The Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update could be the last major update for the former flagship and thus, it’s an update that is coveted by Galaxy S3 users. With details swirling and Galaxy S3 users continuing to ask us questions, we want to take a look at the most important things to know right now about the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Back in May of 2012, Samsung took the stage in London, England and confirmed the Galaxy S3 for arrival. At the time, the device was considered top of the line thanks to its impressive hardware and its software which included the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update and Samsung’s new Nature UX.
As the Galaxy S3 has gotten older, its hardware has remained the same but its software has changed dramatically. Over a span of nearly two years, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has received a number of big time Android software updates.
First it was Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, an update that arrived a few months after its launch. Next, it was the Premium Suite that delivered Multi-Window View and a number of other high-powered software features. Last year, the Galaxy S3 skipped Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and went straight to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, an update that kept the device fresh.
Next in line is the Android 4.4 KitKat update, the current version of Android, and an update that is poised to coincide with the Samsung Galaxy S3’s second birthday.
Over the past month or so, we’ve started to hear more and more about the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update as it moved from rumor to official. With details and other Android 4.4 KitKat updates swirling, we’ve been asked a number of questions about the current state of the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Here, we answer those questions and take a look at the five most important things Galaxy S3 users need to know about its upcoming upgrade to Android 4.4.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat Confirmed
The most important thing that Samsung Galaxy S3 users need to know is that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update is officially confirmed. Samsung USA confirmed the Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat for arrival along with a number of other Android 4.4 KitKat updates, including one for the Galaxy Note 2.
Shortly after that update was confirmed for the U.S., Samsung Poland confirmed it for release though the regional arm was careful to confirm it for the Galaxy S3 LTE and not the regular 1GB version of the aging flagship.Samsung Poland also says that the Galaxy S3 Mini will get Android 4.4, something that Samsung USA confirmed as well.
Since then, we’ve seen just one carrier confirmation. Sprint, who has been at the forefront of just about every major Android software update, says that it will be releasing a Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update at some point in the future.
If Sprint is releasing the update then other U.S. carriers likely will too. Same goes for carriers around the world that play host to the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE.
Bleak Future, Long Waits
A short time ago, Samsung Poland reaffirmed the information it dished out earlier this year. The regional arm told SammyToday that it will be updating the Galaxy S3 LTE to Android 4.4 KitKat. The company claimed that 1GB of RAM wasn’t going to be enough to handle the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
Unfortunately, one of the more popular variants of the Galaxy S3, the GT-i9300 international model, utilizes 1GB of RAM. Samsung Poland has thrown its future into doubt and so has Samsung Arabia. Samsung Arabia recently said that it currently has no plans to upgrade the Galaxy S3 GT-i9300 to Android 4.4 KitKat. That could certainly change but that stance isn’t an encouraging one.
Another bad sign: SamMobile’s Faryaab Sheikh says that Samsung has yet to start testing the Galaxy S3 GT-i9300 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Testing usually takes weeks, if not months.
The news isn’t good for all Galaxy S3 LTE owners. While carriers have announced Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat updates, we haven’t seen any carriers other than Sprint confirm the update for arrival. Carriers, especially those in Europe and Australia, will often confirm updates well in advance. This is a sign that updates could be pretty far off in the distance.
Australian carrier Optus still hasn’t pushed out its Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates. Neither has Telstra. This is another sign that points to potential release lag. It’s not something that will affect everyone but there will likely be devices that are months behind the rest of the pack. Samsung roll outs often take months to complete so this isn’t surprising to see.
Release Date Rumors Point to April or May
We’ve seen a number of update confirmations but we’re still not exactly sure when the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update roll out will commence. Rumors have pointed to two very specific windows. The first, March or April. The second, April or May. So at this point, there is reason to believe that the roll out will start next month or the month after.
Samsung does not confirm release dates ahead of time and usually leaves those details to individual carriers. Some carriers are extremely transparent while others choose not to release any details. Most carriers in the United States are the latter.
You Likely Won’t Get Galaxy S5 Features
Android 4.4 KitKat is an incremental upgrade and isn’t nearly as big as some of the Android updates that Google has delivered in the past. That doesn’t mean that it’s not important, it just means that it’s small.
The Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat updates have delivered KitKat features and not much else. Samsung Android updates will often times bring big changes to TouchWiz but that hasn’t been the case with this update. From the looks of things, the Galaxy S3 will be in the same boat as the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4.
Samsung and Sprint both point to a similar update for the Galaxy S3 which means that those hoping for Galaxy S5 software features should start tempering expectations.
This Is Probably Your Last Update
Android 4.4 KitKat is likely going to be the last major Samsung Galaxy S3 Android update. Google recommends 18 months of software support though companies like Samsung typically stretch it to two.
The Galaxy S3 is going on two years old and thus, Android 4.4 KitKat very well could be the end of the road, at least when it comes to major updates. Smaller bug fix updates might roll out periodically but they won’t be nearly as big as a major Android upgrade. Samsung Poland’s comments shouldn’t instill any confidence in Galaxy S3 owners either.