Samsung Galaxy S III not switching to Android 4.4 KitKat

If you're rocking an international 3G version of the Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) or the Galaxy S3 mini, we've got some bad news. Samsung has officially declared that both the international Exynos-based Galaxy S3 and its smaller cousin will not be making the jump to Android 4.4 KitKat.

In a statement given to SamMobile, Samsung stated that the memory requirements of either device prohibit them from running KitKat effectively:

In order to facilitate an effective upgrade on the Google platform, various hardware performances such as the memory (RAM, ROM, etc.), multi-tasking capabilities, and display must meet certain technical expectations. The Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions come equipped with 1GB RAM, which does not allow them to effectively support the platform upgrade.

As a result of the Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions' hardware limitation, they cannot effectively support the platform upgrade while continuing to provide the best consumer experience. Samsung has decided not to roll-out the KitKat upgrade to Galaxy S3 and S3 mini 3G versions, and the KitKat upgrade will be available to the Galaxy S3 LTE version as the device's 2GB RAM is enough to support the platform upgrade.

Samsung's statement that 1 GB RAM is insufficient to effectively run KitKat is curious considering that many other devices run the OS on 1GB or less of RAM; Samsung's own Galaxy Ace Style, launched earlier this year runs Android 4.4.2 on just 512MB. However it's worth mentioning that the GS3's RAM has to accommodate not only the barebones OS, but all of Samsung's flagship-level software features too.

As per Samsung's statement, this restriction shouldn't affect the Qualcomm Snapdragon-based U.S. Galaxy S3s, which also carry 2GB of RAM. Sprint's LTE variant of the Galaxy S III made the switch to KitKat earlier this month.

Source: SamMobile


Reader comments

International Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 Mini won't get KitKat update


Crap. I have a GT-i9300.

Oh well. There's always rooting and xda Developers.

Still, can't see why it can't run on the GT-i9300. It's BloatWiz, isn't it?


It's downright puzzling why OEMs can't update their phones well when a group of Android experts are not only able to do so, but do so in much less time as well.

If anyone owns either the S3 Mini or GT-I9300, I strongly recommend installing a KitKat ROM. It's out of warranty anyway.

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The internal Samsung document from which this information is drawn suggests that Samsung are unable to get Touchwiz working properly on KitKat for the I9300 due to RAM limitations, which is annoying as Touchwiz is a pile of crap and Samsung should stop forcing it down their users' throats. Apart from the fact that it's UGLY, it also makes the Android experience slow and laggy. Samsung should provide a Touchwiz-free version of KitKat for the I9300, and while they're at it, strip out all of their crappy, loathsome bloatware. If they did this, they'd have no problem getting KitKat onto the I9300.

Why would they go to all the trouble of getting rid of all their proprietary software when there's already a solution in CM11?

Obviously they won't, and clearly CM is now probably the best option for disgruntled I9300 owners. I'm just making a general point about the annoying nature of the bloated UI and crapware with which Samsung still insist on hobbling their otherwise-decent products.

I'm so done with Samsung/HTC etc. This was the phone to have in 2012 and early 2013 and is now being left behind!
Nexus FTW :)

The GN was more than 18 months old when KitKat was released. Its a different excuse.

Anyway GN is an open source device. And it already has a stable KitKat.

Especially since the drivers for the chipset were from TI and that they refused to update the drivers. Not a Samsung issue, they just put the thing together to meet the specs Google put out. If you want a cheap device, you get cheap parts

So tell us what manufacturer phone from the GS3/One X era received Kit Kat? Samsung is obviously the best if software updates are your priority.

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Seeing that the one x and s3 are in the same boat with some variants not getting the update and some will Htc says the non tegra Htc one x will get KitKat and Samsung saying the non exynos s3's will get KitKat. Then again I swear I have seen most of those people complaining now saying in the past that updates are not that important anyways plus those devices are now 2 generations old.

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How was it the phone to have? I mean, the specs were outdated by the release date ( 2 GB RAM devices popping up everywhere by the end of 2012), not to mention the HTC one completely destroying it in early 2013(then came GS4 to usurp the HTC one). The GS3 was an underpowered phone to begin with,so it came as no surprise that it doesn't receive the kitkat update.

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Yea . . been enjoying kit kat 4.4.2 on my N5 for awhile. Should get 4.4.3 in the next couple of weeks. The beauty of Nexus!!!

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To be honest I stopped using touchwiz since 4.3 came to my S3. Samsung are just making stupid excuses they could of given the international s3 the update and call it the last and just tone down the feature because this was the phone that help them get big. But what do you expect. However most are using custom roms so it not a big issue. But the small majority who don't should I highly recommend it for a phone like the s3 which is still a great device now.

Just another example of Touchwiz bloat causing issues. I've got an i9300 running a custom 4.4.2 ROM (no Touchwiz) and it works like a charm.

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I find that a bit confusing. Wasn't KitKat supposed to use LESS ram than earlier versions? How can Touchwiz fit on 4.3, but not on 4.4? I must be missing something.

Oh well.

I agree before kitkat coming I heard it will use less memory..... Than previous versions

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See this is what I thought as well. But I have noticed now on my Note 3 that is uses more ram!
On 4.3 my ram would usually sit at 2.1 out of 2.3 available.
Now since I have updated it has freed up some available ram up to 2.7
Now I am usually running at 2.3-2.4 out of 2.7 available.

So it seems like it has just freed up more ram to be used! Why wouldn't it have just stayed at 2.1?

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Android likes to use ram. As far as the OS is concerned free ram is wasted ram so if it's got 2.7gb after kit Kat as opposed to 2.3 before it's going to use more ram simply because it can.

So within 24 months Samsung can no longer support its Flagship. Then I can no longer support Samsung... Was gonna get the S5 (loved the blue) but now it looks like either G3 or Maybe Switch to the larger (leaked) iPhone 6. Still have Android love with my Tablet though.

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If you think that LG will support you past 24 months, then you got another thing coming. IPhone? Yuck! But that is my opinion. Had the 3gs, 4 and switched to Android after using 4S. Nevermind the phone itself, it's the iOS that I can't stand. I am a QA engineer and test using iOS and Android. Man do I cringe sometimes when using the iPhone.
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Agree that LG may not update Android 2 years down the road but at least I know that now. Who would have thought the S3 would lose support so quickly. The international model is the biggest seller and they cheaped out on RAM. Wonder what the S5 won't support in 2016? At least Apple are still supporting older devices even if some features are missing. I'm disappointed that it's taken Samsung over 6 months to reveal this news. Poor Play Samsung.

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Well, OEM's clearly state that they will only support a device for UP TO 18 month's. After that, they are not obligated to do anything. The GS3 is right at that point in it's life.

There is a custom ROM out there that has 4.4.2 with the Galaxy S5 UX for the I9300, if that can run on the phone then Samsung could be perfectly capable of updating the phone. They are just lazy and dont want to because its an older device. Its the same reason the S2 didn't go past 4.1 and the Galaxy S didn't get ICS

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You must be new here.

A custom ROM is a modified Android OS that usually comes with more features than their stock counterparts. This includes system-level functions and even overclocking (a custom kernel is required for the latter, however).

Custom ROMs can either be AOSP-based (like CyanogenMod) or based on stock OEM versions (like Insert-Coin ROMS, which are based on HTC Sense.)

Do note that this requires root access and a custom recovery, and if not done properly, may result in a bricked device, which is highly unlikely.

Hope I've cleared everything up, unless you're being sarcastic.

And how can I get notifications if someone reply here or comment on the thread pls guide too Thankyou

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If you post via mobile then you won't get notified of a reply. Only via the full browser experience is that option available

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I imagine they are having a harder time getting their own chipset working 100% with KitKat. It is easier with the Snapdragons as they are faster and they do not have to do all the heavy lifting. Just shows that Qualcomm is the way to go for now.

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Very true. My S2 stopped at the first jellybean update. However, there was little that the phone wouldn't do well. I loved my S2!! I guess my point is ..... You don't have the latest version of android to have a good experience. The S3 has alot of life yet. The S3 is still a very capable phone. I could do most everything that I needed on my S2 that I now do on my Nexus 5 running 4.4.2.

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It's just rubbish excuses showing up their own software limitations. They should just admit that it is Touchwiz, not android that is the issue. The least they could've done is released patches to ensure that 4.3 was lag & bug-free.

People talk about 2 years of updates being reasonable, but that only counts if the updates are timely. Since 4.3 came out around July, it means the S3 I9300 only got around 15 months worth of updates (which came 4 months late).

Horrible move Samsung, just friggin horrible. I know that it is TouchWiz that is the issue and that is just friggin stupid. Do a modified version of TW to get it done. You can start by getting rid of S Voice and I am sure that you will be well on your way to getting kitkat where it needs to be.

The crazy thing is that it's there chip in it and they can't get it to work. I agree they should cut out the repetitive apps like s- voice, s translate and so on to try and make it work. LG is thinking about using there own branded chips in their upcoming devices makes me worried since they can barely keep phones up to date as it is I hope the G3 and note 4 are released worldwide with the same quallcom 805 and not diffrent chips for diffrent region BS cause that's when they run into problems with updates.

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Hence, one of the reasons why Samsung is promoting the SD variants of the S5 and Note 3 instead of the Exynos variants.

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Lol in other words running 4.4 on the s3 with touch wiz is as laggy as hell... Soooo so happy I got rid of mine while it still had good value and purchased the nexus 5 ...touch wiz on top of android is like trying to put a Ferrari engine into a Honda civic

Touchwiz seems to be the main cause...
touchwiz needs > 1GB RAM to run properly.... really..??

S3 being a smash hit model of samsung we shouldn't get this treatment..
Good bye samsung...

What's even more funny is that some folks over on XDA Developers have released KitKat ROMS for the S3, and yes, some include the 'oh-so-bloated' TouchWiz skin.

This tells me one of 3 things. Either Samsung has tried adding more features that makes TouchWiz more bloated, or they're simply too lazy to do some optimization, or that they want to force S3 users to upgrade.

Well, Google developed KitKat on a Nexus 4 with just 512 MB. It took Samsung 6 months after the release of KitKat to realise that the S3 won't run the software with its bloatware...
Thet's bad publicity for Sammy just weeks after the S5 was released. The new "flagship" device has 2 GB, but since the next iteration of Android might be a 64 bit OS, for how long will the S5 support last?

Their strategy is flooding the marketas their touchwiz is flooding the ram
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My S3 is still under contract for 6 months so if this is a move to encourage me to upgrade then they're smack out of luck.
Network/Carrier contracts dictate the majority of upgrade decisions.
It probably has more to do with the Exynos SoC that is in the international variant. The irony being that it's their own subsidiary manufacturer that causes problems. The Qualcomm chips always get faster releases.

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Yes this is the way to go releasing one Variant with one chipset in their flagship world wide would allow for faster updates. I hate when oem's use (tegra, exynos) in one region in a flagship then use quallcom in the others it just makes it harder to support for everyone including developers writing apps and roms for diffrent variants.

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My question also. I would assume that it will since it has 2gb of ram, but everything I read is saying the "LTE" version and the T999 doesn't have an LTE radio. I can't imagine that an LTE radio is required for the 4.2.2 os.

What a shame. Thank god for XDA. My wife's int S3 is running a nice 4.4.2 aosp ROM that pretty much bug free. It amazes me that these guys on XDA are better at ROM developing than the OEMS!

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Stop bitching and update lol . TW has improved I have to say it's smooth as hell on my note 3

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But rather ugly, especially with their love for teal. Android has become a rather nice looking OS, but not including TW. IMHO.

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I made the mistake of purchasing one of these off CL. It was my last Samsung phone based on the terrible user experience. The lag in the software was unacceptable for a flagship. This article just further proves Samsung's pos

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If I was a European owner of the S3, I would be extremely pissed, I own the USA version which will get the KitKat update. It still beats me why they would sell one version with one gig of ram and another with two gigs of ram.

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Why can't they just say, "we don't want to put any resources on it" instead of sounding silly by mentioning all these technical reasons?

Note: I know why... I'm just saying...

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

ROMS are nice, but most are not stable, and some apps just do not work with them or act funky.

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If a moto g can run it then it just shows how bloated touchwiz is. They don't want to spend money on on a phone that's not the recent up to date one.

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Even if they're not supporting the international one, it's still some what impressive that they're still supporting a phone that almost 2 years old. A custom rom is still a better way to go with this phone though. I'll admit the official 4.3 was actually pretty damn good and made it a totally different phone.

I totally agree. People getting there pants in a twist. It's had nearly 2 years support. Unfortunately custom roms aren't always the best option though as I bricked mine last week. The upside is that I bought myself a shiny new Nexus 5 :-)

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That might not neccessarily be a BAD thing. I'm running JellyBean on my Verizon Note3 and she runs GREAT. From ALL the war stories I've heard/read about, I'm not so sure I want to update when KitKat is released for the Note3 anyway. Whats the next CANDY name on the list anyway, hope it's better than the current one.

And Samsung has done it again!!!

The first and last Samsung phone I bought was the Samsung Galaxy Spica GT-I5700 on 2010. The last Android update that it received was a broken 2.1, how borken? well, if you started the camera you have to restart the phone as there was a glitch that would lock the CPU at full speed, 100% usage until reboot, it remained somewhat usable, but I had never seen a battery phone drain so fast.

We were told the phone had specs that were insufficient to run Froyo, while at the same time Samsung realeased new phones with even lower specs and Froyo pre-loaded.

The worst of all, this phone was brought to my country after Samsung decided it wouldn't update it no more and we had huge billboards promoting this (dead) phone.

Yeah, KitKat isn't the problem, THAT will run just fine on a 512KB phone. The problem is Samsung's bloated TouchWiz skin! Fortunately, Cyanogenmod 11 just hit a "milestone" release, LTE models included, so you can always get your fix that way (and eliminate Samsung's crappy skin in the process!)

not happy about this. time to flash CM11. When I'm due my upgrade in Oct I wont be buying a Samsung.

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Well it's had one more update than the HTC One X which was brought out around the same time?

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This is bullshit. I used to run CM11 on a Motorola Defy and that only had an 800MHz CPU (overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM!

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ooh sumsung !!! ??? at first i liked d way touchwiz was on my s3 due to it colours but now sumsung "TW" HAS made me had it up to my neck due to kitkat not able to run on s3 1gb ram but on some other phones 512 rams i think i have to say bye to sumsung now and chase the nexus 5 .

I think Android needs to figure out a way to use the external SD card as extra RAM when developing their updates so their won't be as many of us out there with such vulnerable devices. You would think they would at least create security updates for their devices if they are not going to create new OSs for them.