Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition to be unveiled at I/O – update!

by: Bogdan PetrovanMay 15, 2013

galaxy s4 vs iphone 5 s4 ui 2 aa

Google and Samsung are said to launch a version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that runs pure Android (AOSP) at the Google I/O keynote today.

[Update: Galaxy S4 Google Edition is official, coming on June 26 with stock Android – More on that here]

Android and Chrome boss Sundar Pichai told us we shouldn’t expect much new hardware at Google I/O, perhaps in an effort to downplay rampant speculation, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t see anything exciting today. In fact, if a report from’s Russell Holly proves accurate, the I/O keynote could bring something that many have longed clamored for – a pure Android version of (probably) the best-selling Android device of 2013, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The report is based on “sources on hand at Google I/O”, and, given Holly’s usual aversion for baseless rumors, we tend to believe it.

The so-called Galaxy S4 Google Edition is said to be identical in terms of hardware to the regular TouchWiz-running version, with the difference residing in the software. Samsung and Google have collaborated to create an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for the Galaxy S4, which will also be unveiled at the keynote today.

The Galaxy S4 Google Edition will go on sale in June and “will be available on T-Mobile bands”, at least for starters, the report goes on. The sources didn’t specify if the device will sell through Samsung or through the Play Store.

Why is this important, you may ask? Plenty of people prefer stock Android to TouchWiz (or any other OEM overlay, for the matter). TouchWiz is often criticized for being overloaded with features and for a somehow heavy-handed user interface. Users who like the Galaxy S4 hardware, but dislike the UI, currently have no option but to wait for a CyanogenMod release for the device.

If the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition turns out to be more than a rumor, the device could become appealing to even more users. Moreover, its potential success could open the way for more similar endeavors, possibly from other manufacturers. The fact that a device of this caliber gets an AOSP project is significant in itself, and a testimony for the growing preference for stock Android.

In the end, Android is all about options, and having the possibility to choose between AOSP or TouchWiz can only be beneficial for Galaxy S4 customers.

How important is having stock Android for you? Are you tempted by the Galaxy S4 Google Edition?

Stay tuned for our full Google I/O coverage throughout the day!

  • Laborin_HK

    I wouldn’t mind one, but get rid of the buttons and use onscreen ones at least please :)

    • Abdul

      I prefer the hardware ones with a physical home button because:
      1) You can unlock the device by pressing the home button instead of stretching your thumb for the power button.
      2) On screen buttons waste screen space while playing games and in the homescree/appdrawer etc, they only hide I guess when you play videos otherwise they even haunt the lockscreen with a blackbar at the bottom.

      So its better to have hardware one’s so you can experience the full 5 inch Full HD screen.

      • S2556

        You can’t really say it is better. It comes down to personal preference. For you, you prefer the samsung approach. Many other people do as well. But I would say close to as many if not more prefer on screen keys. These are also standard on the newest generations of stock android so I would be very surprised if a nexus device gets released with out on screen nav keys.

        • Abdul

          Yes it boils down to personal preference thats why i said I prefer. Cheers!

          • Laborin_HK

            Looks like it turned out the way you wanted it :)

      • QwietStorm

        Stretching your thumb for the power button? Lol that is beyond first world problems.

        • Abdul

          Its time saving in other words, to use the home button instead of the power button to unlock the screen or to just check the time, weather, lockscreen notifications etc.

      • vampyren

        Agree totally, i like having a button at the button, its more natural and feels better. The space is available anyway so better have a button.

        • Abdul

          Yay, I thought i was the only one with that opinion :P

  • If there will be a stock version of the S4, I would choose it over the HTC One. However, I wonder how they will mesh the soft-key, navigation buttons on stock with Samsung’s hard-key buttons.

  • wow its going to be a Nexus S4 ^_^

  • nuttmeg

    This will be a Winner for Samsung, letting consumers have their choice. ;)

    • ribcrash

      haha, take that HTC!

  • Cory Miller

    No way this is happening.

  • True_Neutral

    If this is the Exynos version, then it’s big news, as developers will likely have little trouble making AOSP for the Qualcomm version. It’s the Exynos version that is the tough one.

  • John Linden

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh plz let this happen!!!

  • traderdude

    yes i would be first in line

  • Bone

    I wouldn’t mind such a phone as one would expect such a variant to still utilize new sensors and camera capabilities (would be quite interesting if it didn’t).

    • Me too. I’m scared of losing the eye trackers and stuff. I know they are gimmicky but I want them

  • Jason Bailey

    I love the way the titles report this almost as if it was fact. Its complete hogwash lol

    • Cole Raney

      Oh really? Because it did happen.

      • Jason Bailey

        Yeah, I must admit I’m eating my hat on that one. Shocked beyond belief that google released a device with sd card support!!!!!!!

  • cycad007

    Oh please…*NOT* going to happen! Samsung wants to build THEIR brand not Google’s. This simply isn’t going to happen.

  • Downtoearth2

    it’s a one buys stock android.

    • QwietStorm

      You say that as if people actually consciously choose the alternative. The reality is other than the Nexus line, there isn’t really much stock Android to buy. But you won’t ever see me complaining about my vanilla Nexus.

    • Arsenal™


      Yea i agree!!
      Let’s buy stupid RAM and power hungry Sense And ugly Touchwhiz

  • So does this mean it won’t work outside the USA? Will it be Qualcomm or exynos? Unlocked or T-Mobile only?

  • I don’t mind Touchwiz but what nobody is mentioning with this aosp is that if it can receive updates as fast as Nexus devices

  • no rply

    smart move samsung

    • Matt

      This is a rumor, it is not a for sure thing. It’s not more accurate than saying the next iPhone will run Android.

  • Flow

    It’s a great idea but I hope Multi View can at least be retained

  • tademao

  • pagaopi gfshg

  • This is amazinggggggggggg hellllll yea faster updates, not all that bloat ware…..

  • Who ever said this is a fail is just dum….No this can fail anyone has flaahed to stock android roms know that the phone is 5 times faster and more customizable then samsungs touchwiz so THERE IS NO WAY THAT THiS IDEA COULD FAIL…..

  • tademao

  • JediL1C1OUS

    This just makes me giddy. Please let it be true.

  • vampyren

    Fantastic news! so does it mean i can flash my existing S4 with this or do i have to buy the Google edition?

  • Cory Miller

    Holy crap. It happened.