Samsung’s Android 4.4 KitKat update release is ongoing and soon, it will be landing for a number of new devices. Here, we take a look at the progress the company is making with its current Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat releases and what we know about the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates.
Way back in September of last year, shortly before the iPhone 5s and iOS 7, Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat, the successor to last year’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. At the time, the company did not speak on features or compatibility, leaving that for a second announcement that took place on Halloween.
On October 31st, Google detailed the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the first time. Like Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, Android 4.4 KitKat would be an incremental update with performance tweaks and only a few new features. Shortly after the announcement, Android manufacturers perked up and announced plans for Android 4.4. Unfortunately, Samsung wasn’t among them.
Instead, the company waited until 2014 to make its move. In January, Samsung started rolling out the Android 4.4 KitKat update to Galaxy Note 3 users. In February, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update started rolling out. Shortly after that, Samsung USA confirmed a number of Android 4.4 KitKat updates for Galaxy-branded devices including updates for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, two former flagships that are likely on their last legs.
Over the past three and a half months, we’ve seen a ton of Samsung Android 4.4 KitKat details emerge for Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2 users. And for casual users who aren’t entrenched in the fast paced world of mobile technology news, keeping track of these details poses a difficult task.
With those people in mind, here, we take a close, in-depth look at everything we know about these four updates, two of which are still rolling out and two of which should land in the coming weeks.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update has been rolling out since January. It has hit a number of devices in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, T-Mobile) and a number of devices around the world. Recently, the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update has been focused on the Middle East, it recently landed in Saudia Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has also spread to other countries and carriers around the globe.
For instance, users in Thailand, Egypt and Nigeria have begin receiving the Galaxy Note 3 SM-N900 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We’ve also seen Samsung make progress with the Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 Android 4.4 KitKat update. According to SamMobile, the update recently landed for T-Mobile users in Croatia, Netherlands, and Czech Republic.
Most recently, we saw Samsung begin the Galaxy Note 3 Neo Android 4.4 KitKat update roll out. The update is currently limited to Galaxy Note 3 Neo users in Korea but we expect the software update to start pushing out to other users within the next few weeks. Samsung updates almost always take several months to land for everyone so Galaxy Note 3 Neo owners outside of Korea will need to remain patient.
There are a number of Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates that remain missing in action. Australian carriers Optus and Vodafone Australia have confirmed Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates but the updates still haven’t been given to them for testing. Internal testing can take weeks which means that there is a chance that these two updates won’t roll out until May.
One of the more glaring absences is the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. It remains missing in action despite the fact that its rivals pushed out their versions of Android 4.4 KitKat several weeks ago.
A leaked document that emerged earlier this month suggests that Verizon could be targeting May 2nd for a Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. This is important because the carrier often rolls out its Samsung Galaxy updates within close proximity of each other. The carrier’s Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.3 updates, for instance, rolled out around the same time. Other carriers do this too. Sprint, for example, pushed out its Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates within days of each other.
Verizon Galaxy Note 3 users who simply cannot wait can find a leaked version of the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update over on SXTP-Developers. Those who aren’t skilled at installing unofficial software would be wise to skip the leak and wait for the official OTA to arrive later this year. It’s still not clear if this is the final version of the software.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update isn’t as old as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3’s but that hasn’t stopped it from landing on a number of Galaxy S4 variants in the United States and elsewhere.
Samsung’s GT-i9500 Android 4.4 KitKat update recently landed for users in Argentina, Nigeria and Russia while the GT-i9505 Android 4.4 KitKat update, the version for the Galaxy S4 LTE, recently landed for a number of European carriers including Play in Poland, Vodafone in the Netherlands and Vodafone in England.
It also finally arrived for owners of the SFR version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. SFR, a French carrier, pushed out the update last week after a little bit of an extended wait.
Most carriers do not share their roll out plans with their customers which means that most of the missing Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates remain tucked away in the shadows. We do know that Optus and Vodafone Australia have yet to budge which means that their Galaxy S4 updates are likely weeks away at best. Again, the testing process usually takes a couple of weeks so these updates probably aren’t close for public consumption.
Verizon’s Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update remains MIA but the carrier still hasn’t said anything about its arrival. A leak from Android Geeks suggests that the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update could land on May 2nd. The evidence is flimsy at best but the website is considered to be reliable.
We’ve received several tips from Verizon Galaxy S4 owners who claim to have talked to Verizon customer service reps. One reader went into great detail and told us that a representative informed him that Verizon’s tech team and infocenter told him that the update would be coming in May. We can’t verify this so we’re only bringing it up as a source for discussion.
He also said that they told him that the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update would arrive around the same time, along with a couple of other Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades that he can’t recall.
What’s interesting is that he claims that the rep told him that Samsung recently halted U.S. carriers from pushing out the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade. Earlier this week, Samsung and AT&T temporarily stopped the Galaxy S4 Active Android 4.4 KitKat upgrade for unspecified reasons. This certainly lends some credibility to his information.
Those that can’t wait for the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update can install a leaked version courtesy of SXTP-Developers but again, Galaxy S4 users will need to proceed at their own risk. We never recommend installing unofficial software this close to an official roll out so for most users, it’s worth avoiding.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update is not out just yet but from the looks of things, it could be rolling out to owners in the very near future.
Earlier this year, Samsung USA and Samsung Poland confirmed that they would be rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat updates to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Shortly after that, Sprint announced that it would be delivering an Android 4.4 KitKat update to its version of the Galaxy Note 2. Weeks later, Vodafone Australia, SFR and Optus all confirmed updates for their versions of the Galaxy Note 2. Problem is, we still don’t know when any of these updates are coming.
A rumor suggested that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update could roll out in April though that remains unconfirmed. The information does line up with early rumors that pointed to an arrival in April or May. A recent report from Android Geeks points to a release in the month of May and it also points to a release for a number of different Galaxy Note 2 variants including the AT&T Galaxy Note 2 and Verizon Galaxy Note 2.
Here is a list of the devices that will supposedly be getting Android 4.4 KitKat:
- International – GT-N7100,
- China Unicom – GT-N7102
- International – GT-N7105
- China Mobile – GT-N7108
- Verizon – SCH-i605
- US Cellular – SCH-R950
- AT&T – SGH-i317
- Bell, Rogers, SaskTel and Telus – SGH-i317M
- T-Mobile – SGH-T889
- Mobilicity, Videotron and WIND – SGH-T889V
- Sprint – SPH-L900
- China Telecom – SCH-N719
- NTT DoCoMo – SGH-N025
- KT – SHV-E250K
- LG U+ – SHV-E250L
- SK Telecom – SHV-E250S
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update is expected to touch down for all versions of the Galaxy Note 2, a device that isn’t close to its second birthday. Samsung typically kills software support around the 24 month mark.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat situation isn’t as straightforward as the Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat release.
When Samsung USA and Samsung Poland confirmed their Android 4.4 KitKat updates, Samsung USA confirmed a Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. A short time later, Sprint backed it up with a confirmation of its own. Samsung Poland on the other hand only confirmed a Galaxy S3 LTE Android 4.4 KitKat update. It claimed that the 1GB RAM model would not get an upgrade.
In the weeks since then, we haven’t seen any carriers other than Sprint confirm a Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update and information regarding the update has been conflicting.
One side believes that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update may never come. SamMobile’s Faryaab Sheikh says that there is a good chance that Samsung will decline to offer an Android 4.4 KitKat update. He cites Google’s recommended 18 months of software support and Samsung’s issues with Android 4.3 as potential reasons.
On the other hand, Android Geeks believes that the Android 4.4 KitKat update will come to a number of devices, including models with 1GB of RAM. Here is a full list of the devices it believes will get Android 4.4.
Among the devices on this list are the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 variants. Unlike Sprint, they have yet to confirm upcoming Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates.
It appears that things may come to a head soon. Rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat push will begin in May, though a specific date remains out of reach. We expect this Android 4.4 update to remain a flashpoint for the next few weeks as Samsung and its carrier partners start making plans.