Jelly Bean comes to the Galaxy S3

South African users of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 have reported receiving the Android 4.1 update, better known as Jelly Bean. By Craig Wilson.

The Samsung Galaxy S3

Jelly Bean, the latest iteration of Google’s Android operating system, has finally begun downloading onto Samsung Galaxy S3 handsets in South Africa. Some users on the Vodacom network have reported that the update is now available for download.

It could not immediately be determined whether users on other mobile networks are also receiving the update.

South African users of the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s flagship smartphone, are being upgraded to version 4.1.1 of Android. News of the updates comes weeks after operators in parts of Asia, Europe and North America began pushing out the update to their customers.

The update, which replaces Android 4.0 (also known as Ice Cream Sandwich), offers new features such as expandable notifications, offline voice dictation, improved voice search, an improved camera application and Google Now personal assistant software.

Unlike Apple, which pushes updates to its iOS operating system directly to end users, Android updates are made available by handset manufacturers to telecommunications operators for testing before they then release the updates to their clients. This, and the fact that manufacturers have to ensure their user interface overlays work correctly, often results in lengthy delays in getting the latest Android versions pushed down to customers.

Android 4.1, for example, was originally released on 9 July, so it’s taken more than five months for the software to arrive on South African Galaxy S3 handsets.

Vodacom chief network officer Johan Engelbrecht says that as each market has different apps and each network operator has its own specifications, new versions of Android must be tested.

He says similar processes are followed for hardware before new handsets are introduced. Vodacom goes as far as testing the performance of every antenna using a dummy head with a hand to its ear. It’s testing of software is equally demanding.

“In the case of a major software release, we get notified by the manufacturer and get a version of the software to test,” he says. “If it’s a minor correction on a software version, we might not do any tests. But when there are significant new features, we do a comprehensive test and only endorse the software once we are satisfied.”

It’s this testing that causes delays, according to Engelbrecht. However, he says it is necessary to ensure customers don’t run into problems. “With Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy S2, there was a huge issue and we had trouble getting assistance from Samsung. Some users had to reinstall the operating system to get their phones to behave properly again.”

A Google spokesman says the company built Android as an open platform for the industry to allow manufacturers to build devices with all sorts of hardware characteristics that differentiate their products, as well as customised software experiences. “Our carrier partners around the world are responsible for the timing of software updates for Android devices,” the spokesman says.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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  • nilaydon

    Galaxy S3

  • Reuby

    I received a notification this morning on the MTN network to update my Galaxy S3 to the latest firmware. However, I was unable to due to poor reception. Now that I wish to do it manually, it keeps giving me an error reading: “Access to the network is available to the users who requested the software download first”. So I enquired with MTN (dialed 1555) about this and their reply shocked me: “Sorry Sir but if this message keeps appears it implies that the network is currently busy OTA downloads and I should either wait my turn or use KIES on my PC. WTF!!!
    Does this mean they allowing over a million users to download one at a time? Unbelievable! Anyway, struggling to get Kies to upgrade. Taking forever. Took one hour to reach 5%.

  • Andre Lai Shong

    Thats great news, thank you, where do I get the update. checked on vodacom website, no link. Im new to smart phones and find the galaxy s3 is a wow phone, fun and usefull at the same time.

  • wazisha

    this update is so behind. android 4.2 has been out for weeks already. it’s better to do it yourself than waiting for the networks.

  • nicopretorius

    What testing must be done? Just curios,if iOS can be pushed directly, why does the networks have to test Android? What is the difference?

  • Shane

    I also got an update failed notice and now get the “Access to the network is available to the users who requested the software download first” message on Vodacom. Very annoying! My wife’s update worked and I must say that 4.1.1 is a nice improvement. Keen to get it loaded, but not sure how far back in the queue I am…

  • Neville

    I am busy downloading the update via Kies on my laptop. No queues as in the OTA option. I have been waiting for this update for ages – can’t wait to see the changes.

  • Mohommed Azher Qasim

    jellybean has finally arrived update via kies

  • Luke Johnstone

    OMG SO AMPED!!!!

  • Taryn De Bruin

    Hi Nico, testing is done to ensure that services such as network connectivity are not compromised. With the release of the previous iOS, many people experienced huge problems with connectivity after upgrading – dropped calls, inability to switch from 3G to 2G , WiFi issues. This shows the value of the pre-test.

  • nicopretorius

    Hi Taryn, thx for the clarification, I really was just curios as to the difference :) My previous phone was an iPhone, and the update was easy and I didn’t experience any issues, I’m now on Android and wanted to know the difference :)

  • David

    Android is very fragmented, and each device producer has there own special little apps they put on there device, apple devices are all the same.

  • Andrew

    Does anyone know when this will be released for the HTC One X

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    So when are we getting android 4.2??? I got jelly bean on the 13th of november on mtn. Now waiting for 4.2, I hope it’ll come in a few weeks.

  • Never_Simone

    Its all the bloatware/crudware each distributor/service provider loads on the phone. They also have to make sure we are not given new powers to circumvent all their little money making plot devices they install. This is why, as soon as I’m confident, this phone is getting rooted and rom’d!

  • Never_Simone

    Makes you wonder, since 4.1.2 roms are running stable on the S3, and in some cases, the ISPs have already rolled it out (UK). So seriously, how different can the set up be, ISP to ISP?

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