It’s not available over-the-air yet, and it might still present bugs, but the manual download takes the ancient phablet straight from Android 4.3 to 5.1.
Mysterious “compatibility” issues prevented Huawei from rolling out KitKat goodies to the surprisingly popular Ascend Mate 2 back in the day, but pressured by public outrage, the Chinese device manufacturer had to solemnly vow Lollipop would smoothly run on the 6.1 incher… eventually.
Of course, oftentimes OEM make promises they’re uncertain they’ll be able to keep, counting on users to ultimately move on and let bygones be bygones. Not Huawei, though, at least not in this particular pickle, happily resolved via, well, the agreed upon Material Design UI tweaks.
And Project Volta battery enhancements, and ART support, and general and generic performance improvements, plus 5.1-specific Device Protection add-ons. As unbelievable as it sounds, the $255 Snapdragon 400 budget soldier skipped not one major Android build, but two: 4.4 and 5.0.
Very inspired call, since 5.0 ports have been plagued by memory bleeds and wide-spread instability mishaps recently, including in stock form for Nexus family members. Too bad you’re only offered a dicey “preview” flash here, skinned to also accommodate the newest version of the proprietary EMUI software package.
To safely pull the 5.1 firmware, you’ll first need to perform an SD card data backup so as to make sure nothing vital is lost in case of catastrophic OS failure or Android 4.3 reversal. No word on when Huawei estimates the system will be fully stable and completely glitch-free, but they “will continue to enhance the software… to deliver the best experience.”
Now go on, try it on for size. What’s the worst thing that could happen? The best obviously being a slew of interface enrichments so sweet, it’ll feel like it’s a brand-new phone you’re flaunting.