As we pushed into the fall, we heard rumors about Samsung’s Android 5.0 Lollipop update release plans. We had heard that the company was hard at work on several Lollipop updates including upgrades for the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3. These four devices represent four of its newest smartphones so the leaks, rumors and details did not come as a shock.
Samsung made good on several of those rumors earlier this month when it confirmed the start of the Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop roll out in Poland. It also confirmed updates for the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy S4 though those updates will not be starting until sometime in early 2015. Specific release dates have yet to be confirmed.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update is the only Galaxy Android 5.0 Lollipop update that’s rolling out right now and unsurprisingly, we’ve been getting a ton of questions about Samsung’s plans for its current Galaxy S flagship and the release in the United States. And for good reason.
Samsung is fairly secretive about its Galaxy Android roll outs and release dates and it also puts a lot of the control in the hands of individual carriers. As we’ve pointed out numerous times before, the testing process is very unpredictable and thus, Android update release dates for Galaxy smartphones and tablets are unpredictable. That said, we’ve got some idea about what to expect from the U.S. Galaxy S5 Lollipop update and roll out.
With the Galaxy S5 Lollipop release ongoing, we want to take a look at what we expect from Samsung and its Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 roll out in the United States. This will rope in what we know so far and what we see happening in the future. Our goal here is to get you as prepared as possible for the update and set your expectations something that for the moment, Samsung refuses to do.
The first thing Galaxy S5 users should expect from the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update and release is silence. Silence from Samsung and continued silence from the U.S. carriers that have this update in testing behind the scenes. Very rarely do we see Samsung and its U.S. carriers announce software releases ahead of time.
Usually, Samsung makes a broad sweeping confirmation and leaves the precise release date details to individual carriers. And as many of you know, U.S. carriers typically don’t ante up specific release dates. Again, release dates are heavily dependent on the testing process so carriers simply don’t want to set unrealistic expectations.
Expect Samsung to stay silent about specific Android 5.0 Lollipop release dates and expect U.S. carriers to remain hush hush about their own roll outs. We typically don’t see any confirmation until the day of the roll out.
First U.S. Galaxy S5 Lollipop Release Date Soon
We expect the first U.S. Galaxy S5 Lollipop updates to start rolling out soon. The United States has historically been at the front of the line when it comes to major Android updates. Android 4.4.4 KitKat, Android 4.4.2 KitKat, Android 4.3. You name an update and there’s a good chance that U.S. carriers were among the first to get it out.
Right now, the Galaxy S5 Lollipop update is trapped in Poland and Korea. Soon, it will spread elsewhere and we expect U.S. based carriers to be among the first to get the upgrade. When we say “soon” we don’t mean tomorrow. What we do mean is that we expect to see the first upgrades arrive in the weeks ahead, not the months ahead.
We’d be surprised if the U.S. Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update hasn’t hit the United States by the end of January. That’s when Android 4.4 KitKat first started rolling out and Samsung is clearly ahead of that pace.
Different Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Release Dates
We expect U.S. carriers to roll out their Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop updates on different days. Occasionally, we see a couple of carriers share an Android release date but most of the time, we get a staggered release that takes place over the course of several weeks and encompasses several different release dates.
Do not expect Samsung and its carrier partners to push all of these at once like an Apple iOS update. Instead, look for the roll out to take place over several weeks in the U.S.
We do expect some U.S. Galaxy S5 Lollipop release dates to cluster around each other, we often see software upgrades push within a few days of one another, so don’t expect a massive gap between the upgrades for major carriers.
Sprint Among First
We fully expect Sprint to be among the first U.S. carriers to offer the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update. The struggling carrier has made it a point to be first, or at least close to first, to many past Samsung Galaxy Android updates and we expect the same here as it tries to lure in customers in the new year. We’d be surprised if it wasn’t near the front. The other major carriers are a little more unpredictable though Verizon’s been known to slow roll major updates. AT&T, too.
Smaller Carriers After Major Ones
If you own the Samsung Galaxy S5 on a smaller regional or pre-paid carrier in the United States, expect the Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update to arrive after a majority of the major Android Lollipop updates have rolled out. We would not be surprised if Boost Mobile, a subsidy of Sprint, pushed out its Android 5.0 update with a relative quickness but we expect other carriers like C Spire and Cricket to bring up the rear of the Galaxy S5 Lollipop release.
Popular Variants Before Not So Popular Variants
We also expect the regular old Samsung Galaxy S5 to get the Lollipop update first, before the likes of the Galaxy S5 Active and Galaxy S5 mini. We do expect both of those Galaxy S5 variants to get the Android 5.0 Lollipop update at some point in the future but we’d be shocked if they beat the more popular Galaxy S5 to the punch.
The focus is almost certainly going to be on the upgrade for the flagship model and we expect releases for the other variants to trail behind by several weeks or perhaps, several months. Samsung almost always gives preferential treatment to flagships and we don’t expect that to end here with the U.S. release of the Samsung Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 update.
There’s a chance that we could see the Android 5.0 update leak for another model or two but we wouldn’t put too much money it. Over the years, Samsung and its U.S. carrier partners have tightened up these leaks to the point where it’s a complete and utter surprise if a piece of actual test software from a U.S. carrier gets released.
Do not expect to see a leak for all five major carriers and we doubt that we’ll see leaks for smaller pre-paid and regional carriers either. There’s a good chance that you’ll simply have to settle for unofficial ROMs or the OTAs themselves.
Carrier Tweaks & Enhancements
Do expect U.S. carriers to bring their own tweaks and enhancements to their Android 5.0 Lollipop updates. Look for that to include bug fixes for very specific problems and also enhancements for carrier-branded applications and features. Also known as bloatware. U.S. carriers always put their own spin on these updates so expect the change logs to differ from carrier to carrier.
Android 5.0 Lollipop Problems
Expect the Samsung Galaxy S5 Lollipop update to deliver problems. Android software updates are never perfect and Samsung’s in particular often deliver tons of initial headaches. Both Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean were both full of issues and it took some time for Samsung and its carrier partners to patch all of those issues up.
While we can’t predict exactly what will be on board the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Galaxy S5, we can tell you that we’ll probably see some of the same problems affecting Google Nexus users. Many of you won’t run into problems post Galaxy S5Android 5.0 Lollipop update but you’ll want to prepare nonetheless.
Finally, while we expect a ton of third-party fixes to emerge for Galaxy S5 Lollipop problems, we also expect Samsung and its carrier partners in the U.S. to update the software with bug fix updates. Bug fixers are extremely hard to predict but we almost always see U.S. carriers patch up major issues in the weeks after the initial release.
Some carriers are more timely than others but we almost always the major carriers roll out their own bug fixes to address some of the lingering problems from major Android updates like Android 5.0. Expect more Android 5.0 Lollipop builds down the road.