Samsung says Jelly Bean update for Galaxy S III in October

One of the top-selling Android(s goog) phones is about to get even hotter: Samsung confirmed at a Tuesday event in Europe that it will begin releasing Android 4.1 software for the Galaxy S III smartphone in October. The update, known as Jelly Bean, should add more functionality while improving the overall performance of Samsung’s flagship phone, which launched with Android 4.0 in June. ZDNet was in attendance at the Everywhere Everything event and reported Samsung’s statement.

Given Samsung’s history of Android updates, this one is relatively quick. Depending on location, some owners of the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II were left waiting months upon months for Samsung and its carrier partners to push out updates to prior versions of Android. But this time, Samsung appears to moving quicker. The biggest challenge for the update — at least, from Samsung’s point of view — is to make sure its TouchWiz user interface works properly with the new software.

Google Now search in Android 4.1While the software update is slated to be released in October, Samsung hasn’t given specific details on what regions or Galaxy S III variants will see the update first. My suspicion would be the international, unlocked GSM/HSPA+ model sold in Europe and other regions outside the U.S. Here, we’ll have to wait for carriers to test the software update on their networks and with any carrier-branded software they’ve added. That means a Galaxy S III bought from a carrier may not even see the update until year-end.

That’s likely not a huge issue for Galaxy S III owners as the phone is well designed and a high performer. Last month, it was good enough to oust Apple’s iPhone(s AAPL) from the top sales spot at three U.S. carriers, although many consumers are likely holding off on an iPhone purchase until the next model arrives; likely tomorrow.

But once Android 4.1 does land on the Galaxy S III, the super smartphone will be supplemented with new features such as the proactive assistant software known as Google Now. And the already-fast phone will see performance improvements thanks to Google’s “Project Butter,” making the overall device more responsive and quick.