Google I/O

The Samsung Galaxy S4. Plain old vanilla Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It's real

Hugo Barra came back to the stage at Google I/O and dropped a huge bombshell on us. The Samsung Galaxy S4 'Google Edition' that has been rumored in the run up to the event is indeed real, and it's going on sale via Google Play! 

This Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2.2 just as the regular one does, only this one has absolutely no Touchwiz on it whatsoever. This one runs pure, un-tampered, Google fresh Android. 

Available from Google Play on June 26 in the U.S, compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile US. 16GB of on board storage expandable via microSD card, LTE, unlockable bootloader, and prompt software updates. Google promises that this Galaxy S4 will provide a "Nexus user experience." Wow. All this will cost $649.

So, is this now the Galaxy S4 of your dreams? 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote for the rest of the day's news!

 
There are 305 comments

Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real!

305 Comments
Sort by Rating

When you buy this (GE GS4) are you going to unlock the bootloader, root, and throw on a custom Rom?
All this means is that the modding community now has a stock Android build for the GS4.

Exactly! I hope that we can simply take the Odin from the GE GS4 and install it on our AT&T GS4 phone. If its the exact same hardware, which I would suspect it is, then I wouldn't see why that cant be done.

You say that as if that is not an awesomely good thing.

I really missed this on the Droid 1. Not having to root just to get a stock experience.

Also drivers/kernel etc for stock Android for the GS4. I think thats a big deal. As well as regular updates directly from Google to build custom roms from. Thats what makes the Nexus Devices so great (especially for the the rom developers etc.)

honestly tho, they'd better improve stock android features, especially the camera. A galaxy phone without TW is not really a galaxy phone any more.

I agree. This is basically a super powerful Nexus. Unfortunately, there are no features that will take advantage of all this power. I like this idea a lot but I don't think all of Samsung's features are gimmicks and I wish I could pick and choose which ones I wanted.

4.3 has not been announced yet, so fingers crossed the SG4 specs will be taken advantage of when the do have a the next Android version.

Depends on whether or not the Galaxy Nexus S4 (my name for it) has been re-partitioned as compared to the other versions.

I totally agree. Stock android is a little on the plain side. Needs more flair.. but i can live with that. What i cant live with is the HORRIBLE camera software.

Your right a galaxy phone without TW isn't a galaxy phone anymore.
It's much much better, give me stock android over some crappy skin anyday.

I agree, I had an HTC Evo 3D, good specs, 3d fine, but Sense ate my RAM alive, so though I wanted 3D, I changed to Galaxy Nexus, lots of free RAM and fast updates. This is it's successor, 1080p screen, heaps more RAM, loads of processing, graphics power, expensive compared to Nexus 4, but I might get it on my next contract. Trouble is, carriers get in the way of updates.

think this is only available unlocked through the play store...so a subsidized $200-ish phone on contract is not going to happen.
the good is that carriers can't get in the way of the update process.
the bad, you are going to have to shell out $650 for the phone.

By the time my contract is up, it'll be available on contract, and the carriers get in the way, even of the updates on Galaxy Nexus, when it's locked to them. Good luck, I'm spewing, no cheap, powerful, stock tablet or smartphone, where's my UD (4k) level graphics in the background, RAM doubling, 1080p. If they're going to give it to me later, give me Snapdragon 800 or Tegra 4.

I feel that is why they are doing this. They hope devs can make mods to the framework to allow things like hover over screen, defined camera capabilities, temp/humidity sensors, etc.

They want fresh minds to harness and take advantage of what the new technologies have to offer.

They are doing the Android community a favor. This device will help set the stepping stones for future devices that will harness the features inside the GS4.

I loved the fact that everyone paused and laughed when he announced the price lol. Still a $650 unlocked GS4 stock android device is still much better then the alternative.

But some people want 1080p and microSD. I'm wondering if drivers for stuff like Air gesture and stuff is baked in. Because that was a lot of the GS4. Still though, running pure Android software means a lot less bloat and more internal storage out of the box than the equivalent GS4 with TouchWiz.

1080p, MicroSD, LTE, Removable battery... the four things folks complain about most for the Nexus devices.

Not to mention some people want a bigger screen on a thinner and lighter device. Wish I could justify the price when I have a Nexus 4 though :/

People complain about 1080p? You may be right, but I think it's funny how people say 1080p was not needed on a phone. That was a few months ago. Now it's standard. haha

Well technically it isn't needed. What I point to is benchmarks in graphics between the Nexus 4 and Snapdragon 600 phones like the One, G Pro and S4. The Nexus 4 tends to get higher framerates due to it having the same GPU as those phones but a lower resolution. I think performance and battery life might be being sacrificed for 1080p.

I'll disagree, granted the SGS4 is a great phone, its not much better than a Nexus 4. At 649, all you need is an extra $50 and youve got 2 N4's.

Neither of which will have LTE, 1080p, expandable storage, or a removable battery. I'd rather have the Nexus 4, but these are dealbreakers for some people. This gives them an entry into the vanilla Android experience.

With the $300 I'd save I'm sure I could buy enough beer to drown my sorrows at not having a removable sd card.

But then after you spend the $300, drank all the beer, and then finally recover from the hangover, you still would have spent the same amount of money, and still don't have the SD slot, or removable battery. LULZ

If 1080p screens use twice the storage space, for movies and games, then 32GB micro SD cards cost $ 20 retail. If I got an extended battery for my Galaxy Nexus for $ 7, with shipping and you can get phones for no money up front, in Australia on contract then get with the program.

I guess I'm in the 1%, then. Because I have SEVERAL spare batteries (and external battery chargers) for both my current Samsung Galaxy Nexus, AND my former Motorola Droid 2 Global. And although my Nexus doesn't sport an SD card slot, thankfully my old Droid does (which I now use as a wi-fi and local storage only device), and I have that device fully loaded with songs from Spotify, as well as many podcasts that I sync every morning before leaving for work. :-)

All users that have an sd card use the sd card.. Also batteries go bad, so yes, people do replace batteries.. Amazon sells tons of batteries..

I will defend those who cite removable batteries as a problem as legitimate, batteries go bad, I've never been one to keep multiple batteries and swap them out, I have an external battery pack for when I need a lil extra juice. but if you keep phones for a long time the nonremovable battery could become a problem as it nears 1 1/2 - 2 year old.
Luckily I'm a tech addict and buy a new phone (almost always a nexus) each year so I can live without it.

*use upgrade for Carrier GS4*
*sell carrier GS4 for $600*
*purchase GE GS4 for $650*
*net cost $250 +tax*
*success*

Love it, I too have long since gotten over the lack of sd cards, I don't need them.
Prompt updates and stock android are far more important to me. I only buy stock devices.
But I think this is the answer to many people who keep saying they want stock android but can't live without removable sd, lte and removable batteries.
But if you want every spec under the sun, you gotta pay lol.
Personally I'm much happier with my nexus4 and $300 in my pocket :)

I would leave in a heartbeat but the service is so good where I live.

I wonder if I can test out T-mobile?

You used to be able to since you had a two week grace period on new contracts with any carrier. I don't know how the new uncarrier no contract stuff affected this. I essentially did this right before I got my N4, used a GS3 for a week and a half, and only got charged like $25 I think for the 10 days of service.

They'll have the bootloader unlocked, just get the vzw one. I'm not a cdma fan but if they serve yuo will, stick with them.

I already left last week. Cost me $190 to terminate, and I am having no buyer's remorse. It was a great decision.

Verizon's coverage is awesome, but their bloat and contracts just got to be too much. They are arrogant.

If you think they're bad now, just wait till they pay off Vodafone $165 billion dollars for their 45% of VZW, wonder how they're going to pay that nut off?

There may not be a need for it. When the VZW one launches, assuming that a) the bootloader gets unlocked and b) the Google version has identical hardware, you should be able to flash the stock versions as they are released.

Basically, it'll be like the VZW Gnex all over again, just without the shitty radio :)

Are the people who been crying for vanilla on a Galaxy S4 happy now? Watch they cry about the price, I mean, it is always something.

I am very happy. The price is less than the retail price for my HTC Rezound, and is exactly the same as the retail price of the Note 2. So why would I be crying?

Will be all over that in a heartbeat if HTC did that as well. Honestly the price doesn't bother me seeing that I'm on T-Mobile and the original one is going to cost me the same in the end.

Yes but the Developers edition One has an unlocked bootloader, slightly slower cpu, slightly smaller screen and x4 the memory for basically the same price.

But the Developer Edition doesn't have a removable battery or SD card slot and has Sense, not a stock experience. If the One went Stock I would consider it.

Oh! and the DE One is not fully compatible with T-Mobile. You may have trouble with 3G and 4G speeds and will not have T-Mobile LTE from what I've heard. You can only get full usage on AT&T.

Uh, slightly slower CPU in the One Developer edition? I doubt that. Pretty sure it's exactly the same specs besides storage as all the other One models.

Won't happen. They have software dependant hardware. Things like the speakers sound like crap without the proper beats drivers and software.

Wow... good point. I guess we'll have to see what good Sense-less ROMs come out and throw Nova or Apex Launcher on there.

---I'm a sucker for stock

FCUK....

Why cant this come to Verizons network.

This is the phone that i want to retire my G-Nexus for....

^ this. It's become quite apparent Verizon doesn't care a bullock about what their customers desire such as unlocked phones, different subsidy/no subsidy models, and timely releases. Yes their Network is Rock solid, but at what price do they think they can keep dicking their customers around with it. I'm So glad I'm not with them.

But the reason they don't care is that most of their customers (people like us that read Android Central are not even close to most of their customers) do not care about that stuff as much as people like us that read Android Central care about that stuff.

Isn't Verizon like #1 for net subscribers? Obviously they are providing something that most people want. You know?? Like coverage???

"It's become quite apparent Verizon doesn't care a bullock about what their customers desire such as unlocked phones, different subsidy/no subsidy models, and timely releases."

That's obviously why they are consistently rated the top carrier on customer surveys, people are definitely unhappy and leaving at an alarming rate.

(You're an idiot)

Tech-savvy people aren't the ones filling out those surveys. It's some old lady who says she didn't have a dropped call all month. Some soccer mom who thinks it's super cool that she can text and Facebook lickity split. And some businessman who's glad he can get calls from the office while he's on the road in remote towns.

It has nothing to do with what most Android central readers are looking at when we say Verizon sucks.

I'm not a fan of ATT but to be honest Dianne they got the LTE and it's mighty fast. It can download 1Gb in seconds. My wife has it and she just updates her whole repertoire of apps in minutes while I'm downloading 1 app over Wi-Fi

Agree! Vzw has not brought something to the table that i really feel like i need. Hoping to hear about Motorola X soon... was holding out for that, but a GS4 Nexus experience would do the trip too

A couple of years ago I would be excited for plain Android, but I like the features baked into Samsung's TouchWiz.

I agree, TW brings a lot of features. I like waiving my hand over the top of my phone to see status, time, missed txt and so on.

I can't help but think that this is the rushed result of a delay, scrapping or lack of new Nexus device to announce.

Not that I'm complaining, pure Google GS4 sounds like a great combination.

I have this feeling too. I think it was Schmidt who said he wasn't impressed with what Motorola had coming along. Could have been a sign that they had something planned with them to be the company to get this spot at the conference launching a pure Google/Non-Nexus device so at last minute they approached Samsung and nailed this out.

Same here.. I wanna know about the new Nexus 7.. I've been dying for a tablet and I want my first one to be a Nexus..

The price is in line with a typical high end smartphone. I think a lot of folks don't really realize how steeply the Nexus devices are marked down.

The 16gb GS4 on TMobile is $630 unsubsidized. $640 on AT&T. The 16gb iPhone 5 is $650.

it is simply amazing how many of you people have NO CLUE how much a smartphone actually costs. Jesus, get a clue!

if you think it's too much, then I guess you need to accept that you cannot afford a cutting edge phone. Just buy last year's model instead.

Exactly this! People see the subsidized price, and think that's what a phone costs. I guess most of these people have never purchased a phone off contract. Selling below cost ruins smartphone pricing for a lot of companys. People complained that the Nexus 4 had no LTE, removable battery, and sd card slot. Now it has all of these things, and yet people are still complaning. You can't have your cake, and eat it too!

Why don't you stop for a second and rethink the bashing you are doing. I just bought a 64GB unlocked HTC One Developer Edition for $649. So, while you are right that $650 is not a lot to pay for an unlocked phone, it is still not a great value for a phone with only 16GB considering what HTC is doing. And please, using all caps is something only 16 year old girls do.

Considering HTC is on the verge of not being a company anymore if they cant get their crap together and sell a ton of these phones, THAT is the reason you can buy an unlocked one 64gb for that cheap and its the ONLY reason. IF HTC, actually sold a lot of phones, and was as popular as samsung or apple, you would not be getting this deal. Yes.. unlocked is great, but seriously you wont have the accessories that you will for the GS4, you wont have the ROMs that the GS4 will have, and you CERTAINLY wont get the OS upgrades the s4 will get. You will have a phone that looks great and feels great, but thats about it. I came from the one s and while i still think HTC makes some of the best phones, their support (both from HTC and 3rd parties) SUCKS BAD (adn i have been a fan of HTC for a LONG time so i am very familiar with their ways)!

yeah.. thats how much they COST.. to BUILD.. No one is in this game to make friends. They are here to make MONEY. if they sold it at cost, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense now would it?

649 is a steep price to pay when comparing specs that the nexus 5 will most likely have at a much lower price (one would assume) this is a smart move on Samsung part by appeasing the geeks (to some extent) and showing people the Google / Samsung relationship is healthy.

It's not any steeper than any other high end device. That's how much a phone costs when Google isn't subsidizing it.

Seriously? I think not. You can get a 64GB developer unlocked version of an HTC One for a comparable price. I'd pick that over this GS4 anyday.

I would agree with that but you forget that the Unlocked Edition does not support the 1700mhz frequency for T-Mobile :( so unless your getting it for AT&T, your somewhat hampered on T-Mobile

Can people that own TMobile and ATT GS4 devices unlock and load this on theirs? Might be better to just buy from the carrier with your upgrade and load with the vanilla Android software.

Most likely you can but the problem for ATT is that the bootloaders are currently locked and the work around that a developer is keeping on hold for now could possibly be patched.

But you can put in a 64GB micro SD card if you want or use the same 32GB card you've been using so really the difference in storage depends on what size card you currently have plus you'll be getting much more accessory and software support, a removable battery and it seems like it should work fully on T-Mobile.

1. does this mean the end of the Nexus program as we know it?
2. i'm not a big fan of physical buttons so i prefer the true Nexus.
3. i'm not a big fan of paying $649. $350 Nexus is much more palatable.
4. my plan is to dump Sprint next year and buy an unlocked Nexus "5" and go to A&T AIO prepaid.

I doubt the Nexus line will end (it's too successful) this just gives users more options for a pure Android experience.

Have you seen sales figures? All I know about the Nexus line is Google runs out of stock on them.

"successful" is relative. maybe it's too "successful"? maybe it's pissing off or scaring the hardware partners? maybe the ROI/margins are not high enough for Google? i don't know these answers.

Google makes no money from Nexus devices and might actually lose a little on them. They exist to make people aware of the pure Google experience. They do make money off all the personal data Google monetizes though. You being the product and all.

of course. but the question Google must ask themselves is - Is the Nexus program necessary and worth the "costs"?

i love Nexus phones and have one and plan to buy another - but Google might have a different idea on the future. they've been known to throw us curveballs in the past. we shall see.

Ok, so I am not your wife. However, I'm a woman that's definitely addicted to Android smartphones, and I say, "Go for it!" (Especially, if it's one that you want!) And if I may add, throw in one for her while you're at it...She should be happy too! :-D

Anyway, starting this weekend, I'll be saving up my money...Slowly but surely, and hope to purchase a phone like the Galaxy Note 2, perhaps future Note 3, or for a future Nexus...

Not jealous of your life.

My advice, buy it so she can divorce you. Sounds as if you are without a doubt better without.

Neither of those phones are "ugly". Don't be such a fanboi. You can prefer one over the other without calling it ugly.

Did they just fragment the Nexus? Now instead of Nexus devices, there are google editions? Does that mean all the chinese tablets that run stock android because they cant afford to skin are 'google edition'. This makes no sense to me. Why not just release the ROM?

They aren't, because they aren't updated straight from google.

This is supposed to be a nexus in all but name, like the Moto Xoom. ;)

No reason to cry over the price, you still pay full price for every device, it's just spread out on your contract.

This would be true if you plan decreased once your 2 year commitment was up. But it doesn't unless you're on t-mobile's plan. But for everyone else.... if my bill is $100 when I upgraded the phone, it's the same when the contract is over.

True...
Everyone else has you pay a price that includes a subsidy, regardless whether you are on contract or actually paying off a phone - if you stay on a plan after 24 months without signing up for a new subsidized phone, you are basically throwing approx. $20/month out the window.

I'm ok with TMO no argument. But unless you keep the device over 2 years its a gimmick. Or buy a Nexus 4 and use it on TMO like I did right out. And very few if any who visit and comment on Android Central EtAl.... Keep a phone that long.

My wife hates spending money and won't pay cancellation fees so I can't leave Sprint. Wish they would just do a CDMA Nexus device... :-(

how about i just buy one from tmobile (cause they will let me make payments) and install a vanilla rom that will be out THE DAY they are released for this phone? lol

I'd be mad there is no Sprint edition, but this is still only a 16gb version.
Hoping for a Sprint off-shoot of the XFON

Wow, nice. All the good stuff like removeable battery and micro sd card and none of the bad. This is better than a nexus.

TBH...the ONLY reason I'm with Sprint now is because a lot of my friends work with the company, and I will be on an advantage plan next month.

I hope so because Tmobile's Wifi Calling app is pretty handy. Unfortunately, it's only installed on Tmobile branded phones. Hope someone at XDA will be able to port this puppy over.

Unfortunately my work has a contract with Sprint that gets us service in the basement when no other carrier can. That is the only reason I am not with another carrier... I wish CDMA didn't exist.

I wish Europe had used Qualcomm's CDMA rather than Nokia's TDMA as the standard for GSM. Then we could all be using the same tech. TDMA would be rightfully dead now if it weren't for the EU keeping it alive. Hopeful LTE will really kill both and we can at least move toward a common-ish world standard. The hatred should be aimed at the carriers that want to keep it all proprietary. If they would stop all those anti-competitive practices maybe we would see more GSM/CDMA/HSPA/LTE devices with wide range of frequencies. For use across different carriers.

Yeah the whole world except North Americaa and a few regions is wrong, and CDMA, the short bus special needs technology was right. CDMA is evil, the quicker it dies the better.

Now this is how phones should be sold. You want it cheap (upfront at least) then buy subsidized through a carrier. If you want to pay full price upfront you can get bloat free Android and your choice of carriers. Hopefully this means sim unlocked also. I didn't see this specifically mentioned in the article.

I stopped reading at the stupid $650 price tag.

Is this special edition S4, worth almost 2 Nexus 4's ? Uh no.

The $349 Nexus 4 is no slouch or mid grade smartphone, sure the S4 is better, but not night and day radically better. And no way worth a 75% higher price over the Nexus 4.

For $550 I'd rather get a new Nexus 4 + the new Nexus 7 tablet, and keep a $100 in my wallet, than spend $650 on just one Samsung phone.

While I agree, for some people, LTE plus expandable storage, a removable battery and the pretty kick-butt camera on the GS4 make this an automatic win. This will put the vanilla Android experience in more hands.

Remember folks, Android is all about OPTIONS!

Get it shipped to Delaware and it's tax free. That may cost you less to have it reshipped to your home by a trusted individual.

Yeah for $650 they should have made it 32GB, though I still think I will get this to replace my GN instead of the developer HTC One 32GB@$650. Decisions, decisions...

LOL... So you feel that anyone who is a Sprint subscriber is to blame because YOU had a bad experience. Nice... How about if my Sprint service in my area works fine?

Actually, my Sprint experience was overwhelmingly positive (excepting the mess that was WiMax). I left because the user experience I wanted wasn't available. I moved to an N4 on StraightTalk because I wanted more flexibility. That's not a dig on Sprint any more than it would be at VZW 9and I'd rather use Sprint than VZW).

We all make our own choices and we are all responsible for them. The OP was complaining that Sprint isn't getting the Google Goodness. Sprint is probably not going to get any Google Goodness for a while, this isn't news to anyone. Ergo, the only person responsible for his situation is himself for sticking with a proider that doesn't suit his needs.

Comments are for discussing and COMMENTING on a story. In this case I was commenting about my disappointment. Sometimes customer opinion influences marketing decisions down the road... Maybe not in this case...

I feel when you deal with a cdma carrier, be it Sprint or VZW, you have to accept its locked down limitations when it comes to phone choice. Its like moving to Alaska from Hawaii and then complaining about the cold.

This is fantastic news and the S 4 suddenly became attractive and highly competitive (I don't like the TW sibling and even less with carrier branding). This is what the S 4 should have been in the first place - a standardized unlocked device with the possibility to run pure vanilla Android without the usual hassle with different versions, lack of source code (for the Exynos) etc.

Another thing is that this reminds me of the "Nexus Certified" rumors from last year since this obviously mean that Google is going to select specific devices and convert them into AOSP "Google Editions" for those that prefer stock vanilla but don't want a Nexus of different reasons.

I hope that this can spread to more devices since it would be great to be able to get a Google Edition from other brands too. Even if this makes the S 4 really attractive, I am still more inclined towards the Oppo Find 5 or Xperia Z.

For those with coverage problems in their basements: Get a repeater or antenna that can enhance the signal. It will work if there are coverage outside of the house.

Didn't you hear? This has LTE and promises fast upgrades, and sells straight from Google play store. It smells like a nexus to me.

This is diff hardware from the other versions - it will support both AT&T and T-Mo 4G+LTE. Just something to keep in mind for anyone planning to just toss the AOSP rom on one of the current phones-- don't expect cross carrier compatibility.

Would it be right to assume that stock Android wouldn't take full advantage of the GS4 camera?

I've always heard that software is very important in pictures quality as it has several optimization routines, most likely Samsung-proprietary. Seems like people running CM or AOKP ROMs don't get the same crisp/crystal clear pictures as with the stock TW camera but I might be wrong ...

The Nexus 4/5 just got Punked.

8-9 Gigs of Usable Space..
No SD Card Slot..
No Battery Door..
No HD Res..
No LTE..

The Samsung Galaxy S4

Up To 80 Gigs of Usable Space (10 times more storage Option)
Battery Swap? = Yes
1080P HD = Yes
LTE = Yes

The Stripped Down LG Nexus Line is what it is.. A "Mid-Line" Phone.
If you have a Mid-Line Budget.. go for it.

There are those of us that are willing to buy a Higher Class of Phone..
Now Google has it in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Special Edition.

For one thing, the N4 has 13gb of usable space, not 8-9. And that SD card space doesn't hold apps.
Secondly, have you used an N4? I've matched mine against the S4 and HTC One that y friends run, and it's virtually identical in performance. I have the GNex and never needed to swap my battery, I don't miss it with my N4 either. The screen is still awesome.
Are there advantages to the GS4? Sure. Are they worth $300? H to the Ell no.
Calling the N4 a "Mid-Line" phone reveals you for what you are...

an ignorant fanboi.

whether its worth 300 dollars is upto the individual..imo the 1080p screen,sd card,bigger removable battery,superior camera,superior speaker,faster and new cpu etc are worth it. lets not forget the nexus 4 was being heavily discounted by google amd in some contries it was retailing above $500. the s4 is the same price as any other unlocked high end device out there so i dont know why some(not you) are shocked that its that much. i doubt samsung would allow especially when they themselves are selling the tw version for $700 so if they were to allow google to sell it for so cheap they would be shooting themselves.

I can understand the SD card issue somewhat, makes it easier with back ups on rom flashing, but basically thats it. The battery one I don't care. But it seems most users here live where there's no car chargers, no wall ac sockets, no computers with usb ports anywhere to top up, nor do they have any wifi for using cloud storage. Are they in the middle of some desert with one cell tower in the middle of it thats their only means of communication and data?

I agree on most of those points, but having an extended battery IS pretty sweet. I have one on my S2 and not only can I go twice as long between recharges, but it also made that slim phone easier to physically handle.

so, this is AOSP, stock android, and can be installed with stock android images without hardware conflicts, am I right? slap me. I wanna see this.

Damn, I'm tempted to break my contract with Sprint for one. Stock Android experince on a high end device with LTE support. One of the few feature that kept me from grabbing a Nexus.

Does this mean that it won't have the Samsung camera software?

Maybe we can buy this and flash an official Samsung Touch wiz ROM? It's still a good price for an unlocked S4 and for me the S4 is all about the software.

I'm tired of trying to make my Galaxy Nexus work how I want with tasker and having to buy apps, I just want it to do what I want out of the box! I wanna try the S4 with touch wiz :-)

Oh..
And I bet the main ones complaining here are the ones that RAN OUT and locked themselves into a Carrier Bloated S4... Next upgrade remember: Patience.. Is a virtue :-)

Hopefully this means it'll get easier to make ROMs for other devices. That's where I'm storing my excitement.

Well, since I can't leave VZW, and this is not likely to work on VZW, all I can do is be happy we'll have a good solid base AOSP to start with on roms, and one that el-goog is promising to keep up to date.

Those of you on sprint, and those of you not willing to shell out $650 up front, need to look at this news the same way.

Hey Andrew,
He's just mad because he is stuck with the Mid-Line Nexus 4.. (A.K.A. El Strippo Phone) And can't afford the Full Featured Google Special Edition Samsung Galaxy S4...

I guess if I were in his position, I would be pissed too! This is going to be One..Smooth..Device.. without even having to Root & Rom.. So, even if it does not come with Key-Lime Pie out of the box.. It will be the Very First to get it..

I was going to hold out for a Galaxy Note 3.. as I have a Rooted & Rom'ed Galaxy Note 1 now.. But this is sooooo tempting.. at least I have a month to make my decision.. And should know a little more by then about the upcoming G-Note 3..

That is awesome!! Maybe I'll take that and give my husband the note 2 lol
I have to see what reviews are,
I find it worth the 650$

Good news, however, Mr. Barra, don't pull another Nexus One and get this to Europe swiftly please.

I'll be getting this phone. It's everything I want. Not what others want, what I want. And I always buy my phones unlocked anyway.

@Richard Devine

Thanks for the post.

this is the first time a other smartphone than Nexus series enter and got the google official mark directly. WOW !! Samsung well done.

Thanks in Advance

Nice as it may be, for that sort of money I would rather pay a bit more and have a 32GB model. Why on earth a device for developers is only available as a 16Gb model is very weird. The HTC One Developer version is 64Gb.

You'd think there would be a no complain but there still is. It's not on CDMA, it cost more than the Nexus 4, and it's still plastic. I understand the CDMA complaint as it could limit you from getting the phone.

this is pretty awesome that google and samsung did this. BUT even though touchwiz sucks, some of there software enhancements are really awesome hopefully developers will use open sourced samsung code + google code to create the best version.

1) multi-window (seriously, one of the best features on android...period)
2) pedometer API's and software.
3) Camera features and UI the galaxy s4 line up (it's wayyyy better than stock and people who disagree are the same people who think they their child will really become a baseball player when in fact he will most likely end up bagging groceries).
4) Hand's free gestures.

It seems to make more sense to unlock the bootloader. And overlay touchwiz with Nova Launcher.

So you're going to pay $300 for a better camera, removable battery and microSD slot. Plus - you get a worse display and it's plastic! Gratz!

I love Google and it's Nexus phones - but this is a HUGE miss.

As for you CDMA people - it will never happen. Not enough Sprint users and Verizon is a nightmare to work with.

I replaced my Nexus S about two weeks ago now - suspecting (and worrying) that Google will come with a new and "special" Nexus phone in may.

However, now i am reliefed (and happy) that i did not wait for the new Nexus.

I have no doubt that the S4 is a fine piece of hardware. But i thougt that the new Nexus would be a successor of the N4 and not an "ordinary" S-omething.

Not to mention the price of USD 649,-. In germany this will typically end in EUR 649,-...

Wow did you use a calculator to do that conversion? That must've been tough carrying the one in your head

no mention of android 4.3

no mention of the new moto device

no mention of any updated nexus 7 or nexus 4 with lte.

whats the deal google?

Have you seen how many important things have been announced already? Sure there was no hardware news, but the software that Google is implementing moving forward is amazing and the fact that Google is pulling all of their important features out of the OS at this point anyways makes the OS version number really unimportant anymore. As Phil often asks, what does Android not have not that you are desperately waiting for?

DEVELOPERS conference.

Not "What Smooth3006 on the Internet wants Conference"

Rumors are rumors until they aren't. This isn't a conference about any of that stuff, it's a developers conference and from that standpoint it was pretty awesome.

Clearly some people will choose this option, so I am glad they are offering it. But the S4 needs to drop a bit in price before I will consider it, regardless of version. I wonder how they will deal with the SD card issue?

This is smoke and mirrors.
What makes a real GS4 are the software features added by Samsung.

If you compare this to the Nexus 4, you are getting higher resolution (1080P) and a bigger screen, LTE, SD Card support and more MegaPixels in your Camera. If those are worth an extra ~$400 for you, by all means spend it and get this device.

However, you are NOT getting a GS4...by any stretch of the imagination.

Meh...You're essentially spending $50-100 less for an unlocked GS4 that lacks all the Samsung Touchwiz features they tout in the commercials as to why it is "superior".

This should be a fantastic phone. But, and I can't believe I'm writing this, am I the only one that fell for the Zoe/Highlight features on the HTC One so much that I actually value them more than the stock Android experience?

>"So, is this now the Galaxy S4 of your dreams? "

No. It is available on only two of the four big carriers.
No. It should have a bigger local, fast-storage option (like 32GB).
No. Color choices.

And who will be updating it and how often?

So no, it is not dream worthy. But it is a step in the right direction...

I think is "a step in the right direction" is an awesome way to put it. Between this phone and the stock aftermarket ROMs that Google has been working with Sony on, I think that the most important thing about this phone is that it sets a precedent for OEMs in the future to consider releasing phones (or at least versions of phones) with stock software. I hope this will become a trend with manufactures moving forward. Maybe stock software with their own apps installed to customize each phone based on its hardware or something of that sort

I love it. It is getting the Galaxy S4's build quality with microSD and removable battery, plus LTE. Yet the Nexus 4 is still cheaper....

I swear I dont get the complaining. It's the same price as a normal S4, so it isnt like your paying more. You get MUCH faster updates at the expense of all of Samsungs touchwiz features (depending on who you are that might be a good thing). Not to mention no Bloat from the carriers. Still, I would have liked to see an HTC One Google Edition 64gb for the same price. Would have been sweet.

When I first heard about s4 being nexus phone .I was like awesome . and when he said price of the phone .I laugh out so hard lol

I will be waiting. I have no issue with the price being $650 (other than the fact that I personally can't afford it right now) but I do think there will be a chance that by the end of the year the price will drop at least a little. My GNex is still running just fine and it is nice to think I'll have good options when I finally decide to upgrade.

It will be interesting to see how a Nexus 5 device stands up to this considering it will probably have a lower price point.

This is pretty expensive for this phone. I suppose some people have that type of disposable income. I don't, and I'm MORE than happy with my HTC One!

The only problem with this phone I have is its not a nexus. If Google wants to release a stock android phone it needs to be a nexus. Yes the s4 is awesome but its still not a nexus. Now if they called the pure Google s4 the Nexus s4 it would be totally awesome. Although my nexus 4 does not have lte I am pleased with it and glad I got it for the 300 dollar price tag. Plus who needs 4g when you have great wi-fi especially when Wi-Fi is much less limited than let's say att. Anyways I know its not a nexus but I will accept that Google is giving us the best tech with stock android.

Does this have eye scrolling like the regular or does no touchwiz prevent this?

Oh, and we need an email response when people reply to my comments. Imore, crackberry, and wpcentral has it...

I'm not scrolling down to find my comment and see if anyone has replied to it.

Wonder if it'll have S beam. Maybe it will but there won't be way to use it. Like how Nexus 4 has LTE but no way to use it..

Hmmm....with a Google Edition GS4, Motorola's future phones using stock Android, a second LG Nexus coming....this sounds like last year's rumours coming true. Remember folks? Google was supposedly going to have multiple vendors releasing Nexus devices: unlocked bootloaders, stock Android, immediate updates. We already know that Motorola's upcoming devices are supposed to be available via Google Play, and now this GS4 will be too. Now all they need is to have HTC make a "developer edition" One with stock Android and they'll be all set!

"We already know that Motorola's upcoming devices are supposed to be available via Google Play"

Nope, we definitely don't know that.

This looks good to me. Glass or plastic, does not matter since I will put a case on it anyways. I was just about to look for an SG4 on ebay but glad I waited! I liked the Nexus 4 but did not like the limited storage and since I am on AT&T, the lack of LTE.

No CDMA, very dissapointing.

That makes the last two Nexus devices unavailable for Verizon and Sprint customers. I realize worldwide CDMA isn't the most popular but here in the US it is and there is already a CDMA version of the S4, how hard could it be to offer a CDMA Nexus version?

Will it be 16gb, or "16gb" like the TouchWhiz one? I assume more storage will be available w/out the added bulk of that Samsung nonsense.

Vanilla Android ftw!

What about us Canadian Android fans? Which carriers would be able to use this version? Telus? Koodo? Rogers? Bell Mobility?

Hey fellow tech geeks -- Does anyone have an answer to this: will this new "nexus" device have support for hardware specific features. (NFC, S-Beam, Air View, Air Gestures, Barometer, Pedometer etc.)?

The android geeks I've asked chant "stock is better," but other than timely updates and lack of 'bloatware', they can't give me any concrete answers as to why it's better. And when I suggest I may actually lose features -- they shrug, and get defensive. So does anyone know -- will the hardware advancements of the Galaxy S4 be utilized by the stock version offered by google?

---

FYI - reason I'm asking is -- I bought a new Samsung Galaxy S4 on the 1st and have 4 more days to decide if I want to return it and wait for the Google version to come out in a few weeks. Since I'm going to have the device in my hand for the next two years - and it would be nice to have google updates as soon as they are released, I want to make the right informed decision, but can't seem to find the answers I'm looking for re the functionality.

You ask a good question. If the answer is "no", would it be reasonable to think that apps will be developed for the "Nexus" GS4 that will duplicate those hardware features you mentioned? I'll also be interested to see reviews (including videos) comparing the responsiveness and speed of stock Android compared to the TW version. Questions, questions!

As stated by kankan3 below, there will be pure google rom running around post 6/26 that can be applied hopefully to the carrier specific gs4's. I am debating getting the carrier version and dealing with the wiz, tiz,.... and other bloatware till a pure google rom is available. You can then backup the carrier rom and apply the google rom and decide which one you want to keep (I am assuming since this has been the process on other phones).
I am debating this purchase since I have never owned a carrier specific phone, only google phones (t1, n1, and now nexus s). Prefer simple, and light footprint on the phone.

Pages