Summary:

Still carrying last year’s Galaxy S 3 but pining for the newer model? A software update may appease your desire: Several of the Galaxy S 4 software features are included in this Android 4.2.2 update for the Galaxy S 3.

Galaxy S 4 featured

When Samsung debuted its Galaxy S 4 in March, the company said that some of the advanced software features would trickle down to last year’s flagship, the Galaxy S 3. It appears Samsung is soon going to make good on its promise: A leaked software update for the Galaxy S 3 shows Android 4.2.2 along with several cues from the handset’s successor.

Android 4.2.2 on the Galaxy S 4Enthusiast site SamMobile got hold of the Galaxy S 3 software update and even has the file available for download if you have a Galaxy S 3 and you’re feeling particularly adventurous. The site suggests that Samsung is still working on the firmware and will likely include the Galaxy S 4 camera interface. That makes sense to me as Samsung representatives told me the company is trying to standardize the UI between its phones and cameras.

Don’t expect the Galaxy S 3 to see the touch-free gestures found on the Galaxy S 4 though: The latter device uses a special digitizer not found on the older phone. Here’s a partial list of the feature updates found by SamMobile, followed by a short video demonstration showing off the Galaxy S 4 bits running on a Galaxy S 3:

  • Android 4.2.2 – Build ID: JDQ39
  • New S4 Lockscreen: Multiple Widgets, two Unlock effects (Ripple and Light), improved ripple effect than Android 4.1.2, ability to change clock size and set a personal message
  • New Screen modes (From S4): Adapt Display and Professional Photo
  • Actionable notifications
  • Completely revamped Settings UI (Tabbed interface – Exactly like the S4)
  • Addition of Voice controls (Let’s you control various parts of the phone using voice commands – Galaxy S4 feature)
  • New S-Voice (from S4)

The software update is expected next month, although that could change based on feature additions and testing by Samsung. What surprises me — in a good way — is that Samsung is doing this at all. Early on, the company wasn’t known for delivering Android updates too quickly. And instead of keeping the best features on the Galaxy S 4, possibly enticing some to upgrade early from a Galaxy S 3, the company is improving the experience on the older model.

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