android 4.3 galaxy s4 firmware

In case you didn’t know, an Android 4.3 Jelly Bean ROM leaked this week and the most intriguing part of it was that it wasn’t for a Nexus device. The ROM was for the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, and was subsequently ported over to the standard GT-I9505 Galaxy S4 (after all they do share the exact same hardware).

While some of us questioned the legitimacy of this leak due to the lack of user-facing changes, a few games of “Spot the difference” brought us to the conclusion that this was indeed an Android 4.3 build, at the very least an early one.

First thing’s first, this is still Jelly Bean so for those of you hoping to get your Key Lime Pie on, you’ll have to wait. Secondly, there are very little user-facing changes in this build, however, since we don’t know how close this is to a final build, we could very well see some changes in the official Android 4.3 build when it comes out.

The Camera

Technically this camera came with the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One, but since it hasn’t flown over to the Nexus devices yet (unless you’ve downloaded the APK of course), we’ll include it here.


Sadly, there aren’t many changes in the UI, with the big change being the settings bar, which has gone from a full circle design to a semi circle. Unfortunately the camera app still lacks some of the functionality found in overlays like Sense and TouchWiz. However, you can now use the volume button as a shutter, meaning Nexus devices now (sort of) have a hardware camera button.

Always on Wi-Fi

Buried in the Advanced Wi-Fi settings list is a peculiar setting which states “Scanning always available”. What this basically means is that your Wi-Fi will always be on, allowing apps to get a coarse position. This feature was talked about at this year’s Google I/O.

Always on Wi-Fi could end up saving you battery rather than killing it, as it beats turning on the GPS chip.

While many would consider this a battery eater, it’s much better than the other method of getting positioning which is to turn on the GPS chip, which is a much bigger battery eater and could therefore actually save you battery. If you’re still not convinced, you can easily switch it off — if you so please.

Bluetooth Low Energy

This feature has been rumored for awhile now, and it looks as if it’s official as the feature is listed in the System Info app under the title “android.hardware.bluetooth_le” as found by Android Central.

Bluetooth Low Energy is exactly what it sounds like, a form of Bluetooth which uses considerably less power and could help users maintain their battery life when using accessories like heart rate monitors.

Other Changes

There are some new developer settings, some of which already talked about at Google I/O this year, as well as some rebrandings of settings like the “cell broadcast” setting has changed to “mobile broadcasts”.

The new Sun Beam live wallpaper which was first seen on the Google Play Edition HTC One and Galaxy S4 has been renamed and is called Phase Beam like the purple version of the same live wallpaper. If we are really nitpicking, you’ll notice that the time in the notification bar is gone when you’re at the lock screen.

Wrap up

Overall, this build of Android 4.3 doesn’t have many user-facing changes, but without anyway of knowing how close this is to a final build, there could be some other changes we’ve yet to see. But for now it seems as if Android 4.3 Jelly Bean will be a refinement rather than a redesign, not like it’s a bad thing, because more butter is always warranted and accepted with open arms.

When will we see it? Well that’s anyone’s guess, although by the looks of this build, we shouldn’t be in for too long of a wait. Check out a gallery of some of the changes, courtesy of Sam Mobile.

Are you disappointed at the changes in Android 4.3? What else did you hope for?

  • sourabh

    what i dont like
    The camera app.i would love to see more options.

  • Stranger from a far coast

    A good and smart move by Google. Going forward with releasing key lime pie only leads to more disaster and android fragmentation.

    • emanuele_zanetti

      rumors say that KLP will be compatible with every Android device, so, why are you saing releasing only KLP will lead to more fragmentation?

      • tech4life

        Well there is also the factor of the carriers making KLP available for their devices.

        • emanuele_zanetti

          well, that’s a big problem. let’s see what they will do, I hope they will upgrade a large part of those 2/3-years-old devices that still have Gingerbread.

          • mobilemann

            i wish i had your faith!

          • John Cunningham

            Keep wishing, Verizon still hasn’t upgraded 70% of phones to 4.1 good luck with that.

  • Rockwell mellow

    Doesn’t It have a lot of improved graphics performance?

    • emanuele_zanetti

      I think improvements in the graphic compartment will come with the K release, this is just a minor upgrade. maybe they fixed someting, who knows, but the big news will come this fall.

    • joser116

      I’m pretty sure it has at least some kind of improvement. I can’t wait for the official press release from Google.

  • Robert Schuh

    Is it just me or should it be “airplane mode” instead of “aeroplane mode”? :D

    • naz

      Nothing wrong with it. It’s British english. Same goes to optimization instead of optimisation.

      • Robert Schuh

        didnt know that, thanks ;)

      • brararsh

        Organization and Organisation as well.

        • bob

          Europe and Yurp

  • CRiTiCaL_FLuX

    I guess there might be enough changes under the hood to warrant it being called 4.3 rather than 4.2.3. I’m much more interested in Key Lime Pie, whenever that may come out.

  • fahadayaz

    Don’t forget the Roboto and Roboto Slim refinements!

    Hope it’s okay posting a link to another site:

    • Stranger from a far coast

      Nice share brah.

  • Oliver

    Something that I’ve thought would be cool for a long time is always on voice commands for the lockscreen. Obviously always on voice command would drain battery life, but on a lockscreen, where users don’t spend very much time and hence don’t waste much battery life, it could be extremely helpful. A simple “Google” and you have the same functionality as Google Now. I’m not sure how Google would implement this if the person had a password (perhaps the same way as when you click open an app from a widget on a lockscreen), but I think this feature would be really cool.

    I’d also really like to see Google Now have control over settings as well, like turning WiFi on and off, changing volume, etc.

    The third thing I would love to see is a customisable quick access settings. I use the quick access settings (the two finger swipe down from the notification bar) all the time on my Nexus 4, but there’s a couple of functions that I would also like in there. And if holding down a quick access setting brought up a menu similar to the Camera UI in Android 4.2 for some quick toggling, that too would be awesome. I know there are apps on Google Play that mimic this functionality, but I’d like to see something from Google.

    Finally, the only other feature I’d currently love to see on my phone is built in multi-window support as found in recent handsets by Samsung and LG.

    • Ivan Myring

      I think they said snapdragon 800 phones would have always on voice commands/there would be an app

  • Wojciech Skrok

    What about Hangouts with SMS?

    • Matt Veltkamp

      Yes please

    • Adam Koueider

      That’s an actual app, so it wouldn’t need a new version of Android to provide that feature, but I’d love it if hangouts could support SMS.

      • Jaun Lombard

        I downloaded Hangouts but it doesn’t sync well with my phone. Twitter can locate a contact on my phone if I have that persons number, but hangout is based on gmail accounts, but my phone synced all my friends facebook’s gmail accounts to my phone, but hangout cant sync with them…thus I dont want to sit for hours and add people manually…how can I solve it if you should know plz?

        • Wojciech Skrok

          U want to sync contacts from FB with Ur contacts on People app? Cause I dont understand the point. But in Hangouts U will have separate contacts (people icons) from G+ and from GContacts

          • Jaun Lombard

            But why doesn’t G+ want to sync with my phones contacts? Doesn’t it have that option plus I got tons of Gmail accounts on my phone but GContacts doens’t sync them

          • Wojciech Skrok

            There is an options in G+ app (sync G+ contacts with Google contacts) but now I think that there is a bug in Hangouts, so it separate G+ from Gcontacts


    1. Restart option with long power key press.
    2. In cam zoom using volume keys
    3. More user friendly shortcuts in the notification panel settings like Data switch.

    • nigardly

      iirc the volume buttons will be used to take a picture in the new camera app.

  • donkey

    I’m disappointed. It has been months since any real update. Come on Google if people wanted a non fragmented product they would buy a iphone

  • rolando

    The truth is: Android 4.3 is just a collection of bugfixes with few improvements. It will also be the final update for most phones.
    Android 5 KLP will be totally different. The google services already make it possible for google to update every android device out there without touching the damn version number. And I believe this will be the future. Updates are going to be delivered silently and no carrier or hardware manufactor can stop it. What they’re doing with their apps, launchers is their thing then. If they don’t see many updates people just won’t use ’em.

  • Nick Schiwy

    I’m thrilled and anxious for Bluetooth LE and anything else is just a bonus haha

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    I don’t think this is very exciting. Unless KLp is very close to this. Also I wouldn’t be too disappointed, as Samsung would put their own cool features with 4.3

  • kieran bond

    Any updated is an update at the end of the day, just wait until key lime pie or get them update if you have a nexus, alternatively just install a custom rom like me, they oftentimes have many interesting innovative features, not to meantion saving space by removing bloatware etc

  • joser116

    You forgot to mention significantly reduced RAM usage in this one.

  • Ben Edwards

    4.3 also appears to have IR support. Tested it on my S4 last night and the WatchON app still worked fine.

    • That might have been built in because it was a build for the S4. Hopefully it’s universal though.

  • Hoggles

    @Adam…. The option has always been there to use the volume rocker as the shutter, record, zoom. Look in the settings of the stock TW ROM and you’ll see it.

    • Adam Koueider

      It’s been in touchwiz but not in stock Android, this would be the first time Nexus devices have been able to use the volume button as a shutter in the stock camera,

  • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

    Android needs a refresh, there’s still inconsistency, lagginess and it’s been a long time since ICS was launched (the only major release, Jelly Beans are small improvement, but nothing to write home).

    Google’s number 1 priority should be reaching iOS/WP8-like smoothness and their second should be giving all apps a consistent design.

    • E. Tasche

      The issues with smoothness come from the OEMs and the quality of the kernel and drivers they produce.

      That said, Google could still lighten up Android a bit – tad heavy for my tastes.

      • Greg Cardall

        Isn’t a larger reason due to the Android OS floating on top of a Java layer? If Google would re-write the OS to be 100% pure from scratch without this software layer (like Windows phones and iPhones work), I think this smoothness issue wouldn’t even be a topic. As it is, I think there’s only so much you can do with software updates to fix the problem, which is why we’re seeing dual, quad and octa-core processors pop up with more and more RAM (masking it).

        Don’t get me wrong – I came from iPhones and will never go back, but this has always been one of my core complaints.

        • E. Tasche

          Well, its not on top of a java layer. The linux kernel is there, then the rest of the operating system, which is Dalvik, which is its own VM, but we’ll just call that Java. I personally despise Java, but the reason they chose it was that each app runs in its own sandbox, and for security reasons, that is desirable. I personally like to see a transition toward ditching Java, which I think could be done as a long but possible transition. Then it’d still have to retain the Dalvik VM for legacy apps (ones that have not been rewritten from scratch to use whatever they moved to). But personally, I’m moving to a flavor of Ubuntu Touch at some point most likely. I don’t like a lot of things Canonical chose to do there (specifically I’m not overly fond of the way they are handling styling/theming – I think it should have one universal system-wide theme instead of one for the OS, and each app has its own as well – then we could theme our apps and OS to match and it’d create a more seemless experience, since they cite that as a goal of theirs), however I still think that a GNU based OS is a much better route.

  • oijokk nsadij

    Sólo Euro €159 !! Galaxy S4–Live in a world of infinite possibilities

    Wow,wow, venta en todo el mundo loco, no sólo de quad core,rápido de quad core de soporte ver películas, jugar juegos, microblogs y otros artículos de entretenimiento, este móvil nos ha traído una gran cantidad de clientes en los últimos dos meses, ?sabes por qué??S4 N9500 MTK6589 Quad core con 5 pulgadas 1280 * 720 de la pantalla 1GB RAM 2GB ROM Android 4.2 Dual SIM móvil , este teléfono móvil obtiene una gran cantidad de buenos comentarios y buenas reputaciones y convertirse en uno de los productos más vendidos. Potente función, operación fácil, rápida respuesta, alta calidad, GPS, todo es tan perfecto. muchos de nuestros colegas han comprado este teléfono. He comprado una hace cuatro meses, navegar por Internet, ver películas, jugar juegos, enviar mensajes de texto, tiene una cámara de 8MP una enorme pantalla de alta definición, este teléfono es impresionante! Me alegro de que me había hecho la elección correcta, nuestras familias y amigos también espero que podamos ayudarles a comprar uno.Hoy te comparto mis colegas y yo, y muchos espa?oles experiencia comercial clientes aquí, y espero que te interesará.

    Entrega rápida y de alta calidad post-venta , si usted compra este móvil, funda de proteccion para el movil es gratis . Gracias por su apoyo a Tienda Perfecta. Le deseamos que tenga una feliz compra!!

  • Djniño Alarin

    SO this means that the S4 will be running ‘PURE GOOGLE LAUNCHER’ rather than TOUCHWIZ Nature UX?

    • The Google Play Edition will, yes, but not the other versions.

  • Simon Belmont

    “Scanning always available” doesn’t mean it’s constantly on and scanning (which WOULD kill your battery). It just means that if location services needs location data, even if Wi-Fi is off, it’ll power it on and quickly scan for access points in the area that match SSID’s in Google’s databased (which is more efficient than GPS), then power it back down.

    What great is it can triangulate these access points for even greater accuracy. It can also help a GPS locate you faster than if it had to do it on its own, thus also saving battery. It’s a win-win feature. Good stuff.

    • I can see myself using that now that you’ve explained it. Thanks for the heads up.

    • toddatkins

      do you have any documentation to back this up or are you just guessing? I couldn’t find any details like this in the documentation.

  • John Cunningham

    I wish Google put a little more effort into Android 4.3, with iOS catching up, Google will need to add more features for iOS users to switch. Don’t get me wrong though, it is a move in the right direction.

  • vinbull

    Can you please like this link guys? We really need it for our school

  • Charlie Girl

    Umm hello everyone seems to have forgotten the S3 no mention whatsoever about it’s update??