Google edition S4

The Nexus experience device won't be available outside the US at launch, sources tell CNET

It appears that folks around the world are going to have to wait to not order their very own Google Edition Samsung Galaxy S4, as CNET says Google has confirmed the launch to be US-only. The device, which was unveiled during the Google I/O 2013 keynote presentation, is the same Galaxy S4 you all know and love, but without Samsung's Touchwiz software -- or it's features. Instead the device has the same "Nexus user experience" that Google's own Nexus 4 delivers. The version shown at the I/O keynote will be penta-band HSPA+ and LTE, and will be completely compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.

It was a bold, if strange, move by the two companies, and nobody is quite sure why either side wanted it to happen. Around these parts, we still think you're better served buying the "non-Google" version and doing a little software hackery if you just have to have Google Android instead of Samsung Android, allowing for an easy path back should you want or need all the features the hardware can deliver.

There was no word on when to expect the device to be sold in other countries, but we imagine Samsung and Google both want to make it available and will work out the logistics and details as fast as they can.

Source: CNET UK


Reader comments

Galaxy S4 'Google Edition' to be U.S.-only at launch


This happened because EVERYONE whined about no LTE, no "Flagship" device for "Pure Android".

Hell, look back at all the AC rants & editorials.

I personally think CHOICE is a good thing, no one is making ANYONE buy this, if you don't want it or like it great. For those of us that want something WITH WARRANTY & is a Nexus on T-Mobile this is awesome news.

I think the Nexus 4 is cool AND I think the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Nexus Edition is cool too!


I think its a cool idea, and I hope other phone manufacturers do the same thing.

Instead of an official Nexus phone, (or in addition to Nexus) if every manufacturer could just put out a pure google phone, it would solve a lot of problems.

It probably will require a certain repackaging of Android so that custom radio, screen, and sound drivers remain on the device while Google can directly update the rest of the phone.

However, it might backfire on manufacturers if it turns out to be more popular than the customized skins they historically hang on top of Android.

On the other hand, it may prove the worth of those much maligned skins, and the pure android version might not sell well. Time will tell.

Don't be surprised when we find out that they hold some functionality close to their vest and key parts of the phone simply don't work in the pure android versions. (Watch how long it takes for this to surface. I'm betting it will be very quick).

There's not much chance of it 'backfiring' so to speak. They're charging the same amount of money for the phones, so they'll still be bringing in the cash whether folks go with Vanilla or Skinned. If the market shifts enough so that it becomes clear that Touchwiz or whatever skin is getting chosen far less often than Vanilla Android, then they just stop spending the money on the skin development and make even more profit.

Is an S4 still an S4 when it doesn't have the software to power some of its main hardware features?

Or is it just another high powered device running almost Vanilla Android?

If this phone isn't available with carrier subsidy, then I doubt that it will be "more popular". Most consumers aren't willing to pay full price for a phone when they can just wait a little longer and pay 1/3 of the price and renew a contract. Aside from T-Mobile (or prepaid, I suppose), there really isn't any benefit to paying full price if you plan on sticking with your carrier (again referring to your average user). Also, most consumers will never even know that this phone exists unless carriers sell it in their stores and on their websites. How many regular users out there are shopping for new phones at full price on the Google Play store instead of one of their carriers retail locations? I see this phone being popular in the development and custom ROM communities, but not for the average consumer.

Agreed as well.

I think perhaps Larry called Sammy late in the game and the conversation went a little like this:

Larry - Yo Sammy you did get my email that about the Nexus 5 on this May's I/O?
Sammy - What email what you talking about?
Larry - you know, the one about Nexus 5, 5-inch screen, round corners, Nexus logo
on the back, cheap, no SD card slot, no removable battery, etc etc..
Sammy - Ummm, didn't get the email sorry.
Larry - Oh no! that's terrible. Well what do you have that's 5-inch and can be
called Nexus 5?
Sammy - We got the S4.
Larry - Ok can you get me lots of those without the SD card slot and removable
battery by May or June?
Sammy - No.
Larry - Ok, how about just the regular S4 only instead of running your loaded
Touchwhiz; install our vanilla version.
Sammy - K, but they're really gonna miss on S-Beam. I can get some by late June and maybe sold them out in 2 days, and then get more in by August.
Larry - (Mumble: Screw S-Beam, Android beam is good enough)
Wow really? faster than LG. Great! I love you Sammy
Sammy - I love you too Larry.

I sometimes wonder how many of the products we see hit shelves, but had something like this happen. Like the suit from Nokia about the HTC's getting their camera parts. Could just be some guy never looked at the last email one Friday before he skipped out to play 9.

I am so sick of hearing people say "OMG no one needs SD or removable battery" or "OMG what is the big deal about vanilla Android [insert vendor here]'s skin is awesome"

This has needed to happen for a long time now. I am sick to death of Google neutering Nexus devices (the last non-neutered Nexus device was the nexus One), and am just as sick of Vendors slopping their stupid skins onto my phone and not letting me get rid of it. Very happy to FINALLY get a real nexus device even if it has no Nexus name.

It's funny that you think you are the one who determines what a "real" Nexus is, rather than the people who actually produce the product.

That's all well and good, recommending going with a carrier version, but, if you're with AT&T, you're not going to be doing much software hackery any time soon, beyond a basic and unprotected root. The AT&T S4 bootloader is thoroughly locked a large Verizon bootloaders. We're just going to have to wait for the development to crack them before we can root and flash with the ability to fix a brick if/when something screws up. I'm very upset with AT&T for doing this, but there are always ways around them. We just have to be patient and let the devs get a good crack.

"The AT&T S4 bootloader is thoroughly locked a large Verizon bootloaders."

Run that by me one more time....

Probably another auto-correct victim. He probably meant....

"The AT&T S4 bootloader is thoroughly locked as are Verizon bootloaders."

My solution was to go to T-Mobile instead.

I have no idea why anyone still uses AT&T. They are not the cheapest, don't have the best network, and have the worst customer service. Why are people still using them?

In my case, we've stuck with AT&T because we have grandfathered unlimited data plans. Once rooted, I don't have to worry about the tether lock.

T-Mobiles coverage is nowhere near as good as AT&T's, and their LTE footprint is minimal at best. So please tell me again why anyone should chose T-Mobile over AT&T?

And um sure that the S-View flip cover won't work, either, although there could be some software hacks to deal with that.

Most likely none of the software features built into touchwiz for the S4 will work with stock android.

Pity its not available for Canada at launch. Unlocked penta-band since I'm on Mobilicity. Of course I wonder if I got a T-Mobile USA branded S4 could I flash the GS4 stock Android image? So is the GS4 the SGH-M919 model?

The price!!! Why do I feel like I'm paying for Samsung's software when the phone doesn't come with Samsung's software? Google needs to be purchasing this as a hardware only device (which should make it $400-$500 max) and then adding android and throwing them on the play store. There is no reason this should be over $550 even with everyone getting plenty of markup.

Afaik the US S4 variant uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor while the rest of the world S4 uses Samsung's own Exynos Octacore.

Even if they manage to dump the ROM it won't be useful outside of the US.

I will still be surprised if Google sells the GS4 with a physical button, Samsung branding on the face of the phone and in white, those are 3 devils that I thought Google was getting away from, Nexus phones are suppose to be Vanilla clean inside and out, Thats the google I know. and not what I would expect from a Nexus device..