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Latest Samsung Android 4.3 news: devices, carrier rollout and problems

Kris Carlon
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A few things have changed since I last reported on Samsung's Android 4.3 update schedule in North America. Since last week, the Android 4.3 update for the S3 on the Sprint network did indeed come through as expected, and the S4 on T-Mobile finally got the love too. Canadian S3's and Note 2's started getting the update and the AT&T Galaxy S4 update was finally resumed after a hiatus. Let me break down on who's got what and where, and fill you in on what's been going right and wrong with Samsung's update process.

Galaxy S4 Sales
The Android 4.3 rollout in North America is almost complete for the S4 and S3. / © AndroidPIT

Galaxy S4

The following carriers have delivered the Android 4.3 update to the Samsung Galaxy S4: in the USA, AT&T have resumed the update rollout after suspending it due to the numerous problems affecting S4 owners, T-Mobile finally starting pushing the update a couple of days ago, and Sprint and Verizon have been out for a while now. US Cellular, who also pulled the update when AT&T did, have not yet resumed the rollout but it can only be a matter of time if AT&T's update has now been fixed.

Android 4 3 samsung galaxy s4
US Cellular is the only major US carrier not to have rolled out the update for the S4. / © AndroidPIT

In Canada, S4 owners on the Rogers, Telus, Bell, Fido and Wind Mobile networks have received the update. Despite numerous and varied problems on the S4 and S3 internationally, noticed first on British variants, the North American rollouts went ahead and caused many problems for many people. Latest reports seem to indicate that things are settling down as the newer updates appear and owners on some carriers seem relatively unscathed by the update issues. The S4 has had it lucky compared to the issues the S3 has faced though.

Galaxy S3

In the US some networks seemed to skip a lot of the problems the British S3's faced, but there were still a lot of problems. Verizon is the only major US carrier to still be holding back on the Galaxy S3 update to Android 4.3 (you may recall they were the first to release the S4 update and that's where this whole mess started - at least in the US). T-Mobile was the first to rollout the new OS version for the Galaxy S3, followed by Sprint and US Cellular. S3's on the AT&T network are receiving the update now while Verizon customers wait patiently.

android 4 3 samsung galaxy s3
Only Verizon customers in the US are missing Android 4.3 on their Galaxy S3. / © AndroidPIT

In Canada, S3 owners on the Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido and Virgin Mobile networks have reported the update has arrived, but Wind Mobile customers are still waiting. Admittedly the Android 4.3 update on the Galaxy S3 in North America has been less problematic than that initially released in the UK, who, incidentally, are still awaiting a fix. There have been a variety of issues from Wi-Fi problems, contacts issues, Bluetooth problems, screen freezes, app crashes and blackouts. As with the S4 update, not all S3 owners were affected, or were not as badly affected as some, but all in all, the S3 came out worse for wear compared to the S4 after the update.

Note 2 and S4 Mini

Note 2 owners are a little behind the smartphone flagships, but are finally starting to see the update. The update appeared on international variants of the Note 2 a week ago, but in the US, Sprint is the only carrier so far to have rolled out the update. A leaked update schedule document that has been relatively accurate thus far, indicates the update could appear on Verizon tomorrow, and AT&T, who delayed this rollout as well, should resume the update process in early December along with T-Mobile and US Cellular. In Canada, Note 2 owners on all the major networks – Bell, Rogers and Telus – are also receiving the Android 4.3 update, as are S4 mini owners.

Note 2 Android 4 3
Canadian Note 2 owners are ahead of their US counterparts. / © Samsung; AndroidPIT

Why the problems are especially damaging

Apart from the major public relations and customer service failings on behalf of Samsung and their carrier partners, this update fiasco has had other negative consequences as well, beyond pissing off current customers. The looming presence of Black Friday tomorrow is a major concern for Samsung, especially so when their flagship devices are going through a very public muck-raking as the nation prepares to going on a spending spree for the holiday season. It seems very likely that sales of Samsung devices will take a bit of a hit in the coming consumer madness thanks to the lack of a stable OS version. Samsung's inability to deal with the problem swiftly and professionally, preferring instead to ignore it and then provide non-committal statements that it is working on the problem, caused millions to flock to the internet to publicly bash Samsung's response. This doesn't make for good publicity on the eve of the nation's busiest shopping season.

galaxy s4 mini galaxy s4 watermark
There may be a few less bows tied to Samsung devices this gift-giving season. / © AndroidPIT

What customers want

Despite some of the very vocal threats, accusations and admonishments of various Samsung customers on the internet, we asked in a recent survey what Samsung owners thought Samsung should do to rectify the problem, offering suggestions as far ranging as ''nothing'' to suspending handset repayments during the affected period or offering discounts off future Samsung product purchases. The results were much more balanced and level-headed than the suggestions floating around the internet, with 63% of responders simply wanting an official apology and a timeline for a fix. A surprising 51% (multiple choices were possible) just wanted a fix with nothing else needed. An optional OTA downgrade back to the previous OS version was sitting in the middle and almost no one was interested in anything to do with money.

Have you been one of the affected Samsung owners? What advice would you give Samsung for their next OS update release?

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Comments

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  • dice401 4 months ago Link

    Generally I'm pretty happy to get new updates from Samsung, but this 4.3 update sucks big time! It's made my phone very slow and makes the Internet crash or freeze often. Features that i used to have, i no longer have (for example, using swipe to unlock i would have options such as adding theclock, notes, etc... I don't have access to these anymore. I see them, but they are grayed out and i cant make any changes). I would love to revert back to 4.2 but am afraid of making changes because i dont want to void my warranty.

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  • Brandon Little 4 months ago Link

    last night Nov. 27 around 330-4 in the afternoon when I get home from work and i check my updates manually daily for the past few weeks and sure enough it was there on my us cellular note 2! it was around 680 mb and it is smooth and quick. I'm in NC so anyone out there on us cellular check it...it should be there!

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hey! Nice one @Brandon, thanks for the heads up.

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  • Marcus Stribling 4 months ago Link

    I haven't got mines yet.

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  • KNE 4 months ago Link

    I am on sprint and I still haven't gotten my update on my galaxy s3. I am getting very frustrated.

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  • Kevin Davis 4 months ago Link

    Sick of waiting for the update and the new features it will bring to my Note 2.At&ts delays piss me off they are always the last to update any thing I had the same issues with them on BlackBerry. I can't wait for Sprint to build their network up here I will switch as soon as they do.

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  • Lowell Wilson 4 months ago Link

    Im on At&t galaxy s4 and I ran a software update check for 4.3 and its showing up as i dont have any updates can someone help me with this?

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hey @Lowell, while a Google dev recently said this isn't a good idea, the standard trick is to go into your App Manager under Running Apps and find Google Framework Services. Clear the data and force stop the app, then go into About Phone and try the software update button again. Not guaranteed to work but it does works for a lot of people.

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  • iMaC74 4 months ago Link

    4.3 running flawless and smooth on both my S3 and S4 with no problems, I know a few people having issues with the 4.3 update but I sorted there's out by doing the update via Samsung Kies and not OTA, I was a big Apple fan and I remember doing Apple updates via OTA and i always had problems, a fresh restore fixed this, sorry for mentioning the A word here lol 😉

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    • Ashton Loyd 4 months ago Link

      How did you update via Kies because it says for my phone, S4 running 4.2.2, that i cannot use kies to update...?

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  • iantresman 4 months ago Link

    Any update should allow the option to downgrade, which would ensure they can return to the status quo. Information from Samsung should also be forthcoming, with estimates of dates.

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  • Joseph Holthaus 4 months ago Link

    Still no update for me on AT&T for S4

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  • Tyler Randolph 4 months ago Link

    so does this mean for note 2 we have to wait till december to get the update or should the update still be out today?

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    I'm on AT&T and every time I start the update it goes about 70mg in I get an error message saying update was interrupted. Then I have to wait another 24 hrs before I can try again... Uggghhhh

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  • Jason Guess 4 months ago Link

    I'm on Verizon and I have the Note 2, still waiting for my update, supposed to be today.... but you know Verizon, SMH....

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    • Tanya Losee 4 months ago Link

      I have the same, I've been checking all day... still nothing.. and been searching internet for anyone saying they got it but nothing...

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  • Tyler Randolph 4 months ago Link

    if you guys get the download or it becomes available please post thanks!! :)

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  • Tanya Losee 4 months ago Link

    Still nothing... and no one else saying anything online about getting it.... geesh Verizon!

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    • Tyler Randolph 4 months ago Link

      i have looked all over the internet and checked my phone every 5 minutes still nothing

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  • Scott007 4 months ago Link

    Got my 4.3 Galaxy S4 update Thursday for T-Mobile and so far all seems well. One possible exception, not sure if it was before, hadn't noticed the video I took today had some minor artifacting. There was a camera update that started just before I used it. Pictures are great, just the video.

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  • jennifer frank 4 months ago Link

    Nothing yet here in florida. Just talked to verizon...they didn't have any helpful info on the update :(

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    • Tanya Losee 4 months ago Link

      Figures... I wonder if they are waiting til Monday..... wasn't there another carrier pushed back to Dec 2nd...

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  • jennifer frank 4 months ago Link

    Hmmmm...yea.. that was T-mobile.

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  • Abelardo Garcia 4 months ago Link

    I just came back from the local Best Buy. Samsung reps say Verizon has not started pushing the 4.3 update yet. Seems they will be later next week. I just hope it doesn't run all the way to end of December!

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  • O_T 4 months ago Link

    I got the 4.3 update for my S3 yesterday and so far it's operating well. however, I have problems with adding shortcut widgets to my lock screen. The shortcuts that I added pre-update is still there however I cannot add new widgets.

    Does anybody else have this issue? I am on ATT.

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    • ah64pilot 4 months ago Link

      Couldn't you also move your personal message in the lock screen before? I had my name at the bottom of my lock screen with no time displayed...now my name is at the top and I can't move it and there is a calendar reminder under it.

      I have been to settings and gotten rid of the clock and date, and changed the color of my name...but I can't move it to the bottom like it used to be.

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    12/01/13 still no update for my AT&T Galaxy S4 in Florida. My 2012 Nexus 7 already has 4.4...disappointing

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    Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

    Hey guys, the rollout process is always staggered. Some devices wait two weeks after the first ones get the update. I have a Nexus 4 and the Moto G beat me to KitKat, then my room mate, who also has a Nexus 4, got the update days before me too (and we both waited a week after it started). So I know how you feel.

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    @kris carlon thx for the update. I just converted from Apple to Android less than a year ago and love my new phone & tablet but this has been a bit of a disappointment... Oh well soon enough. Please keep us posted! Thx :)

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      hi @Jacqui, don't let this put you off. Generally speaking Android updates are relatively stable. Perhaps some minor issues that are ironed out soon enough, but nothing like this. Perhaps you can just check out other OEMs next time you need to upgrade! Let your wallet do the talking!

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  • marc 4 months ago Link

    Still not received 4.3 for my s3. Live in the uk on 3 network

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    @kris carlon oh don't get me wrong - - I don't plan on switching back to Apple! I do love my phone, I was just excited about the update and it's taking sooo long. I'll be trying again tonight. Fingers crossed!

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    @kris carlon got it!! So far running smoothly. Woo hoo!

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hey @Jacqui, what carrier are you with? Fill us in on what you see (if there's any persistent problems). I've been hearing good things so far about the stability patch for the S3 in the UK and Ireland (rolling out today), but maybe you won't even need that. Good to hear it's working well for some people at least.

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  • udaykumar 4 months ago Link

    Will Galaxy grand duos (I9082) which is on 4.2.2 ( and almost 3 stability updates) will be getting a 4.3 in near future..??

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hi @udaykumar, I haven't heard anything specific about Galaxy Grand Duos, but considering the fairly recent update to 4.2.2 I would hesitate a guess that if it makes the jump to 4.3 (or even 4.4 directly), it won't be for a while. Samsung have said they will release their KitKat update plans in due course, so keep your eyes peeled.

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      • udaykumar 4 months ago Link

        @Kris , Thanks for your inputs.

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  • Jacqui Rodrigues 4 months ago Link

    @kris AT&T no problems so far. I'll keep you posted :-)

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  • Wendy Ferguson 4 months ago Link

    Hi I'm in Australia and Have heard nothing about the update to 4.3 I have an S4. Any ideas about when we might see this update in Australia?

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  • Ricardo Garcia 4 months ago Link

    T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 4.3 Update is now OTA

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  • ah64pilot 4 months ago Link

    I'm an idiot. I updated last night...blindly. I didn't know there were issues with the update...

    Now, I keep getting "downloaded" files notifications in the status bar and when I clear them they come back within a minute. When you try to open it the file cannot be found or there is no app to open them with...

    Some of them, like Word docs I don't need anymore I just deleted...and I STILL get the downloaded file notification.

    Other issues...once in a while the screen will just go black. No reason, just black. Then it comes back, or you wake the phone and the lock screen is up after 1 second of being black.

    Really regretting hitting that button last night...sheesh :-/

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  • pete pickett 4 months ago Link

    The one major disappointment for me was not being able to quickly turn off MOBILE DATA anymore. I had to add the NOTIFICATION TOGGLE app to quickly get to it. Otherwise so far, so good.

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  • Pteryx 4 months ago Link

    Is the Rugby Pro (SGH-I547C) one of the phones that is supposed to be updated to 4.3? My understanding is that it is a S4 variant.

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hey @Pteryx, the Rugby Pro came out six months before the S4, so they are unrelated. The Galaxy Rugby LTE model hasn't been listed by Samsung for the 4.3 update yet (and may not be at all), but there's a pretty lengthy modding thread at XDA Developers Forum you could check out. Just search for all the obvious keywords and see if anyone's got a stable ROM for your phone. Right now that's the only way you'll get 4.3 on your Rugby Pro.

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  • Pteryx 4 months ago Link

    Thanks for the info. I will check out that XDA Forum.

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  • Joe Higgs 4 months ago Link

    I just received the 4.3 update a few days ago on my Galaxy S3 via Sprint. It has been causing issues constantly. Very laggy, higher battery drain, constant reappearance of all downloads on notification bar, etc. I can't wait for a fix and I really didn't want have to revert my phone. :-\ I'm definitely disappointed that they would allow such a bug-ridden update to continue roll out.

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      Kris Carlon 4 months ago Link

      Hey Joe, there's not much I can offer except a fix for the phantom downloads problem: jsut go into your App Manager and scroll to the All tab, then find Download Manager and clear the cache. That'll get that issue sorted at least.

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  • gaban 3 months ago Link

    So when are we Note 2 users in Malaysia gonna get the update? Any idea?

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