T-Mobile USA have today released Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, rolling out as build N900TUVUFOB5. In addition to the upgrade from Android 4.4 Kit Kat to 5.0 Lollipop, the upgraded software also brings with it three other improvements. Two are related to WiFi calling and offer improvements, plus a bug fix that saw some customers complaining of one way audio when making or receiving a call over WiFi. The fourth improvement is another bug fix associated with the email set up application.
Of course, the big story here is the upgrade of Android to the newer version. Yes; Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Galaxy Note 3 is still buried under Samsung TouchWiz but there are significant improvements throughout the device. But perhaps one of the key strengths of the update is that the interface is largely the same as before; there are some changes to the lock screen notifications and a number of Samsung’s stock applications have a shade more of a Material Design color about them, but the Note 3 is still very much a Samsung TouchWiz-powered model. I’m disappointed to write that the Smart Lock function is still buried in the settings application.
Under the skin, Android 5.0 Lollipop brings some important performance changes to the device. The key change is a switch away from the Dalvik RunTime to the Android RunTime, known as ART. The RunTime is the code that handles applications within Android: Dalvik is known as a “just in time” application compiler, which means when an application is launched, the operating system compiles or builds the application just before it’s launched. Calling the Dalvik a just in time compiler is something of a misnomer because if the device has to wait for the application to be compiled, the user is ultimately left waiting. This is one of the reasons why Android versions of 4.4 and older can stutter or hesitate; it’s because the application is being recompiled. The other under-the-skin change concerns how the operating system can now schedule network activity, which means it can theoretically save battery power if cooperating applications share their network usage. This stops the device from being woken up so much, which can have a significant positive benefit to standby battery life.
Are you on T-Mobile US with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3? If you are, let us know when the update arrives and how you get on with it.