The official Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Samsung Galaxy S4 remains scarce at the moment, with only the Sprint Galaxy S4 and the Korean Galaxy S4 LTE-A receiving the OS at this point. But the tech-savvy can get their hands on the latest test firmware right now.
Tech website SamMobile shared a test firmware build on Monday. The Android 4.4.2 build version I9505XXUFNAD, available for download for the GT-I9505 model of the Galaxy S4 specific to Europe, is fairly recent with a build date of Jan. 28. Several Android 4.4 KitKat-specific features are included, such as the white status bar icons, full emoji keyboard and wireless printing. SamMobile also reports a performance boost and increases benchmark results after the update. There is no indication that the firmware is a final build, so it may include some bugs.
While we don’t recommend installing such firmware onto your Galaxy S4, it is available. Those who wish to flash this build should do so with caution and back up their handsets beforehand.
Android 4.4 KitKat test firmware for Samsung Galaxy S4 information and download.
Android 4.4 KitKat Update: Possible Rollout Schedule
Notably, this is not the first Android 4.4 firmware leak for the Samsung Galaxy S4, or even for the GT-I9505 model. Android 4.4.2 firmware for the Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 model also leaked in mid-January, while firmware for the AT&T Galaxy S4 leaked in late January. Several questions surround the Samsung Galaxy S4 update to Android 4.4, but there has been no word from Samsung about update plans for its flagship devices. Thus far it seems Galaxy models are updating at random. First several models of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 began updating in Europe and Asia, then the Korean Galaxy S4 LTE-A, then the Sprint Galaxy S4.
Users are accustomed to seeing European models of Samsung devices receive system updates well before U.S. models, but Sprint is usually among the first U.S. carriers to update its devices. Though the Sprint Galaxy S4 update is available, it is expected to roll out slowly.
Sometimes, firmware leaks can be indications than an official rollout is on the way. The first Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 model in Poland was preceded by a firmware leak just days prior. Comparatively, firmware has emerged for the AT&T Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 as well as for the SM-N900W8 Galaxy Note 3 model for the Telcel carrier in Mexico, and none of these models have officially updated to Android 4.4 KitKat.
Current rumors suggest that older Galaxy devices like the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 may begin to update to Android 4.4 late Q1 2014 after the Galaxy S4 rollout concludes. Samsung is currently in its first quarter, which will end around March. If the rumor is true, it could indicate that the Galaxy S4 rollout may continue throughout February and into March.
Android 4.4 KitKat Update: Possible Postponement Issue
Users should keep in mind that one issue in particular has the potential to postpone Android 4.4 updates on the Samsung Galaxy S4: The accessory incompatibility glitch that plagued the preliminary updates for the Galaxy Note 3. While Samsung has stated that the problem will be addressed with software updates, there has been no indication of whether a fix will be applied to other Galaxy handsets before they update to Android 4.4 KitKat. There have been no reports of issues with non-functioning accessories since the Korean Galaxy S4 LTE-A and Sprint Galaxy S4 began updating to Android 4.4.
Will you be testing out the leaked Android 4.4 KitKat firmware for the Samsung Galaxy S4? Let us know in the comments below.