Samsung Galaxy S III (AT&T)
AT&T today began notifying Samsung Galaxy S III owners that the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update is available for download over the air. It had previously only been available via Samsung's Kies desktop software. Wi-Fi is required to download the system update.
Samsung today provided information about a software update for the Galaxy S III. The Premium Suite is an add-on that includes a handful of new features such as a split-screen mode similar to the one on the Galaxy Note II. This will let the GSIII operate two different apps at the same time, each appearing in its own window on the display. Other features of the Premium Suite include better control over browser font size, contextual awareness (opens music app when headphones are plugged in, etc.), and easier photo sharing via NFC. The Premium Suite is being rolled out to devices in other markets around the world first. U.S. carriers have not indicated when they might make the update available to their own customers.
AT&T today announced that the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update is now available to the Samsung Galaxy S III. Due to the size of the system update, it must be downloaded and installed via Samsung's Kies desktop software. The update adds Google Now, the ability to block calls/messages, and a resizable Pop-Up Play picture-in-picture window. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean also makes improvements to the camera, notifications, and other many other aspects of the Galaxy S III. Instructions on how to install the update are available via Samsung's web site.
Apple has filed a request with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in an attempt to add six more Samsung devices to an existing lawsuit against the Korean company. The new devices are the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Rugby Pro, and Galaxy III Mini, as well as the Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Apple alleges that these newer devices infringe on many of the same patents it accused Samsung of violating in a lawsuit it filed in February of this year. Apple said that if it isn't allowed to add these device to the existing case, it will be required to file an entirely new lawsuit. This is a separate case from the one that delivered a guilty verdict against Samsung in August of this year.
Alaska Communications has launched LTE 4G service in a handful of markets in Alaska. The markets covered include Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. At this point, Alaska Communications has not yet revealed what other markets might see LTE coverage. It offers a handful of LTE-capable devices, including the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note, and a 4G LTE router for in-home use. Alaska's Optimal LTE plans for a single line, which include unlimited minutes to Alaska numbers, 5GB of data, unlimited messaging, and unlimited mobile hotspot, start at $109.99 per month.
Samsung today announced that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will be made available to all U.S. variants of the Galaxy S III in the coming months. The update will be provided both over-the-air and via Samsung's Kies desktop software. Timing for the update, however, will be up to Samsung's individual carrier partners. The GS3 is sold by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. So far, none has said exactly when Jelly Bean will become available. Samsung said that the Android 4.1 update will make improvements to the camera, add an Easy Mode for first-time smartphone owners, add the Swype keyboard, and make it easier to block calls/numbers. These new features are in addition to those that come with the Jelly Bean operating system, which include Google Now, improved notifications, adjustbale widgets, and others.
AT&T is preparing to kick off the availability of its improved push-to-talk service in November, according to company web sites. Previously, AT&T only said it would launch the new service by the end of 2012. AT&T spokesperson Mari Melguizo said in an email to Fierce Wireless, "Using AT&T's IP data network as the backbone for the solution we're trialing will provide faster connection times and better quality of service. Kodiak's InstaPoC technology is an advanced PTT service that achieves sub-second call setup times without requiring customization on radio access networks (RANs) or underlying cellular networks." When it launches, AT&T's improved PTT service will support a handful of smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Samsung and AT&T today announced that owners of devices such as the Galaxy S III will be able to charge purchases in Samsung's Media Hub directly to their AT&T account. Direct carrier billing will first be supported in the GS3, Captivate, and Galaxy Exhilarate. It will be added to the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II upon updating to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. AT&T customers will be able to buy or rent movies, television seasons, and individual television episodes, and the charges will appear on their next wireless bill. Samsung says Media Hub purchases can also be shared across five Media Hub-enabled devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Smart TVs.
Samsung today provided an explanation of sorts for recent system updates sent to U.S. versions of the Galaxy S III. Both the Sprint and AT&T variants of the GS3 have been updated in recent days with a patch that removes the Universal Search function -- a feature for which Apple has an existing patent. "Samsung has updated the software for the Galaxy S III as a precautionary measure to ensure that U.S. consumers may enjoy using our innovative products without interruption," said Samsung in a statement provided to Phone Scoop. Further, Samsung said that this statement does not yet apply to the T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless versions of the GS3. Those two variants have not received updates removing the Universal Search function, and it's not clear if or when they will.
AT&T today announced that the garnet red version of the Galaxy S III will be available for preorder online starting July 15, and will be available for sale in AT&T retail stores starting July 29. It costs $199 and $249 for the 16GB and 32GB variants, respectively.
AT&T announced that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be available at its company-owned stores starting Friday, July 6. It will cost $199 for the 16GB version and $249 for the 32GB version. Some AT&T pre-orders of the GSIII have already been delivered.
Samsung has partnered with Media Mushroom to offer a content-porting app called Easy Phone Sync. The tool allows PC or Mac users of iOS devices such as the iPhone or iPad to easily transfer iTunes content to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. In order for transfers to work, users must install the app on their computer as well as the Galaxy smartphone. The transfers require a USB cable. In addition to music and movies, Easy Phone Sync will transfer contact data, messages, and photos. Both the mobile and desktop clients are available for free.
AT&T today issued a statement concerning the availability of the Galaxy S III. According to AT&T, customers who were originally given a delivery date of June 21 should now expect their device to arrive by June 25. Some customers may still receive their device before then. AT&T will notify its customers via SMS and email alerting them to the change in availability. Customers who place new pre-orders for the Galaxy S III can expect delivery within about 10 business days, depending on availability of the phone. AT&T blames the delay on manufacturer supply constraints. AT&T didn't say when it expects to fully launch the Galaxy S III. Sprint also delayed the launch of the Galaxy S III due to supply constraints. T-Mobile has a limited supply of the phone available starting today.
Samsung today announced that it will sell the SAFE Galaxy S III, a business-ready version of the Galaxy S III Android smartphone, via AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. SAFE stands for "Samsung Approved for Enterprise." The SAFE Galaxy S III includes business-friendly features such as IT policy support, AES-256 bit encryption, expanded business features of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and support for virtual private networks and mobile device management tools. In addition to the SAFE-branded Galaxy S III, Samsung is also offering potential business customers a trade-up program called SAFE2SWITCH, which provides "competitive pricing" for devices that are traded in and/or recycled when purchasing a SAFE Galaxy S III. The SAFE-branded Galaxy S III will be available from the above U.S. carriers by July. Samsung didn't say if pricing for the SAFE Galaxy S III would differ from the retail version being sold to consumers. Samsung already offers a SAFE variant of the Galaxy Note.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh earlier this week squashed Apple's move to prevent Samsung from launching the Galaxy S III in the U.S. on time. Apple had requested an emergency court order to block the S III based on patent complaints. The judge said Apple's request would put too much pressure on her court's calendar. Koh is overseeing the Apple-versus-Samsung trial that is set to get under way next month.
Samsung today announced the availability of TecTiles, small, programmable near-field communication stickers that can be used to activate certain actions on NFC-equipped smartphones. Using a separate Android application, the tags can be programmed to change device settings, such as join a Wi-Fi network or set the phone to silent; to initiate communications, such as a text message or a phone call; as well as to interact with social networking sites, such as to set Facebook status updates or send a message to Twitter. Users hold the phone against the tag, and it registers with a quick vibration, letting the user know that the phone read the tag. The TecTile tags can be programmed multiple times. The TecTiles work with a number of Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S III on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon; the Galaxy S II on T-Mobile; Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, Sprint and global; the Nexus S 4G on Sprint; and the Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile. The TecTiles are sold in packs of five for $14.99, and can be purchased at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless retail stores. The TecTile Android application is available for download from the Google Play Store.
Apple has filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission to prevent Samsung's Galaxy S III from entering the country. Apple believes the device violates its intellectual property. Samsung vowed to fight Apple's newest salvo in the smartphone patent wars and said in a statement that it will "demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive." Apple wants to block the device before it goes on sale, but Samsung believes the device will launch on schedule. It can already be pre-ordered from several U.S. carriers and is expected to reach store shelves in the coming weeks.
Samsung today announced that the Galaxy S III will become available from five major U.S. carriers starting later this month. It will be sold by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. All five versions will feature the same design and use the same name. Additionally, the versions to be sold it the U.S. skip the quad-core Exynos chip and will instead use Qualcomm's dual-core 1.5 GHz S4 Snapdragon processor. Samsung said that pricing will start at $199, though each carrier will set its own pricing. Exact availability will be announced in the coming weeks by the individual carriers.