Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch has seen limited success in the marketplace, partly due to the fact that very few phones actually support the device. Samsung has been trying their best to increase that number though, and today the Verizon Galaxy S4 Mini can be added to the “compatible” list.
Starting today, an OTA update has started rolling out to the Verizon Galaxy S4 Mini with a whole host of goodies on board… and some bloatware too. The main thing is the update will bring the device up to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and with it come all the features that Android 4.3 brings.
Of course, the important one here for Galaxy Gear support is Bluetooth Low Energy, and consequently an updated Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini now supports all manner of wearable BLE devices as well as the Gear. Android 4.3 also includes OpenGL ES 3.0 support for greater graphic fidelity, and a few other minor tweaks.
Samsung have added their own tweaks too, including updates for Touchwiz and new apps for handling the Galaxy Gear and its notification sync, as well as its actually rather clever auto-lock feature which means no PIN entry if the Galaxy Gear is within 5 feet.
Unsurprisingly, Verizon have also deemed it fit to add their own crapware to the update too, and you’ll find no less than three new Verizon apps. VMware, Verizon Cloud and MyInfoZone widget are all included, and you’ll be happy to hear that they are also removable.
Finally, an update wouldn’t be an update without resolving some issues. Exchange email server connectivity has been improved, as has Isis Mobile Wallet. Verizon has also enabled the AWS 4 band on the Galaxy S4 Mini allowing for improved LTE reception. There’s been some tweaks to the Google Voice prompt timing, meaning less waiting around for things to happen, and the incoming call screen now displays images Picture Me images correctly.
If you haven’t yet seen the update, it might be worth mashing that Software Update button. Once you’ve downloaded Android 4.3, let us know how you’re getting on and if you spot any interesting changes.