Samsung has mostly kept quiet about its KitKat update plans since the software came out in late October, but today the company's American arm announced a list of devices that will be getting an update. Android 4.4 updates will be provided to "select carrier variants" of the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S 4 Mini, Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 Zoom, Galaxy S III, Galaxy S III mini, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note 8.0, Galaxy Tab 3, Galaxy Note 10.1, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
The list of devices receiving the update says two things about Samsung: first, it's not too bad about providing continued support compared to other Android OEMs, at least for its most popular handsets. A two-year support window seems to be a reasonable expectation, if you buy new devices around the time they're released. Second, it offers a truly dizzying array of phones and tablets that would confuse even the most informed consumer (I had to Google the Galaxy Light before I even knew what it was). Other handset makers, like HTC, whom we'll pick on only because it provided us a recent and prominent example, seem to have trouble keeping even their flagship phones updated for that long. Even though we don't have a release window for any of Samsung's updates yet, this is good news for most of its customers.
Aside from the under-the-hood upgrades included with KitKat, updated devices will receive a handful of Samsung-specific features, including a new Location Menu, an "Enhanced Messaging" function that will allow you to choose between Samsung's Messages app or Google Hangouts for texting and will support a wider number of emojis, and upgraded Google (GMS) apps. Samsung's Android 4.3 update, which has already rolled out to a fair number of the listed devices, included a handful of other features, including support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.