Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat firmware leaks, with white status icons and other UI tweaks

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 10, 2014

samsung galaxy s4 android 4.4 kitkat firmware feature

A test Android 4.4.2 KitKat firmware for the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505, Snapdragon 600) has been published by the folks from Sam Mobile and is now available for download.

The firmware is a test build for the open European version of the Galaxy S4 and is reportedly “pretty stable” with just a few “minor hiccups here and there”. Sam Mobile has reportedly obtained this build from an insider, and it has been testing it for about five days now.

What does Android 4.4 KitKat bring to the Galaxy S4?

First, there are tweaks to the user interface, including the move from the Gingerbread-style “nuclear green” of the status bar icons (particularly the battery indicator) to the KitKat-style Google approved white icons. However, the toggles in the notification dropdown still sport the old green and look to have remained unchanged, and it’s likely that they will remain the same in the final build.

Another visible tweak is the camera icon added on the lower right corner of the lock screen that lets you access the shooter faster.

According to Sam Mobile, performance is slightly better on the Android 4.4 KitKat Galaxy S4, which is visible both in usage and in benchmarks. The Samsung keyboard received a revamp and is now much easier to use in landscape mode, reports the site.

Here are the tech details:

  • Model: GT-I9505
  • Country: Open Europe
  • Version: Android 4.4.2
  • Changelist: 276328
  • Build date: Thu, 2 Jan 2014 23:30:51 +0000
  • Product Code: OXA
  • PDA: I9505XXUFNA1
  • CSC: I9505OXAFNA1

We’re downloading the build and we will flash it for ourselves, to look for any other changes. You will need to create an account for the file sharing site in order to download the build.

As for when the final KitKat update for the Galaxy S4 will roll out, it’s expected in February-March by Sam Mobile, though it’s not clear what the source of this estimate is. Samsung typically times rollouts to arrive soon after the release of flagships, in this case the Galaxy S5. The latest official information from Samsung is that the device will be released by March-April.

  • Cl3v3rNaMe

    how’s the lag?

    • Balraj

      Good question

    • Luqmaan Mathee

      The article says there are improvements.

    • Michael Muyunda

      Everyone already had this argument but anyway… The S4 doesn’t even lag people just assume it lags for some reason. I guess it’s just a bandwagon thing to hate skins over android. Just buy a Google edition or flash a rom.

      • George Av

        The s4 does lag mate. I notice it all the time.

        • SContrerasMer

          It’s easy to fix
          firs option: Flash a ROM, CyanogenMod 11 is coming out in few days

          if you dont want to void your warranty, (or keep TouchWiz) try this:
          Go to settings
          About Phone
          tap on complation number until you’re granted Developer Options acces
          go back
          go to Developer Options
          look for animation scales
          change the value from 1x to 0.5x or deactivate them
          press the Home button
          now your S4 should be a lot faster

          anyway, FLASH CM11!

          • SContrerasMer

            There are threeaimation scales:
            window, Transition and Animator, turn all of them off

          • George Av

            -_- So i’ve flashed about every rom that is out there for the i9505. I’m not stupid like your post suggests. It lags. It’s as simple as that. CM11 is the closest i’ve got to a 100% smooth lag free phone. It’s Samsungs stupid touchwiz with it’s idiotic smart shit and over bloated system.

            Not to mention that Samsung slap software and updates together like a subway sandwich. No optimisation whatsoever exists in the software for the S4. Not to mention Samsung are stubborn as fuck when it comes to sources. The S4 will always lag that tiny bit because samsung interested in adding more eye shit into their software.

            I really hope this changes with the S5. Maybe, just maybe they will quit all the smart shit and eyeball crap and focus on optimizing the UI and all the key elements :).

          • Niral Ramesh

            All phones lag; it is a case of one more than another

          • Fernando Romano Batista

            Are you dumb? How can you blame samsung software for lags on cm11?

          • George Av

            ALL.PHONES.LAG Cm11 is full of micro UI lag’s just drag down the notifications, look at that lag… Samsung, HTC, iphone’s they all lag, it’s just a case on how hard you use your phone to notice. For a power user who needs something right that second, you notice the hang ups and micro lags that a really light user wouldn’t.

            If you are one of those people that deny lag on their phone. Well, then you’re quite frankly stupid.

        • TechB

          Just cause you notice it don’t meant that all other S4’s lag, moron.

          • George Av

            EVERY SINGLE S4 LAGS it’s not my phone. It;s samsungs poorly optimized software to hardware ratio. So quit calling people rude names are actually wake the fuck up and smell the fucking bullshit that Samsung’s software department is.

          • Mike

            Not sure about the S4 but my S3 using Nova Launcher doesn’t lag.

  • Brendon Brown

    Not Exactly taking advantage of the Kit Kat UI .. At least its an improvement

    • Bone

      How do you reckon it’d take advantage? TouchWiz already had transparency on system UI, and if apps supprot, immersive and transparent mode will work as well. White icons are there too.

      KitKat isn’t much of a change on appearances, it’s more about what developers can do.

      • Jayfeather787

        White icons in stats bar, the quicksettings. Make them white.

        • iHATEwhiteICONS

          I don’t see how to make them colorful again? Can you tell me?

      • Brendon Brown

        Town down the “complicated look” in quick settings. That could’ve been made to look “simpler” … They could’ve made the layout more formal and given it order and “flatness” and the icons should just change, they look horrible especially because of the neon green which doesn’t quite go with the new white and transparent look in the status bar. The Lock screen looks great though but then you get their settings which still looks inferior when compared to other skins, especially Timescape and HTC Sense. Hell they should actually just have changed it to a list layout like Stock. For example, with the grid layout it just looks bad to have those 2 extra icons just .. there … In my opinion they should’ve made this update the same as what the Galaxy S5 will have, so what I’m saying is, they should just give the design more attention, KitKats design was about white, clean, simple and transparency … i think that Samsung should just have implemented that to a larger scale :)

  • VasyaPupkin

    I don’t get – is it so fcking amazing/hard to change status icons colors? Is that what you would consider as important thing? Definitely worth putting in the header.

    • venorme

      It`s not about icons – main feature is ART implementation.

  • Олег Александров

    this is so UGLY.. everything.. colors, icons, samsung widgets, notification bar, fast settings…fucking everything. i can’t understand why?? why they did this with beautiful Android KitKat. why can’t they make something modern and simple. why do they destroying android experience.. i know plenty of people who thinks galaxy=android, and they hate “android” design.
    google just needs to prohibit doing this with its beautiful OS.

    • Daniel

      Why do you people keep complaining about touchwiz ? If you don’t like it just buy something else like Nexus or Motorola. Some of us actually do like touchwiz. Hell maybe that’s one of the main reasons why I keep buying samsung.

      • Олег Александров

        because samsung is more than just a small chinese brand or any other brand in idustry. it’s almost face of android for millions of people all around the world. and this face is ugly… they must do something with lags and design on their UI..

        • mikegold

          We enjoy the “ugly” Touchwiz. Pls F**k off and go buy HTC/Sony for God sake. No one point a gun at you to look at Touchwiz. There are millions of other people who enjoy it / just don’t care about petty sh*t.

          • Олег Александров

            why so aggressive??))
            i’ve already bought htc one for me, and bought note3 to my girl. all i want a phone with the best OS on market (stock android/close to stock), build quality of htc one/iphone (or may be galaxy f??), and camera of note3. i really like some of samsung ideas, but i hate things they do with android experience.
            so i really want to spend my money and buy a samsung devise ..but i hate touchwiz look and feel, cyanogenmod isn’t work because cyanogenmod camera sucks…

            so why?? why just not make a modern and simple stock rom…who suffers? you? me? samy? no.. i don’t hate samy at all, i hate what they do with android, and i really hope they will change it in galaxy s5.

      • Guru Tim

        Wait guys, Daniel is right. Why ever complain about anything you don’t like? Just sit down and accept it like lemmings…? Is that what you’re saying Daniel. I bet you complain about a tonne of things. If I dislike something, it is my right to complain about it. I can, and have moved on from samsung, to sony and I seriously doubt i’ll be moving back. That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to voice my dislike for the child’s plaything that is touchwiz UX.

    • guest

      google needs to prohibit others from changing the look and feel of android? WTF is the point of android then? why is android an open source OS??? if you don’t like touchwiz, just don’t even bother looking. btw, people buy touchwiz GS4s a lot. what does it tell ya?

      • SContrerasMer

        .that the GPE S4 has no advertising?

      • Олег Александров

        nice advertising. they will buy it much better if gs5 will get nice and clean rom. i swear)

      • Олег Александров

        and one more, millions of flies eat shit, they can’t be wrong.

  • Jack Parker

    Was hoping they would change the UI to what the gs5 would have it as

  • Michael Muyunda

    I wish they would change the blue/neon green elements to something neutral like white and grey.

  • DigBick

    Ugly drop down colors, remove that green neon already.

    • SContrerasMer

      in fact that was one of the main reasons taht took me to flash CyanogenMod on my galaxy SII,i wanted the ICS-Jellybean Blue icons instead of the green Gb like icons
      the other one was android 4.3 on CM 10.2

    • mikegold

      Petty, petty, petty.

      • Guesty

        UX, UX, UX.

        No one uses a Samdung phone for it.

  • culicagado

    Still hideous. All the money they have and they can’t get a decent design. smh

    • Dominic Edcel

      s5 will have an all new design. android authority posted a thread of it yesterday.

      • MasterMuffin

        Hopefully. They should focus on the size of the ROM too

  • It looks the same to me…..

  • Brandon Miranda

    We will see. but I truly believe Apple is going to kill it and Samsung will have to watch out. People have been craving a mass redisign and thats what their bout to get. oh goody.

    • MIkegold

      Not the 500mil Samsung phone buyers. Just some petty guys who stalk tech side & try to pass time.

      • Brandon Miranda

        I do not understand your comment.

        • kamal

          You will never understand technology..cos you are an apple fanboy…

          • Brandon Miranda

            Hey buddy. You will never understand grammer because you are obviously dimwitted. That pic is for my preference. I’m as unbiased as it gets. I’ve had every iPhone. I’ve had every Galaxy from the S2. I use a Mac as well as windows and Ubuntu (I installed it myself). I have a Nexus 7 which is a total beast. I’ve had every iPad. I’ve had the first iPod. I’ve had an Infuse. I’ve so many more android devices. Now what am I and what will I never understand?

          • Team Asus

            Talking about grammar? Better check your spelling first shit apple fanboy.

          • Brandon Miranda

            He says after I just explained why I am not a fanboy -_-.
            -Sent from My Monster Nexus 7

  • RLmecca

    Does the new firmware fix the “Transition Animation Scale” glitch in the “Developer Pption” that keeps reverting back to 1x speed when launching the Camera app????? This “Transition Scale” Glitch came out on the 4.3 update and it lags the phone BIG TIME….. PLEASE FIX IT SAMSUNG!!!!!!

    • Abdullah

      Agree bro… This glitch is very annoying…

  • Amine Elouakil

    Am I the only one seeing the inspiration from sense 5 on this touchwiz, heck even the lock screen is the same and the reduced notification bar. The funny part is that software is outsourced by another korean company, yet it still copy other, comeon Samsung make something original, and fix the performance issues

  • Chriswow

    Does the text look different? Or is it just me

  • Looks atrocious. LIke a ROM from 2007

  • Djlucy01

    Hey when you guys flash it…..can you test music file sharing between 2 devices PLEASE…apparently it broke that function in 4.3….& see if Google wallet works too? Im using super bean to get around the problem…..super only work on Wi-Fi…..but will work for Google wallet when I’m at the store…

  • deepen915

    looks good just please get rid of the GREEN Toggles! OMG Samsung why!

  • deepen915

    and BTW the lock screen camera isn’t new.. I use lock screen widgets as seen here.

  • Abdullah

    Is there ART implementation? Or did Samsung remove that?