Which Verizon Smartphones Have Android Lollipop?

Android Lollipop is the new Android OS, and it is a good one. If you want to get a new Android phone, you will probably be happier choosing a one with Lollipop already installed.

This is not to say that phones with the older Android OS, KitKat, won't or can't be upgraded to Lollipop. Nor do I suggest they will be. It is a bit of a mystery. At some point, I assume, some older models will not be upgraded. One might assume that if you get a new model phone that still runs KitKat that you'll be upgraded eventually, but that is not 100% certain.

We are looking into a new phone, we use Verizon, and I just spent several minutes looking through all the Verizon phones to see which ones have Lollipop already on them. The number of Verizon phones with Lollipop has gone up quickly over the last few weeks, and I assume that will continue. But as of now, early June 2015, this is the list:

Google Nexus 6™
HTC One® M9
LG G4™
Motorola Moto X™ (2nd Gen.)
Motorola Moto X™ (2nd Gen.) - Designed by You
Samsung Galaxy Note® Edge??????? Maybe not
Samsung Galaxy S®6
Samsung Galaxy S®6 edge

This is based on what Verizon specifies on their web site in the US. I don't know if this will apply to what you find in stores (many Verizon stores have only a subset of the total number of available phones, though I assume you can order these phones either at a store or on line). Again, the situation is changing rapidly, but this is what I found today, and having gone through the trouble, I thought I'd save you the time!

If you know of any additions or corrections, or information from other services, please feel free to indicate this in the comments below.

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    Unless you have a Google Nexus, the point at which "older models will not be upgraded" typically corresponds to the moment your phone sale transaction has completed.

    By Brainstorms (not verified) on 04 Jun 2015 #permalink

    Are you quite certain of that, because there is evidence to the contrary. All but one of the models listed above had KitKat three weeks ago, and now have Lollipop, and there are announced plans for upgrading many others.

    The question is not whether or not it can be upgraded for recent phones (though it might be for older ones) but whether or not Verizon or some other carrier will actually do the upgrade. I believe they are doing some of these upgrades now, though I'm not sure.

    But, yes, the uncertainty and lack of information is why I strongly suggest getting a phone with Lollipop installed.

    You don't necessarily need to rely on your phone company to provide the operating system. Depending on the design of the boot loader installed, it may be possible to replace your older version of Android with Lollipop or (as I recently did with an older Nexus 7 tablet) downgrade from Lollipop to an Android version that runs better on less capable hardware.

    The technical details vary from phone to phone, but the open source licence that covers the vast bulk of the Android code means there is quite a large hinterland of unofficial support for many popular phones. The most famous package is called CyanogenMod, which has stable releases covering everything up to KitKat , and produces nightly downloads for CyanogenMod 12.1, based on the latest Android Lollipop system.

    Installing a third party operating system on a phone isn't due everybody (after all, if you mess up you could miss essential calls and permanently lose valuable data) but for those willing and able to take appropriate precautions this is a viable alternative to relying on the capricious decisions of your phone company.

    By Tony Sidaway (not verified) on 04 Jun 2015 #permalink

    So, based on your pict, does the lollipop extend directly out of the select button? More importantly, is your nose close enuf to operate the machine?

    An amazing step forward!!

    By trafamadore (not verified) on 04 Jun 2015 #permalink

    On paper KitKat is very nice, but they don't call it the "bleeding edge" for nothing. Just like that popular PC OS from Redmond, I habitually do not upgrade any machine _that I depend on_ until it's well past the initial shakeout period. Early in the deployment cycle of any new piece of software there are going to be rough edges, and being at the mercy of a cellular carrier for timely fixes can be very frustrating. Look at the carrier's support forums or general sites like HowardForums to see the complaints.

    The most common complaint I see is that "last night's Lollipop update cut my battery life in half" or some such. Mandatory updates mean you can't stop 'em. Lack of user control means you can't go back to the one which worked better, yesterday. Lack of direct support from the coders means any request for fixes, and distribution of updates, are filtered through the cellular carrier who process such matters on their own schedules and whim.

    In this regard the Nexus is probably better because you're dealing directly with Google ... maybe.

    mike_s, maybe you meant to say "lollipop" in stead of "kitkat"

    I don't actually agree with you. First, comparing an Android (or Linux) implementation to Windows is hardly appropriate. New Linux/Android versions are almost always improvements with very little blood. Even Beta versions are usually improvements. The approaches to upgrades and development are totally different, and the underlying systems are different enough that they can't be compared in this area.

    Yes, there may be a few rough edges but so far there have been very few and they have been dealt with. The battery issue happened on some phones, and was fixed with 5.0.1.

    The relatively slow deployment by cell phone services is probably related to rough edges that haven't been smoothed out for specific pieces of hardware.

    Long term, Lollipop is probably better (when working properly) on battery use than earlier versions, and has as part of it's working guts promising new software technology that will eventually give every one 10% or more increase in battery life.

    I agree that Nexus might be a good choice for the reasons cited, but I'd need to see evidence of that.

    Sorry for the typo Greg; yes, I did mean "lollipop".
    While an imperect analogy, I'm not so sure that comparing Windows and Linux updates is so far off base. I bailed out of Ubuntu long ago as Canonical's vision became increasingly detached from their user base, and newer releases broke things that people cared about.

    Rumor has it that the 5.1 update for the Droid Turbo is coming soon, maybe even next week.

    The Galaxy Note 4 has Lollipop as well.

    I haven't noticed a great difference in ease of use of Lollipop over the previous Android version, but moving to the Note 4 with its large screen has been a tremendous help.

    I am on Verizon and have the note edge and lollipop it's not available.

    Brainstorms - My Android devices, including my phone, all update to new versions all the time. While my phone probably won't, because it is a little older, my family's tablets will all upgrade to 5.

    mike_s - I have never had an Android device update or upgrade without my permission and even under 4, there have been some significant updates that made substantial changes.

    And I can't imagine anyone comparing Windows OS upgrades to Android or Linux upgrades with a straight face. I not only use Windows by default on my PC and laptop, I am currently running Win10 stress tests on a low power, refurbed PC that will soon be running Win7 and go to a good, low income home that needs it. I've actually come to appreciate Windows, as I have learned the ins and outs. But OS upgrades are complete crap.

    I was running Win7 pre-release and with 7 actually upgraded my primary machine before it was released. Not because it was great, but because *anything* is better than Vista. I was playing with 8 as soon as it was available pre-release and used it for another three months post release, before I finally got irritated enough to dump it and go back to 7. Point being, I used Vista as soon as it was released. I have used every version since, since before they were released. I have a LOT of experience with Windows OS upgrades. And I have friends who have similar experience with literally *every* Windows release.

    Every single one has been a nightmare. They have been messy. They "break" hardware functionality that was allegedly built specifically to work with *that* upgrade. Hell, 8 broke the GPU in my dad's laptop that was entirely built around Win8, *5 months after he bought it!* Yes, they updated 8 so that it wouldn't function on hardware designed to work with it. And the difference between Windows and Ubuntu breaking something, is that with Ubuntu it takes a matter of minutes to fix it, while with Windows, it can take hours, if it is even possible to fix it without an official update. Android on the other hand, has *never* broken anything of mine, even after major updates and upgrades. If it can be updated/upgraded, it will work on that hardware - period.

    Issues with battery life after an upgrade have always been due to third party apps, and how they interact with the new architecture, in my personal experience. While they might not offer significant improvements every time, I have never had major problems. With PCs, problems are almost inevitable, given the much wider range of hardware variance.

    DuWayne - that's interesting. I've been using Windows since 3.1 (and DOS before that) and I've never had an upgrade go bad, not even close. I have had a Linux upgrade go sideways on me - early version of Ubuntu. It must be in how each individual uses their box that determines how upgrades will roll out.

    Greg - I have a HTC one M8 from Bell here in Canada and it has 5.1 on it. It updated a week or so ago.

    By Doug Alder (not verified) on 05 Jun 2015 #permalink

    Just for the record, I was a windows guru for years, then switched to Linux full time in the early Ubuntu days. I've never had a Linux upgrade to bad on a computer that worked, and I've done many, many of them often just for fun. Windows upgrades often gave me problems. Once I had my Windows install go bad because I installed a firewire card and a sceond drive all at once and Windows guessed it had been pirated and moved to a new computer, so that was sort of an example of an upgrade I wasn't even doing that went bad!

    Truth: There has long been an industry (i.e. Woody's) including countless aftermarket books (now web sites) focused on helping people manage all the problems with Windows as well a Office. That is partly because the user base is so large. But the Linux helper industry is entirely different. You can look at both and find that the worst case scenarios with Linux are always addressed with one or two command line fixes, while the medium case or worse for Windows has traditionally been addressed by a total re-install, often followed by buying a new machine.

    I've no experience with recent versions of Windows. Maybe they fixed everything.

    Doug - I think that depends on what you consider "going bad." My issues have always come from the general Windows functionality. In the case of Vista, it works out that Vista is just useless, bulky garbage. In the case of 7, it was a lot of quirks, most of which were worked out within a few months of updates. In the case of 8, I actually really liked it once I installed a third party "start" menu. But I was using 8 before it came already installed in machines that were built for it. And I have a laptop that was pretty decent at the time.

    8 never functioned well on my mom's lower end Dell and I ended up having to reinstall 7. My dad's computer, allegedly built for 8, was slow from the beginning (i5 - 3210, with 8gb and a discreet GPU). It got a little better for a short time, but was never even close to the speed it should have been. Then 8 broke his discreet GPU. At that point I installed 7 and it was everything it should have been, right out of the box. After I installed an SSD, it was that and more...

    But when it comes to Windows, I have become the goto for my parent's elderly friends. One couple in particular had a perfectly usable box with an Athlon II x2, with 4gb. Then they had another perfectly usable box with an A8 APU, with 6gb. They are currently using a box with a 3rd gen i3, which they called to see if I could fix and prevent them having to buy another computer. I now possess their previous boxes, one of which is stress testing Win10 for me, the other of which is refurbed and which may have found it's forever home with a family that will use it well. (the one that is stress testing 10 will soon be fitted with 7 and also find a new forever home, though I will actually charge someone for that one, because it would actually make a very functional HTPC - I just happen to have a couple of salvage DBrom drives, one of which will go into that box. I will set it up to startup into a media center UI with Netflix, Hulu, etc. preinstalled - it will be fun, given that the last of these I built has an i7, x6, 64gb, 2x titan X, and two Samsung evo pro 1tb SSDs in raid 0. It is the engine for the game/home theater of someone I made some trades with from his store. It runs a 70" + 2x 40odd" on their sides teevees. The sound includes a riser for the cozy chairs, that also functions as a subwoofer (the guy owns a home theater store)) The thing is, none of their machines needed anything but a reinstall of Windows. And given that they literally only use their computer for checking their email and until I showed them how to use their smart tee vee, looking up news stories, they could easily have kept using their original box. It has *more* than enough power for them. And now that I got them using gmail and Chrome, I expect they won't be having nearly the issues they have been, given that they will never see the emails that have been giving them diseases.

    But that is because Windows + lack of any computer experience. I hate to say it, but given their actual usage needs, they would be better off with Linux. Unfortunately, they are terrified of that sort of thing.

    I just upgraded to a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5. It came with Kit Kat 4, but I am now being innundated by persistant demands to update to Lollipop. So although the S5 comes with KitKat, Verizon is pushing down Lollipop.

    By Paul Reinhard (not verified) on 17 Jun 2015 #permalink