Samsung fans are surely excited and well teased beyond their limits thanks to SamMobile’s unending exclusives on how Android 5.0 will look and behave on the Korean OEM’s 2013 and 2014 flagships. After the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 3, and the Galaxy S 4 (also in its GPE incarnation), we now turn our eyes to the latest and, some say, the greatest, the Galaxy Note 4. Fans of Google’s new Material Design language will probably feel right at home, though much work is to be done, if it’s to be done at all.

One of the things Samsung is notorious for is TouchWiz and how its custom Android skin greatly diverges from Android. But ever since the Galaxy Note PRO and the Galaxy S5, Samsung has tweaked the design considerably, shifting to a flatter aesthetic that happens to mesh well with Google’s newly acquired design sense. This can be seen in this early build of Android Lollipop for the Galaxy Note 4, where Google’s Material Design and Samsung’s new TouchWiz seem to blend well in some areas. Of course, it’s pleasing to see Samsung actually adopting Material Deign for its own apps, which goes a long way towards unifying the Android experience again.

Still, there is a lot of work yet to be done, especially with custom apps, like S Planner, for example. And there are some cases where even Material Design cannot hide Samsung’s idiosyncrasies, like in the pull-down notification panel and the half dozen tabs in the Settings up. But at least those adhere to the new design guidelines and won’t look out of place, even if they still look crowded.

In the meantime, Galaxy S5 owners might have something more to be excited about other than a leaked video and screenshots. Apparently, the Android 5.0 update has begun its slow trek to the early 2014 flagship and SamMobile was able to capture the firmware and shared it with others. The firmware was built for Polish models, but those with the same SM-G900F number might also be able to use it, at their own risk of course.

As to when others will be getting the update, French carrier SFR is once again on the scene. But remember that their timetables sometimes hit, sometimes miss, so take it with a grain of salt. According to SFR, owners of the Galaxy S5 will receive their just desserts this month, but Galaxy Note 4 owners might have to wait until January for their sweet.


VIA: SamMobile (1), (2), SFR