Besides a preference for stock Android over manufacturer overlays, the biggest reason to get a vanilla Android device and specifically a Nexus device is the prompt availability of updates.
Having fast, guaranteed updates rolling out to your phone or tablet is especially important when it comes to security. A great example is the so called master key vulnerability that researchers discovered this summer, which Google (and CyanogenMod) patched promptly. But we still don’t know if manufacturers like HTC or Samsung have solved the issue on their devices.
This week, the Google Play Edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have received a security fix for Android 4.3, which experts think fixes a cryptographic vulnerability that hackers allegedly exploited in a Bitcoin heist last month. Google didn’t comment on its purpose.
The update, codenamed JWR66Y, should hit your HTC One or Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition over the air at any moment. It’s not clear if the update brought any other change besides the cryptographic hardening, but it’s highly recommended to apply it as soon as possible.
The same update rolled out to Nexus devices starting with August 21. While three weeks may seem a lot of time for a security patch, it’s still far better than the amount of time owners of non-stock Android devices have to wait to get their updates.