivering Android 4.1 to Galaxy S III's in Asia and Europe, also revealed what American users can expect when the update becomes available to their devices months from now.
Here's a rundown of upcoming Android 4.1 features for the Galaxy S III:
- New live camera and camcorder filters offer a range of new ways to spark your creativity. Warm vintage, cold vintage, black and white, sepia, color highlights (blue, green, red/yellow), and many more are selectable from the main camera screen.
- Pause and resume while recording video allows users to string together multiple captured video clips from a party, birthday or sporting event into a single file with no post editing required.
- Low light photo mode takes advantage of Galaxy S III's best-in-class High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities and offers an optimized mode for low light and indoor photos.
- Pop Up Play Update: Users can now easily resize or pause the Pop Up Play picture-in-picture video window, taking full advantage of the Galaxy S III's powerful processor and large 4.8-inch screen.
- Easy Mode: Easy Mode is a simplified user experience option for first-time smartphone owners, providing large home screen widgets that focus on the device essentials. The Easy widgets include both 4x2 and 4x4 arrangements of favorite contacts, favorite apps, favorite settings, clock and alarm.
- Blocking Mode: Galaxy S III owners can disable incoming calls, notifications, alarms and LED indicators for a designated period of time.
- Improved Usability: Users now have multiple keyboard options with the addition of the Swype keyboard.
- Google Now gives users the right information at the right time, like how much traffic to expect before leaving work, when the next train is scheduled to arrive at the subway station or the score of a favorite team's current game - conveniently delivered as notifications.
- Rich Notifications: Notifications can now expand and shrink with a pinch to show the right amount of information a user needs. Notifications have been enhanced so action can be taken without having to launch the app first - like sharing a screenshot directly from the notification.
- Automatic Widget Adjustment: Customizing the home screen is easier than ever before. Users can simply place a new icon or widget on the screen, and existing icons will move out of the way to make space. When widgets are too big, they automatically resize to fit on the screen.
- Samsung and ESPN worked together to integrate AllShare technology into ESPN's popular ScoreCenter application. This means Galaxy S III owners will now be able to wirelessly push on-demand ESPN global sports coverage and highlights from the ESPN ScoreCenter app to their Samsung SMART TV.
- AllShare Cast Wireless Hub: The AllShare Cast Wireless Hub accessory allows users to wirelessly mirror their phone screen to any HDTV or HDMI display.
- NFC One Touch Pairing Support: Galaxy S III can now pair with supporting NFC Bluetooth accessories in a single touch. The Samsung Galaxy HM3300 Bluetooth headset will be the first Samsung portfolio accessory to support this functionality (available in the near future), allowing users to pair their headset by touching it to the back of their device.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.