Yesterday at Google I/O 2013, Google announced that a brand new version of the Galaxy S4, one that will run a stock Android operating system. Here's what you need to know.
1. It Will Be Completely Unlocked
According to the Google executives who unveiled the brand new device, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus Edition will be completely unlocked, as well as an unlocked bootloader. What does this exactly mean? It means that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus Edition should be able to run on a number of carriers. Definitely a benefit if you're trapped in your 2-year contract, but want a souped-up S4.
2. You Can Expect "Prompt Updates"
Google promised users that they'd offer "prompt" operating system updates, which was met with cheers by the audience, mostly made up of tech bloggers and developers...or anyone who wanted to drop the thousands of dollars that it costs for a ticket to Google I/O. It's an important feature that plagues the Android ecosystem; since there are various sizes and manufacturer-centric features, an Android update released in November could come to Samsung phone 2 to 3 months later. But, with the S4 running stock Android, the updates for that device should be available very quickly.
3. It Won't Have Some Great S4 Features, But Will Have Sick Nexus Perks
The Galaxy S4 has a ton of great new features only available to the S4 â€” including the S Translator, S Health, and Air View. But, since the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus Edition will run stock Android, it'll eliminate some of those cool, yet not really useful, features. However, with stock Android running, the phone will be blazing fast, powerful, and have the best mobile features Google has to offer (like Google Now!).
4. It'll Come Out In July
Google announced that the device will run on both T-Mobile and AT&T's LTE networks (unlike most Nexus devices produced by Google). In addition, it'll have 16 GB of storage and go on sale, directly from Google, on June 26th. It'll cost $649, which may be high, but there won't be any contract attached to the device (carriers use 2 year contracts to drop down the price of expensive smartphones).
5. Android VP Hugo Barra Spoke A Lot About It
Android VP Hugo Barra, exec who introduced the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus Edition to the world at Google I/O, spoke to The Verge about the newest Android device:
Details are still somewhat scant â€” as is what's sure to be an interesting backstory â€” but Barra said simply that "it's pretty awesome." Battery life is great, he told us, and the phone was fast and responsive as he toured us around the operating system. It's not a finished product, he said, having really only come together in the last week. (Barra knows his Android, by the way â€“ he quickly rearranged his home screen icons to their default position before showing us the device.)