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Verizon finally upgrades Galaxy S III to Jelly Bean

Other major U.S. carriers started upgrading smartphones to new Android OS version in October

Verizon Wireless Thursday announced that it will start upgrading Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones on its network to the Android 4.1 operating system tomorrow.

Samsung had unveiled the upgrade of the smartphone to the so-called Jelly Bean version of Android in September, and various worldwide carriers began distributing it starting in late September.

Most Android phones in Europe were upgraded to Jelly Bean by October.

Verizon is the last of the major U.S. carriers to provide the Jelly Bean upgrade to its customers.

Sprint started rolling the upgrade out to U.S. users in late October, with T-Mobile USA following suit in mid-November. AT&T rolled out Jelly Bean via PC-based software in early December.

All the U.S. carriers first conduct reviews of OS upgrades, which take varying amounts of time, before releasing it to users. The time taken depends on technical requirements of the individual carrier networks and other factors.

Android users have been especially concerned about delays in upgrades. Google tried address those concerns more than a year ago by forging the Android Upgrade Alliance with carriers and manufacturers.

Verizon made note that the upgrade, being pushed over the air in phases, will provide features such as Google Now for notifications of missed calls and emails, enhanced camera capabilities and the ability to use the phone as a mobile wallet over the Isis network in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. Isis relies on Near Field Communication in the phone to enable the mobile wallet.

Android 4.1 also provides better voice command capabilities, among other features.

Customers can also manually download the upgrade at Verizon through the settings menu, staring in the next week, Verizon said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected].

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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