Earlier this year, Samsung started pushing out the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades, just a few months after the company rolled out its major Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. Both updates have pushed out to a number of big name devices including the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4, Sprint Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, U.S. Cellular Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, and T-Mobile Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3.
The update also recently landed for the AT&T Galaxy S4 Active and the Cricket Wireless Samsung Galaxy S4. The nation’s largest carrier, Verizon, up until today, had not rolled out either update.
Earlier today, we told you that a Verizon customer service representative suggested that the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update had been approved by the company’s quality assurance team. She also said that the roll out was close. According to several Gotta Be Mobile readers, the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update is now rolling out.
The update appears to be rolling out Over-the-Air and we’re told that the update brings the device to build VRUFNC5. We’re still not sure what’s on board the update, Verizon hasn’t posted an official change log for the update, but we expect the update to be similar to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates that have rolled out to other American carriers.
What this means is that Verizon Galaxy S4 owners can expect mostly Android 4.4 KitKat update features in addition to the new changes to the status bar. Verizon will probably tack on its own unique fixes and enhancements. The carrier typically offers bug fixes with its major Android updates. Android 4.3 Jelly Bean was plagued by bugs and Android 4.4 should work to alleviate at least some of those issues.
The update appears to be available, right now, for many Verizon Galaxy S4 owners. Those interested in downloading the upgrade should check in their device settings. If it’s available, and it should be, it will prompt and the download and installation process will begin. The process will take some time given that the update is hundreds of MBs in size.
Keep in mind, there is still a very good reason to avoid installing Android 4.4 KitKat for the Galaxy S4. While we haven’t heard about widespread Android 4.4 KitKat issues, there is an issue that will affect all Galaxy S4 owners who install the Android 4.4 KitKat update.
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. There are workarounds but they are either extremely tedious or require rooting the device.
While this is great news for the Verizon Galaxy S4, the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update remains missing in action. The carrier still hasn’t confirmed any Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update details so it’s not clear when the carrier plans to unleash the Android 4.4 upgrade for its 5.7-inch Galaxy smartphone.
Historically, we’ve seen Verizon and other carriers release these major Samsung Galaxy Android updates within a few days of each other so it could be that the carrier releases it soon. A specific release date will likely remain out of reach until the actual release date arrives.
We expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update to mirror the Galaxy S4’s with a focus on Android 4.4 KitKat update features rather than big upgrade to Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.
Verizon isn’t the only carrier that is lagging behind. C Spire Wireless and MetroPCS in the United States have yet to push out their Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades and they have not announced any specific details regarding the roll outs. We expect them to follow Verizon’s lead and remain silent until the actual upgrade arrives.
There are still several Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat’s that remain out of reach outside the United States. Carriers like Optus, Vodafone Australia, and more still owe their customers Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades. Fortunately, it looks like many of these missing updates could arrive within the next few weeks.
All three of these carriers say that the plan to push the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates before the month of May is over. While these carriers have confirmed Android 4.4 KitKat updates, they will likely remain mum on specific release dates. Specific release dates typically depend on the internal testing process and the internal testing process is extremely unpredictable.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat upgrades were recently joined by the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4 KitKat update which started rolling out for the first time today. Samsung is also expected to deliver a Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat update, but carriers remain tight-lipped about potential release dates.