Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat Update: What U.S. Users Can Expect

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update started rolling out earlier this month. However, as we head into the month of February, it’s still missing in the United States. In an effort to set expectations for Galaxy Note 3 owners in the U.S., we want to take a look at what we expect from the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update for the U.S. specifically.

Earlier this month, Samsung started rolling out its Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We say surprisingly because it came without warning, without a change log and it arrived ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Typically, Galaxy Note updates fall in behind Galaxy S Android updates.

At the moment, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update is limited to a few different regions including Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia, Netherlands, Thailand, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Germany. At the moment, there are only two variants that have seen the update, the SM-N900 and the SM-N9005.

What this means is that there are tons of Galaxy Note 3 owners still on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, waiting for Samsung to push out their Android 4.4 KitKat update. The update remains missing inside the United States and it’s still not clear when the update will be landing for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.

Ahead of the update, we want to take a look at how we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update to play out inside of the United States.

Android 4.4 KitKat Roll Out Coming Soon

Right now, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update is stalled in the aforementioned regions. The last time that we saw movement was on January 20th. We aren’t sure why the update’s roll out has ceased for the time being though it could be because Samsung had to go back to the drawing board to fix a major “issue” with accessory compatibility.

Whatever the case may be, we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update to hit the United States within the next couple of weeks. For one, we’ve already seen the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 update leak out and from the looks of things, it appears to be relatively stable. That’s a good sign.

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U.S. carriers typically are only a few weeks behind the rest of the curve when it comes to updates for current flagship models so it would be surprising to see an Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade months out instead of weeks out.

So at this point, even with the newly discovered issue, it’s hard to imagine the start of the U.S. Galaxy Note 3 roll out taking place beyond the months of February or March. Users will want to remain patient.

Staggered Release Dates

Very rarely do we see U.S. carriers roll out software updates on the same day. We saw it with the Sprint and Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates and it caught us off guard. It all comes down to when carriers, and Samsung, complete testing making it a very random process. Generally, this means staggered release dates and that’s what we’re expecting for the Galaxy Note 3 in the United States.

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We should see one or two carriers kick things off with the other carriers following either a few days or a few weeks behind. We tend to see a cluster of updates emerge once the initial roll out begins.

U.S. Cellular Update That Isn’t First

U.S. Cellular, the nation’s fifth largest carrier, has improved when it comes to the speed of its updates. However, it’s typically not at the front of the pack in terms of timing. It wasn’t for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates and we have a hard time imaging that it will be first to the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.

Anything is possible but we’re drawing off a track record that extends across a number of years and that track record suggests that it will either be in the middle of the pack or at the back.

U.S. Cellular Galaxy Note 3 users would be wise to temper expectations heading into the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update roll out.

Similar, But Unique Updates

We expect the actual Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates in the United States to be relatively similar. We should see the addition of new Android 4.4 KitKat features including emoji support, wireless printing and more. In fact, the international Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update brought virtually all of Google’s KitKat features to the table.

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Users in the United States should expect the same though they should also expect these updates to differ from one another. Carriers historically have used these major Android updates to deliver carrier specific fixes to to their software. Often times, we also see carrier-specific enhancements or feature additions.

The point here is that we should see carriers add their own flavor to the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update, particularly because for some of these Galaxy Note 3 models, it will be the first update since launch.

Accessories to Work

The major issue that we mentioned earlier? Well, it’s an apparent bug that is affecting some third-party Galaxy Note 3 accessories. When Android 4.4 KitKat touched down, owners of some Spigen accessories in particular complained that the update had killed their functionality. Samsung initially denied that it had anything to do with Android 4.4 before it conceded that it did, in fact, have everything to do with Android 4.4.

Samsung promised a fix for the issue in a later update though we expect the company to bake in fixes for the unreleased Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates. We can’t even imagine the headache that Samsung would endure if it rolled out the update with this bug on board across the planet. The complaints would be loud.

So, we expect accessories to work properly in the United States once Android 4.4 KitKat arrives. If they don’t, well, we would imagine that a separate fix would roll out soon afterward.

To Hear About Familiar Issues

The update should come with bug fixes but we expect to hear the usual complaints from Samsung Galaxy Note 3 owners. After almost every Android update, big or small, device owners complain about negative impact on battery life, connectivity issues, and Bluetooth problems. Those are almost always at the front and center of any forum.

Galaxy Note 3 vs iPad mini 2-5

Whether or not they were caused by the update itself or the user is up for debate but we expect to hear similar complaints about the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We also expect carriers to stay quiet about potential fixes and users to crusade against carriers on forums, per usual. It happens after every update.

Of course, there will be plenty of other Galaxy Note 3 owners who hear about the issues but experience nothing at all. This type of uneven experience is to be expected.

Silence

Finally, expect U.S. carriers to remain quiet about this update all the way up until the release day. Carriers tend not to disclose release date information in an effort not to set expectations. In other words, exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to do here.

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Instead, we usually see them announce the roll outs on the day of the roll outs themselves. At that point, they will be happy to provide change logs and attempt to answer questions about the update itself. Until then though, expect the carriers to hold their cards close to their chest.

Comments

    • JiN says

      That seems to be par for the course on this website nowadays. I usually skip through the articles to see if there’s anything useful. What he didn’t mention is all the breaking of functionality this update is causing:

      App Ops no longer works
      Less functionality of SD card
      IR blaster not working
      Call recording not working

      Even though the update is available for me I’m not doing it until these problems are confirmed to be fixed. Plus, the removal of mass storage mode on Android means I have to rip off the cover and remove the mSD card every time I want to synch my data. This might be my last Android phone.

  1. Rob Carver says

    I bought my Note 3 from (USA) T-Mobile, but had to switch to AT&T because of service issues. Which roll-out am I waiting for? I suspect it will be T-Mobile’s, because the model numbers are slightly different between T-Mobile and AT&T phones.

  2. Sergio says

    I received the KitKat update for my SM-N9005 yesterday here in New York, took around an hour to download.

  3. Paul says

    I have T-mobile note 3 in the USA and I just received kit kat!! The update weighted at 419mb!

  4. Joze says

    The above information is wrong: There is no version Android 4.4 for Samsung Galaxy Note 3 available in Slovenia. Checked with the main slovene mobile provider Telekom and the SAmsung distributor for Slovenia RAM2. Still only 4.3 version Android.

  5. Melissa says

    This article really did suck- no real “what to expect” information at all…2 thumbs down!!!

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