The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates have emerged in the United States though there is still some work to be done. Here, we take a look at how we expect the rest of the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat roll out process to play out in the U.S.
In January, Samsung quietly started rolling out the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We say quietly because the company did not announce the roll out ahead of time so it came as a bit of a surprise to consumers. As expected, the update brought many Android 4.4 KitKat features and did not focus on major upgrades to TouchWiz.
At the time, many wondered when Samsung would start pushing out more Android 4.4 KitKat updates, particularly the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. Galaxy S flagships historically have beaten Galaxy Note flagships to major updates so the arrival of the Galaxy Note 3 update had Galaxy S4 owners on high alert.
Several weeks went by and then, we saw some action. Last month, Sprint and U.S. Cellular started rolling out the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update. They were also the first U.S. carriers to push out the Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update in the United States as well. Then, last week, AT&T joined U.S. Cellular and Sprint and rolled out the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update for its users. There is still work to be done though.
There are still several updates that remain missing and several others that are completely in the shadows. While we still don’t have all of the answers, we do have some ideas.
Here, we take a look at what we expect from the remaining Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update roll outs for carriers in the United States.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 Update
At this point, we’re expecting the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to be finished up for major U.S. carriers by the time March ends. This is an update that first landed in the third week of February. Usually, we see carriers release these updates within a few weeks of each other so it would be strange to see the roll out stretch well beyond a month.
Expect the few remaining carriers to remain silent about their releases. T-Mobile never announces updates ahead of time and neither does Verizon. Smaller carriers are in the same boat. So expect the release dates to become known when the roll outs to begin.
T-Mobile Next in Line
AT&T, Sprint and U.S. Cellular have all pushed out their Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat updates which leaves T-Mobile and Verizon as the only major carriers without the software. Typically, carriers roll out updates within a few weeks of each other so we’re expecting these carriers to push out their missing Galaxy S4 updates in the near future. But who will be first?
We expect the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update to be the next update to emerge from hiding. Verizon is almost always last to major updates, smaller carriers typically don’t get their updates out ahead of T-Mobile and we’ve seen the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 update show up on Samsung’s website. Yes, Samsung says that the T-Mobile Galaxy S4 is running Android 4.4.
To be honest, we’re a little surprised that T-Mobile hasn’t pushed this update out already. The carrier is typically right at the front in terms of Android update speed. History and that tease on Samsung’s website lead us to believe that it’s next.
Verizon could surprise us but at this point, we’re expecting it to be dead last to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update, at least amongst the United States’ major carriers.
The carrier was first to the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update and we thought that the carrier had turned a new leaf. Historically, Verizon has been dead last to just about every single major Android update. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as Verizon was dead last to the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates.
So far, the Verizon Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update is the only major update that has yet to make an appearance. Anywhere. It’s still very much in the shadows and thus, we have a hunch that it’s going to be the last update to emerge from hiding.
Smaller Carriers Right Around Verizon
As for smaller carriers like C Spire and Cricket Wireless, we still haven’t seen any release date information emerge and we don’t expect these smaller carriers to talk about the update until they get much closer to their actual releases.
While we can’t narrow down specific dates, we expect these carriers to push out their updates within a few days, or at most, a few weeks after the major carriers do. In the past, we’ve seen these smaller carriers cluster around the last update from a major carrier and we wouldn’t be surprised if we see the same thing here.
Users should expect these few remaining Android 4.4 KitKat updates to come without any surprises. Yes, we are getting closer to the launch of the Galaxy S5 but that doesn’t mean that T-Mobile or Verizon will pull a rabbit out of its hat and deploy surprise Galaxy S5 features on board. No, these updates will likely follow the others.
That means a strict diet of Android 4.4 KitKat features and likely, some enhancements and fixes that are unique to T-Mobile, Verizon and the rest of the carriers with unreleased Galaxy S4 updates.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 Update
Again, given how close these updates usually are to each other, we expect the three remaining Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates to emerge within the month of March.
T-Mobile Next in Line
The T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat remains unreleased but we do think that the roll out is extremely close. At the tail end of last week, the update emerged at Samsung’s Open Source site for developers, a sign that the update is likely just around the corner. T-Mobile does not announce release dates ahead of time so we’ll likely find out about the roll out on the day of the roll out.
AT&T in Close Proximity With Major Fix
AT&T is the only carrier that has pushed out a Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update but has yet to push out a Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. We expect that to change soon.
While we haven’t seen the update emerge at Samsung’s Open Source site, we did see AT&T confirm an upcoming software update that it says will be rolling out “soon.” The carrier states that the update should have a fix for those pesky GPS issues on board and that makes it an extremely important update for AT&T Galaxy Note 3 owners.
Of course, “soon” in the language of carriers doesn’t always mean that something is right around the corner but given that we’ve already seen two major Galaxy Note 3 updates, that the update has been teased on Samsung’s website, that carriers typically cluster their release dates around one another, and given that AT&T has already pushed the Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 update live, we have to think that something is indeed close for users.
We wouldn’t be shocked if it rolled out before the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update. If it doesn’t, expect it to be close behind it.
At this point, we expect the Verizon Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update to be last in line. We haven’t seen it emerge, anywhere, and with Verizon’s track record it’s difficult to see it playing out any other way.
Usually, we’ll see Verizon confirm a roll out on the day of a roll out, there have been cases where it announces early, but users should expect to remain in the dark all the way up until the day the update rolls out.
Like the Galaxy S4 roll out, users should expect these remaining updates to be straightforward. That means that we expect them to be chock full of Android 4.4 KitKat features and void of any major changes to Samsung’s TouchWiz software.
That doesn’t mean that the Galaxy Note 3 won’t get some of the Galaxy S5’s new software features down the road. We certainly expect Samsung to outfit it with some new features down the road, just not with Android 4.4 KitKat.