Android 4.3 coming in July, spied on Galaxy S4 Google Edition

The next major update to Android is coming soon, it seems, after screenshots appeared of Android 4.3 running on a Galaxy S4 Google Edition.

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The next major update to Google's mobile operating system is coming soon, it appears, after screenshots of Android 4.3 running on a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition popped up online.

The screenshots above, published by reliable Samsung gossip blog SamMobile, show Android 4.3 running on the Samsung GT-i9505G. That's better known as the S4 Google Edition, the version of the S4 that runs pure Android, which the Big G has recently started selling in the US.

The shots apparently come from a Samsung insider with access to an early build of the software while the Korean company adapts it to run all the phone's hardware. SamMobile's source reckons the S4 Google Edition will be updated to 4.3 next month.

The Google Edition S4 and HTC One are part of the Nexus scheme, alongside Google-branded devices such as the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, meaning they get Android updates before any other blower. Because they don't have any interface augmentation or extra apps, they're the quickest to adapt to new software.

Phones from other manufacturers take much longer to roll out updates because their makers have to graft on all their custom gubbins -- Samsung's Dual Shot photo feature, for example, or HTC's BlinkFeed social stream. So while Nexus phones may get Android 4.3 in July, expect other mobiles and tablets to take much longer.

The screenshots show that 4.3 is still called Jelly Bean, which other rumours have indicated too. That means it won't be a drastic overhaul -- Google insiders talking to the Wall Street Journal claim it'll be better engineered for cheaper, lower powered devices such as those sold in developing markets, and appliances such as fridges.

That could mean better battery life or other efficiency improvements such as quicker app switching, or getting better pics out of low-res cameras. It also means older devices may be easier to update, so a wider range of devices than usual could benefit. The WSJ reckons the update is due out in the autumn.

What would you like to see from Android 4.3? Does it need more of an overhaul to compete with iOS 7? Or do you think it's way ahead of Apple's effort already? Furnish me with your thoughts down in the comments, or over on our regularly updated Facebook page.

Image credit: SamMobile

Watch this: Galaxy S4 Google Edition explained