Last year, Google announced the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update alongside the Nexus 4. Earlier this year, the company announced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with the new Nexus 7, an update that replaced Android 4.2 as the most current version. With Android 4.4 KitKat on the way, and both Android 4.3 and Android 4.2 still slated for many users, we want to share our final expectations for both devices.
In July of last year, Google introduced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, an operating system that introduced a host of new improvements and features and ultimately replaced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as the company’s mobile operating system. Since then, Google built on its Jelly Bean software by issuing incremental updates that weren’t groundbreaking but were meant to improve an already fantastic operating system.
In November of last year, Google rolled out Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, an update that introduced lock screen widgets, a new Quick Settings option, Photo Sphere and more. It kept the look and feel of Android Jelly Bean and simply built upon the foundation that Google had laid out six months prior. The update was also meant to hold users over until the next update arrived.
That update was the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update which was rolled out in July of this year alongside the new Nexus 7 tablet. Like Android 4.2 though, Android 4.3 kept the look and feel of Android 4.1, while adding some improvements including OpenGL 3.0 support, a new dial pad, and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Like all Android updates, these were rolled out to Nexus devices first and slowly, buy surely, have started hitting devices outside of Google’s clutches. In the latter part of the year, things have started to pick up and we’re seeing quite a bit of movement in regards to the Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 updates for various big name devices.
And with Google all but confirmed to be revealing its Android 4.4 KitKat update next month with the new Nexus smartphone, Android users are starving for information. Remember, Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 updates don’t just bring features from Google, they often bring major bug fixes and enhancements to user interfaces that are over Android.
Here, we do our best to breakdown what we know about upcoming Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 updates and also offer up some expectations about what we expect to happen with devices like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, HTC One and more.
The HTC One started on Android 4.1. Several weeks later, HTC rolled out Android 4.2 to the international version of the device and to carrier-branded versions of the flagship. The HTC One on Verizon launched with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board though the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile models remain on Android 4.1.
Well, as it turns out, HTC is planning to skip Android 4.2 for these devices and head straight to Android 4.3, it’s just a matter of when at this point. Originally, the updates, including an Android 4.3 update for the Verizon model, were supposed to roll out in September. This is still possible and we’re hearing that the AT&T and T-Mobile updates are close.
That said, we expect HTC One owners in the U.S. will see Android 4.3 and enhancements to Sense 5 in the near future.
Interestingly, the international HTC One in Taiwan began receiving Android 4.3 Jelly Bean this week, ahead of the U.S. roll out. Even more interesting is that rumors suggest the model in Europe will also get Android 4.3 but it won’t get it until late October or November as HTC is apparently going to equip it with a new version of Sense, Sense 5.5.
The software is expected to arrive with the HTC One max sometime in the next few weeks and that means owners should get a good sense of what to expect.
The HTC One likely will see updates after Android 4.3 arrives and it’s a prime candidate to get Android 4.4 KitKat.
HTC One X
The HTC One X recently received an update to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with the new Sense 5, an update that came a little quicker than many could have imagined. Unsurprisingly, the update still hasn’t reached owners of the AT&T HTC One X and it’s not clear when it might arrive. The AT&T HTC One X will get an update and it’s probably going to be Android 4.2.
That’s because word on the street is that the HTC One X may not go beyond Android 4.2. In other words, it may not get Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. This hasn’t been confirmed by HTC but it follows the company’s trend of supporting a device for a little over a year before discarding it.
HTC has been doing an admirable job of getting software updates flowing to devices, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see a surprise Android 4.3 update, but at this point, things look bleak.
HTC One X+
The AT&T HTC One X+ still doesn’t have Android 4.2, weeks after the international version of the device was upgraded with Google’s software from last November. It will likely get an update with Sense 5, it’s just a matter of when.
As for Android 4.3, it’s hard to say. Given that the HTC One X may not get it, we have to imagine that chances aren’t exactly great. We haven’t heard anything in particular, just that it won’t get Android 4.4. So the door is open, and given that it’s only a year old, it may have an update left in its tank. Or maybe not. One can never tell with HTC.
HTC One S
The HTC One S saw its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update and Sense 5 update cancelled by HTC. Shortly after that, it appeared that some HTC One S owners might get the update. Then, maybe not. The most recent news suggests that HTC may put the Android 4.2 update on HTCDev so that those who wish to get it on board can do so. The update will likely only be for the Snapdragon S4 version of the device.
This is not confirmed but it’s certainly possible. What’s out of the question though is an update to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, given that Android 4.2 may barely make it out of the gates.
Droid Incredible 4G LTE
A long time ago, we heard that the Droid Incredible 4G LTE would be getting Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5. We still believe that this update will go down given that the Droid Incredible 4G LTE has never received a major Android update.
When. we cannot say, but we do expect the update, whether it’s Android 4.2 or Android 4.3 (maybe HTC skips Android 4.2), it will more than likely be the last update for a device that was overshadowed by the Droid DNA and the HTC One.
A few weeks ago, HTC promised to deliver the Droid DNA Android 4.3 update with Sense 5 during the month of September. It appears that there was some confusion because Verizon trotted out a change log for the device that boasted Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and Sense 5, not Android 4.3.
HTC confirmed the bad news a few days ago, saying that Android 4.2 and new Sense capabilities will be coming to owners by the end of the year. This means owners are not in the dark. However, given the change log and given that the original timeline pegged September, we have to think that the Droid DNA is close.
As for Android 4.3, there is some hope. Rumors suggest that the device may be getting Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Sense 5.5 down the road, something that wouldn’t be shocking at all.
HTC EVO 4G LTE
Like the Droid Incredible 4G LTE update, the HTC EVO 4G LTE Android 4.2 and Sense 5 update was rumored to be coming to owners. And we still think this is true. The device is a widely adopted phone and it came out after the HTC One X did. And now that the HTC One X has its update, we think that Sprint and HTC should be close to delivering to HTC EVO 4G LTE owners, or what’s left of them.
As for Android 4.3, it’s extremely hard to say. This was a popular device but given that the HTC One X may not get Android 4.3, we think the chances are extremely slim at this point.
LG makes fantastic phones and then, for whatever reason, offers them very little support inside the United States. We’ve seen it happen time and time again, most recently with the LG Optimus G, which currently sits on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, without any information about the future.
We imagine that LG will let the LG G2 have its time in the spotlight with Android 4.2 before rolling out anything for last year’s flagship. Problem is, it’s already September and owners haven’t received any word.
We fully expect the LG Optimus G to get Android 4.2 and possibly Android 4.3 as well but it will likely just take forever for it to receive those updates up and running. Owners will simply need to rely on developer support in the meantime.
Motorola is extremely difficult to figure out as well. While the company came out of the gates with a bunch of updates and a ton of information last year, it has been silent in 2013. Its update page lays dormant and the company has offered its users very little information about the future.
Given how much time has passed, we would be surprised if any of those devices moved past Android 4.1. If they get anything at all, we would imagine that they would probably skip Android 4.2 and go straight to Android 4.3 but that’s just a prediction. At any rate, don’t expect anything to change in the near future.
There is one good sign for those using Motorola’s new devices. Recently, a Moto X Android 4.3 test build leaked out, offering a glimmer of hope to Moto X users who are currently on Android 4.2. An update to Android 4.3 isn’t surprising given how new the Moto X is. If it’s getting Android 4.3 then we imagine that the Droid Ultra, Droid MAXX and Droid Mini, all of which are on Android 4.2, will also get Android 4.3 updates down the road.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 became the first mainstream non-Nexus smartphone to boast Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. And there, it has remained. Lucky for owners, it looks like an update is close. During the Galaxy Note 3 launch, Samsung said that it would be delivering an update to the Galaxy S4 in October that would add support for the Galaxy Gear.
The Galaxy Gear is a Bluetooth device and Android 4.3 brings support for Bluetooth Low Energy. The company didn’t outright confirm Android 4.3, but thanks to that tidbit and some recent rumors, we’re fairly certain that the device will get Android 4.3 within the next couple of weeks.
As for the United States, carriers are typically at least a few weeks, if not months behind the rest of the world, so it could be that carriers push out the update in November or December rather than in October.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S3 is going to be getting an unspecified update in October and thanks to common sense and rumors, it looks like the Galaxy S3 will be getting Android 4.3 in late October or early November. This, after the company decided to skip Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
The update is expected to pack in special features, among them, enhancements to TouchWiz features and apps like the camera app and eye control. This is unconfirmed, but seems likely, given that Samsung typically brings new software features to its older devices.
It’s not clear when the software will hit the United States but users should expect carriers to be at least a few weeks behind the curve.
Samsung Galaxy S2
The Samsung Galaxy S2 situation is still not clear. We’ve seen the company upgrade its Galaxy S2 Plus with Android 4.2 but it still hasn’t said anything about the original Galaxy S2. Telling is the fact that it didn’t mention the device on stage during the Galaxy Note 3 event something that points to it staying below Android 4.3.
The device wasn’t expected to go beyond Android 4.2 but with rumors pointing to the update being canned and no sign of the update since then, it’s getting hard to believe that Samsung will upgrade it with anything further than Android 4.1. At the best, the device will get Android 4.2. At the worst, it won’t get anything.
Samsung Galaxy Note
The original Galaxy Note is another tricky situation. The device was originally believed to be getting Android 4.2 Jelly Bean but with all of the problems that Samsung apparently had with the update, it’s hard to say what will happen to the aging device. Like the Galaxy S2, it wasn’t confirmed to be getting Galaxy Gear support so it could be that it toils on Android 4.2 or Android 4.1 forever.
And if Android 4.2 is coming, there are a grand total of zero signs. Perhaps Samsung will surprise owners of the aging device but at this point, given the problems that it had with Android 4.1 and given the lack of information, we’re not optimistic.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was mentioned on stage alongside the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 and it’s confirmed to be getting an update to support the Galaxy Gear. That update is expected to be Android 4.3 and rumors suggest that it will be coming with software features found on the Galaxy Note 3.
The update is thought to be in testing and apparently, it’s destined for a release in November or December, a specific date has not yet been nailed down. The Android 4.3 update will represent the first major update to the Galaxy Note 2 and it looks like it will be coming with more fire power than was originally thought.
Remember, this was a device that was expected to get Android 4.2 with some Galaxy S4 features. Now, it will be getting Android 4.3 with even more TouchWiz features.
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Sprint and Verizon, devices that aren’t actually Nexus devices. We still haven’t seen any chatter about these updates though we did see the Verizon update emerge in the Android AOSP. That was back in July.
It’s now September and the update still hasn’t rolled out and there are no signs to suggest anything is close. We imagine that the software will roll out at some point but in true Verizon fashion, meaning, late.
Sony is interesting in that it typically confirms updates fairly quickly but takes forever to roll them out. Such is the case for Xperia owners who were promised Android 4.3 Jelly Bean back in July but still haven’t seen updates roll out.
Back then, Sony said that the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP and Xperia Z Ultra would all get updated to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean at some point in the future. Thus far, we haven’t seen anything emerge.
As for devices like the Xperia S, which are still on Android 4.1, we don’t expect them to get Android 4.2. If Sony hasn’t promised an Android 4.2 update yet, it’s likely because the device is going to stay on Android 4.1.
Fortunately, Sony’s community takes care of its own and users of the Xperia S and Xperia Ion should be able to find fantastic unofficial software support. Again, this is just speculation but after monitoring Sony for years, the company typically doesn’t come up with any surprises. So if nothing has been announced, don’t get any hopes up.