Verizon Wireless has rolled out the details for its next over-the-air update for the Galaxy S4. These devices aren't getting hit by a new version of Android, but owners will see various connectivity improvements that they may or may not notice. The default messaging app should be more reliable, Bluetooth connections should be stronger, and voicemail should arrive more consistently.
The update slips in the second version of Knox and replaces ISIS Wallet with its new name, Softcard.
Android L is probably just a few weeks away, but Google's partners already have the code to begin designing updates. That's why SamMobile was able to get a hold of a nearly complete build of Android L on the Galaxy S5. It looks pretty much like you'd expect a Samsung ROM to look, but there's definitely some L influence.
Samsung has been sending the somewhat overdue Android 4.4.4 update to its flagship devices for the last few weeks, and according to this support page, it's now the Sprint Galaxy S5's turn. The Sprint CDMA edition of the S5 should be receiving the latest stable build of Android now, though we haven't actually found any users who are getting it this morning. Given the way that US carriers tend to stagger the rollouts for just about everything, that isn't all that surprising.
Galaxy S4 Active users on AT&T, don't get too excited when you see a new software update message appear in your notification bar. This is a minor update with minor changes, and once you apply it the phone will still be running the same Android 4.4.2 build that you've had since June. According to an AT&T support page, the update includes just three things:
Connectivity improvements related to receiving calls and text messaging
Updated Google apps
We've got no idea what kind of updated Google apps Ma Bell put in there, since Google prefers to do its own updating via the Play Store these days.
Samsung releases so many phones in so many variants that even professional gadget bloggers get turned around on occasion. But the folks on the CyanogenMod team are doing their best, bless 'em, and today's fruit of their labor is ROM support for an extra variant of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4. The most pertinent one for American readers is probably the G900-T, the Galaxy S5 model sold by T-Mobile as their branded version.
So you want a new Galaxy S5? Will new-ish be good enough? An eBay seller has a cache of open box devices on sale at a downright reasonable price of $429.99. This is an unlocked GSM handset, so you can use it on AT&T or T-Mobile in the US.
The Galaxy S4 Active is pretty solid as both a high-end phone and a "ruggedized" handset, but as with a lot of Samsung devices, TouchWiz keeps some power users away from a purchase. Now the indefatigable CyanogenMod team is giving you some AOSP-style options: they just released their first nightly build for the S4 Active. You can pick it up for your phone at the usual spot and install it via the custom recovery of your choice.
An over-the-air software update is set to hit AT&T's version of the Galaxy S4. The change log for this one isn't particularly long, but it will bump users up to baseband number KOTH49H.1337UCUFNB1. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from having the freshest set of software available on a device, and that feeling is what the bulk of owners will notice about this release.
As for what's actually new, AT&T says this update will provide better connectivity when making calls and text messaging.
The Galaxy S5 on Verizon got an update barely one week ago that bumped it up to Android 4.4.4, but another is rolling out today. The new OTA with version number KTU84P.G900VVRU1ANI2 adds a few tweaks to functionality and resolves some bugs. It also gets the GS5 ready for VoLTE calls.
It's that time of the month again, CyanogenMod ROM fans. In fact it's a bit past that time of the month, reportedly thanks to a heavy workload and the Labor Day weekend, but now that the CM11 monthly update is up to the M10 release, we won't hold it against the CyanogenMod Team. The biggest change to the M build is a brand new bug tracker app, which makes it easy for users to submit anonymized bug reports to CM along with a stacktrace whenever a system app crashes.