The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update has rolled out to a number of devices but it still hasn’t landed for the Verizon Galaxy S4. With that in mind, we take a look at what we know about the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update and make some predictions about its eventual release.
Back in February, Sprint became the first major carrier to roll out the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. In fact, Sprint’s roll out signaled the start of the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat release because in the days after Sprint’s push, the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update started popping up everywhere.
First, it was U.S. Cellular that hopped on the bandwagon. It rolled its update out just days after Sprint released its version. Next it was AT&T, a carrier that is typically near the back of the line when it comes to Android update timing.
Shortly after that, the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update rolled out, leaving the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update as the only major update still remaining. We say major because smaller carriers like C Spire and Cricket still owe their customers Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates as well.
Like Verizon Galaxy S4 users, we had a feeling that this would happen. Verizon is notorious for being slow to major Android updates especially Samsung Galaxy Android updates. Since the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update rolled out weeks ago, we haven’t seen any sign from Verizon, leaving many owners frustrated.
— Jeremy Whitlock (@whitlockjc) March 27, 2014
While we wait for Verizon to deliver the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update, we want to take a look at what we expect from Verizon’s missing Galaxy S4 KitKat update.
Release Within Weeks
There is no reason to believe that Verizon will skip the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Its rivals have rolled out the update and it’s not going to want to give its rivals any kind of advantage going forward.
Weeks ago, we heard that Verizon had the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update in internal testing. We saw no physical proof but we considered the information to be reliable. We often here rumblings about updates ahead of time, some of it pans out, some of it doesn’t so we’re bringing this up for discussion purposes only. Internal testing time varies from carrier to carrier, update to update, so it’s difficult to say whether the update is close or not. We do expect a release this month though.
Our reasoning is pretty basic. When Verizon is late to a major Android update, it’s usually not any more than a few weeks behind the curve. For example, it released the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates just a few weeks after its rivals. It’s been a few weeks since the last Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update rolled out and the pressure is mounting.
A release beyond April would be extremely surprising given Verizon’s history and given that the Galaxy S4 is one of the carrier’s more popular smartphones.
Verizon to Remain Silent
Expect Verizon to continue to remain silent. We’ve seen people badgering it on places like Twitter and Facebook. Social media managers probably aren’t going to know anything about the Android 4.4 KitKat update release. And if they do, they probably aren’t going to share it ahead of time.
Usually, Verizon stays silent up until the day of the software’s release. At this point, given its reluctance to announce anything concrete, we’re expecting it to do the same. Wait until the update is ready, post the information on the Galaxy S4’s software landing page, announce it in a quick blog post, and roll it out.
While the lack of transparency is frustrating, just remember that software release dates can change in a heartbeat and Verizon is likely refusing to relinquish information because it doesn’t want to set itself up for failure. Those hoping for answers from Samsung probably won’t get any either. It leaves these types of details up to individual carriers.
We expect the weeks between now and the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update’s eventual release to be leak free. Very rarely do Samsung Galaxy Android updates leak for U.S. devices. When they do, it’s usually much earlier in the ball game. The AT&T Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates leaked back in January, way before their release dates.
While we could certainly be wrong, we’re expecting the first, and only official Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat release to be the final version of the update. If something does emerge from the shadows between now and its roll out, it will most likely emerge here on the XDA-Developer forums.
The closest we may get to a leak is this supposed leak from SXTP-Developers that appears to show the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update in the wild.
Familiar but Different Update
Expect the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to be similar to the updates that have rolled out for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and a bunch of other carriers around the world. While it may be late to the party, there is a very good chance it won’t have Galaxy S5 features on board when it arrives.
Not only have other carriers set a precedent but Samsung itself confirmed that its Android 4.4 KitKat updates would be incremental and small. Key features will include:
- Location Menu: An integrated location menu enables users to easily activate GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks, while simultaneously checking the battery usage of apps running location service capabilities.
- Enhanced Messaging: Enables users to choose between Messages or Hangouts as their preferred default messaging application, and select from a larger assortment of updated Emoji icons.
- Upgraded Google Mobile Service (GMS) apps: Users can automatically back up photos and video and can open, view, rename and share Google Docs and files.
We do expect Verizon to put its own twist on the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update through. Unique enhancements and fixes are probable though we expect any changes to be small.
While we do expect there to be some fixes on board, it’s clear that there are some problems Verizon needs to resolve, we expect problems to linger past Android 4.4 KitKat. Very rarely are software updates able to extinguish every single problem.
Same Big Android 4.4 KitKat Problem
Finally, expect to encounter the same Android 4.4 KitKat problem that other Galaxy S4 owners have run into with Google’s new update.
As we’ve pointed out, after installing Android 4.4, some applications will no longer be able create, modify, or remove files and folders on the external SD card. Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 owners have been complaining about the issue for weeks and unfortunately, it’s not a problem that is linked to an individual carrier.
There are workarounds for the issue but they are either extremely tedious or require rooting the device. For many, this won’t be a problem. For many Verizon Galaxy S4 users, it will be an enduring headache. Verizon Galaxy S4 owners should expect to encounter this problem and heavy microSD card users will want to take a look at some of the workarounds in order to decide if installing Android 4.4 is worth it.