Samsung to push out Android 4.1 to Galaxy S III smartphones in US

Dates to roll out updates will be decided by carriers

Samsung Mobile on Wednesday said it would start rolling out Android 4.1, code-named Jelly Bean, to Galaxy S III smartphones in the U.S.

Galaxy S III smartphones currently run on Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich. The Jelly Bean update will be rolled out over-the-air and also via Samsung's Kies software. Individual carriers offering the Galaxy S III, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular, will separately announce specific roll-out dates.

Google announced Android 4.1 in June, and vendors have just recently started rolling it out to smartphones and tablets.

Galaxy S III smartphones in Europe are already being updated to Jelly Bean. The updated OS offers a new user interface and new multimedia capabilities.

The OS is the first version built for tablets and smartphones. Compared to predecessors, Jelly Bean is faster, navigation is smoother, and an improved keyboard can better predict words being typed out. Other improvements include revamped notification and text and voice search capabilities. A new feature in Android 4.1 called Google Now provides voice search and also information on weather, traffic, navigation and other data in a single interface.

Samsung is also adding its own apps including "custom" integration of AllShare, which will allow wireless sharing of multimedia files between among devices including PCs, tablets and TVs, the company said. The phone maker is also building in technology to connect Bluetooth devices with just one touch.

Google already offers the Nexus 7 tablet with Android 4.1, and Asustek has pushed out the OS to its tablets. Motorola has pushed out Jelly Bean to some of its tablets and said it would update latest smartphones by end of the year. HTC has also said it would update its One smartphones to Jelly Bean in the future.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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