Galaxy S4 with Stock Android: Is This The Next Great Tech Superphone?

We had caught wind of a possible Nexus-like Galaxy S4 previously, but we were naturally a little skeptical because good old Sammy wants to capitalize on its products and craft the signature Samsung experience with its own customized skins and software implementations. I personally wished upon a star for it to be true, but had trouble believing it. Until, of course, Google made this dream device a reality yesterday at Google I/O.

The Galaxy S4 with stock Android is a sort of perfect storm for the techy. Packed with the same 1080p, 441 ppi display, speedy quad-core processor, and 13 megapixel shooter as Samsung’s skinned S4 superphone, the stock Android version comes with a pure and unmodified installation of Android 4.2.2 and will receive future updates directly from the Mountain View mothership itself. Oh, and it has an unlocked bootloader for the extreme modder.

The beauty of this vanilla Android device is more than skin-deep.

The S4 with stock Android packs some fantastic hardware, but the real beauty of this device comes in the coupling of the powerful, sleek hardware with the utility and flexibility of stock Android. Some may argue that what makes a Galaxy a Galaxy is the custom software experience implemented by Samsung, which will be true for a sizable part of the Android-weilding public. There are bound be some who will choose the Samsung experience over the stock Google experience, but for the developer (for whom this device is tuned, if you haven’t guessed by the name), the tinkerer, or the lover of minimalism, this phone is the phone to have because it arrives untainted by skins and themes, and will have no pre-installed carrier or Samsung apps.

Don’t call it a Nexus, though. Google and Samsung have both abstained from calling this device a Nexus phone. Google itself had no hand in the design of the S4′s hardware, which is a hallmark of a Nexus phone. The dev edition packs identical hardware to the carrier versions (with the exception of radio variations available across the globe), very much making this device a Samsung device. Also, unlike the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy Nexus before it, this device will have no Nexus branding, and also lack Google’s heavy subsidy.

Unlocked In Every Sense

Along with pure Android and an unlocked bootloader, Google and Samsung are following in the footsteps of Nexus devices by offering this device as a GSM-unlocked handset with a pentaband radio. The S4 dev edition’s radio will support virtually every GSM carrier, at least up to HSPA+, including T-Mobile. Also on board, we find… wait for it… LTE support! While the technical details are scant, we do know that the S4 with stock Android will support at least T-Mobile and AT&T’s LTE bands, and possibly more global-friendly bands, though the frequency bands haven’t been released and that’s just speculation.

Which brings me to my next point: prepare to lighten your wallet. Lacking the Nexus branding, this device will also lack the Nexus price tag. Google will not be subsidizing this device for us, my friends. And since this is a Google Play Store exclusive handset, don’t expect to see be able to get your hands on it through Magenta’s financing or with an AT&T subsidy. The Galaxy S4 developer edition will launch as an unlocked, unsubsidized GSM device on June 26th for $649. As with any GSM-only phone, this phone will not interface with Verizon, Sprint, or any other CDMA carrier’s network.

I myself am very excited about this device, and would love to get my hands on one, but the $649 price tag is out of the budget right now. What do you guys think? Will this be your next phone, or will you be passing over the Samsung Galaxy S4 Developer Edition?

Will you be getting a Galaxy S4 with stock Android?

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  • CompSciPhd

    I’d be interested in this, except for the lack of wifi calling. :(

  • Jeff Martinez

    I would buy this if I didn’t already have a Nexus 4. As of now, the cost doesn’t justify the value as my Nexus 4 will get all the updates as well and I paid a crap load less.

  • Dakota

    Im not a developer so have no interest in this. So are we saying this will have stock Android with the exterior of the SG4 but IT WILL NOT HAVE ANY OF THOSE SG4 FEATURES THAT SUPPOSEDLY MADE THIS PHONE UNIQUE, UPDATED AND STATE OF THE ART? I would like to see what kind of Nexus Google comes out with next. I assume it will have to have LTE support…Im hoping it will have a much better camera and Im hoping for KeyLimePie 5.0 with some exciting features for us all WHILE STILL KEEPING THE 350 OR UNDER PRICE TAG which makes an unlocked Nexus so attractive. Especially with Tmobile’s new plans and $70 just for unlimited everything and for others $60 for 2gb (or is it 2.5?) is comparable to those prepaid services

  • Zombiexm

    Does anyone know if this will support google wallet/ Visa paypass? Also does the carrier models have Visa paypass built in like they promised? Or was it removed by the carriers?

  • GOODASGREEN

    LIKE I SAID IT’S THE NEXUS 5 DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS. LG IS NOT BETTER THAN SAMSUNG….

  • steveb944

    Why isn’t one of the options on the mini survey I’m waiting for a new Nexus? None of the others apply to me.

  • Alex

    I’m getting way better reception with LG then I was getting with Samsung. Staying with nexus 4

  • Chitownwingman

    If the phone was available with 32GB or 64GB of internal flash, as the Galaxy S4 was originally announced with, then it would be the next super phone. However, my Galaxy S3 has 32GB of internal flash. How is it an upgrade to go from 32GB to 16GB, even with the addition of two processors.

  • Chitownwingman

    If the phone was available with 32GB or 64GB of internal flash, as the Galaxy S4 was originally announced with, then it would be the next super phone. However, my Galaxy S3 has 32GB of internal flash. How is it an upgrade to go from 32GB to 16GB, even with the addition of two processors.

  • jonathan3579

    You are the kind of people ruining this site. I don’t know what happened to TmoNews as of recently but this sort of engagement was never part of the equation when I started reading a couple years ago.

  • http://tmonews.com David

    What are you referring to? His request to email? What is the purpose of that request anyway?

  • weezy

    Chill. She can have a PM (private message) on a forum if she wants. She probably uses an alt email address when dealing with Play’az.

  • http://tmonews.com David

    The comment was deleted.

  • jonathan3579

    I have my suspicions that he is taking a more subtle approach to the new trend of what’s been going on around here – the dating explosion. I’m sure you’ve noticed the vast majority of this has been requests for emails.

  • jonathan3579

    Who is she? Because if you’re referring to “Bailey” as a she, it is not a she but is a he named Craig. Furthermore, if she being thepanttherlady wants to privately message anyone, I’m sure she can do it on her own. My issue is that many users on this site have come to abuse what this site was originally made for: T-Mobile news and the occasional other tech posts.

  • thepanttherlady

    I wasn’t even here and apparently wreaking havoc. LOL Always late to the party. :)

  • jonathan3579

    Lol, sorry you missed out.

  • thepanttherlady

    Just for the record, the OP had an off topic question regarding selling a phone and didn’t want to post it here. Completely “work” related. :)