Galaxy S III getting Jelly Bean by October

The latest version of Android will start appearing on Samsung's top-of-the-line Galaxy S III smartphone as early as next week, according to reports.

Although the official word from Samsung is that Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) will come to the S3 "soon," leaked versions of the OS for the smartphone have been appearing in Canada for units produced for Rogers, Bell and Telus, and in the United States for Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Some of those versions have known bugs, such as the GPS function not showing directions, and require you to root your phone in order to install them.

In the United Kingdom, Samsung has confirmed that Jelly Bean will be pushed to the S3 as soon as October, according to Andrew Hoyle writing for Cnet. Those who purchase the 4G version of the phone will have access to Jelly Bean immediately, he added.

Jelly Bean will likely arrive on unlocked handsets first, Hoyle noted, followed by versions for phones tied to carriers. Those carriers have to test the update to make sure it works with their networks, which will delay the update process.

Android 4.1 has already started to show up on Galaxy Nexus phones in the United States. On Tuesday Sprint announced it had begun pushing Jelly Bean to its Nexus and Nexus S 4G handsets, although it's unknown how long it will take the carrier to update all the phones on its system.

Verizon has yet to update its Nexus models to the latest version of Android.

The Galaxy S III has been Samsung's hottest selling phone since it was introduced in May. By the end of July, it had pierced the 10 million mark and has continued to sell well even though Apple has tried to ban U.S. sales of the phone.

Sales in the United States have been spurred by aggressive pricing campaigns by the carriers. This week, for example, Amazon announced that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon were offering 16GB 4G versions of the phone in all colors for $99 to new individual or family activations.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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