Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat Updates: What We Know So Far
While many companies have announced Android 4.4 KitKat updates and release date details for those updates, one company in particular remains silent about its plans for Android 4.4 KitKat. Unfortunately that company is Samsung, maker of popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
In September, Google announced its latest version of Android, Android 4.4 KitKat. Initially, it did not say what would be on board the update and instead, it waited until the end of October to release details regarding the replacement for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Unsurprisingly, the Android 4.4 KitKat update was not a major overhaul but an incremental update aimed at building on the foundation left behind by Android 4.3.
What was surprising was that companies like HTC, Motorola and Sony came out of the gates with a ton of information about updates for specific devices. HTC even went as far as to confirm release dates for some of its HTC One variants. In the world of Android updates, this is virtually unheard of. Historically, companies have remained silent about specific release dates until much closer to the actual date.
One company has sadly subscribed to that history and unfortunately, it is the company that is considered to be the largest Android manufacturer in the world.
Thus far, Samsung has remained silent about Android 4.4 KitKat. The company hasn’t announced any specific updates nor has it shared any release date details with its customers. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a bead on what the company is planning to do with Google’s brand new update.
Thanks to leaks and confirmations from a company not called Samsung, the Android 4.4 KitKat update picture for Galaxy owners has started to become clear. Here, we take a look at what we know thus far about the Android 4.4 KitKat updates for Samsung’s biggest smartphones, the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung’s current flagship, the Galaxy S4, recently was updated to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the update that Google first released back in July of last year. Android 4.3 for the Galaxy S4 wasn’t quite as substantial as it was for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 but it was a big update nonetheless offering Samsung KNOX and Galaxy Gear support among other things.
Now that the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update dust has settled, the roll out has been over for weeks in the United States, owners have turned their attention to the next update.
Samsung isn’t saying what that update will be but it doesn’t have to. It’s clear that Android 4.4 KitKat is next. Samsung itself hasn’t confirmed the update but French carrier SFR has. SFR claims that the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update is planned for late January or early February though the carrier hasn’t committed to a specific date.
Typically, carrier updates come after unlocked and unbranded devices get their fill so it could be that we’re only a few days away from a Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. As for the specific version, we suspect that it will be Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest version.
HTC has committed to that version for its HTC One so we don’t see why Samsung would offer an older version of the software to owners of its flagship model.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a year older than the Galaxy S4. It will turn two in May. However, it went almost an entire year without a major Android update as 2012 saw Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean alone roll out. Samsung skipped Android 4.2 Jelly Bean for unspecified reasons.
Google recommends that companies adhere to an 18 month rule when it comes to software support, the company axed the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.4 KitKat because of this rule, and that has caused worry amongst the Galaxy S3 community. And rightfully so. Making matters worse, Samsung hasn’t announced an update for the Galaxy S3 just yet. But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t heard rumors.
Several weeks ago, we saw a leak suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S4 update was planned for January, just like SFR says. That same leak suggested that Samsung was planning a Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update for April. As of right now, that’s all we know about the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Besides that tidbit, we know that the Galaxy S3 is an extremely popular device and one that is still in the hands of millions of users. It’s not a typical device, it’s one of the most popular smartphones of all time and thus, it would be shocking to see Samsung kill off support after Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
We’ve heard quite a bit about the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. In early November, we heard that the update had entered testing. Testing is required before companies release any final software update. We’ve also seen the update rumored for release in January alongside the Galaxy S4, something that was seemingly confirmed by the timing provided by SFR.
So at this point, the update looks like it will start rolling out within the next few weeks. Keep in mind, Samsung typically starts with the Galaxy S before it rolls out new software for the Galaxy Note. So, that could mean a Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update followed by a Galaxy Note 3 update. We don’t expect the opposite.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 is getting older. However, it won’t turn two until September and it, like the Galaxy S3, only received one major Android update last year in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. So, owners should know that it’s unlikely to get left behind on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.
Rumors have pointed to a release in the April time frame, alongside the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Samsung hasn’t confirmed that timing and it likely won’t for some time if it’s indeed true. At the very least, users should know that an update is not imminent, particularly when there are still some Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 updates left to roll out.
U.S. carriers haven’t coughed up any details regarding any of these Android 4.4 KitKat updates and likely won’t.