Android 4.3 has been out for a couple of days now. For those of us who love custom ROMs and always look to the unofficial side of things, we already have Android 4.3 thanks to ROMs like PAC and Slim Bean (I’ve been testing these on the Galaxy S4 for the last few days). For those who are patient to wait for their manufacturers to release updates for their devices (which at times takes forever), the wait can be long or short depending on who your manufacturer is and whether your device is a mid-range or a high end flagship.
Flagships tend to receive updates faster than other devices down in the pecking order. Some manufacturers also tend to be faster at sticking with their words and providing updates. You only need to look at the update cycle of the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note (N7000 and associated variants) to realize this. For others, it is doom. Broken promises (cough HTC One V cough), unstable build releases (hi Xperia S users) and clouded mystery with zero hopes of updates (the reason why I still hesitate when it comes to LG Android devices). No one is better but there is obviously some that are more evil than the others. That’s the chaos that bedevils the Android platform. We’ve learned to live with it (rather we accepted and moved on 🙂 ). I’ll leave the carriers issue out of the equation since that is a whole other horror movie altogether.
Now that the latest numbers released by Google show that Android 4 currently dominates the market with over 60% of devices that accessed the Play Store for the 14-day period ending 1st August 2013 being Android 4.x devices, it makes sense that most manufacturers will strive to bring the latest and the greatest to their devices as they position themselves to end the support of some devices come the release of Key Lime Pie. Yes Android OEMs have the worst record as far as updates go but with Android 4.3, I am ready to give them the benefit of doubt. So which devices are getting Android 4.3?
Here is a small listing of the devices from major Android OEMs that have so far been confirmed to be getting some Android 4.3 Jelly Bean love in the near future. There are no specific dates as to when we will see the updates roll out but it is at least comforting to hear that there’s something cooking (we are used to working with vague timelines when it comes to Android updates). I have decide to focus on the smartphones since there is a lot of conflicting info about the tablets that will receive the Android 4.3 update. While it is definite that some last year tablet like the Galaxy Note 10.1 will be getting this update, there is still no word on 2013 models like the Galaxy Note 8 and the Xperia Tablet Z. While most likely the Xperia Tablet Z and the Galaxy Note 8 will get the update, the same cannot be said of the other tablets like the HP Slate 7, so it is best if we hold our horses for a while longer.
Samsung is usually slow with updates to its devices but it delivers. The Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note managed to live long enough to get Android 4.1.2 (their last official update). It also tends to bend a bit to deliver updates to midrange devices unlike its competitors who many a times overlook the mid-range and low end devices. Not surprising in this list is their hot-selling 2012 flagship, the Galaxy S III and the impressive Galaxy Note II. The 2013 flagship Galaxy S4 is obviously guaranteed a seat in the updates cycle and is sure to be here when we next look at devices that will be getting updates beyond Android 4.3. There is no word yet on the fate of the Galaxy S III Mini and the Galaxy S4 accompanying trio of the Galaxy S 4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Active and the camera-phone Galaxy S4 Zoom.
It is only fair to talk of LG right after Samsung since the two heavyweights from South Korea are all over each other with their devices this year. The LG G2 is still causing ripples and the talk that most of the interface and add-on features it has are inspired by Samsung’s TouchWiz and the Galaxy S4’s “gimmicky” features is not going to die down soon.
LG is not well known for being good at releasing updates to its devices and it is a pleasant surprise that a device like the Optimus G appears in this list. Maybe they saw the light and they are changing. I’m surprised that ugly-looking Optimus Vu 2 isn’t in this list. With it’s strange 4:3 display aspect ratio, it seems the Android 4.3 (see what I did there?) wave will just bypass it. From the makers of the first high end 3D smartphone, it is interesting to see if they’ll keep their word and deliver updates to the following as they promised:
- LG Optimus L7 II Dual
- LG Optimus G
- LG Optimus G Pro
- LG G2 (obviously. Else they’re screwed if the G2 misses out on this update)
With a bevy of gorgeous devices all year long, it’s time to match that beauty with true support. HTC promises to not only update the eye-catching 2013 lineup but also some 2012 darlings like the Butterfly. Sadly, while the Galaxy S III will be getting all the royal treatment from its maker, the One X and the One X+ are not anywhere in this list. Sad if you ask me but sometimes it is the price users have to pay.
- HTC Butterfly (Droid DNA in the North American market)
- HTC Butterfly S
- HTC One
- HTC One Mini
I love and hate Sony devices in equal measure. Love them because of the company’s unmatched dedication to the open source cause. Sony avails all its sources to the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) hence making the process of building fully functional custom ROMs a breeze. So far, it is Sony Android devices that have the best third part developer support thanks to Sony’s support. Other OEMs like Samsung haven’t been forthcoming on this front (You only need to see the numerous issues developers trying to develop ROMs for Exynos 4 and Exynos 5 based devices are facing). The hate: it all has to do with updates. I cannot count the number of friends who invested heavily in Xperia devices as far back as 2011 but have been left in the cold when it comes to updates. I hope this is changing since from the promises the company made the 2013 lineup will be getting all the attention it so deserves.
Of course the Nexus and Google Play Edition devices are on the driving seat of Android updates and are already sporting it.
I plan to keep this post alive throughout the remainder of the year looking at any news of updates coming to your device. Of interest to me is updates for Huawei devices. Huawei has had quite some exciting devices launch this year. The giant-sized Ascend Mate and the gorgeous Ascend P1 stand out in its 2013 lineup. There is no word yet from them on the update roadmap for these devices but I believe they’ll be speaking out soon. With Android devices peaking in features, the game is all about differentiation as easily captured by two of the latest devices, the LG G2 and the Moto X. Savvy consumers aren’t bound to be awed by the stand out features alone, support in the software department is the next frontier and whoever manages to get it right will have both legs in the game.
The listing is not conclusive, probably some more devices will be added to the line of those waiting for the Android 4.3 update.
What device do you have, is it sure to get an update?