Samsung today finally announced its plans to upgrade U.S. Galaxy S III devices to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Owners of Samsung's most popular device have been hanging for weeks on rumors about the upgrade, which Samsung officials said was "coming soon."
Samsung stated today that the update will be available over the air and as a download via Kies, the company's synching and software update platform. Unfortunately, a specific date has not been announced, as each individual U.S. wireless carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular) will have to announce a date and method of upgrade. Carriers often have to vet upgrades to ensure that their data networks, data controls, and software still work on the platform.
Of course, the delay in updating the Galaxy S III was due to Samsung preparing all of its proprietary software for the upgrade. The Jelly Bean update will also come with an update for Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and apps. The camera app now offers camcorder filters, pause/resume recording, and a low-light photo mode. Also, the ESPN ScoreCenter app now integrates with Samsung Smart TVs, allowing users to push sports coverage to their TV through the smartphone app.
Of course, Galaxy S III owners who want a more pure Android experience (and more timely updates) can easily root their smartphone and install one of the many mods available for the device. As an example, I've been using a stable version of CyanogenMod on the Galaxy S III and enjoying Jelly Bean for nearly two months.