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Galaxy S4: Google Edition is Samsung's phone running stock Android

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May 15, 2013

Google has announced a pure Android version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which will be availa...

Google has announced a pure Android version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which will be available soon

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If you want “pure Android” on your smartphone, you usually have a couple of options. You can either buy a Nexus device, or you can hack a non-Google device and install a custom ROM like Cyanogenmod. But for one of the biggest phones of the year, you'll soon have a third option. Google just announced the Samsung Galaxy S4: Google Edition, bringing stock Android to Samsung’s powerhouse phone.

Google didn’t explain the story behind this, but leading up to Google I/O, there were whispers that this was due to Samsung fulfilling an agreement with Google without producing another proper Nexus device. Whatever the reasons, the winners are customers who love Samsung’s hardware, but don’t want TouchWiz.

Familiar hardware, different software

Hugo Barra, Google's VP of Android Product Management, with the GS4 Google edition at this...

Hugo Barra, Google's VP of Android Product Management, with the GS4 Google edition at this week's Google I/O developer conference

As far as details go, it’s probably just what you’d expect. Same GS4 (16 GB version), only running the latest version of stock Android. No Samsung software whatsoever. It has an unlocked bootloader, and supports LTE. It’s a GSM phone, which – in the US – means AT&T and T-Mobile.

The appeal of this new GS4, of course, depends on your take on Samsung’s and Google’s software. If you want the most features, you’re probably still better off with the standard Samsung version. It gives you most of Google’s features, plus a huge goody bag of TouchWiz features. But if you’re all about pure Google – no manufacturer UIs for you – then this is the new Nexus phone to own.

Unlike the Nexus 4, though, the GS4 Google Edition won’t come cheap. We’re looking at US$649 (off-contract, of course) exclusively from Google Play. The Nexus 4 starts off-contract at $300, so you'll be paying a pretty penny for that bigger 1080p screen, LTE, and other goodies.

The Google Edition of the Galaxy S4 will be available starting on June 26. For more on the standard version, you can check out our Galaxy S4 review.

Source: Google

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
2 Comments

Yes, but won't AT&T insist they install their happy horse buckles onto the phone if they sell it under contract? Provider branding is just as bad as the manufacturer's branding rubbish.

Fahrenheit 451
15th May, 2013 @ 11:32 am PDT

Play store only. Anyway the rom will be ripped and made available for any S4. Poor old HTC...

Cathal Davis
16th May, 2013 @ 03:05 am PDT
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