All the talk about Android L this week overshadows the unfortunate fact that the previous release is still on less than 15% of Android devices. This weekend US Cellular is helping in a small way, releasing KitKat to two of its Samsung phones. The US Cellular versions of the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Mega (6.3) are both being updated to KitKat, so those with the applicable hardware should keep an eye out for the over-the-air alert.
A day after beginning its rollout of an over-the-air software update for the Galaxy S5 that brings Wi-Fi calling to the device, Sprint is pushing out updates to two other Galaxy devices. The S4 Mini and Mega are both due to receive Android 4.4.2 starting today. The Mini's version number is L520VPUBNE3, and the update comes on the same day as the Verizon variant's. Meanwhile, the Mega is getting treated to L600VPUANE4.
Samsung Galaxy Mega owners have probably felt a little bit ignored while they've watched one Samsung phone after another getting updates. After all, they only made it to Android 4.2.2 at the end of November, a month after KitKat was announced. They can finally say that they're running the latest version of Android (if we pretend that 4.4.3 didn't just come out). Starting today, an update to Android 4.4.2 will begin rolling out to the Galaxy Mega on AT&T.
The Galaxy S4 Mini and Mega may typically take a backseat to the Galaxy S4, but today is their turn to bask in the limelight. Sprint is now rolling out OTA updates to both devices enabling Galaxy Gear support along with WiFi calling. The former is already available for the Galaxy S4, but the latter functionality is brand spanking new. This update is rolling out right on schedule.
The Galaxy S4 Mini's update is version JDQ39.L520VPUANA7.
T-Mobile has had WiFi calling for a number of years, but now Sprint is about to get into the game. Rumors began circulating early this year, and now we have the details on the launch, which is happening tomorrow. An OTA update (scheduled for 2/21 as well) for the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega will enable WiFi calling on those devices, but other phones will come later.
Samsung has been very cautious in rolling out its KitKat update thus far, with even most Galaxy S4 owners still waiting around on Jelly Bean. This doesn't even take into account all the millions of other Galaxy smartphones and tablets that often take a backseat to the company's flagship. Yet Samsung has now provided a list of all the devices it intends to bump up to Android 4.4.2 before it's all said and done.
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.
When Samsung introduced its gigantic yet frugal Galaxy Mega line, I had a feeling that it would be a hit with smaller and more budget-conscious carriers. Lo and behold, Metro PCS is the latest US carrier to get a branded version of the ginormous Galaxy Mega 6.3, starting on November 25th. AT&T, Sprint, and US Cellular have already released the phone. After a $100 instant rebate, the phone costs $399 on a MetroPCS contract-free plan.
Sprint wants everyone to know about its tri-band LTE network that could potentially reach speeds of 50 - 60 Mbps, so it gave it a catchy name - Sprint Spark. Once the rollout is complete, this could be the largest LTE network in the US in terms of spectrum usage. But that's the future. Right now, the network is available in only a handful of cities (Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Tampa), and even fewer phones are currently set to tap into it (okay, just one).
Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.