Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop Update: 9 Things the U.S. Can Expect

While the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 5.0 Lollipop update is confirmed, we still haven’t seen any U.S. carriers announce plans to release the highly anticipated update. Because of that, we continue to get tons of questions about our opinion on the U.S. roll out. Today, with those people in mind, we want to take a look at what we expect from the U.S. Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update and release.

Just a few short weeks ago, Samsung confirmed several Galaxy Android 5.0 Lollipop updates. Unsurprisingly its former flagship Galaxy Note, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, will be moving from Android 4.4 KitKat to Google’s brand new operating system dubbed Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update represents the second major update for the Galaxy Note 3, a device that arrived with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on board.


Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.0 Lollipop currently is only available for the Galaxy S5 and so far, the update’s spread to just a few Galaxy S5 models in a few different regions including the United Kingdom. The Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update, while confirmed, is still MIA in all regions including the United States, one of the largest and most competitive markets in the world.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3 -  005-XL

The U.S. Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop isn’t confirmed just yet though it’s clear that Samsung is planning a wide push to Galaxy Note 3 variants around the world and that the U.S. will probably be one of them. The silence from Samsung and its partners is killing some Samsung Galaxy Note 3 users here in the United States, especially those dealing with Android 4.4 KitKat problems.


With a Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop release confirmed but out of reach, we’ve been getting a ton of questions about the update itself and the roll out. While we don’t have all of the answers, we do have some opinions on the matter and today we want to take a look at what we expect from the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update and release inside the United States.


These are our own predictions, based on years and years of covering Samsung’s software upgrades, and our goal is to help set some basic expectations for Galaxy Note 3 users in the U.S.

Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop Update Without Warning

Surprise, the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update is rolling out. That’s exactly how you should expect the U.S. Galaxy Note 3 release to start. With little warning. Samsung’s confirmed an arrival for early 2015 but it made no mention of the United States and U.S. carriers tend to be reluctant about passing along specific, concrete release dates ahead of time.

Historically, U.S. carriers announce their plans on the day of the roll out. We could see some rumors point at specific release dates but even those are extremely rare.

LG G3 vs Galaxy Note 3 - 4


If you’re new to this process you should know that this isn’t new. Foreign carriers tend to keep their customers in the loop, U.S. carriers do not. It’s not clear why though we assume that it’s because they don’t want to set expectations. Remember, everything is dependent on testing and quite often, there are delays in the process.

We expect the U.S. to be among the first to get the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update. And with a general roll out now confirmed for early 2015, it should only be a matter of time before we see it start pushing to users in the U.S.

U.S. Galaxy Note 3 Release A Ways Out

Just don’t expect it to arrive tomorrow. We fully expect Samsung to take care of its flagship models in the United States first. The Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop updates still haven’t pushed out and we’d be shocked, shocked, if the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop beat them to the punch. Samsung and U.S. carriers almost always deliver updates to newer devices first before moving onto the last generation.

Once U.S. carriers start pushing those two updates out, the Galaxy Note 3 should be one of the next models in line. It’s old but it’s a widely adopted phone and that makes it a priority.

It’s difficult to say exactly when to expect the update though we would not expect this month. We’d also expect there to be a gap between the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop roll outs. That said, we expect this update to roll out in the first half of the year. U.S. carriers often set the pace and we’d be surprised if the U.S. lagged too much behind this “early 2015” promise from Samsung.


Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 Lollipop

We’re expecting Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Both are possible at this point and both have been mentioned as options for Galaxy flagships.

The move to one of these newer updates makes a lot of sense. They both contain numerous bug fixes for Android 5.0 Lollipop problems and those fixes will help to stabilize the Galaxy Note 3’s software.

We can’t say which one U.S. carriers will roll out but we’d expect Samsung to roll out at least some of the bug fixes found on board. Whether that’s in Android 5.0, Android 5.0.1, Android 5.0.2 form remains to be seen.

Some Carriers Slower Than Others

It’s impossible to predict specific carrier release dates but we can say this. U.S. carriers typically do not start pushing out major Android updates on the weekend. We almost always see them start to push during the week. The exact time is unpredictable. Carriers have used all sorts of Android update release times.



It’s also worth noting that U.S. carriers usually don’t release software updates all on the same day. It’s actually very rare that we see multiple roll outs start on the same day. The exact release dates are dependent on the testing process and carriers tend to not cross the finish line at the same time. We almost always see one or two carriers lagging behind the pack.

We expect the release to take several weeks or more as carrier work behind the scenes to deliver their goods. Do not expect every single update to fall on one day. This is not Apple that we’re dealing with here.

Slow Roll Outs

We expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop roll outs themselves to take place over a few days or so as Samsung, and its carrier partners, work to ensure a smooth delivery.

In the past, Samsung’s been forced to halt roll outs due to major issues. That’s one of the reasons why it, and U.S. carriers, slow roll their Android updates. This way, they can identify major issues that pop up and stop the update process to attend to them.

Some of you will get the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update on day one but we expect others to have to wait a few days, or perhaps a week or so, for the OTA to arrive. The amount of time will vary based on U.S. carrier.

Big Update

We’ve seen the Galaxy Note 3 Lollipop update leak so we know it’s going to be a massive update for the aging former flagship. Expect U.S. carriers to deliver something similar. New features, new look, the whole nine yards. Expect this to be the Galaxy Note 3’s largest update yet.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3 -  006-X2

Furthermore, expect carriers to tack on their own enhancements for their own features. This is a large update so we’d expect the change logs to be pretty full of carrier-specific enhancements. AT&T, Verizon and the others have some bloatware that they need to update. Expect the size and change logs to be a little bit different.

Bug Fixes for 4.4 Problems

You can expect U.S. carriers to release fixes for Android 4.4 KitKat problems as well. We’ve spoken to a number of Galaxy Note 3 users who are dealing with Android 4.4 problems. Some of the problems are old, some are new. Android 5.0 Lollipop will probably fix some of these issues but don’t expect it to fix everything. Android updates never do. If you are dealing with Android 4.4 KitKat issues, you’ll need to be extremely proactive.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Problems

Samsung’s Android 5.0 Lollipop update will almost certainly bring problems of its own. And that’s even if Samsung does decide to roll out Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 like we expect it to.

Samsung and its carrier partners in the United States will do their best to weed out the major bugs on board but we almost always see issues slip through the cracks and make their way to the public release. Software is never perfect. Android 5.0 Lollipop won’t be perfect on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, you can count on that.

At Least One More

Finally, we expect the Galaxy Note 3 to not only get Android 5.0 Lollipop bug fix updates in the weeks between the Android 5.0 Lollipop release and whatever is next but we fully expect it to get more Android updates in the future.


This is a phone that’s barely a year old. Google recommends 18 months of support while Samsung typically keeps devices updated for 24 months. So, there’s a good chance that it will get whatever is next from Google.

That’s something Galaxy Note 3 users and prospective buyers will want to keep in mind. Expect there to be at least one more update, maybe two if the Galaxy Note 2 really does get Android 5.0.