Galaxy S4 Google Edition gets Samsung out of Nexus phone program, for early Android access run-around

There will be no new Google Nexus phone announced at Google I/O later today. But the will something better.

A Google Edition of what is arguably the best or second best smartphone on the market – Samsung Galaxy S4, running the stock version of latest Android.

There’s no word which stock Android version will that be, but my guess – it’s the one with the newest update that will most likely also be announced today.

So what does that mean for Google Nexus program itself? Not  much, I think. Samsung was out of Nexus phone game after the Galaxy Nexus problems screwed up  Galaxy S2 chances on Verizon, back in 2011. Galaxy S4 Google Edition just makes it sort of official.

5-15-2013 06-10-03

But it also means that Sammy does see some additional value of attracting hard core Android users, that just have to have pure Android on their phones. And, in addition to its overall clout in Android ecosystem, this approach should help the Korean smartphone giant get the earliest possible access to the latest Android releases. Thus being able to launch flagships with their official UI updated to the newest Android iteration, few weeks or months before competitors.

Notice how Samsung Galaxy S4 shipped with Android 4.2.2 on board, while HTC One only had 4.1.2, with a promise of further upgrades? This shows that due to its massive influence and ownership of ~40% of Android ecosystem, Samsung has somehow got access to the newest 4.2.2 version of Android, before anyone else.

I don’t think other Android partners were happy about this. And  those rumblings about fear of increasing Samsung dominance inside Google, had something to do with Samsung’s demands for early access, to which Google caved somewhat.

Releasing a pure Google Android editions of new flagships, might be some sort of compromise.


Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

Share This Post On
  • o2psd4me

    I would upgrade my Samsung Galaxy Nexus for this.

  • Dakota Brown

    Hell Yes! If this is real goodbye Nexus 4

  • Luu Huy Thai Binh

    S4 Active, S4 Zoom, S4 Mini and now S4 Google.
    The next will be S4 Microsoft, or S4 Ativ, or Samsung Ativ S4 that runs WP8?

  • RGL

    I have been running 4.2.2. on my GNex since the beginning of this year; the source code was also released around that time. I’m sure if HTC wants to put 4.2.2 on HTC One, they can do so. This has nothing to do with Samsung having more clouts, but rather HTC has to get their acts together when it comes to Android updates.