You know, it’s funny. And sort of sad. Every time Google starts work on a brand new Android version, more so as we near a fresh release and especially immediately after the rollout, we get our hopes up and expect things will be different. Yet they never are.
Meanwhile, fragmentation flourishes, the life cycle of devices, even high-enders, dwindles, and next thing you know, it’ll begin feeling like us Android aficionados are no longer using the same operating system, but two, three or four completely distinct platforms.
Just take a look at 2.3 Gingerbread and tell me how much it has in common with 4.4 KitKat. Exactly.
Not that all hope is lost for KK to truly throw a monkey wrench in this fragmentation nag. It’s still early days after all for the chocolaty piece of software, launched two and a half months back. But for crying out loud, OEMs have to pick up the pace, as 4.4 accounted for a measly 1.4 percent of Google Play visits during the opening week of January.
I mean, no one expects Android 4.4 to be dominant by March, yet the combined share of 4.4, 4.3, 4.2 and 4.1 had better reach 75 percent or so before long. Otherwise, you may see people jump ship on a regular basis.
Can that happen? Could KitKat hit 10, 20, 30 percent in a month or two? Let’s take it from the top and have a (second, updated, revisited) look-see at the strongest and weakest candidates for an imminent software bump:
When I say certainties, I think of not necessarily gizmos due for Android 4.4 before the end of time, but more like those whose updates are, or should be, near. Plus, to cover all our bases, we’ll recap the handful of gadgets which launched with older Android versions, but are already on KitKat. Let’s start with the latter category, shall we?
Moto hit a few bumps on the road with the Verizon-exclusive trio, which is why I listed them separately from the X and G, but in a couple of weeks tops, they should be all smooth and chocolaty, with bugs and glitches behind.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – KitKat now live in parts of Europe, rolling out worldwide in a matter of weeks
- Samsung Galaxy S4 – the Google Play Edition is up to date, whereas standard models are likely right behind the Note 3
- HTC One – KK is also live on the GPe One and headed to the base version by the end of January
- HTC One mini, One max – according to unconfirmed rumors, the pair is breathing down One’s neck, ready to take things to the next level in February
- LG G2 – the update is live in Korea, was at one point believed to spread its wings this month, but ultimately is only expected in March on the old continent. America? Possibly even later.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2, S4 mini, Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3 – reports pegged all these for “early 2014” upgrades, however the schedule may be a bit too tight for Samsung to squeeze everything in by, say, May
- Galaxy S4 zoom, S4 Active, Note 10.1 2014, Note 8.0 – everything is on the hush-hush here, but make no mistake, all these have KitKat headed their way, since they’re relatively new, impressive hardware-wise and fairly popular
- HTC Droid DNA – Verizon is worryingly quiet about an update initially slated for Q1 2014, so in the end I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they pushed it back
- The it-shouldn’t-be-long-now-though-official-information-is-light-or-non-existent-group: Sony Xperia Z, ZL, Z1, Z Ultra, Tablet Z, LG G Flex, G Pad 8.3, Asus PadFone Infinity, Infinity 2, Huawei Ascend P6
- The next-in-line-but-probably-more-than-a-little-ways-behind group: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Tab 3 7.0, 8.0, 10.1, Motorola Droid Razr M, Razr HD, Razr Maxx HD, Electrify M, Atrix HD, Sony Xperia SP, T, TX, V, ZR, LG Optimus L7 II, L9 II, Optimus F7, G Pro, Optimus G
- The let’s-pray-to-God-they-won’t-share-HTC-One-X-and-One-X-Plus-s-ill-fate-group: Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, Galaxy S3 mini, Ace 3, S Advance, Ace 2, Core, Galaxy Fame, Fresh, LG Optimus L5 II, Optimus F3, F5, F6
The never in a million years
Being pessimistic at this point is not the wisest, healthiest approach, but let’s put it this way. After HTC made it clear and official the 14 month-old One X+ (!!!) and 20 month-old but 720p display-toting, quad-core-packing One X are to stay on Jelly Bean until the end of their sorry existences, I’d rather be pleasantly surprised going forward than driven to tears by similar announcements.
So if you’re not seeing your phone or tab on the above list, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Oh, and mind you, the maybes could hit bumps on their road to happiness at any point, so look at them with caution and vigilance.
Heck, a couple of “certainties” division members could be demoted to “maybes”, then “never in a million years” at the flick of a switch too, so whatever you do, don’t assume and be sure of anything before the sweet sound of a prompt message flying over-the-air goes ring ring. Damn you, HTC, and your depressingly lousy software support.