The @DesignGears guys have been busy today, leaking an unofficial KitKat build (Android version 4.4.2) for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The latest is a peek into what the international variants are beginning to see, although this build is far from official. Still, if you want to give it a shot, I'll show you how to install it, but make sure to check out the details below the how-to to see what you can expect, good or bad.
Since this is not an official build, there's always the chance that you could brick your Note 3 by installing it. This build is NOT intended for the public, and you WILL make permanent changes to your device by installing it. This means you will not be able to return to your Jelly Bean build. Also, installing this KitKat build WILL wipe ALL of your data.
All things considered, installation could not be easier.
- Head over to the official thread on XDA and grab the OneClick installation file. This will only work on Windows-based PCs at the moment, so sorry Mac users.
- Make sure to have the proper drivers installed, then plug your Note 3 into your computer.
- Extract the installer, then right-click on it and "Run as administrator."
- Hit "Start" on the OneClick installer and watch the magic happen.
- Once the installer is finished, your device will boot back up, and you'll be enjoying some KitKat goodness.
Seeing that this is not an official build, don't expect to hear anything from AT&T or Samsung as to what is and isn't working. For that, we must turn to the brave community of early adopters, and here's the initial report:
Smoother User Experience
While there aren't many (or any) UI changes, quite a few users are reporting smoother transitions as well as overall snappier functionality. Of course, this could be due to the fact that your device has just been formatted, so only time will tell whether these results are legit.
Better Battery Life
Also somewhat difficult to gauge on initial use, reports of longer battery life have surfaced from multiple users, just take a look in the screenshot on the right below.
Smart Stabilization is more effective and macro shots are actually possible now. You'll also notice a direct camera widget on your lock screen.
There is No Going Back
The test build ships with a new, locked bootloader specifically for KitKat, meaning that it has to be installed prior to installing the ROM. While locked bootloaders are nothing new for AT&T, this means that for all intents and purposes, there will be no easy way to downgrade your bootloader, thus no easy way to downgrade your ROM.
There is No Root...Yet
The build is new, so naturally we'd expect some growing pains, but as of now—there are no working methods to achieve root. All existing methods have been exhausted, so for the time being, we're stuck on stock ROMs and kernels, and we're going to have to hold off of any Xposed mods for now. Root tends to happen sooner rather than later, so stay tuned.
No ART Implementation
Google's new, much hyped runtime environment is noticeably missing from this build, as well as "official" international builds. This may be the case for all current devices, as Samsung may not be willing to update their existing TouchWiz software. The Galaxy S5, with its new TouchWiz base, may be the first Samsung device to see ART implementation.
No More Third-Party Cases
Predictably, Samsung new policy of restricting third-party accessories is alive and well on this build, and without root, you're options of getting around this policy are limited. But, Samsung has recently mentioned that this was a "bug" on the Note 3, and to expect a patch soon.
Users Reporting Loss of Data
Some users are reporting loss of their data connection after loading this build. This usually occurs when previous ROMs mess with your APN data. To get everything working again, go to Settings -> Connections -> More Networks -> Mobile Networks -> Access Point Names -> + -> and add the following info:
Users are reporting issues with Google Wallet and Isis Mobile Wallet, so if you use those services, you may also want to hold off. Additionally, Sony's "a" CLOCK and News360 apps are totally nonfunctional, although these seem to be broader KitKat issues.
Considering taking the plunge? Maybe you'd rather hold off for a more stable build? Let us know in the comments below.