Android L 5.0 Lollipop Update Release Date: Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 4, 'Coming Soon' but Availability for S4, Note 3 and Earlier Still Murky
Android L, known now as Android 5.0 Lollipop, debuts soon on the release date of the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6. The Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 will download the Android Lollipop update soon after, followed by the Google Play Edition devices, like the GPE HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. So what about the rest?
Motorola devices like both variants of the Moto X, and the Moto G and Moto E are all slated to get an Android 5.0 update soon too. Motorola's Punit Soni confirmed it in a reply on Google+.
Android Updates: The Problem with (non-GPE) Samsung Devices
But that leaves out a huge portion of the Android community: all of those Samsung devices not running stock Android. And Samsung has had a reputation for slow system updates.
Android 4.4 KitKat only started hitting devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 3 and Note 2 in June of 2014 -- seven months after Google released the stock version. And the updated Android 4.4.4 KitKat only started hitting mainstream Samsung Galaxy devices last month.
That's because Samsung -- like all manufacturers using customized Android systems -- has to apply its own custom "TouchWiz" UI. There are several steps before and after that, including time-intensive, carrier-specific review processes, for each device and network type, for every Android update, small or large.
Android L: 5.0 Means Big Changes
This is the first time in three years (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) since Google has released such a thorough Android update. It includes a new runtime engine for apps, lockscreen notifications, support for 64-bit processors, multiple user accounts and a completely new UI design aesthetic called Material Design (plus a lot more).
Besides revamping TouchWiz to go with Google's "Material" flow, there's a lot under the hood for Samsung to test, tinker with and optimize for carriers. If it took over half a year to get the somewhat incremental KitKat update, imagine how long you'll be waiting for Android L.
But There's Still Hope (For Brand New Samsung Devices)
According to SamMobile's insiders, Samsung thinks it'll be soon ready to roll out Android 5.0 Lollipop -- at least for the new Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4.
The release date window is somewhere in late November or December, at least according to their unnamed sources. The report's credibility is bolstered by the fact that SamMobile's sources got them a test build of Android L running on the Samsung Galaxy S5 at the beginning of October -- with the TouchWiz UI.
It was so buggy and slow that even SamMobile decided not to release it for their readers to download, but it at least shows that Samsung is actively building their OEM Android 5.0 update for that device.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 3 or any older devices, your best bet might be to start learning how to install custom Android ROMs.