Google unveils $649 Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android

Google are currently holding their I/O developer conference, and in today's keynote address, announced plenty of cool stuff, including new developer tools for Android and a significant overhaul for Google Maps. One thing that many were expecting Google to update was the LG-made Google Nexus 4, its flagship Android phone. Previously, Google have had exclusively designed devices built to Google's specification, but not this time. 

Instead, Google unveiled a Samsung Galaxy S4 that now runs stock 'vanilla' Android 4.2 (not 4.3, which may be announced later today) and is identical to the current Galaxy S4. Google have previously unveiled devices from the likes of HTC, with the Nexus One; Samsung with the Nexus S; Samsung with the Galaxy Nexus; and more recently, LG, with the Nexus 4. All of these phones, with the exception of the Nexus S - which was near-identical to Samsung's Galaxy S - were built specifically for Google, making the announcement today curious.

The only version of the S4 to be offered under the arrangement will have 16GB of internal storage, and is compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T's LTE network, something the Nexus 4 could not do. The handset will cost $649 and will be released on June 26th. The new device doesn't appear to carry Nexus branding, but Google claimed that it offers a "Nexus user experience." 

Source: The Verge, AllThingsD | Images via The Verge

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Sprint is a CDMA carrier. Only T-Mobile and AT&T are GSM carriers in the U.S. So far, all the Google-sold Android phones are GSM.

If one manufacturer allows us to choose its customised os or vanilla android by just one factory reset, i will be its proud customer...

winrez said,
it's a really sad state when any phone manufacturer advertises "prompt system updates" as a must have feature.


Exactly.

As a nexus 4 user / owner. Good luck Ok getting me to pay 649 for any phone especially a Samsung plastic phone. Hopefully yhered a real nexus device year or I'm going to Nokia. They are heading in the right direction

winrez said,
it's a really sad state when any phone manufacturer advertises "prompt system updates" as a must have feature.

What's REALLY sad is the price and the fact there are people dumb enough to actually pay it!! Absolutely retarded!!

No phone in the world will EVER be worth that much!!

It's suspicious how unlocked, off-contract phones are always $650. Doesn't matter how good or crappy the hardware or technology even is, it's always priced at $600 or so.

That's the carriers collusion to force prices to be artificially high. It makes their 2-year agreements w/ $200 phone price more 'enticing'

It's ironic how Larry Page, at the end of the Conference, was talking about how 'cheap' phones should be, but then they list the S4 at $650

Currently using my GS3 on Cricket Network...$70 a month unlimited talk/text and 10gb fast data...anyone know if these other networks get close to that per month?

Hahaiah said,
Currently using my GS3 on Cricket Network...$70 a month unlimited talk/text and 10gb fast data...anyone know if these other networks get close to that per month?

I pay $70 for unlimited talk and text and truly unlimited data. I'm at 36gb half way into my billing cycle. No tethering either, just a bunch of Netflix.

And I just found out my neighbor's grandmother makes $130,387 last month working online from her home. Read more about it here

lol. Ive been wanting to post a comment like this for a long time

david said,
"T-Mobile and AT&T's LTE network, something the Nexus 4 could not do" - This is not a true statement.

Thought there was no LTE support in the N4 unless you applied a hack,

techbeck said,

Thought there was no LTE support in the N4 unless you applied a hack,

Exactly. The N4 can do this. Simple hack might I must say too.

Maybe the LG one was sort of a disappointment compared to the previous ones, and Samsung wasn't really willing to make a new nexus so they just made available the hardware.

Anyway, we needs the official ROM so we can more easily ditch the storage hog that is Touchwiz on the SGS4.

Here's a question. I wonder if you are able to take the 'Official' ROM from the Google Galaxy S4, and put it on a regular Samsung Galaxy S4, and at which point, it would be able to receive all future updates just like the Google S4.

From my knowledge, even if you can put a custom ROM on a phone, you are still dependent on that ROMs creator to update it AFTER Google releases the latest Android version.

If one is able to install the Google ROM for a regular S4 AND able to update it automatically w/o having to re-install a new ROM image, then that could be the best way to go.

I wonder if this is some sort of test to gauge consumer interest in devices that do not come with all that custom add on stuff on most Android devices. This can test that in a way that the Nexus couldn't in that it is the exact same phone as the major Android OEM running stock Android, and not a custom device for the purpose

Maybe. I think it might also be that Google doesn't want to lose control of the hardware market. The S4 is the best-spec'ed, most-cutting edge Android phone. Google is obviously not ready to go to market with their next Nexus-branded phone, so piggy-backing on Samsung's technology for the time being is a good option for them. I think this is even more important right now since the Nexus 4 was sort of a ho-hum upgrade over the Galaxy Nexus.

-Razorfold said,
That's neat judging by how crap touchflo is. I wonder if this will get contract price or just be full price?

i know t mobile have ditched annual contracts. so most likely full price (

According to the article on ArsTechnica.com, it's going to have an SD card slot. That seems awfully big for a cell phone, so maybe they meant to say microSD.