Once upon a time, the Galaxy S3 was the epitome of smartphone tech. It had masterful specs, a brilliant screen, and features up the wazoo. Though 2012 seems like just yesterday, time has not been kind to the pebble-shaped product. Samsung has sullied the S3’s place in the annals of Android history with a surprising amount of update chaos. The standard Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) model was not to be given a KitKat update, and even the LTE variant would wait for ages to receive it. The culprit? Samsung blamed things on the hardware: the 3G models had 1GB of RAM (with LTE models having 2GB). Given that Android 4.4’s less-taxing requirements supported even 512MB, it was clearly an issue of sheer laziness, or else problems originating from TouchWiz’s bloat.
Regardless of whatever official Android version your S3 is currently running on, one thing is decidedly clear: it will absolutely not be receiving Android 5.0 Lollipop. Officially that is.
But, there is hope for all those willing to do a little leg-work: thanks to the brilliant minds at XDA Developers, Android 5 AOSP is coming to the GT-I9300! User arter97 (Park Ju Hyung) has created a working build of the major OS revision. Note that AOSP is based on the original Android source code and thus does not contain Samsung’s TouchWiz skin overlay.
Installing this will require root status, and a great deal of familiarity with flashing ROMs. Additionally, as this is an Alpha release, many features are currently not working, including the camera, sensors, internal and external storage, WiFi, GPS, and even screen-off functionality. Granted this sounds like a lot of “not yets” but with patience (and arter97’s dedication) hopefully everything will be running smoothly in a matter of weeks. And at the end of the day, something is always better than nothing.