Yes Samsung does not update their phones fast but at least does not intentionally give you an update to to make your phone slower like apple does withe their updates.
Plus what other phone manufacturer does update their phone often enough.
HTC is nice, like the interface way better that touchwiz, but you cant switch battery or add micro sd card. My first android phone was the first HTC Evo. Has Battery swap and micro SD Card, then I got the HTC one S actually like it more then the GS3 but running out of memory and battery on the new HTC was to much for me to deal with on a daily basis. Then got the GS3 good phone, now on Note 2 and loving the Jedi X-20.
You are right what you say but really what are other manufacture options?
My next phone will be a phablet again but from who I don't know yet.
I think im going for the next phablet that has great camera, that will sway my decision big time. LG is starting to get my attention.
Have not really seen any great reviews about the Note 3 camera, maybe it not that good. So lets see what Note 4 has to offer in another 6+ months.
about Android 4.4 seems Samsung will never update a phone with latest android untill it releases a new phone with it first. So we have to see what phone from samsung get kitkat then we'll start seeing updates to older models.
just my 2 cents.