Samsung to address random Galaxy S3 mainboard failures with firmware update


Before the joyous holiday season we had to be a bit of a grinch and drop news of a problem affecting a small number of Samsung Galaxy S3 owners. Users were reporting devices dying at random after owning the handset for several months. The problem was narrowed down to the 16GB version of the handset and seemed to stem from an issue with the devices main circuit board.

Because all signs pointed to a hardware issue, most thought the problem would require a revision to the Galaxy S3’s actual build. But Samsung has addressed the problem and says a fix will arrive in the form of a firmware update. According to Tweakers Samsung is prepared to deliver the update in the very near future.

Most GS3 owners won’t have to worry about waking up to a bricked phone and no explanation, but those with at-risk handsets can rest assured that the problem should soon be a thing of the past.


Kevin Krause
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  1. My GS3 has been wiggin’ out lately. Screen flickers and weird display problems. Let’s hope this patch fixes that :/

    1. Something is definitely not right with your hardware. But if software can fix it then color my impressed. On the same token, how long will you have to wait for carriers to approve this firmware patch. Surely it will get a rush.

      1. He’s good in the hardware dept. ;) or so I’ve heard.

        1. You’ve heard well O_o

          1. That one down vote has you number! As in, ex-girlfriend! LOL. Relevance: You’re hardware is only as good as your software. Words to live by maybe?

      2. Likely since sammy owns the hardware and writes the software, they could put in something that can flash something on the board or make it work around the issue. Much like a PC can flash it’s bios from within the OS these days.

      3. Dead devices eat into phone insurance profits and increase device replacement costs. Carriers will therefore be motivated to approve such a patch ASAP.

    2. From what I’ve read, the issue being addressed are devices that go permanently dead after a period of time. Also, I seem to remember the failures happening for users after a similar amount of time. This kind of hardware failure can be addressed through software when the root cause is bad software that tasks particular hardware resources to heavily. My personal guess (just a guess, mind you) would be flash storage being exhausted. In many cases flash storage chips support a max of about 100,000 writes. That’s plenty if software paces itself, but bad software can quickly chew that up.

      Your issue doesn’t sound the same so I wouldn’t expect a patch for this issue to help you, but that too is just a guess.

    3. I have this and so does my girlfriend.
      But the weird thing is it ONLY happens in google maps.
      I’m rooted/romed she is not

      1. My happens when an app opens up. It’s only for a split second but it freaks me out :/

        1. Chris I also had this issue but only after the Jelly Bean update. The fix for me temporarily was going into Phone settings then go to Developer Options. Check the box next to Disable Hardware Overlays. Still flickering and graphic issues? The problem is that when you reboot you have to put the setting back.

        2. For the flickering you can also use an app (awesome btw) called Screen Filter by Haxor Industries in the play store. All it appears to do is dim your screen at a set percentage that you want. But with it enabled even at 100% brightness it makes the flicker go away. I have no idea why. The flicker is the worst when playing Dead Trigger.

  2. This happened to my first GS3. Very uncool. My first replacement is good so far.

  3. Me too @chris Chavez I thought it was my eyes but I get flickers

    1. See my comment above.

  4. Hello, I have a 32gb S3 and it has a mind of its own. It will suddenly go black screen and shut off, hope the update will work for all S3’s.

  5. I have a 32gb S3 and it has a mind of its own. It will suddenly go black screen and shut down. I hope the update works for all S3’s.

    1. I had a 32GB S3 as well, it did the same thing. When I would bring up my bookmarks page from time to time it would be all scrambled. I was doing battery pulls 2 to 3 times a day, so I dumped it & got the Note 2. Best of luck on you guys issues.

  6. Wow from the comments it seems that a lot of people are having issues. A Phandroid poll would be cool to see how many S3 users are having trouble.

    1. Very few people had / have this issue. Less than 1% of total GS3’s in the wild. I’d say those are better odds than owning an iPhone. iPhone’s Antennagate affected every device. And the purple hue in photos also affected every device.

      1. lolz…iPhone antennagate wz nt even a issue whn compared to this sudden death of S3’s and my s3 died last month and samsung india took mre dan 2 weeks to replace and was completely pissed off at the service and the way the treat customers………man nokia is far better in customer service over dis korean evil co..! Apple! oh my 3 yr old Macbook’s bottom cover was replaced for free in a jus one day even whn it’s outside warranty coz apple care found it as a manufacturing defect……thts wat evry customer expect…better quality and service…. wondering wat if my galaxy dies aftr a yr????? ;lolz…throw it in garbage!?

        antenna-gate was problem when u hold the phone in left whn in a area whre network coverage is weak… that hardly matters to anyone…evryphone has sme issue whn u hold in smeway…my BB also drops calls whn holded in a certain way… purple haze!!! me n my collegues nvr seen such thin in any our pics tht were taken on iPhone5….i can say u nvr used one and jus blindly followin news….

        Man.!!! whr did u get tht 1% ???? wat if the phones fail aftr a year or so? lolz…why media is so biased…no fuss abt this !!!!

        the fact is “Tree that bears sweetest fruits(Apple) gets maximum number of stones”…. Media is biased….they want to sell their story sold….and they use evry famous thin/person tht exist…let it be Michael Jackson or Apple iPhone…

  7. Iv’e got a 16 GB device and it died yesterday.. Couldn’t Samsung have pushed this out last week :(

  8. I got a 32gb vzw s3 off swappa a month ago. So far it’s been my favorite phone yet. I hope none of the problems you guys are mentioning happen to me. I guess I should probably go register this phone on samsungs website just in case. Maybe I can get them to fix it if anything ever happens. Or am I screwed since I bought it used?

  9. I am now on my 5th S3. First one, audio quality was garbage out of headphone jack. 2nd one, audio out stopped completely. TMo sent 2 replacements in a row with shitty power buttons. On my 5th, but yet to use it. Getting quite upset with whoever fixes TMo phones for them!

    1. Their refurbs, I mean replacements are never any good. I believe they shine them up real good and then send them out.

  10. My girlfriend’s S3 died on her a couple of days ago. Sucks that this couldn’t have been put out a little sooner. But such is life, I guess.

  11. This problem only affects the international SGS3 i9300!

  12. I’ve never seen or heard of this problem in the USA and I know a LOT of people with S3’s.

  13. My S3 has fall prey to the random death what should I do

  14. How are use supposed to apply the update when the phone’s dead/won’t start?

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