Just a few days after Samsung launched their long awaited smartphone, the Galaxy S III, they’ve gone ahead and released the source for the Android 4.0 OS being used on the device. The phone comes pre-installed with ICS but it’s not one of the first smartphones to have it. However, the fact that developers can download the source code and modify it to their liking is an interesting thing. Samsung has recently been known to get closer to the developer community. Sometime last year, Samsung decided to gift the CyanogenMod team some four Galaxy S II phones without any charge. CyanogenMod is a popular Android ROM developing team that makes customized ROMs for phones and tablets. They are particularly popular because they are able to deliver latest Android updates to phones that don’t have official updates available to them, by their manufacturers.

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The source code will make it easy for ROM developers

Samsung later also showed more interest in the mod customising development by hiring Steve Kondik, who headed the CyanogenMod team. CyanogenMod is responsible for bringing a whole bunch of additional features and performance hacks to the smartphones. With the source of the Galaxy S III being out, ROM developers such as CyanogenMod should find it easier to make custom ROMs for the device. Most manufacturers are usually very strict with their devices, not letting them make changes to them by rooting it and upgrading firmwares. With the source being made public, Samsung is sending out a different signal to the development community. The source being made public of course is the kernel and the core of the phone, not necessarily all of the additional features such as S-Voice, the voice companion utility that’s designed to take on Siri for the Apple iPhone 4S.

HTC is one of the few other mobile manufacturers who've encouraged users to unlock their phones. They’ve too released bootloader unlockers that will allow users to unlock their bootloaders on some of their phones. HTC announced that phones released after September 2011 could be unlocked using this tool.  However, HTC like other manufacturers are a little cautious making it clear that the phone warranty will be void if users unlock it. 

Samsung launched the Galaxy S III, in India day before yesterday. The successor to the very popular Galaxy S II ups the ante, not only for Samsung, but for Android smartphones as well. If one has missed out or just wants a quick look, here are the highlighted specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S III:

  • Android 4.0 with TouchWiz
  • 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4212 processor
  • 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280 x 720
  • 8MP camera with AF, LED flash, BSI sensor and 1080p HD video recording
  • 1.9MP front camera with a resolution of 720p for video chat
  • 16/32/64GB Internal memory, expandable upto 64GB
  • 1GB RAM
  • NFC, Wi-Fi, DLNA, GLONASS, micro-USB 2.0, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2100 mAh battery

One of the main features of the S III is the Siri-esque voice recognition system, called S Voice. It also features Smart Stay, a technique that uses the front facing camera to track your eye movement, so it keeps the screen on as long as you're looking at it. Pretty cool. Social Tag uses face recognition that scans the faces in your gallery and maps them to your friends on Facebook or other social media sites. S Beam lets you bond and share data instantly between two S III devices using a combination of NFC and Wi-Fi Direct. AllShare Play uses DLNA to share your photos and videos on compatible TVs. Coming to the camera, it’s an 8MP shooter in the rear with a BSI sensor and a 1.9MP front facing camera. The camera also features new modes, like Burst Mode and Best Buddy mode. The S III will have TouchWiz running on top of ICS, so extra multimedia features, like DivX playback is possible out-of-the-box.

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