The kernel source dropped yesterday, which seemed to point to an impending release, and we didn't have to wait long. Android 4.4 is on its way to all Galaxy S4 users on Sprint, but you'll have to wait your turn.
While no US carrier-branded variants of the Galaxy S4 have received an official update to Android 4.4/KitKat yet, Samsung has dropped the KitKat kernel source for the Sprint's model. While that by itself is really only of interest to developers, its implications will matter to a much larger audience. Generally, Samsung does not release kernel source for builds that aren't official. Historically, once source code is made available, official OTA updates follow in reasonably short order.
There are so many regional and carrier variants of Samsung's Galaxy S4 flagship that even we can hardly keep them straight, but apparently CyanogenMod hasn't released an official ROM for the white bread, vanilla, Exynos-powered original GS4 before now. But lo and behold, a new build for the GT-I9500 GSM model has appeared on the CM download page. It's a test version of CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) if you're interested.
As you may recall, support for Exynos-based hardware has been something of a sticking point for CyanogenMod and other ROM teams.
The Galaxy S4 is nearly a year old now, but that doesn't mean Samsung's done releasing new variations of it. Today the company has officially announced a new "Black Edition" of the flagship that comes with the plastic, faux-stitched back panel that first appeared with the debut of the Note 3.The new S4 model is joined by a variation of the S4 mini that looks the same, just smaller.
The new Galaxy S4 and S4 mini come with black power adapters, data cables, and headphones (as opposed to the usual white ones).
Sprint has been marketing push-to-talk functionality (a walkie-talkie style function that's popular with business users) since long before Android came into being. Though the feature isn't nearly as common as it once was, Sprint seems ready to keep it going with an update to the official Android app. The Direct Connect service is now compatible with a handful of new phones, most notably headliners like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, and LG G2.
Samsung has become that one friend you've got who suddenly decides he wears a fedora. No matter how many times you tell him that he looks less like a debonair time traveler than a guy who raided his grandfather's closet, he just won't take it off. Russian blog Hi-Tech Mail spotted the new Galaxy S4 'Black Edition' on Samsung's Russian page this morning, and a similar variant of the S4 Mini was later found.
Samsung has been gradually rolling out the KitKat software update for international models of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 over the last couple of weeks. But surprisingly, it looks like at least one American carrier is eager to get Android 4.4 on the latest Samsung flagships as well. Noted XDA Developers forum member Designgears has posted official leaked builds of KitKat for AT&T's variants of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 - you can download and flash them right now.
The family of accessories for the Galaxy S4 has a new arrival. Hot on the heels of Samsung's launch of a similar product for the Galaxy Note 3, the wireless charging S-View cover for the Galaxy S4 is now available. Before now, if you wanted to charge your phone wirelessly, you'd have to take the cover off and replace it with a wireless charging back. It's important to note that there is no difference between this and the regular S-View accessory, other than the additional contact points to enable Qi charging.
OTA updates are usually a good thing, but first impressions can be misleading. The just leaked Android 4.4 KitKat build for the Galaxy S4 seems good, but some behind-the-scenes changes broke SuperSU, making root access difficult. Ever the go-getter, Chainfire already has it sorted out.
The new flashable ZIP file is available from Chainfire's site – version number 1.89. CF-Auto-Root has also been updated to include the new SuperSU. This has been successfully tested with the leaked ROM on the GT-i9505, but should also be fine on other devices you need to get root on.