Is the Samsung Galaxy S III the Greatest Phone Ever Made?

CM9-for-Galaxy-S3Some devices stand out seemingly for all time (as short a time frame as a device class me exist for). Consider the Thinkpad T60. The iPad 2. The 2013 Nexus 7 tablet. The ASUS 900HA netbook. The Commodore 64. Anything from Amiga. The Sega Dreamcast. The original iMac (I know of at least one of these that has been functioning since 1998…it’s mine). The LG Optimus V. These are mobile devices, desktop PC’s, consoles, tablets, and even some smartphones that if one took proper care of would still be in full functioning order to this day, and allow you to get shit done in the process (or at least have a good time).

While a few smartphones have seemed to run well past their designated years of limelight a viability (like the LG Optimus V actually being able to run Jelly Bean at one point with ridiculously low specs, and years later, at that), none have done so with as much aplomb perhaps (at least when it comes to Android phones) as the Samsung Galaxy S III. This was the device of its day, and was so ubiquitous and talked about that it solidified Samsung as the premiere company for Android devices (though, admittedly, Google may soon be taking that crown for itself with the Nexus 5X and 6P).

Released in mid-2012, the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S III–specifically the model number I9300–was high end. It didn’t have 4G LTE (though later models would add it), but it did have a 4.8″ screen, 1GB of RAM, an FM radio (like most international phones do), the option of up to 64GB of onboard storage, a removable battery (a rarity today), a MicroSD card slot (very important), and fairly powerful quad-core Exynos processor (which was an Exynos model before Samsung caused those processors to make rooting near-impossible). And it initially was shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.4), and would get stuck in limbo officially with a later version of Jelly Bean. No Lollipop (Android 5.0) for the Galaxy S III. Not all bad, though. Any phone with these specs would serve the average person very well today. But, damnit, it’s stuck at Jelly Bean as far as Android goes. That’s just unacceptable (especially considering the important major security enhancements that Android has made to itself since that version).

Fortunately, this has now changed.

I talk often at the Dark Android Project about the importance of whatever device you’re getting to try and get one that has a cult following. A device that has a community around it because either it was just so damned rare, or because it was just so damned popular. The Galaxy S III falls under the latter category. It was ridiculously popular, and so a community built around it to allow it to stand the test of time.

The great equalizer of privacy and open source control of your Android device–CyanogenMod–has released it’s Google’s Android alternative OS, CyanogenMod 13, for the I9300 model of the Galaxy S III. So sure, you’re S III won’t run Lollipop…instead it will run the latest: Marshmallow (Android 6.0)! This is a wild development and breathes completely new life and longevity into the device. In a very real sense, this is like getting Fedora 23 to run on a Commodore 64 (okay, it’s not that impressive a feat, but you get the idea). So if you’re still kicking around an international version of the Galaxy S III, you definitely want to be installing CyanogenMod 13 on it for your operating system (and if you want to be really saucy, leave the Google Play Store off of it).

I love it when these sort of developments happen. There’s a special joy (no really, it’s a joy) that comes with getting a device to do something that it was never intended to do. Kind of like how the Millennium Falcon can make 0.5 past lightspeed when it looks like a “piece of junk”. And packing a Galaxy S III (almost 4 years after release) technically running Android 6.0 is nothing to sneeze at. And it’s just plain fun.

I’m very particular in what I recommend as far as mobile devices to buy at the Dark Android Project, and often I can only speculate that certain devices will have a cult following around it that will allow it to be used well past the 1-2 year timeframe that most companies only want you to use them for until they schlep the latest block of sensors…ahem…smartphone…off the truck for you to buy. Fortunately with the Galaxy S III, it is no speculation any longer, and it proves my point. This smartphone that you can have for cheap is in for a longer haul. And pulling off tricks like the Galaxy S III running Marshmallow is just one example of how you can stick it to their consumer-insulting marketing schemes (planned obsolescence, etc.). So if you haven’t already bought an ASUS Zenfone 2 (or the forthcoming ASUS Zenfone Zoom), maybe you want to strap on an I9300 S III for a shot with CyanogenMod 13. Head here to give it a try.

Carpe lucem!