Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: What to Expect

Samsung’s still pushing out Android 4.4 KitKat updates to its Galaxy smartphones and tablets but that doesn’t mean that the company’s forgotten about Google’s new Android 5.0 Lollipop update. With Samsung rumored to have several Android 5.0 updates in its future, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Lollipop update and its release.

In January, Samsung started rolling out its Android 4.4.2 KitKat update. The first update landed for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 which, at the time, was one of the company’s flagship smartphones. Samsung’s roll out took place a few months after Google pushed out Android 4.4 KitKat for its Nexus devices and right around the time that other Android manufacturers started making moves of their own.



It’s now November and Samsung’s Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Android 4.4.4 KitKat deployments are still going strong. In fact, we’ve see numerous Android 4.4 KitKat details emerge in recent weeks for top devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the aging former flagship, Samsung Galaxy S3. And while Samsung remains focused on Android 4.4, it’s clear that the company will be making a shift in the near future.

Android 5.0 Lollipop details have been surfacing at a fairly steady rate despite the fact that Samsung itself remains silent about its plans for Galaxy smartphone and tablet users. With details swirling and Galaxy smartphone and tablet users looking for guidance, we want to take a stab at predicting Samsung’s Lollipop future.


Here, we take a look at our expectations for Galaxy S4 users and detail our Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update expectations. Our goal is to get you better prepared for the days, weeks and months ahead.


Samsung Galaxy S4 Lollipop Release Date in Q1 or Q2

Let’s start with the one of the burning questions that’s probably on your mind if you’re in possession of a Samsung Galaxy S4. We’re still not sure exactly when Samsung is planning to get the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update out to users but we have an educated guess.

A rumor from SamMobile points to an arrival in 2015. Early 2015. Now, as we’ve pointed out, the timing makes a ton of sense. The Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 updates are expected to start rolling out in November or December. We also wouldn’t be surprised if they pushed out in January. Roll outs for Samsung’s older devices typically arrive weeks after the pushes for its most current devices so an arrival in Q1 or Q2 of 2015 makes the most sense.


A roll out in 2015, with the update in the state that it’s in, is unlikely. A roll out in 2015, weeks after the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4, the two devices currently in the spotlight, makes far more sense from a timing standpoint and from a testing standpoint. We would not be surprised if the update pushed out somewhere between February and March with April being a possibility as well.


We expect the Galaxy S4 release date to be one of the very first for Samsung, flagship devices are typically a priority, but there’s definitely going to be a wait involved so temper your expectations.

U.S. Carriers Among First to Android 5.0 Lollipop

We expect U.S. carriers to be among the first to offer the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update. There’s a precedent here. U.S. carriers were among the first to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for Galaxy smartphones and tablets. They were among the first to the Android 4.4.2 KitKat updates from Samsung. And they are among the only carriers offering Android 4.4.4 KitKat. The U.S. is a critical market and it’s been in focus for quite some time and we’d be surprised if U.S. carriers, and Samsung, made Galaxy S4 users wait.

Sprint First to Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop

Specifically, we expect Sprint to be the first, or among the first, U.S. carriers to deliver the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update in the United States. Again, this prediction is based on Sprint’s track record. Not just with Samsung devices but with Android devices in general.


The carrier, for whatever reason, has really stepped up its software game in recent years. Sprint is extremely communicative with its customers when it comes to Android updates and it’s also been one of the fastest to software update releases. For instance, Sprint was the first carrier in the world to release the Galaxy S4 KitKat update. We would be surprised if Sprint lagged with this update. It’s remained pretty consistent over the last year or so.


Staggered Approach in Silence (U.S.)

Galaxy S4 users should expect U.S. carriers to take the approach that they always take when it comes to Samsung Galaxy Android updates and Android updates in general. U.S. carriers typically remain silent up until their actual release date and they usually roll out their updates over the course of a few days or so. Sprint, for instance, likes to slow roll its updates so that it can catch potential issues. We also tend to see several release dates rather than a single release date. Expect that for the Galaxy S4.


We also expect smaller region and pre-paid carriers to deliver the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop up date but those on carriers like C Spire and MetroPCS should expect them to be last in line to the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update. Smaller carriers almost always lag behind major ones so we could see these releases taking place in Q2.

The key thing here though is the silence. We always see tons of Galaxy users ask carriers tons of questions about timing. And every year, we see U.S. carriers offer vague responses. We expect the exact same thing here. Carriers don’t want to set Android 5.0 Lollipop release date expectations which is both a gift and a curse.


Early Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Details for Other Carriers

Galaxy S4 users on European and Australian carriers should expect them to release their usual Android update schedules and confirm Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update details early. Carriers like SFR, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone often confirm updates weeks, sometimes months in advance. Even Canadian carrier Rogers likes to confirm updates early and keep consumers in the loop. U.S. carriers still don’t subscribe to this philosophy.

We probably won’t see a ton of Android 5.0 Lollipop details roll out early but don’t be surprised to see Android 5.0 Lollipop release information detailed well in advance. Just remember, ETA’s are often pushed back due to testing behind the scenes.

Lengthy Roll Out

We expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop roll out itself to take several months at least. Samsung has an absurd amount of Galaxy S4 variants in an absurd amount of territories around the world. These roll outs take time. Just look at Android 4.4 KitKat, an update that first landed in January and is still rolling out in full force.

If we had to take a stab at the overall time frame, we’d say that the Galaxy S4 Lollipop update roll out is going to take six months or more to complete. There are always stragglers and there are always delays behind the scenes. We’re expecting an extremely slow Android 5.0 Lollipop roll out from Samsung and the Galaxy S4.

Limited Feature Set

A leak showcased some of the features that will be coming on board the Galaxy S4’s Android 5.0 Lollipop update. It’s going to come with a number of changes to Samsung’s TouchWiz apps and it will feature some of the changes that Google delivered to Nexus smartphone and tablet users. While it will almost certainly be a big update, we expect it to be watered down compared to the Galaxy S5.

Older devices almost never get the full feature set. Samsung’s in the business of selling devices and by stripping out features, it makes devices like the Galaxy S5 more attractive. The Galaxy S4 is also running old hardware. New software often times does not agree with old hardware and companies are forced to strip out features to compensate. Look for it to be a solid update but it’s not going to be as big as the updates for Samsung’s newer devices.

Tons of Bug Fixes

We also expect the Galaxy S4 Lollipop update to come with a ton of bug fixes. Samsung will load up fixes for TouchWiz issues and we expect individual carriers to put their own spin on these updates with some enhancements and fixes of their own. This always happens with major Android updates and we see no reason why it won’t with the Galaxy S4.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Problems

We also expect the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update to deliver some problems of its own. Major updates like Android 5.0 almost always bring bugs and hiccups. Android 4.4 KitKat was problematic for many Galaxy S4 users and Android 5.0 Lollipop won’t be bug free. Not happening, software updates are never bug free.

While we can’t predict the exact nature of these Android 5.0 problems, we can say that we expect there to be loads of smaller issues and maybe a few bigger problems that need to get worked out. You’ll need to be prepared for the release. Carriers will be prepared for with bug fix updates though those typically take a few weeks, or months, to roll out.