Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update details: Samsung engineers upgraded RAM for a reason

June 28, 2012
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    From the moment Google confirmed during the first Google I/O keynote that Jelly Bean is the codename for Android 4.1 rather than Android 5.0 – as various rumors suggested ahead of the event – we started wondering what Android devices will get the new Android version.

    Since Jelly Bean can be perceived as an incremental upgrade, meant to improve the overall user experience while adding some interesting perks, it would be logical to assume that all Android smartphones and tablets that run Ice Cream Sandwich – or that will get it eventually – will also be able to run Jelly Bean. However, Google did not shed any light on that matter during the event, nor did its partners.

    But should Android users that hold an ICS device – or one that’s going to get ICS soon – be worried that their current hardware will not be suitable for Jelly Bean? The Verge has a new report on the Galaxy S3 upgradeability status, and a potential explanation for that RAM increase to 2GB on certain devices. The publication notes:

    We’re told that Samsung was intent on designing the phone to be “future-proof” — it didn’t want to be left flat-footed in the wake of a new Android version announcement spaced just days apart from the Galaxy S III’s US launches, presumably. The problem was that company’s engineers weren’t “100 percent sure” of Jelly Bean’s final hardware requirements, so they upped the internal RAM to 2GB to hedge their bets.

    We don’t have official word from Samsung concerning the future Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update, and we expect all Galaxy S3 versions out there, whether they have 1GB or 2GB of RAM to get the update in the future.

    But I don’t know what’s more disturbing about this report, the fact that engineers decided to upgrade the RAM on only some Galaxy S3 models to make sure those models will get Jelly Bean, or the fact they were not sure what Jelly Bean’s hardware requirements are. For a flagship device like the Samsung Galaxy S3, launched around the same time Jelly Bean is announced, upgradeability to future Android versions should be a certainty. Imagine what would have happened in case the Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean would have been available only to certain versions, say the ones that have more RAM!

    Of course, that doesn’t appear to be the case, especially since Google announced that Jelly Bean will be rolled out to three “old” devices in July, including the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom. Neither device comes with 2GB of RAM on board – in fact the Nexus S only has 512MB of RAM. That also means that, at least in theory, more high-end Android devices launched in late 2010 and in 2011 should be bumped up to Jelly Bean in the following months, especially if they have already received their ICS taste.

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    Comments

    • AJC1973

      So you guys didn’t get the fact they bumped the ram on the state’s versions because of the need to use a dual core instead of a quad core because of lte… not because jelly bean was coming..

      • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

        The amount of RAM has absolutely nothing to do with the number of cores. If anything, it was done to pad the spec sheet.

        • James

          Actually the announcement was made that there was the bump in ram to offset the performance hit waged by using a dual core processor for LTE compatibility. A quick search shows plenty of sources.

          • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

            Can you provide a source that shows how additional RAM impacts processor performance? Or a source that shows the difference in performance between a dual core and quad core processor (at the same speed, of the same architecture) in an Android application? I’m not saying it’s not true, but I’ve never seen evidence to support that claim.

            • pleguy

              The more cores, the more the device can do at any one point in time. Dropping from quad to dual means less speed on the cpu side of things but with mor ram comes more speed. Not the dame kind of speed but it will counteract the crappy processor.

            • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

              You’re partially correct- more cores means the processor can perform more simultaneous functions. Less cores does not mean less speed, unless a program is designed to use more than two cores. It’s just like your desktop- a computer with two cores will run a program designed to use two cores at exactly the same speed as a computer with four cores, assuming the cores in each processor are otherwise equal. The quad core will have a speed advantage in programs specifically designed to take advantage of it, but that’s fairly rare among Android apps.

              More RAM means more information can be kept in memory that’s quicker to access, which does help with speed, but that has nothing to do with the processor. It only affects the amount of data that can be acted on at higher speeds. That gives the appearance of faster performance because more actions are able to be processed at the best speed, but not simultaneously.

              And for the record, I’ve had a Verizon S3 since last Friday, and “crappy” is the last word I’d use to describe the processor. It may be a few milliseconds behind the international version in terms of performance but it’s still VERY quick. You won’t find an Android phone in the US that’s noticeable faster.

    • Zabalba

      They upped the ram on the US variants to compensate for the lack of ram for the gpu. They didn’t want a HOX on their hands.

    • Sam

      My Sprint S3 is showing 1.62GB. I got one of the early ones.

      • http://twitter.com/M_W_B_ Mike Burtnick

        That is how much you have available… the rest is being used by the phone. If you had 1GB of ram you would be showing less than 1GB.

        • anoms3

          n/m yea that makes sense

        • Marshall Miller

          The ram Boost App shows the overall total to be 1.6, including ram being used.

          • Megatron36

            That’s because they’re not showing you the memory being used for video ram.

    • Pessimist ;)

      Oh crap, just ordered my euro-version sgs3 and now uncertain of 4.1 upgrade..

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t nexuses vanilla ICS, whereas sgs’s have the heavy touchwiz on top..Sammy will announce upgrade to certain models only, and sgs3 will get it end of q4 earliest..

    • sn0wbaLL

      Stupidest thing I’ve heard all year… More ram for jb. ‘we haven’t heard from Samsung or Google regarding this matter but hey what the he’ll, we gotta write something. 2gb of ram for the us versions is to compensate for less cores. Said it yourself that even the nexus s with its 512mb of ram will get jb

    • http://profiles.google.com/adoool92 Adel ,,,

      isnt it the 2gb ram found in certain galaxy s3 are the once sold in korea “different varient” from the international sgs3?? ive read somewhere else that samsung said the update is coming in Q4 2012.. if galaxy nexus could run the JB any high end android on the same bar can run it as well..

    • Alexis Love

      f*** this sh*t, what about the rest of the s3 with 1gb ram? those international s3 shud be disposed of once jb comes out since they’re nor future-proof?

      • fuck you

        Not future proof?? Dude it’s still got one gb of ram…stop talking and embarrassing yourself.

    • Sentis

      If RAM was an issue, how come the Galaxy Nexus or the HTC One X (both have 1-GB RAM) getting the update? Furthermore, how come CyanogenMod successfully ran the jelly bean ROM on the S3? The Verge is a rag!

    • bob

      F**k …S3 is sh*t RAM is 779MB not 2GB

    • S3 user

      Galaxy s3 runs on 1280×720 px resolution(hd) … It eats more ram than phones running on smaller resolution… Galaxy s3 int version is lagy, and jb will not give us more ram, and there is no indication for much superior ram managment in jb, galaxy s3 int will still be worst phone for the money… 2gb versions are much better than international 1gb, I have almost nothing running, and have crazy ram issue… I feel like my money were stolen by samsung. I’m not received the product that i thought i’ll get…

    • natelie

      A little off topic but i am not able to screen shot since the upgrade is this a known problem and can it be fixed?

    • http://www.onchannel.net/ marcus

      this should really make sense… i watched an interesting video on http://onchannel.net about the latest s3 software rumors.

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