Samsung may already be testing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on its latest flagship device, the Galaxy S III along with a couple of other models; and if reports are to be believed, then this could be the one of the fastest update rollouts for an existing Android device. Not only that, Samsung may also be testing Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for the earlier flagship device – the Galaxy S II. However, it’s unsure whether the device will eventually get the update as it is running on older hardware. If that is true, then it’s pretty sad news for existing Galaxy S II users. It’s important to note that the iPhone 3GS is getting iOS 6 as well. Android users have become used to the fragmentation but if Samsung can go out of their way to get the update roll out for the earlier set of devices, then they’re definitely winning brownie points and brand loyalty – something other manufacturers such as LG have failed to do. The Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 could also get the update.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

While Samsung may take their own sweet time in rolling out Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S III, the impatient folks over at XDA Developers are hard at work porting Google’s latest and greatest OS over to other phones, the latest being Samsung’s current flagship handset. Team CyanogenMod have released an early preview of CyanogenMod 10 ROM for Galaxy S III users. You can download it here. Do remember however, that this is just an early build and there are a lot of little bugs and glitches in the ROM. So you might not want to use it as a daily ROM. All the instructions are posted along with the download, and if you’ve rooted or flashed a custom ROM in the past, it’s pretty straight forward. CyanogenMod 10 is currently supported by the international version of the S III as well as the US-based carrier locked ones, which feature Qualcomm’s Krait SoC. So ensure you download the right package for your phone. 

While this early preview is a promising start, we don’t expect a stable version to come out any time soon, not until the team releases a stable CM 9 ROM. Earlier this month, the team posted an update on Google+ that outlines the progress of the build, and the likely release date. In a nutshell, they’ll begin work on CM10, once they are able to release a stable build of CM9. The team has also confirmed that porting ‘Project Butter’ over to other devices shouldn’t be much of an issue. While there might be some breakage in existing libs, there’s nothing that a small hack won’t fix. Also, building a CM10 ROM shouldn’t take as long as CM9, since Jelly Bean is just a tweaked version of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). One of the reasons why it’s taking so long to build a stable CM9 ROM is that they started from scratch with CM9. Since ICS was a major overhaul over Gingerbread, the team decided to rewrite all the enhancements from the ground up. This prolonged the development cycle, but the end result should be worth waiting for. For CM10, they just have to incorporate the new code into CM9, which should be a painless process.  

Samsung is also well aware of the fact that much of their US-based clientele is demanding an unlocked Galaxy S III on certain networks. So the company recently launched a ‘Developers Edition’ which comes with an unlocked bootloader, so that users can easily install custom ROMs, even though they may be locked into Verizon’s network.  

Here are some of the highlights of the S III, once more:

  • 4.8-inch capacity touchscreen display with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution
  • 3G, EDGE/GPRS and Wi-Fi capabilities for Internet access
  • GPS with A-GPS support for Google Maps
  • Bluetooth with A2DP and USB 2.0 (Micro)
  • 8MP camera with LED flash and secondary camera up front
  • FM radio
  • 16 GB internal + microSD card support for upto 32 GB more memory

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