For sale directly through Samsung with no Verizon subsidy available
A few weeks ago we learned that Samsung was planning to bring a Developer Edition of the Galaxy S4 to both AT&T and Verizon customers.The Verizon handset has gone on sale first, and is available through Samsung starting today for $649.99. Since this version is only available through Samsung, there will be no subsidy for those looking to use their Verizon upgrades.
This version of the Galaxy S4 will be virtually identical to the version available through Verizon, with the important difference of shipping with an unlocked bootloader. This will enable users to install custom software on their devices right out of the box. However, with bootloader unlocking methods already available for the Verizon and AT&T versions of Galaxy S4, the value of a factory unlocked bootloader is arguable. It is worth noting that supporting developer editions such as this is important to ensure their continued future existence, especially when the day may come that Samsung bootloaders do not have unlocking methods available.
There is still no sign of the AT&T Developer Edition, however the Galaxy S4 "Google Edition" is still scheduled to go on sale tomorrow in the Play Store. This Galaxy S4 variant will also ship with an unlocked bootloader, as well as a pure version of Android (without Samsung TouchWiz) -- as also seen in Google's Nexus devices. Unfortunately, this "Google Edition" version will not work on Verizon, as it will be a GSM-only phone.