It appears that the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 is right around the corner, thanks to leaked firmware found on the XDA Developer's forum.
You can grab the firmware upgrade right now to upgrade your Sprint version of the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 to Android 5.0 Lollipop, but it will take a bit of work as opposed to the retail release over-the-air updates that most Android consumers use. Installing this firmware will wipe your data, but the developer who leaked the info says that calls, SMS, and other functions have been tested and work fine. You can find full instructions over at the XDA Developers forum.
SamMobile has also released its final preview of Lollipop on the Samsung Galaxy S5, finishing up a series of videos the tech site made that showcases very early versions of the operating system upgrade on the popular Samsung smartphone. In the video, the presenter shows off how quickly you can swipe through application menus and just how much more responsive the latest operatng system can be compared to Android 4.4.4 Kitkat.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is Google's latest version of the popular Android operating system that was first unveiled in June of 2014. It brings a redesigned and more responsive user interface called Material Design, as well as an improvement to notifications that make it similar to how notifications work on Apple's iPhone. Overall application performance and battery life are also enjoying significant improvements, thanks to Lollipop.
SamMobile's video also shows off TouchWiz, which is Samsung's own proprietary interface that adds in a few extra bells and whistles for Samsung device users. While not a significant overhaul from Google's default interface, TouchWiz does offer a more refined experience and a handful of TouchWiz-exclusive apps pre-loaded, including S Voice, Samsung Social Hub, Samsung Game Hub, and more. TouchWiz also introduces a new way to pan and tilt, thanks to gesture improvements with TouchWiz 4.0.
A new dropdown toolbar is also shown in SamMobile's video, including a flashlight toggle, S search, zoom function, and one for taking a screenshot. These functions all feature new icons for Lollipop, as well.
"We expect this update to hit the Galaxy S5 in December," the SamMobile video presenter predicts.
As for other Samsung devices, Lollipop has not been shown for the popular Galaxy Note 4, Note 3, or Note Edge just yet, and a Lollipop release date has yet to be announced for any of these Samsung devices, but we expect the larger phablets to receive Lollipop soon, especially if the older Galaxy S4 and S5 will be getting upgraded.
GottaBeMobile predicts that we'll see the Lollipop update coming to the Note 3 in the first months of 2015. Despite a few bumps in the road on Lollipop's launch so far, and the fact that Samsung has been notoriously slow with previous Android updates, we also expect the Lollipop to drop by Spring of 2015 for these Samsung devices.