Samsung has officially released the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4. Each release is limited to one specific variant in Russia, but signals an intent on Samsung's part to push a wider release shortly.
In December, Samsung used a similar strategy by releasing the Galaxy S5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update to specific variants in Russia, Poland and Malaysia. Once the update was confirmed to be running smoothly, the U.K. Samsung Galaxy S5 then received a Lollipop 5.0 update. Now, Verizon has released the update in the U.S., with other carriers expected to follow shortly.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update is being pushed out in Russia to the GT-I9500, the international version of the Galaxy S4. Reportedly the rollout is being sent over the air to the devices via their Russian carriers, and is not yet available through a manual update via Samsung Kies. The Note 3 update is similarly limited to one model, the SM-N900, also an international variant, with other, larger territories soon expected to follow suit.
The update, which weighs in at a huge 1 GB, will be a significant upgrade for users of Samsung's 2013 flagship smartphone and phablet, which both shipped running Android Jelly Bean at launch. An update to Material Design will likely be the first visible change noticed by users, but many of the improvements afforded by the update take place behind the scenes, improving OS stability and battery life. Material Design is Android's single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes, what Google calls a visual language.
Despite the recently reported delay in releasing Android 5.0 to the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung is clearly gearing up to push the Lollipop update through to as many devices as possible leading up to the launch of its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S Edge, at Mobile World Congress on March 1.
The Android 5.0 Lollipop release progress on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S5 should also silence skeptics who predicted that Samsung would intentionally delay Lollipop upgrades for those devices until after the Galaxy S6 and S Edge are released, in order to entice consumers to upgrade instead to Samsung's newest smartphones.