Samsung has reportedly finished testing of an internal version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and has now begun work on a public release. If true, owners of Samsung’s latest world-popular and record-breaking smartphone should be in for a treat, as one of Jelly Bean’s main goals was to improve smoothness and response time across the board on Android devices.
However, we’ve heard talk like this before from many manufacturers concerning countless Android devices and we have to say: we’re not holding any breaths here. The Galaxy S II for instance, Samsung’s last flagship device, didn’t see an update to Android 4.0 ICS for a good 6 months after ICS was released.
Six months, by the way, is actually a pretty good score for Samsung, as some of its previous devices have taken over a year to see updates.
Moreover the ICS update for the GS2 is rife with lag problems, questionable UI changes and seems to have made GS2 handsets more prone to random app crashes than ever. This could be because ICS is too different from the original 2.3 Gingerbread OS to see a smooth transition, or it could be indicative of Samsung’s need to rush an update out in a hope to mend the damaged reputation of the Android platform when it comes to device fragmentation.
If the issues on the GS2’s ICS update are because of Samsung focusing on alacrity rather than efficacy then we have fears that the Galaxy S3 may face a similar fate with a hastily pushed-through Jelly Bean 4.1 update.
Despite this there is cause for hope. The entire point of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was that it was to be the beginning of a new era for Android devices. ICS was supposed to be the first of a new breed of Android updates that would all follow stricter guidelines in order to make it easier for manufacturers and carriers to upgrade more swiftly, as all future updates would now all have a more unified structure. If Samsung is indeed almost ready to push out an update to 4.1 Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3 then it could be nothing more than a sign that Google was successful.
That, of course, would be thoroughly exciting news. If indeed Samsung manages to get out a viable and quality update within only a few months of the release of an Android update it could be the beginning of a new era for Android devices. Fragmentation has always been a major concern for Android users, as their devices are often left un-upgraded for over a year, if they ever see an update at all. If Google has managed to solve, or at least address the problem then it should certainly help to improve the reputation of Android in the mobile market.
Whatever the outcome only time will tell. For now we’ll remain cautiously optimistic that Samsung is, in fact, close to a Jelly Bean release and that said release will be an example of further things to come from multiple Android manufacturers. Of course that’s a best-case scenario, but that’s why we’re reserving the status of ‘wide-eyed excitement’ until we know a little more.