I saw it. You saw it. We all saw it. I’m not talking about how everyone at this year’s Google I/O developer conference got a free Chromebook Pixel. I’m talking about the fact that Google announced a new version of the Samsung Galaxy S4, one that’ll run a “pure” Android operating system that’s free of manufacturer-added fluff or any amount of bloat whatsoever. We’ve taken to calling it the Galaxy S4 Google Edition; it’s a device that first got rumored less than a day ago, and many people are now waiting for. It’s fascinating and all, but you have to ask, what’s the big idea?

As you may already know, the Galaxy S4 currently exists in an “official” configuration. It’s manufactured by Samsung and comes with a whole list of additional software features on top of the default ones found on Android. It isn’t without issues, and some of its features can’t be considered the best. But despite all of its flaws, it still managed to become the fastest-selling Samsung smartphone to date.

In other words, it’s selling well enough. Heck, it’s selling so well that it’s on track to hit the 10 million unit sales mark by the end of this month. Was it really necessary to come up with and release an entirely new version of it?

Whose idea is it, anyway?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been regarded by many as one of the best Android smartphones ever. However, it has also been the subject of harsh criticism from users who have found it lacking in sufficient internal storage space, especially the model with 16GB of memory. Was it Samsung who decided to work with Google for a cleaner version of the Galaxy S4 with less system apps and more user-available storage space?

It’s more likely than you think. In the past, Samsung has been known to resort to good old-fashioned trial and error to find out what type of phone sells the most. During the height of the Samsung Galaxy S3’s popularity, Samsung thought to come up with a smaller version of the same handset, and decided to call it the Galaxy S3 mini, to see if any people would be willing to buy it for a less expensive fee.

As it turns out, people did like the smaller and less expensive version, and now Samsung is trying to duplicate the process of creating a miniature version of its current flagship with the production of the rumored Galaxy S4 mini.

To make a long story short, Samsung is willing and able to make moves such as this one just to make sure its best-selling products actually keep on selling.

But what about the Nexus 5?

Many people thought that Google I/O would be the venue for the official announcement of the Nexus 5. It was either that, or the Motorola-Google X Phone. But we saw neither of these two phones, and instead we found ourselves greeted by a familiar face wearing a very different set of clothes.

The Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the very first non-Nexus handset running the stock version of Android with Google’s blessing, and it is said that it will launch pre-loaded with Android 4.2. Then, when later versions of the Android software arrive, it will be among the few phones that will get the software first.

What does all of this mean for the future of the Google Nexus smartphone brand? Quite simply, it means everything.

Einhorn is Finkle. Finkle is Einhorn.

Google didn’t cancel or postpone the launch of the handset that would be known as the Nexus 5. The Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the Nexus 5.

It’s quite an ingenious setup, as it brings the best of Android hardware and software all in one place. And the lack of unnecessary software add-ons takes care of the known Galaxy S4 storage problems at the same time.

The big issue now is with the price. At over $600, it’s certainly not as affordable as the Nexus smartphones that came before it. But we think that it will all work out in the end, as it is likely that there are a lot of people who have been waiting for a chance to buy this exact same type of device. Now that it’s here, these people will finally be able to fulfill their electronic desires once and for all.

How about you? Do you think this is the one? Could this actually be the droid that you have been looking for? Sound off in the comments below.

David Gonzales
David is a mobile computer geek who firmly believes that in order to stay healthy, one needs to eat daily doses of gadgets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Join him as he indulges his passion for technology and fascination with all things Android.
  • cs098


  • veno

    Could be…just have to wait and see!!!!

    • bitches


  • Hershey

    Now all we need is for google to release an installer for a vanilla rom on pre-configured S3s and S4s and my life will be complete. Too lazy to root and find a pure vanilla rom

  • Gabriel Ortiz

    I just bought a Nexus 4. Shelling out additional dough right now for the “Nexus 5 S4 Edition” is not appealing, especially with it being $600+. I’m happy with my Nexus 4, I’ll wait till something else comes up. They could’ve at least teased an upcoming Android version lol

  • pug

    Wjat about those of us who already bought the G4 will there be a software update?

    • Officially, I doubt it. But that’s not to say you won’t be able to root and flash one of the AOSP ROMs onto your S4 (depending on which version of the S4 this phone is based on – most likely the Snapdragon chipset).

  • be bad

    David your comment on the s4 being the Nexus 5 may be one of the dumbest comments I’ve read on this site. You have no clue do you?

    • radon

      Perhaps he doesn’t. Do you?

  • Bone

    Fan of the S4, but I was looking forward to a $200 fullHD Nexus 7. So disappointed. I could care less of this S4 version cause it’s likely gonna be US exclusive on the inferior Snapdragon hardware, I could care less of the SW updates too. You know why? Cause I still rock an old phone and a new tablet where my focus is at. Epic fail on that part. Shame.

  • Laborin_HK

    “The Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the Nexus 5.”

    Oh god :( It’s not that I don’t like the S4, i was just expecting a consistent nexus design… at least a clean featureless front.

    • sai

      The galaxy s4 google edition is nice and all, but the price is ridiculous. The Nexus 5 will probably still release in the Fall as other nexus devices before have. And hopefully it will keep the precedent set by the galaxy nexus, and nexus 4 offering a huge bang for the buck. And i hope to see other OEMs to follow samsung’s lead and release their phones also lacking their skins and get updates directly from google. And for people who cannot afford these at full price, i hope to see T-mobile and ATT to help subsidize these stock phones along with the skinned ones.

  • Laborin_HK

    “The Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the Nexus 5.”

    Oh god :( It’s not that I don’t like the S4, i was just expecting a consistent nexus design… at least a clean featureless front.

  • Shut the hack up and take my money!

  • Mateusz Dąbrowski

    What about Note 3 Nexus?

    • mind=blown

    • sai

      cant happen, the s-pen is tied with touchwiz, unless samsung were to release code for letting the s-pen to work on stock, this wouldnt be possible. As far as i know. My friends that have a note 2 cannot get AOSP based roms because of this reason and are forced to stick with touchwiz.

      • Umar

        Not exactly true there as I’m using Note 2 with AOSP based roms (Team Carbon) … there are alot of replacement apps in Playstore (like Memo etc) if you still wanna utilise the pen

        • sai

          Does the s-pen work outside those apps?

          • Tw1sted247

            Your an idiot, do not voice your OPINION in the form of a fact in areas you know nothing about. You CAN run AOSP ROM’s on the Note 2. And your reply “Does the s-pen work outside those apps” yes it does douche. Hell you could even do a simple Google search or YouTube search and even find this out. But NOOO you choose to spew forth your stupidity upon the forum.

          • Cole Raney

            Quit being an asshat.

          • Joe.

            Well, that escalated quickly.

      • Mateusz Dąbrowski

        To be honest SG4 also loose some magic without few samsung apps – best option would be nexus style clean android with samsung app package from which we would be able to choose some of the best features not feeling the pain of touchwiz and bloatware.

  • TechGuy

    Despite the lack of bloatware it should still have more than 16Gb of internal memory – even if it cost an extra $50. Seems a pity when the developer version of the HTC One has 64Gb.

  • Will Stewart

    To be honest, I would go for the original Galaxy S4 depending on price and some features – I genuinely like the features Samsung has added to the Galaxy S4 and other phones.

  • OMGgary

    It is also cool that it shows how they are actually listening to suggestions from the community of Android users.
    This is quite an epic request fulfillment on the part of Samsung and Google, seemingly one of the most popular requests from what I’ve seen in comment streams, such as this, over the past year or more.

    • Way to go samsung. May you bask in our cash and never go as rotten as the festering abomination that is apple.

  • Kerwan

    The galaxy s4 with pure android is NOT the nexus 5.
    What a terrible idea ! Nexus 4 is 6 months year old. The nexus 4 2 (or nexus 5) will arrive like always in November.
    Pure android smartphones like s4 (there is htc first too) is just a new and very appreciated dynamic in the industry to satisfy android fans and developers. I am sure it won’t be a replacement of the nexus brand that is doing very well.

  • 123

    Google screwed up this I/O by playing it safe. Also, I will NEVER buy Gorg Glass.

  • meme

    Noooooooo! Nexus 5 is not something made by SamSung!

  • Wonder which carriers will get it? Hard to believe Verizon will completely keep it bloatware-free.

  • Yun WANG

    Didn’t think I will ever buy S4 since it wasn’t significant changed from my S3 and Note 2. However, this changes everything. With stock Android software and S4 hardware, it maybe the perfect solution. My money will be yours again Google and Samsung.

  • aaron

    Any chance carriers will offer this phone with an upgrade? Sounds like best phone ever, I have nexus 4 love it was about to get either S4 or HTC1 but after using hated the bus the maker and carrier do and the problems they cause. Nexus 4 software with S4 hardware?? I’m in!

  • Chris

    All of you need to relax seriously!!! The S4 Google edition in “reality” could be considered a Nexus 5. The signs are all clear, how much more clear could it possibly get? The S4 is a powerhouse compared to the Nexus 4 so in “reality” it is a nice upgrade to the N4. Having the powerhouse of the S4 with a “pure android” experience is in fact an N5!! Just because it doesn’t say Nexus/Nexus 5 branded on it doesn’t mean diddly.. If they grabbed the S4 and slapped a Nexus logo on it then a lot of you would look and sound quite dumb.. Take it for what it is in “reality” a Galaxy Nexus 2!!!!

    • Nixon

      Haven’t been laughting this much in, thanks for that. S4 being a powerhouse compared to N4? Really. Of course S4 is more powerful but just a bit since they both use Adreno320 and 2gb ram, which leaves room just for a bit better CPU, which is like meh, imo. Besides there will never be a Nexus with an sdcard slot, never.

      • Random

        S4 still has much extra compared to the N4.

        LTE, better battery, better camera, much better display, IR, hygrometer, thermometer, glonass and probably more.

        It could be the N5.

        What’s so funny?

        • Ivan Myring

          The nexus 4 has glonass.

          • Random

            Ivan, please behave like your older then 10. I don’t mean harm to your Nexus 4.

            I’ve looked the data up on other sites now and yes Nexus 4 has glonass. Everything else I listed should be correct though.

            Oh yes, the names. Do you remember Nexus 3? No you don’t. Idiot.

    • brkshr

      It’s not a Nexus unless they publish the binaries & factory image for it. The S4 is a “Nexus user experience” phone. That’s what they called it. AOSP ROMs will run better on it now, but it cannot be as bug free as a Nexus phone due to proprietary hardware. So until they release source (which I highly doubt will happen, but you never know), it cannot be considered a Nexus.

      • Chris

        Really? No need to get all Geeky seriously.. It’s a freaking Galaxy Nexus 2 in “reality”

        • brkshr

          I’ll admit I’m a little geeky & I know the intricacies of Android. But, in “reality”, the Nexus line of phones are for developers, to help them develop apps. That IS what a Nexus phone is for. ( ) If sources are not released (like I said in my last post), then developers cannot develop on the S4. Negating what a real ‘Nexus’ device is for. They should have more accurately called it an AOSP device (I hope you know what that means). However, no ordinary consumer knows what AOSP is, so I’m sure they defaulted to calling it a ‘Nexus user experience’ for ease of understanding/explanation. I’m just trying to inform the uninformed, if I can. Go ahead & call it a Nexus 5 or whatever you want to believe.

  • I’m just worried about the sensors on the S4, I actually like some features of the S4, will all features like air view banished with the pure Android software?

    • Anonymousfella

      Maybe they will be available later via a custom rom for sgs4 or maybe even through google play store? Andorid has awesome developers and i dont they let the extra hardware go waste.

  • g2525

    Why no HTC One with pure android? :(

  • IncCo

    Not even close, the S4 isnt a nexus 5. You just said that to provoke, well its working. Nexus handsets are almost always released towards the end of the year. However, i agree that the lack of a new improved tablet was disappointing.

  • Damian Salvatto

    What is the big deal of getting this GSIV with stock without any of Samsungs goodies? (Not speaking of touchwiz) Just curious.

  • no rply

    i think google dont want to disappoint people by not releasing n5 so they just give u s4 google edition… but price is so high

    • Stasicx

      I bet next nexus will borrow some features and sensors from GS4. This is one of the reasons for releasing GS4 Google edition.

  • Um, actually I do not like the Pure Android experience that much. It seriously lacks important features I need. Then again, I do not like current Galaxy S3 either; a lot of garbage from the carrier and Samsung are running and I cannot disable them. But I do like the good features Samsung has put in S3, such as multitasking, better Bluetooth support, better notification bar, etc.(Yes, I own both Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S3.)

    I prefer community-based custom ROMS. They do not have garbage running and they have more features than the Pure Android. But one problem is that they are unstable….

    Like all life’s choices, I can’t have them all, can I.

    • Exactly. S3 and S4 has much reacher and more convenient UI than vanilla Android. Take that quick settings on AOSP, and compare them to the ones on S4. Obviously, AOSP sucks! I’m not even talking about Smart features, that make the S4 a real evolution! I guess, pure Android is about good UI design and Google services, whereas Samsung is more about hardware and great UI features! So, I don’t find it reasonable to overpay for the S4’s special sensors, while AOSP never gonna support it. For me, the HTC One seems better candidate for AOSP, than S4.

  • H3llblax

    Personally i hate this idea.. the only thing i liked aboit s 4 over the htc oneand other phones is the new features that samsung offered and now even they r not there .. pretty sad..

  • So, what’s the point of buying an S4 with a pure Android? I find it stupid paying for the special sensors, that are part of the hardware, while being unable to utilize them ever. With that in mind, I assume, that HTC One would be much better candidate, because It doesn’t incorporate any special hardware, but indeed has better screen, sound and overall design. And just maybe, it might even be cheaper in Play Store.

    • ironpri3st

      the point is that nexus phone are really for developers, and although plain android on the s4 doesnt support its sensors, developers will develop apps and features on android that can utilize those sensors for future nexus and android devices.

      • Are you sure, these sensors won’t require special proprietary drivers, that work only with Samsung firmware? I very much doubt, that Samsung will share it with Google or developers.

  • Johnny NoMcLear

    The only pros to this is the pure Android with the fast updates that come with it and the unlocked pricing. However, in this case the cons outweigh the pros by a huge margin. First off, knowing Google all the features could be(but most likely) will be gone. I may not be in love with TouchWiz but the software that Samsung incorporates are miles ahead of Google especially in terms of Camera and Sensors. Second, the price is waaaay out of the Nexus’ consumer’s budgets. I have a Galaxy S3 and a Nexus 4. I bought the Nexus 4 just because it had a good price tag on it. However, to walk out with this phone will cost me about $700+?? And you wonder why the crowd laughed and then went silent when they announced the price of the worthless S4.

  • Justin Flynn

    i would drop the cash if it worked on 4G in Australia in a heartbeat however… BZZT!!!!!

  • Blowntoaster

    Google is using the strong Galaxy brand name and popularity of the S4 to help push sales of the device. Had it been called the Nexus 5 from the start, people wouldn’t have been as excited about it. It would also reduce sales of the Nexus 4, which is a great device that deserves more attention/recognition/sales. I wouldn’t mind owning a “Google edition” S4, and I’m sure AA will get their hands on one or two and will probably have a giveaway for one of these awesome devices. Waiting patiently…

  • Martin McShane

    Rubbish! Samsung build quality is awful, I have had 13 different samsung phones over the past 18 months, all replaced by the carrier from either a broken screen from dropping it, overheating and burning out, constant crashing and not being fit for purpose!

    I was waiting to see what / when the Nexus 5 would appear as I don’t want another samsung! So my options are now an ageing Nexus 4, HTC one, Sony xperia.. or dare I say it…… i am even thinking of Apple :-O

    very disappointed with yet another Google/Samsung bromance

    • Stasicx

      Had all models from the galaxy line up and they all performed greate for me in turms of build qulity, realibility and sofware. May be you are “holding it in a wrong way”))).

      Currently own Xperia Z and thinking of getting S4. Sammy is always in time with constant updates and fixes.

  • why isnt sammy showing any love to the rest of the world with this phone? !

  • So all Google and no Samsung in Software? then isn’t this phone then more crap than the original? Samsung S4 with touch less interface and S4 Google Edition? Just a normal phone…I want a S4 Arctic Blue.

    Maybe Google want to use the S4 as a stepping stone for people to develop apps to work with Samsung’s touch less interface, because I don’t think Samsung removed all the sensors…maybe they left it there for Google to help them get better apps for normal S4 owners? Just putting it out there…

    • O and Google I/O is for developers…Google gives developers chance to use what they showcase to make the Google experience better…S4 is shown to get developers attention to possible apps to work with all of Samsung’s features…just putting it out there again…

  • everything is fine except the price. For that price i expect to get 32 gig internal storage…..screw that phone. I’ll wait. its too expensive.

  • Gavin J. Gonzales

    I can’t tell you how excited I am for this innovative device. Samsung and Google’s last device (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) was a complete failure in my opinion. Shipping with a 5.0 megapixel camera is in fact the worse business move thus far. However, the S4 with stock Android will be the smartest business move thus far for both companies. Samsungs amazing LED display with Android stock software is going to be
    So prestine and sexy it screams orgazim. I have a Holo launcher for my S3 and was praying for such device to be created and I’m thankful and can’t wait to get it. I hope its available for Verizon.

  • Makbul Saad

    If only the nexus phones were easily accessible in Kenya. I would have jumped for joy on hearing this news. Sadly i just recently replaced my handset and the only nexus phone that was in the market was the galaxy nexus not even the nexus 4. Google store still not available here.

  • Aaron

    It will never be a Nexus, it’s not ‘next-gen’ enough to be a Nexus, and neither is the price.If anything, Google might start a new Vanilla range or something that takes the best non-Nexus phones and puts stock ROM on them. I expect the next Nexus phone to have a quad >1.8ghz, much better cameras, higher capacity battery and more sensors just for gimmicks sake.

  • Patrick Tierney

    Very disappointed. I was very much looking forward to owning the new “Nexus 5.” No way am I using a plasticy-feeling Samsung S4 with all its problems, overheating, etc.

    Isn’t Samsung about to ditch Android for it’s new operating system, Tizen?
    Crossing my fingers that the X-Phone isn’t coming with a teeny 4 inch screen like I’ve been reading.

  • Richard

    The S4 isn’t the Nexus 5 in disguise. It have VERY impressive specs similar to a Nexus and a “Google experience” similar to a Nexus but it isn’t a Nexus device.To be a Nexus device it would have been designed together by Google and Samsung, have on screen buttons, and have minimalist design. I don’t see any of this in the S4. All of the Nexus phones/tablets include these characteristics with the exception of the Nexus 1 and Nexus S. The Nexus 5 will be the Nexus 5 which is rumored for a 2013 Fall release.


      ALL of the Nexus phones include these characteristics…well…except half of them! LOL

  • Jack123

    What a boring Google I/O!! All they did to talk about making more money by offering services that are already available and most likely better. A good chunk of time was spent on things that had nothing to do with the end user. Borrrrrrring!!!

  • Ivan Myring

    Its not the fucking nexus 5. If it were it would be called the nexus 5 not the galaxy s4.

  • Tomekina Ofa

    Can someone please explain, the big fuss about S4 having the Stock Android besides what I already know, which is, the S4 will not have the Touch Wiz or any of their features and instead that will only run on Android. So what I’m getting it is that WHAT IS THE BIG FUSS ABOUT LOL!!! I mean is there something that I’m missing what does this mean for S4 to run STOCK ANDROID?

  • EKfine

    s4 with vanilla android out of the box? how can you go wrong?! price isn’t that bad! vanilla android, great screen! great camera, one of the fastest cpu around, 2gb ram, gorilla glass 3, removable batt, expandable storage. don’t we all dreamt about this kind of device? dunno bout you but i surely did!

  • Terrence

    I would rather go for the Nexus 4 not the S4. while using the Nexus 4, I can wait for the new Nexus smart phone comes out, which has to be unlocked and has to be with a reasonable price.

  • shan

    Boz of Tizen

  • Mark

    Sorry but I was hoping for Nexus improvements in the general price range. I do not want to spend 2x as much for the S4. Sorry geeks, you can not convince me the extra money for an S4 with the “google experience” is going to be worth the extra $300+

  • TacticalTimbo

    Surely it’s FAR too expensive to be the Nexus 5?! It’s $649, that’s a full $350 more than the base N4!!

  • NotTheNexus5fags

    Nope. You are just dead wrong. Thanks.

  • C’mon now Google… Stop being lazy! I always got the new Nexus phones, but if the S4 is really the next “Nexus” it won’t be worth my time. Also, I’m pretty sure there will be quite a hefty price tag on it, unlike the N4 for $320 without a contract… I’ll just keep it kickin with my N4. :)

  • giveitup

    i will pre-order now just let me know, when and where, what, seriously no answer yet. come on already. white is fine.

  • David

    Although this is great news for Samsung, the S4 IS NOT the new Nexus 5. Looks like people are forgetting that google was working with Nikon for a new camera in its next phone which means that nexus 5 is still coming.

  • What is the point in this? You may as well root it and run cyanogenmod. I really hope it doesn’t turn out that this becomes the nexus 5.

  • Anthony LoGuercio

    Circle gets the square?

  • Carl

    iOS needs to be defeated by as many pure Android sales as possible. Why? Because with the slightest change, Apple can sue the phone manufacturer and claim infringement against secondary targets in their jihad against Android. For some reason they dare not go after Google directly, though they have tried to add Android to its lawsuit against Samsung (yes, that means what you think it means and it is as crazy as it sounds). If Apple loses out to pure Android sales, they will have to change their claims about who is reducing their sales.

  • Ajay B

    I liked your nexus4 & LG Optimus comparison. Optimus has an application where you can take notes on a transparent screen as you speak on phone. Is this application available for LG Nexus 4? there is another Optimus application where you can view a video as you type your email – is this possible in Nexus 4?