The attention of most Samsung Galaxy S3 users is on the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update which started rolling out a few short weeks ago and has since spread to regions like the United States. There are others, however, that likely have their eye on the future, on Google’s latest update, Android 4.4 KitKat. Here, we take an early look at what to expect from the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.
In September, two significant announcements were made, announcements that surely caught the eyes of Samsung Galaxy S3 owners around the world. First, Google announced the Android 4.4 KitKat update, an update that replaced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with a number of new features including a new immersion mode, a new dialer and more. Google did not announce updates for devices outside of its stable of Nexus smartphones and tablets, leaving those announcements to individual manufacturers.
Shortly after that, Samsung announced that it would be releasing updates for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3, updates that would bring Galaxy Gear support. While many hoped that they would be Android 4.4 KitKat, logic pointed to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and it was the latter update that started rolling out several weeks later.
In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S3 update, it’s still rolling out with users on T-Mobile and Verizon still waiting for their upgrade as we push deeper into the holiday shopping season and towards the start of 2014. With the start of the new year in sight and Android 4.4 KitKat looming, Galaxy S3 owners are likely thinking about the future, and more specifically, the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Samsung hasn’t announced anything just yet though rumors suggest that the Galaxy S3 will get Android 4.4 KitKat at some point in the future. We’ve already taken an early look at what Galaxy S3 owners should expect from the update and now, it’s time to shift gears and take a peek at what Galaxy S3 users shouldn’t expect from the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Early & Specific Release Date Information
While several manufacturers have already released Android 4.4 KitKat release date information and better yet, released Android 4.4 KitKat itself, Samsung remains silent about its plans for Android 4.4, something that we don’t expect to change until after the company finishes rolling out Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2.
In fact, Galaxy S3 users shouldn’t expect Samsung to detail, much at all, as the company is usually extremely light on the details when it comes to Android software upgrades. At this point, we don’t expect to hear anything other than vague release date information ahead of the actual release dates, information that likely won’t come from Samsung itself.
Instead, Galaxy S3 users will likely see unofficial, leaked information point to vague release windows. In fact, we’ve already seen this occur with a possible leak pointing to an update by the end of April. While we should see details start to firm up as we push further int0 2014, those who are looking for early information likely won’t find much of anything. And if we do see leaks, expect them to be like last week’s and be very non-specific.
Official Release Dates
In addition to receiving little to no specific release date information ahead of time, Galaxy S3 users shouldn’t expect any official release dates to emerge. While Samsung and carriers will likely offer vague release windows like “coming weeks” or “soon” they very rarely commit to specific release dates so as not to set expectations. Remember, software release dates can change very abruptly.
Now, we’ve seen some carriers keep users in the loop. Australian carrier Telstra is one of them. Problem is, its release dates are typically estimated release dates, and not concrete ones making them difficult to count on. So, at this point, with Telstra in mind, we don’t expect to see any concrete, official, one hundred percent accurate release dates emerge ahead of time.
Release Deep in 2014
So how about the timing? Well, already, we’ve seen a rumor suggest that the Galaxy S3 could get the update by the end of April. While the authenticity of the document is in flux, there is no denying that this timing makes some sense. We’ve put forth a theory about how the Galaxy S3 likely won’t get the software until the Galaxy S5 arrives. The Android 4.4 KitKat update is also likely going to be viewed as far less crucial than Android 4.3 as Android 4.3 is needed for Galaxy Gear support.
So, we don’t see Samsung rushing to update the Galaxy S3 or any of its phones. And that means that Q2 makes quite a bit of sense to us. Get the Galaxy S5 out, get the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 updated, then move to the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. While we could see a roll out in Q2, users shouldn’t expect a wait much longer than that.
Android 4.4 KitKat is a smaller, incremental update and thus, we don’t see it taking all year to test and apply to devices. Don’t expect the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 update to roll out past the middle of next year.
Huge Gap Between U.S. Release Dates
While we expect there to be a larger gap between international updates and the U.S., we don’t expect there to be massive gaps between updates in the United States. What we mean is that we shouldn’t see lengthy gaps between the AT&T Galaxy S3 and Sprint Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 updates for instance. Typically, the roll outs are staggered but we usually see a flurry of updates emerge rather than a slow roll out.
At this point, we wouldn’t be shocked to see all five major Android 4.4 KitKat updates deployed within the same month. Carriers don’t like to give other carriers an edge.
Lack of Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat Update Leaks
There will be those Galaxy S3 owners that don’t want to wait for the official software to arrive. And fortunately for them, we don’t expect there to be a lack of Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update leaks. Usually, we see a couple of leaks emerge ahead of time, often well in advance, though the software is typically test firmware rather than an official update.
We don’t expect there to be zero Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat leaks. Instead, users with the know-how should be able to install Android 4.4 ahead of the official OTA roll out. Of course, we don’t advise novice users to use the leaked software but with several months to go before the OTA arrives, now might be the time to study up on how to install unofficial test software from Samsung.
Android 4.3-Like Roll Out
Samsung’s Android 4.3 roll out has been a mess with updates being pulled and users running into major issues. One has to wonder whether the company’s engineers were under insane deadlines in order to push out these updates for the Galaxy Gear. Perhaps testing wasn’t at rigorous as it was with other updates. We also have to imagine that issues that is was supposedly having with Android 4.2 may have carried over.
We don’t expect the Android 4.4 KitKat update to mirror the Android 4.3 roll out. Samsung won’t be under the same pressure and our guess is that it will have learned its lesson with Android 4.3. If it hasn’t the company risks further alienating customers that were affected by the assortment of issues that led to the Galaxy S3 update being pulled in the UK and the Galaxy S4 update being pulled in the U.S.