Companies like Samsung may not spend time, effort or resources on bringing Android updates to flagship phones more than two years after they’re launched, but the Android community never gives up. The Samsung Galaxy S III 3G, which was launched in 2012, has just received an unofficial Android 12 update, according to a report by XDA Developers. The update comes from a developer who goes by html6405, who is an XDA Recognized Developer as well. The phone is able to run cellular radio, camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, and more after the update. The phone has also been dual-booted to support the all-but-forgotten Sailfish OS operating system, which is similar to Android in some ways.
To be sure, the unofficial update doesn’t necessarily mean that companies like Samsung can or should provide updates for 10-years, however, it’s a reminder that the current 18-24 month update cycle in the industry may not really be what we should settle for. Android smartphone makers, and especially Google (who controls Android), have been under pressure to increase update cycles for years now. Notably, Apple was able to deliver the iOS 15 update to the iPhone 6S, a phone that was first launched seven years ago.
Samsung Galaxy S III 3G specs
A problem often cited with providing updates for long is that the hardware on older devices doesn’t work with the new software. To that end, the Samsung Galaxy S III 3G runs on the Exynos 4412 chip, which is as old as the phone itself. It’s a quad-core chip that uses ARM’s Cortex A9 architecture and is built on 32nm manufacturing nodes. According to XDA’s report, WiFi and Bluetooth work fine too, though many LineageOS specific features “are lacking in the ROM”.
This also tells you why companies like Samsung cannot provide updates to very old phones. Users, after all, expect their phones to run the way it used to after an update. So companies can’t provide updates that won’t make every part of the phone work. XDA’s report also cited a bunch of bugs on the device, including the fact that the SIM PIN unlock was broken.