We find out when all the major manufacturers plan on releasing Android 5.0 Lollipop to customers
The race to upgrade is on: Google released the source code for Android 5.0 Lollipop earlier this week, coinciding with the launch of the HTC-manufactured Nexus 9 tablet. Now that the files are publicly available, manufacturers can start working on official updates for their handsets and tablets, saving users the need to root their devices and install custom ROMS – or invest in the mammoth Nexus 6 smartphone.
Waiting for a new Android release is no fun if your phone manufacturer isn’t forthcoming about its upgrade plans, though, so we’ve done some digging to find out what the big names have in the pipeline for their customers when it comes to Lollipop.
It should come as no surprise that Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets are going to be the first to get Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Nexus 5 update is now available OTA (over the air) as of the 19th of November, and you should be able to download and install it now via Settings/About phone/System Updates. We’re currently updating our full Android 5.0 review now.
Many Nexus 7 (2012) owners are reporting that their device has received its update, but also that it has caused numerous problems for some users, so unless you’re very keen to get your hands on Android 5.0 we’d suggest waiting a couple of days and seeing if there’s anything to the inevitable initial burst of complaints and issues, or if these are just teething issues. Lollipop allegedly begain rolling out to the newer Nexus 7 (2013) on the week beginning the 17th of November, but we’re still waiting for our 16GB Wi-Fi only model to receive its update. We’ve been checking every day, and will update this article as soon as we have it to let you know whether performance has improved or degraded following the switchover.
The Nexus 10, meanwhile, is still waiting for an official OTA release date. That’s despite getting Lollipop factory images at the same time as the rest of the Nexus line-up, meaning Google should be ready to release it to the public. However, there has been some criticism that Android 5.0 isn’t particularly well suited to 10in and larger screens, so it’s possible Google is waiting for the buzz around Lollipop to die down a little before releasing the update, in case of customer backlash.
The older Nexus 4 will get the update eventually, but it may take a little longer still, and any Google Play Edition handsets from other manufacturers will follow shortly after.
If you’re not happy to wait, the Android 5.0 lollipop source code is available from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website – however, building a working ROM is no easy task and carries a real danger of bricking your device.
The HTC One (m8) and last year’s One (m7) will get an update to Lollipop within 90 days of receiving the source code from Google, following a pledge from the company to speed up the delivery of future updates. That code was released on the 4th of November, meaning the 4th of February should be the latest point HTC customers have to wait for Lollipop. Of course, that’s dependent on mobile phone networks not holding up the release with complicated certification processes. The company confirmed it was on the case via Twitter, but has yet to confirm an exact release date.
We have the Android Lollipop code. We’ll be updating the HTC One (M8) & (M7) within 90 days from today.#HTCAdvantage pic.twitter.com/VJ0wB1jQbm
— HTC (@htc) November 4, 2014
The smaller HTC One Mini and One Mini 2 are also set to get a lick of Lollipop, but only after the flagship models.
As the most popular Android smartphone manufacturer in the world, the sensible money would be on Samsung getting Lollipop updates out to customers swiftly, but to date there’s been no official statement on the company’s plans. The only confirmed phone so far is the Google Play Edition version of last year’s Galaxy S4, which will get the update in the next few weeks.
In spite of Samsung’s silence, it’s looking highly likely that the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 will get an update in the coming weeks and months:Sammobile has reportedly seen an internal roadmap that has both handsets pegged for early upgrades, which target a November release. Leaked videos have shown early builds of Lollipop running on a Galaxy S5, complete with a revised Touchwiz UI that borrows heavily from Google’s Material Design ethos, but the builds are reportedly prone to bugs and not fit for release – Samsung owners will just have to wait for the final version.
The year-old Galaxy S4 should also be getting some Lollipop love, according to Sammobile. It released a video showing an early build of a Lollipop ROM running on the handset, complete with apps overhauled with Material Design elements, Google Now-style notification cards and a Recents tab instead of Multi-tasking which displays apps in a vertical carousel. Of course, Samsung hasn’t followed Google’s lead completely, adding its own tweaks including a custom notification tray, custom Settings menu and that familiar shade of Teal.
Sony has one of the largest Android smartphone ranges around, but it has pledged to update the vast majority of them to Lollipop – as long as the model number starts with a Z. The upgrade will come first to the current flagship Xperia Z3, before appearing on the Xperia Z2 then filtering down the Z1 range as far back as the original Xperia Z. The updates should begin appearing on users’ phones in early 2015.
The Xperia Tablet line-up is going to get the same treatment, meaning anyone with an Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact or Z2 tablet is eligible for an upgrade.
Motorola used to be a Google company, so it’s unsurprising it will be the first third-party manufacturer to update its customers phones with Lollipop. Although there’s no exact date for release, there’s a big long list of phones that are guaranteed to get upgrades: the original and 2nd generation Moto X (2014), the original and second generation Moto G (2014), and the Moto E, as well as the older DROID Ultra, DROID Maxx and DROID Mini all make the cut.
Amazingly, Motorola actually beat Google to the punch, releasing the Lollipop update for the 2014 Moto G (at least unlocked US handsets, anyway) on the 12th of November, in the form of a soak test on a small number of devices. Assuming the soak test goes well, it will almost certainly see a larger rollout over the next few days. There’s still no word on an official release, either in the US or here in the UK, and our review unit has yet to get the update, so for now Moto G owners are left waiting.
As we’ve come to expect from Motorola, the Lollipop update is virtually untouched from Google’s original layout, with no custom layout or skin cluttering up the Material design.
We’ve had no official word from LG about its plans for Lollipop updates – at least for the UK. Polish G3 owners have been luckier, with the company confirming it would begin rolling out Lollipop for its flagship handset later this week (starting on the 10th of November). Other territories are set to follow at an unspecified later date, meaning UK owners are in the dark as to when their handset will get an upgrade. The update appears to be mainly behind-the-scenes tweaks, with early ROM leaks suggesting LG’s custom UI will remain in place over Material Design elements.
LG does have a Google Play Edition tablet, the G Pad 8.3, which will get an update alongside Google’s own Nexus range, but so far no other devices have been confirmed.
Huawei, Asus, OnePlus, Acer, ZTE, Archos, Kazam… the list of Android smartphone manufacturers goes on, but unfortunately none of them have confirmed their plans for Android 5.0 Lollipop. At least Nvidia Shield Tablet owners won’t have long to wait; the company confirmed it was working on a Lollipop update for its gaming tab in early November, releasing a sneak peek video on its official YouTube channel shoing a work-in-progress build of the software. As the Shield Tablet uses very similar hardware to the Nexus 9, it shouldn’t take many code changes to get Lollipop up and running – hence the quick turnaround.
We’ll be sure to update this article if any of the companies listed here announce update plans, so be sure to check back in a few weeks if you want to find out when your phone will get an update.