In April of 2013, Samsung released its Galaxy S4, the fourth-generation Galaxy S and a successor to the extremely popular Samsung Galaxy S3. The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived with a number of big time features including Android 4.2 Jelly Bean which, at the time, was Google’s most current version of the Android operating system.
In the months since the Samsung Galaxy S4 release, the Galaxy S4 has been updated numerous times. First with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and more recently to Android 4.4 KitKat, Google’s replacement for Android 4.3. Samsung usually keeps devices updated for two years so it wasn’t surprising to learn that Android 5.0 Lollipop is next for the Galaxy S4.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is a huge update to the Android OS and it represents the third major Android upgrade for the Samsung Galaxy S4. In other words, it’s an extremely important update for Samsung’s aging former flagship.
As many of you know, Samsung’s Android roll outs are long and arduous. Most take months, some take more than a year to complete. It can be a frustrating journey at times but the company always completes its roll outs. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started to get a ton of questions about the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update in particular. And this week, we’re doing our best to answer as many of those questions as possible.
Today, we want to play psychic and take another look into our crystal ball in an effort to set consumer expectations. Here, we take a look at what we expect now from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Lollipop update in 2015.
First Galaxy S4 Lollipop Update Weeks Away
Samsung’s confirmed the first Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop release for early 2015. It did not, however, offer any specific details about model numbers or release dates so we’re stuck with the company’s vague release window. We don’t know exactly when it will start rolling out but our best guess is that it will arrive several weeks from now after Samsung gets its Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update underway.
Everything we’ve seen so far suggests that the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, and perhaps the Galaxy Note Edge Android 5.0 Lollipop updates will be the first to arrive. This makes sense given their position as flagships. The Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update is expected to touch down sometime this month. We expect Samsung to put a little space between the Note 4 and Galaxy S5 updates so we would not be surprised if we saw the Galaxy S4 Lollipop update push out in February or March.
Don’t expect Samsung to make any big announcement outlining the Galaxy S4 Lollipop release for individual carriers or countries. Samsung moves in silence and historically, it hasn’t offered up a broad time frame for owners of its international models. We’ve seen tons and tons of people asking about Lollipop on social media.
There’s no reason to do that. Samsung won’t answer because it doesn’t want to make promises it can’t keep. Again, Timing for international roll outs and roll outs for individual carriers is dependent on testing behind the scenes and release dates can change. Most announcements will come from Samsung’s carrier partners and not Samsung itself.
Don’t expect it to cave and offer specifics down the road. Vague details are possible but they aren’t guaranteed.
Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Push to Take Months
Samsung’s Android 5.0 Lollipop releases don’t happen overnight. So while it’s exciting to hear that the Galaxy S4 Lollipop update is coming in early 2015, most of you won’t be getting the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop in early 2015.
There are tons of different Galaxy S4 variants in over hundred regions around the world and it’s going to take time to get it out to everyone in those regions. The company is probably working on tons of different Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 updates for tons of different carriers, each with its unique set of features and problems. Testing and certifications take time and thus, the deployment is going to take several months at least.
Given the Galaxy S4’s age and hardware, and given its status as a former flagship, we expect Samsung to work hard to get its Android 5.0 Lollipop update out in a timely manner. That said, it’s not a priority and we could see it lag like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.4 KitKat updates did in 2014.
New Release Date Details to Emerge Soon
We expect carriers, international carriers, to relay Samsung Galaxy S4 Lollipop release details ahead of the roll out. We saw a couple of carriers announce Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop details ahead of time, most recently Vodafone Spain, and we expect to see some of the usual suspects push out their details early here with the Galaxy S4.
Australian carriers love to keep their customers informed and Canadian carrier Rogers always announces updates well in advance. Look for these, and perhaps a release date leak or two, to emerge in the near future as Samsung makes progress behind the scenes.
U.S. Galaxy S4 Lollipop Release to Be Among the First
We fully expect U.S. carriers to be near the front of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Lollipop release. The United States is an important market for Samsung. And because it’s an important market, it’s typically a priority.
The U.S. was among the first to the Galaxy Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. It was among the first to Galaxy Android 4.4.2 KitKat. And it was among the first to Android 4.4.4 KitKat. That’s an extremely solid track record. Pair that with the credible intelligence from a Samsung Mobile employee and it’s clear that the U.S. will once again be one of the preeminent regions.
Continued Silence from Major & Minor U.S. Carriers
Just don’t expect U.S. carriers to talk about their plans. U.S. carriers, including regional and pre-paid carriers, rarely talk about their plans ahead of time. They usually wait for Samsung before saying anything, if they say anything at all. Don’t expect anything different here from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update.
You can ask them on Facebook and Twitter all you want but expect the same generic answer all the way up until the actual roll outs begin. Like Samsung, they don’t want to set consumer expectations. They leave that to us.
Very Few Leaks
Do not expect to see many Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 leaks emerge in the weeks ahead. Usually, we see a few leaks ahead of a public release but only a few. Samsung and its carrier partners have clamped down on internal leaks in recent years and they are usually very sporadic. So while we might see one or two, we would not expect to see many.
Varied Change Logs
Expect the Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update change logs to vary across U.S. and international carriers. They will all be similar to the Galaxy S4 Lollipop update that we saw leak a few weeks ago though carriers are almost certainly going to attach their own fixes and enhancements onto these updates. Carriers like AT&T and Verizon always do.
We also expect each of these updates to deliver their own set of problems. Android 5.0 Lollipop problems are prevalent and there’s a good chance that the Galaxy S4 will see some problems of its own. Bugs will different from model to model, carrier to carrier. We fully expect Samsung and its partners to tackle these bugs though we wouldn’t expect bug releases to emerge right after the update’s arrival.
Android 5.0.1 Lollipop Or Its Fixes
Google’s new Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update comes with a number of fixes for the operating system and it’s an update that’s already all but confirmed for the Galaxy S5 LTE-A, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. We would expect it, or its fixes on board an Android 5.0 Lollipop update, to arrive for the Samsung Galaxy S4 down the road.
Samsung’s goal, especially for an older device like the Galaxy S4, is to roll out as stable of an update as humanly possible. Affording Galaxy S4 users Android 5.0.1 bug fixes would be a big step towards that goal.
With the other devices set to get Android 5.0.1, we would be shocked if the Galaxy S4 didn’t arrive with Google’s latest bug fixes on board.
Other Galaxy S4 Variants to Get It Late
While they aren’t confirmed, we’d be surprised if Samsung’s other Galaxy S4 variants (Active, Zoom, mini) did not get the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. We’d expect all of these updates to arrive weeks, if not months after the start of the roll out for the regular model, but we’d expect all of these devices to push up to Android 5.0 Lollipop and perhaps stay there.