Android 4.4.3 KitKat Update Will Roll Out Slowly

The mysterious KTU84F Sprint Nexus 5 Android update that appeared over the weekend is, according to a Sprint representative, the Nexus 5 Android 4.4.3 KitKat update that has been rumored for weeks. And thanks to Sprint, we now know that this new Nexus 5 update is going to be pushing out slowly.

Several weeks ago, Google’s Android 4.4.3 KitKat update popped up in the rumor mill. Rumors suggested that Android 4.4.3 KitKat would replace Android 4.4.2 KitKat as Google’s most current version of Android and that the update would be landing for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 users in the weeks ahead.

As time passed, the information became more and more specific. The Android 4.4.3 KitKat update would be a major bug fixer for Nexus devices including the Nexus 5, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 and it would also come for the Moto X and Google’s arsenal of Google Play Edition devices including the HTC One. Last week, the release was rumored to be a few weeks away though over the weekend, the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update took a bit of a turn.

Nexus 5 Problem

Yesterday, Sprint announced that a new Android build would start rolling out for the Nexus 5. The build, KTU84F, was not labeled as Android 4.4.3 KitKat but many, including Gotta Be Mobile, believed it to be the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update from Google. A Sprint customer service representative, in response to a question from a user, confirmed that the update is indeed Android 4.4.3 and that its updates are “rolled out in increments and can take some time to be received.”

A Sprint customer service rep says that the update is Android 4.4.3.

A Sprint customer service rep says that the update is Android 4.4.3.

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In other words, there is a reason why most Sprint Nexus 5 users have yet to see the KTU84F Android update that Sprint announced over the weekend.

Today, Sprint updated its community page and the carrier says that the update will be rolling out to users in stages between April 14th and April 21st. What this means is that the Sprint Nexus 5 KTU84F update will roll out slowly. A person claiming to be a Sprint employee shared the following information on Reddit and it appears to match Sprint’s comments on its community site:

  • Google does NOT offer client-initiated downloads.
  • The Google Network Initiated Push begins on 4/14/14 and the roll out continues through 4/21/14.
  • It could take up to 7 days beyond 4/21/14 for customers to receive the update depending on when their device checks in with the Google servers.

This isn’t new and it’s standard procedure for Nexus Android updates. Google-issued updates can take weeks to complete. Months ago, Android engineer Dan Morrill explained Google’s process:

Rollouts are conducted in phases. Typically they start at 1% of devices for around 24 – 48 hours; we watch the return rates and resulting device checkins and error reports (if any), and make sure nothing looks wrong before sending it to more. Then typically it goes to 25%, 50%, 100% over the course of a week or two.

What the percentages mean is that when your device checks in, it has a 1% chance (for example) of being offered the OTA. If it doesn’t (randomly) get an offer, it will never get an offer until the next batch.

IOW, once your device checks in and gets turned down, that’s it until the next batch. Mashing on the “check for updates” button just causes your device to check in again, and get automatically turned down again. Think about how that makes your device feel! WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE PHONES?!

That said, once the new batch does start, hitting that button does give you a new roll of the dice — but once. Since devices usually only check in for system updates every 24 hours (I think? Certainly on a many-hours basis) this can get you your shot sooner than it would happen on its own.

So, mash away. :) Just be patient, and mashing on it more often than once or twice a day isn’t going to gain you anything.

Edit: also, keep in mind that this isn’t first-come/first-served. You’re not racing other devices to get your slot in the current batch, or something.

In other words, the Sprint Nexus 5 Android 4.4.3 KitKat update probably will not be the only Nexus Android 4.4.3 KitKat update to roll out slowly. The Android 4.4.3 KitKat update is expected to land for Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and Nexus 4 users as well and Google will likely roll those updates out in batches.

Given that the Sprint Nexus 5 Android 4.4.3 update now has an official roll out window, we expect these other updates to roll out in the near future, perhaps as soon as today.

Nexus-7-LTE-Review-2013-Verizon-3

Sprint says that the update will deliver not only enable Sprint Spark band 26 and band 41 but that it will also bring miscellaneous updates to the Android operating system.

Android 4.4.3 KitKat rumors suggest that the update would be chock full of bug fixes including solutions for VPN problems, Bluetooth issues, and more. In all, the software is expected to contain over three dozen fixes for Google’s Android 4.4.2 KitKat software.

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Google’s Android update roll outs typically hit Nexus devices first before landing for other non-Nexus devices. Google Play Edition smartphones and tablets and the Moto X should get Android 4.4.3 in the weeks after Google’s Nexus smartphones though specific dates remain out of focus.

Comments

    • Souplese says

      Good lord! Is the paint dry yet? Been waiting how many months now? Next time, Google, maybe consider ironing out the bugs beforehand? Embarrassing that Kit Kat had basic camera and and battery issues, in addition to the assortment of other bugs, on their flagship Nexus 5 marring n otherwise great product. It’s 2014, put away the glasses and work on basic software quality control.

      • Camaban says

        Worth noting here that an operating system is painfully huge and complex. Additionally, apparently common bugs are able to only be common in a huge sample size. Smaller (QA dept-size, even big QA departments) sample sizes are capable of missing out on something that raises hell in the wild.

        Then there’s also the question of when something is “good enough” rather than perfect. For it to be “good enough” it only really needs to be better than what it’s replacing. If you’re waiting on perfect, however, Android would still be unavailable to us.

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