Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Only Happy Android 4.3 Galaxy S3 User In The Entire Universe

Yesterday I learned that Android 4.3 was available for my Galaxy S3. This is good news; a software update typically comes with a handful of goodies I didn't even know I needed.

Unfortunately, after about 3 seconds of Googling, instead of finding giddy praise for this update, I found post after post like this one:

Shortly after it started rolling out, we reported that users were experiencing a number of big time issues with the software, with one owner claiming that he was dealing with no less than seven issues including:

- Phone restarting itself.

- When phone is locked and asleep, press either home key or lock key and nothing works. Battery must be removed.

- During some incoming calls the screen doesn’t display caller and the ringtone is “spluttery”.

- Alarm works only sometimes.

- Heavy battery drain during a ten minute call. It dropped by 12%.

- Notification bar shows apps that have already been downloaded. Clear them and they reappear again.

D'oh! Looks like Samsung was'd with this launch.

Any sane person would have looked at the above list and decided not to mess with the upgrade. But not me. Oh, no. How could I resist?

So, a few minutes ago I went for it. After a few minutes, my phone booted up. It has yet to start smoking, so that's a good sign.

More importantly, I noticed two new bugfix/features that are really useful to me

(1) Setting SwiftKey as the default keyboard now (appears) to survive reboots. Under the last version of Android, I'd set my keyboard choice, reboot, and be back to the Samsung default keyboard. Not a huge deal, but a hassle none the less. Now I can set SwiftKey and forget it.

(2) When I turn on my bluetooth keyboard and bring up the input method choices, I've now have a new option: to turn off the on-screen keyboard altogether:

Very handy.

So for the moment, there's at least one GS3 users who's happy with Android 4.3. Now, when all of a sudden my phone starts to go haywire, I'll no doubt have to rescind this post.

Update: So far, so good with this release. The Hands Free Mode (formerly Driving Mode) now actually works. That is, it reads out your calls and text messages (before, it didn't do this with any reliability). I've also convinced Shira to upgrade her phone, and now that we both have 4.3 we were able to use the Group Play app. You can share content on multiple devices at one time. Very slick. Not sure how useful it would be, but cool none the less.


  1. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Did you try group play?
    when going to group play i noticed a new interface and an option to share videos as well which wasnt there in the previous version.
    however, with this, there were no games that came pre-installed. went to download Canimals through the Download option, clicked on Free to download accept the options and notifications.
    came up with Error, "this application will not work on your device (8002)"
    not sure why that option is there in the first place to download a game that is no longer compatible.
    also, the i had my phone connected to my car through Bluetooth. Now when i try to play music through Bluetooth, my car stereo goes to "talking". this only happened after i upgraded to 4.3

  2. > Did you try group play?

    Actually, I did. I'm not sure how practical it is, but the quick test I did was pretty dang impressive.

    > went to download Canimals

    Not sure what Canimals is. Games aren't really my thing.

    > also, the i had my phone connected to my car through Bluetooth. Now when i try to play music through Bluetooth, my car stereo goes to "talking". this only happened after i upgraded to 4.3

    That's annoying. The only bluetooth difference I've seen is the improved keyboard handling. Not sure what to make of your issue, but sure does sound annoying.