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.
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.