Why Galaxy S III doesn’t get KitKat with 1 GB RAM but other devices do with even 512 MB RAM

Ever since Samsung announced that the Galaxy S III (the international model) would not be getting Android 4.4 KitKat, we’ve seen an avalanche of comments from (rightly) disgruntled users who thought their beloved S III was worth at least one more update. Two recurring points we’ve seen many people making is that KitKat should run fine on the Galaxy S III because KitKat supports devices with as low as 512 MB of RAM, and because if other, lower-end devices with less than 1 GB of RAM can have KitKat, so can the S III.

Well, unfortunately, things are not as clear cut as people may think, and there are many reasons why the Galaxy S III, despite having 1 GB of RAM, can’t be compared to low-end and mid-range devices or considered an ideal candidate for getting KitKat even though the latest version of Android is optimized for 512 MB of RAM.

In case of the latter, what folks don’t understand is that KitKat is meant for 512 MB of RAM in its stock unadulterated form, as you see it on Nexus devices (and on Motorola’s latest phones), not in a form where manufacturers like Samsung dump a plethora of software features on top that all demand more memory and negate the advantages in memory usage that Google introduced in KitKat.

Which brings us on to my next point: Being a flagship device, the Galaxy S III has numerous software features, considerably more than what you would find on a budget or mid-range device, which means it requires more RAM for proper operation. Furthermore, since the phone has a high-resolution (720p, or 1280×720) display, apps also demand more resources, which includes RAM and CPU power – the increased demand on resources isn’t that great, but it’s still a factor compared to phones with a WVGA (480×800) or even a qHD (540×960) resolution display.

It also doesn’t help that Samsung’s TouchWiz UX is the heaviest OEM skin out there, with so many apps and features that it becomes difficult for a device to handle with just 1 GB of RAM. All devices that Samsung is updating to KitKat have at least 1.5 GB of RAM, and on low-end devices like the new Galaxy Ace Style or the Galaxy Ace 4, Samsung is using a lighter version of TouchWiz called TouchWiz Essence, which strips away some of the features that you generally see on Samsung’s smartphones and tablets.

Some would argue that Samsung would be better off removing some of those features in order to update the phone to KitKat, but that solution isn’t suitable for the real world, where millions of general consumers might be using at least one of the features that Samsung might remove, consumers the company has to think of in the grand scheme of things.

This article isn’t meant to support Samsung’s decision to not update the Galaxy S III, though it’s not that I don’t see why that decision isn’t as harsh as people make it out to be, considering the Galaxy S III started at Android 4.0 and ended its life at Android 4.3 and was given the support that is commonplace in the Android ecosystem, and more than what other manufacturers have provided to their devices that launched in 2012. Granted, Android 4.3 has a lot of issues that Samsung needs to fix, but it’s still a fact that the S III got three major updates in its lifetime.

The point of this article is to simply list out the reasons why people’s comments about the Galaxy S III not getting KitKat when it’s there on other devices with an equal or lesser amount of RAM are not based on the facts. I agree that it is amazingly sad that Samsung has bloated Android to a point where even 1 GB of RAM wasn’t enough for a new version of the OS that actually reduces memory consumption, but at the end of the day, the 1 GB of RAM is a limitation, and it probably would have reduced the user experience like Samsung said it would in its statement.

P.S.: We at SamMobile do believe that Samsung should support its devices for longer than 18 months, since there are people who buy the phone at the last moment, but that is a discussion for another time, and another article. 

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  1. Where is Android 4.4.2 Kitkat for

    Samsung Galaxy Young 2013 gt-s6310n

    Samsung Galaxy Core

    Samsung Galaxy Star 2013

    Samsung Galaxy ACE 3 AND 2

    • Some of then have 768mb and 512mb of ram to update to CUT down version of 4.4

      • Android 4.4 runs better than 4.3, so 4.4 TouchWiz should run better than 4.3, it’s a planned obsolescence

        • very good observation. i was about to say the same thing. They are forcing users to buy the next generation of Galaxy S

          • I’m not a fool or others also r not fools to buy another samsung, This was my last samsung, I will buy something else from now, we w waiting for 4.3 from more than a year then we got it and waited long for 4.4 which we never got

      • o galaxy s3 tem ser atualizado para o kitkat ou para android 5.0 ou android l que é mais leve

    • too bad succer

    • chea[ mobile dnt get

    • You Cant’s Have Flagship Features Like Smart Stay, Motion And Others On 4.4 On S3
      You Too Won’t Be Able To Enjoy Those High End Games Which You Enjoy Now On 4.3 And 4.1.2

  2. That’s ok! But where is i9305 kitkat update?

  3. Very good! Why Samsung needs to support old models?! No need… SIII is complete crap whith no future! Im owner of SGS4-LTE A i9506 and im still waiting for KitKat,all these delays is only because of Samsung is trying to support old phones and delays with newer phones… My phone by benchmark and stats are better ten S5 Snapdragon… How leaked documents says,in near future ill be updated to 4.4.3….

    • What ariant is the 9506? S4LTE is 9505…

    • Soon will come your turn too and you will be very sad that your beloved sgs4 i9506 will not get un update, that brings new things, new features and improvements.

    • Samsung May his reasons for not update the S3 GT-9300, and I have my reasons for not buying a Smartphone againg, and won’t spend a lot of money to have hardware problems (sudden death),software problems (4.3 Multi bugging) and a prematurely stopped support (and they keep saleing it).


  4. I dont understand why people are crying for the kit kat update. Jelly bean runs perfecly fine (if you dont download every sh*t). I dont see a reason to ugrade my s3 to kit kat.

    • İ am turkish too.
      Galaxy S3 does not run well with android 4.3 unless you disable some apps. Samsungs software is bullshit.

    • Obviously you haven’t used KitKat yet.

    • It has bugs & glitches. It almost destroyed my 32gb micro-sd card.

      The revolutionary SMARTPHONE doesn’t even receive one final UPDATE from Samsung.

      Wow……..Evolutions in 2 variants right after. Too expensive. :p

    • 4.3 doesn’t run well in s3 at all. It destroys memory card, drain battery too quickly and ofcourse very slow. Thats the reasons people to cry. They spent a lot of money on their phone and that become useless within a year. The thing is do a good update or leave it at all like sony ,HTC & LG.

    • I don’t see a reason why S3 came with Android ICS on board. It should came out with GINGERBREAD or FROYO! Things evolve! You should remain in stone age.

  5. КОГДА они выпустят обновления для GT-I9305? Уже как почти как полтара месяца прошло со дня завершения прошивки

    • Genau

    • Zdi dalshe… Etot hlam i9305 nikomu nenuzhen bolshe…. Mir bezhit vperjed!!!

      • Этот “хлам” многим телефонам фору даст. Так что ждем обновы до 4.4.4 :-)

  6. Bull shit,

    Samsung can do it. If they can’t port they’re apps doesn’t creat a phone.

    That’s Why I’m on Blackberry z10, to do not lost my phone on updates and more updates.

  7. Is kitkat coming for SGH-T999? And when

    • no, not for this divice

      • How could you know that, that device has 2gb of ram too, it should be getting kitkat.

  8. They should give the devices free after 18 month so that it is possible to install Cyanogen or whatever without having Knox issues and so on.
    They should build in a timer at 18 month.

  9. why software guys doing. They can do it. its such a shame company like samsung give this bull shit reasons to update it.

    release a firmware those who want to update with least features to kitkat they will do. if they don’t want they wont update. Just release a open firmware. Stop this bull shit reasons about ram. take out unnecessary apps that consumes ram and give us kitkat. you already losing sales because of this.

  10. When is Android 4.4.2 Kitkat release for Samsung Galaxy GT-I9190?

  11. I found the performance of the S3 degraded substantially when 4.3 was installed. Memory in particular is a problem, so I tend to agree with your analysis, though wasn’t 4.4 supposed to address some of these issues?

    1GB or RAM was a poor choice for this device. Some territories were fortunate and got 2GB.

    As I am now due an upgrade, I am looking at the current range of devices and wondering if the standard 2GB/16GB configuration really is enough for the next couple of years.

    I am also looking at non-UK territories, who are getting 3GB/32GB on some devices and wondering why not us? If one of the flagships were available on contract with that configuration, I’d have it like a shot. (The Note 3 is nice but just too big, for me.)

  12. Galaxy S3 didnt get 3 major android updates. It got only android 4.1 and 4.3. S2 got 4.0 and 4.1. 4.0 update is a bigger update than 4.3

    • Also such a big company like samsung can easily update a device with 1 gb of ram to kitkat

    • You are right! Galaxy S2 Gingerbread>ICS>Jellybean. That’s what I call a major update, a new version of Android. Galaxy S3 ICS>Jellybean. Now compare! :)

  13. Y que me dicen del s4 míni que supuestamente llegaría en junio.o ahora van a decir que tiene poca memoria ram?el Motorolla moto G ya tiene kitkat y el s4 míni es superior. Samsung no se calienta en actualizar los equipos sólo se preocupa en fabricar nuevos equipos.

    • (Portugues)
      Pois e verdade mano. Samsung esta cada vez mais avancado do que os restos das marcas como Apple, Sony, LG, Asus, etc…
      Samsung cria novos telemoveis mas nao ha uma grande diferenca entre os predecessores e os sucessores!
      Sabes quantos bebes Samsung fez nascer no ano passado? Cerca de 203 bebes naquele ano!!! Shit!
      Apple? So 5 ou 6…
      A melhor opcao e mudar para a outra marca de vez de Samsung…
      Oa mais notaveis exemplos sao estas: SIII e SIII Neo, Ace e Ace Plus, S5 e S5 Prime…
      Qual a diferenca? Nada de especial! So diferentes nomes!!!
      Eu vou ja comprar o LG Nexus 5 ou senao iPhone 5C/5S/6…
      Espero que esta resposta te ajuda… :D ;) Abracos

    • GALAXY S4 Mini deveria aceitar Kitkat, pois tem o mesmo componente como o Mega 6.3 (1.7 Ghz Dual Core, 1.5 GB RAM, 8MP, etc…)
      Mega 6.3 recebeu Kitkat no mes passado, mas como o GS4 Mini nao???!!!

  14. Respuesta por favor. Gracias

  15. I agree with samsung. Why upgrade a 2 years old device S3, when s5 is on the market?? If you want updates go to custom roms. Samsung must update only 1 previous version. Thats market and business

    • custom rom is full of bugs and hackers are developing it so much risks

    • From my point of view Samsung shouldn’t exist on the market!

  16. A device with android 4.3 can easily work with 4.4.
    4.4 is more optimized than 4.3

  17. It’s fine. I changed from a Z2. ;-)

  18. Maybe it Is True that you are saying, but, How to explain this:
    Android 4.3 was not optimized by Google to Work on devices with 512mb Of RAM and it worked on S3 even thou it was bloated with samsung apps and Touchwiz. Now, Google optimized Android 4.4 to Work on devices with 512mb Of RAM and Now suddenly S3 cannot handle it with more on less the same samsung modification…paradox

  19. Why you all disput about something old and forgotten? Forget about past generation phones…. Keep supporting future

    • No. Telekom Hungary.

    • And if future will come tomorrow and every next day after tomorrow , you will remain with your pockets empty!

  20. Hi guys. I don’t have problem’s like you. Changed my S3 to S4 and that is my last phone becouse flagship phones 2015 are almost the same like s4. Not many changes.

  21. I have a Galaxy S3 on Sprint and I got an over the air update to the KitKat firmware… so I dont know what your talking about?!?!

  22. la ferita è che devono vendere il “nuovo” i9301, 1,5RAM 4.4.2 kitkat
    almeno qui in Italia è così!!!!

  23. What about the LTE Version (I9305 model with 2 GB of RAM) ?

    You said previously that Kitkat update will be on may 2014 !! what’s the problem ?…

    i think that LTE Models will not receive Kitkat update due to this great delay.

    • I used to believe the same when Samsung stopped releasing 4.3 to release 4.4. My S4A – I9295 didn’t receive 4.3, I thought we were forgotten due to the fact that the Active model wasn’t a full success. However, Samsung released 4.4, even though 4.3 didn’t appear. If your phone fulfill the specs, wait a bit more and it’ll appear.

  24. Galaxy s3 i9300 is my last Samsung Mobile…good bye..samsung no more

    • Galaxy S i9000 was my last Samsung :)))))

  25. The last upgrade Android 4.3 does not work correctly,drain battery,network fail…,i want one correct upgrade.

  26. I don’t beleive a single word Samsung. If your apps are bloated mess, then fix them for christ sake. KitKat is designed for 512mb of RAM. your software is the problem. If my S3 doesn’t get kitKat, first of all I will install cyanogen’s android, and this will be my last Samsung phone. You have to support your products for longer samsung, just look at Apple and their ios.

  27. the i9305 is the same specification as this but with LTE and 2GB RAM!
    why not demand a rom for that device and just remove some touchwiz crap!
    i bet you it’s knox that’s causing the issues! they want to put knox on the s3 but because they crippled the S3 by releasing it with 1gb ram.
    i have used a lot of devices and i agree the ui comes down to preference. to me nexus devices are boring-BUT THEY WORK! Sense is the best ui for me however i have recently purchased a G2 and i have been impressed with their UI. my note 3 seems to lag behind with its 3gb ram in comparison thanks to touchwiz.
    my note 2 was nothing but problems. sometimes when i try turn it on it say the firmware corrupt. i am on official and i always have to restore with kies.
    LG to me are underrated and with the issues regarding knox, the note 3 is my last samsung device.

  28. What Samsung and all other manufacturers should do in this case, is not offer an automatic update because that will cause problems.

    But they could offer an update through KIES or maybe even only per download with a huge warning that certain functionality will be lost when updating.

    The other options is to provide the community proper driver support so they can create stable roms for their devices. The people that complain the most about no updates, are usually the people that want to flash the phone.

  29. If only SAMSUNG could offer users with older models of the Galaxy, S1 – SIII, get an upgrade program, like for example trade in your S3 + add at least $100+cash for a Galaxy S5.

    How’s that Samsung/sammobile?

  30. Samsung is an innovative company but at the same time is a cheap company as well. They used to copy everything very shamelessly from Apple before. Now they have a position in the market and started neglecting customers. I read once Samsung promised to update its devices for two years. Galaxy s3 is still the most popular phone from Samsung. The company update the device to 4.3 without testing properly because it planned to update to next version of android and made millions of customers suffer. They think customers are fool. Look at Sony, HTC & LG, they don’t update their devices that much but when they update, just do like they are releasing a new phone. That’s call quality. That’s why I said Samsung is innovative but cheap.
    I still like Samsung’s products but if I get an alternative I will buy a Samsung product again.

    • Sorry I wanted to say if I get an alternative I will not buy a Samsung product again

  31. Samsung ne veut pas faire de mise à jour pour nos appareils passé les 18 mois obligatoire mais nous épis via knox si on veux installer une rom custom. …
    Je penses que samsung devrait nous laisser le choix après les 18 mois de désinstaller ou de supprimer knox momentanément ou définitivement de nos appareils et aussi de pouvoir downgrader ou upgrader comme bon nous semble sans être flipper à tout moment…….
    Ps : j’aimerais savoir quant la mise à jour pour le samsung galaxy note II lte sera disponible en France parce que cela fait très longtemps que l’on l’attend, on devait l’avoir pour le mois de juin et depuis toujours pas de nouvelles….

  32. galaxy note 3 neo model sm-n750 kitkat update pls,im wait so long….

  33. So why, Cyanogenmod 11 is more fast and consumes less ram than cm10.2, this means that the 4.4 Touchwiz should run better than 4.3.

  34. Well, I think it’s just a commercial issue, can’t have updated their old phones because the sales of his new references will not increase as they want, the new features are points that customers are inclined to change their phone.

  35. E quando vai sair a KitKat para o GT-I9300I ?

  36. There’s an obvious and simple solution for this, in order to enable S3 and others receive kit kat. make some of the bloatware optional and downloadable via Samsung Apps store. the S3 could run on the simplified TouchWiz as mentioned above, and that would simplify process of bringing the latest OS to the older but popular phones.

    the question is, is that really the reason or simply because the focus is elsewhere? especially when updating older phones may reduce sales of newer phones?

    it’s not just about apps, and features, but also security. there are a lot of security issues that has been resolved in KK but many older phones are not getting it simply because of business and marketing decision.

  37. even if we dont get kikat samsung should provide another major 4.3 update to remove many bugs esecially when unlocking the phone and also provide us with s4 and s5 features

  38. Kitkat to T-Mobile S3 pleaseeeeeee or make a android stock rom please do something

    • Or help me to get CM10 or CM11 ciz I need another build to install it, HELP PLEASE

  39. So, now that Samsung has agreed with Google to remove all Media Hub apps and already installed applications will be erased from phones, doesnt that allows more freedom for S3 to coop with Kit Kat OS?

  40. Why s4 i9506 doesn’t get kitkat? 4.3 is full of bugs it’s a nightmare.

  41. I understand the reasons, but what about turning their apps into shortcuts? If someone needs the WatchOn app, then he/she will download it with Samsung Apps. This way a lot of RAM (and disk space) could be spare and not lose any useful feature.

  42. The GS3 has had it’s share of major OS updates in the two years it’s been on the market. It’s time to stop beating the dead horse, even more so the delusion that they will port S4 and S5 features back to the S3. That said, several US variants of the device were updated to KitKat, so Samsung can technically do it. Having used several of those devices though, I can say the overall responsiveness under KitKat seems a bit sluggish.

    It’s really a shame that Samsung insists on sticking with the bloated TouchWiz UI. It would be much nicer if they took a queue from Motorola and used a largely stock experience, but add some of the Samsung specific enhancements on top of that. Between that and offloading bloatware to the Play Store, it would probably go a long way toward making OS updates easier, faster, and possibly continue beyond the two year limit we see today.

  43. Samsung sucks! Even with 2 GB RAM, 2.3 quad core I9506 still no kitkat.

  44. I don’t buy into this. Why can’t Samsung reoptimize the touchwiz so it can run with KitKat. I owned Galaxy S, S2, S3, Note 1, 2, Galaxy Nexus and Original Samsung Tab. I must say Samsung lost me. Samsung support have been very bad. I still own note 3 because of the unique S pen features other than that I don’t miss Samsung devices at all. I love my HTC one M7, this device is fantastic. It is running 4.4.2 Sense 6.0, the update feels timely. Note 3 in Australia still running 4.3, which is another example of Samsung incompetence. I am confident android L will land on my old HTC before S5. I also don’t bother with Samsung Tab. My 3 years old iPad still feels great and surprisingly running ios7 and will get ios8.

  45. :) Sammy sucks regarding S3 (s3 lte).

    I have Sony Xperia Z1 compact and since yesterday KitKat 4.4.4 :)

  46. just three simple words: “no more samsung”

  47. Plzzz plzzzz plzzz update galaxy s3 international varient with kitkat 4.4.2 or 4.4.3…..

  48. When will be launched kitkat for galaxy s3 neo i9300i?

  49. For all the cry baby’s with the s3 get a life even if samsung updates this phone to 4.4.2 or 4.4.3 or 4.4.4 touchwiz will remain the same have any of you check the changelog if are any of 4.4.2 from 4.3 of touchwiz music lock screen translucent status bar with grey icons and that’s all i can recall beside bug fix now the phone is 2 years old it went from ics 4.0.4 to jb 4.1.1 to 4.3 so the phone is 2 years old and probably out of warranty and if you really want you phone to be different root it flash a custom rom like cyaonagenmod or other 4.4.2 4.4.3 4.4.4 base rom with stock android experience for a real change then you will get all the features the you see at google i/o and more you will also lose lot of the features of touchwiz like smart stay motion features screen mirroring keyboard multiwindow camera also the lag

    ps almost forget the stock android 4.4.2 kitkat can run with 512mb of ram it only apply to stock android not bloated kitkat touchwiz will require more ram

    I also have a galaxy s3 sgh-t999 with 4.3 root custom tw waiting to be retire whene the note 4 come out also have sgh-m919 galaxy s4 root custom tw 4.4.2 and a sm-900t 4.4.2 unroot tw a gt-n5110 galaxy note 8.0 4.4.2 root stock tw and a gt-p5113 galaxy tab 2 10.1 runing cyanogenmod 4.4.4 root stock android

    • “that’s all i can recall beside bug fix”
      But that’s what people want: bug fix.

  50. this is bulls**t

    so what happend to phone 512 mb ram in LG??

    they have kitkat

    • this is bulls**t

      so how LG have phone with 512 mb ram with kitkat??

  51. Install CyanogenMod.. i did, now on 4.4.4 :D :)
    Samsung -> take this Bitch :P

  52. Samsung is losing market because this there are millions s3 customers around world. Think about it. There is nothing impossible for samsung they are just ignoring it so that they can push the sales of new products thats all. Even 2gb ram model with kitkat has issues.

    Samsung stop this cheating to customers..S3 is the phone that you made a history. that the phone got you all the sales and the push up you need and try to respect that..

  53. As the baseline just wondering how much RAM used by 9305 after upgraded to Kitkat?
    I am sure S3 International user will satisfy if Samsung could scarify some of the bloatware to lower down the RAM usage…

    Something can be considered SAMSUNG….

  54. Samsung May his reasons for not update the S3 GT-9300, and I have my reasons for not buying a Smartphone againg, and won’t spend a lot of money to have hardware problems (sudden death),software problems (4.3 Multi bugging) and a prematurely stopped support (and they keep saleing it).


  55. Samsung might have his reasons for not updating the S3, and I have mine,
    4.3 doesn’t run well in s3 at all. It destroys memory card, drains battery too quickly and of course the phone is charging very slowly. That’s the reasons people are crying. They spent a lot of money on their phone and that became useless with an update and then you say that you’ll not update it any further. The thing is push a good update or do not update at all, what was all that testing for?

    I’m starting to think, what your testers actually do, like testing, n then testing in final stages, Ridiculous, all of us have witnessed your troubled updates…. Is it allowed to get drunk in your office?

    No!! think seriously, maybe they drink n test…

  56. I have rooted and installed Cyanogenmod M7 with 4.4.2 instead of complaining to samsung for not updating S3. 2 days ago i also got 4.4.4 update (CM11 – M8).


  58. plz make kitkat version for samsung galaxy quatrro

  59. stop this. This is driving me crazy about the updates…

  60. Let me guess, you are an indian right?
    Too much words, all air.

  61. can samsung grand GT 19080 upgrade with kitkat.

  62. Unlucky guys, I am running Android 4.4.4 on my GT-I9300 and it’s very stable with a lot more features than the 4.3 update. If you want KitKat just install a custom ROM called paranoidandroid for the S3 and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  63. But, when my S3 contract ends I shall not have another Samsung product in my life. I’ll be going with a Nexus or Xperia :-)

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