The gap we are speaking of is the the one between when your carrier or the manufacturer of you cell phone stops issuing Android updates to the day when you buy your next phone.You have two options, either your next phone will be a Google Nexus device, or you resort to CyanogenMod for your mobile OS needs. CyanogenMod is an Android Open Source Project based replacement firmware for smart phones. Android is a Linux based operating system produced by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). It is provided free of charge to whom ever wants to use it. This means that although HTC has the most compelling UI for Android, they are also notorious (as is Samsung) for dragging their feet with new builds of the OS. The latest version of Android is Jelly Bean (version 4.2.x), which has some really neat features, but because it is freely available, new features can be found in other ROMs even before the official version from Google even has it. Case in point, CyanogenMod added a call statistics function to the dialer application; now it was available from another ROM even before CyanogenMod got it, but Google is missing this feature. It may be of moderate utility, but it is neat to know what percentage of the time is spent on the phone with the missus versus your buddies.
One really cool feature that was added with version 4.2 of Android was Photo Sphere. To see an example of this cool feature, click here.
So to recap, last year we had the amazing Samsung Galaxy S III, this year will be the Samsung Galaxy S IV; but you are on a budget and your contract will not let you buy another high-end phone at a heavily subsidized price. Your savior, CyanogenMod, there is already a version of it available for the SGS3:
Samsung Galaxy S III (international version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (AT&T version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (T-Mobile version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (Verizon version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (Sprint version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (Metro PCS version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (Cricket version)
Samsung Galaxy S III (US Cellular version)
Now here is the mandatory warning, if you understand nothing in this article, do not flash/modify/use any of this information. If you turn your phone into a ‘brick/paper weight’ it is not our fault or the CyanogenMod Team’s fault, the blame will rest squarely on you! With that said, this is also not the final/stable ROM, it is still under development. I use it in this state every day, with little to no problems.
Good luck and have fun.
for those looking for the missing Google Apps, you can find them at goo.im