By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 05, 2013 10:58 AM EDT
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 are all set to get the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean soon, Samsung announced at IFA 2013.
The company's brand new Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy Gear smartwatch may have been the most anticipated announcements, but the current Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone and last year's Galaxy S3 were not left out of the loop.
Samsung's first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, is currently compatible only with the freshly-unveiled Galaxy Note 3 phablet. The company did note, however, that the smartwatch will soon work with the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 as well, as a software update would hit the handsets in the near future.
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is the only version of the platform that supports Bluetooth Smart, and that's what the Galaxy gear needs in order to pair with other Galaxy devices. In other words, for the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 to support the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, they would need to run the very latest version of Android.
Previously referred to as Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth Smart is designed to allow connections between low-energy devices such as smartwatches.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 currently runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, while the Galaxy S3 is still running the older Android 4.1. Previous reports suggested that the Galaxy S3 would skip the Android 4.2 step and jump straight to Android 4.3 and it now seems the update is just weeks away, at least from Samsung's part. Individual carriers will still roll out the update at their own pace, as usual.
The latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean brings several new features, including Restricted Profiles for limiting access for certain users of the device, enhanced notifications access, a new camera app, dial-pad auto-complete, and several other improvements.
While these may seem somewhat minor tweaks, the big changes are under the hood. The most notable improvements here are Open GL ES 3.0 high-quality graphics for games and other apps, as well as the aforementioned Bluetooth Smart. By making Android devices Bluetooth Smart-ready, Android 4.3 allows users to pair their handsets with low-energy gadgets such as smartwatches, heart rate monitors, thermometers, pedometers and others.
If Samsung keeps its word and extends the Galaxy Gear compatibility to the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3, the two smartphones should get the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean soon.
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