Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 Release: What to Expect Now

In the past few weeks, we’ve started to hear more and more about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Most of the details remain firmly in the shadows but we’re starting to see Samsung and its carrier partners reach out with specific details.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 aren’t getting any younger and its older devices that typically get the short end of the stick when it comes to Android updates. Google recommends 18 months of software support and it’s a policy that companies have adhered to in the past. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has already blown by that date and the 18 month mark is fast approaching for the Galaxy Note 2.

This is why Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 users around the world probably got excited when Samsung and its carrier partners started talking about Android 4.4 KitKat for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. Any time a major Android update is confirmed in and around the 18 month mark, it’s an exciting time.

Earlier this year, Samsung USA and Samsung Poland confirmed Android 4.4 KitKat updates for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. We’ve also seen carriers confirm specific updates for their devices though information does remain scarce.

While we wait for Samsung and its carrier partners to fill us in on the rest of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update release details, we want to share our updated expectations. Armed with this new information, here is what we expect from the release of these upcoming KitKat updates.

Android 4.4 Roll Outs by June

When Samsung USA and Samsung Poland confirmed Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat updates, they were careful not to reveal specific release information. Fortunately, we have seen some credible release date details surface in recent weeks that point to releases within the next few weeks.

Early Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update rumors pointed to March or April. More recent information points to April or May for both the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 KitKat releases. A leak suggests that the international roll out will begin in April or May while Australian carrier Optus says that it expects to deliver the Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update in April.

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In other words, every single leak, every single detail points to an arrival within the next eight weeks or so. While nothing is set in stone, it’s clear that Samsung is targeting March, April or May. And thus, users should expect to see many of these updates roll out by the beginning of summer.

Samsung Arabia, which said that it would roll out the GT-i9300 Android 4.3 update by the end of March, took back that claim and now says that it has no plans to upgrade that device to Android 4.4. This lines up with what we heard from Samsung Poland and it means that 1GB versions of the Galaxy S3 could go without Android 4.4.

Close Proximity to One Another

If history is any indication, and we think it is, these two updates will roll out in and around the same time. We saw Samsung push out its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 within a few days of each other and the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates have been keeping pace for several weeks now.

In fact, we saw Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular all roll out their Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates within a few days of each other.

With that in mind, and release date rumors all pointing to the same release window, users should expect the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update to be deployed around the same the time.

More Confirmations Soon…

We fully expect to see more Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat confirmations soon. Optus is not the only carrier that likes to keep its customer base informed about Android updates. There are plenty of others that not only like to keep users in the loop but like the coverage that Android release date announcements bring.

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Obviously, it’s extremely hard to predict who will be next in line though we can say that French carrier SFR is almost always at the forefront of Android release date announcements so we would not be surprised if it were the next carrier to announce details. SFR releases an updated schedule every month which means that we could see details emerge in the next two weeks.

Canadian carrier Rogers is another carrier to keep an eye one. It typically announces details well in advance, weeks or even months before the start of its roll outs.

…But Probably Not in U.S.

Sprint surprised a lot of people when it announced that it would be rolling out Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat updates in the future. American carriers typically don’t announce details ahead of time so it was refreshing to see a carrier take a completely different approach and break the ice early.

While it would be fantastic to see all U.S. carriers follow suit, we expect a majority of them to stay silent about these updates. If anyone announces something ahead of time, it will probably be AT&T or U.S. Cellular. Both carriers have announced early details in the past though their track record certainly leaves something to be desired.

Most Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 users in the U.S. should expect to head into April and May in the dark.

Few Leaks, If Any

We saw Android 4.3 Jelly Bean leak ahead of time for both the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. We also saw the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates leak for AT&T ahead of schedule, all the way back in January. Point is, Samsung devices typically see software updates leak before the updates are released to the public.

Thing is, these updates are expected to roll out in the next few weeks. That leaves very little time for leaks. And given that SamMobile still hasn’t seen the updates appear on Samsung’s servers, there is a chance we may not see any leaks arrive ahead of time. The fact that we haven’t seen any leaks emerge yet is pretty telling in our opinion.

Owners in the United States should just assume that nothing will leak. Typically, leaked Galaxy updates are for international devices, not American ones.

All U.S. Carriers

If Sprint is getting the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update, there is no reason to believe that other major carriers will skip out. They won’t want to their rivals to have an advantage, particularly in a contract year where Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners will be coming off contract.

Expect an improved camera with supporting software.

Smaller carriers should roll out the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update as well. The devices on C Spire and Cricket have 2GB of RAM which should be plenty.

Sprint Among First to Both

Maybe it’s because it’s losing ground to T-Mobile and other carriers, maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, Sprint has become the number one U.S. carrier when it comes to Android updates.

Not only is the carrier communicative, it also tends to be first to upgrades. For example, it was first to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update and among the first to the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 updates. Need more? It was first to the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3 and HTC One Android 4.4 KitKat updates.

We expect the tradition to continue with the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates as Sprint looks to find its niche in a competitive market.

Verizon Last to Both

Verizon was last to Android 4.3 for the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3. It was first, along with Sprint, to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update but we still think that had more to do with Galaxy Gear sales rather than Verizon playing nice with customers.

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The carrier will be last among major carriers to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update and there is a very good chance it could be last to the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. AT&T is the only other carrier that has yet to roll out the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.

We saw a glimmer of hope with its early Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update release but 2014 has shown that Verizon is content with being last in line to these major updates.

Expect it to be last with these two.

Long Waits

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Samsung didn’t wait for the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update roll outs to complete before announcing Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades. There are still a number of devices that are waiting for their upgrade to last year’s software. And with releases lined up, there is a good chance that many of these devices will not skip straight to Android 4.4.

In other words, we expect some Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 users to endure long waits for Android 4.4. We’re probably talking several months after the initial release.

  

Comments

  1. Bill says

    Great article Adam! Thank you for the info on our glorious Note 2. We all love our Note2! We hope to hear more.

  2. Archibald says

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  3. Android OS Updates Release Times Suck says

    Android OS updates is the one caveat that I loathe most in my Android phone ownership. And probably the aspect that will eventually drive me away from Android. The carriers suck in their update participation. It always comes waaaaaaaaaay too late. In many ways I wish Samsung would abandon Android and go solely with Tizen.

  4. Michael Vincent says

    There is already a leaked 4.4.2 firmware for the note 2. check out xda-developers. I have tested it. there is only minimal change in the UI. TW used is still the old TW for note 2. notable changes, as the writer said, are that of google features. other than that, it’s the same old note 2 experience.

  5. Mike says

    I do believe AT&T will lose some customers to Sprint because of their unwillingness to be timely with updates. I may be one of them.

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