As expected, the big day has come! You can now get your hands on the stock Android-powered HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4 directly from Google Play.
You might notice that Google is now officially calling the handsets “Google Play Edition” devices. This is interesting, considering we previously had it on good word from Google that they were referring to these units as “Nexus Experience” devices. Whatever the reason for the name change, we are still very excited to see manufacturers embracing the idea of pure Android handsets that provide an experience similar to a Nexus device.
The only potential downside to the Google Play edition handsets is that you don’t get custom software designed to make the most out of the flagship hardware. This includes things like the lack of IR support out of the box, no HTC Zoe, no Blink Feed and none of Samsung’s special software features.
Of course for those of us that prefer pure Android, the Google Play edition handsets will still certainly be worth the minor sacrifices. And then there are also 3rd party apps and customizations that can help bring some of these ‘missing’ features back.
If you live in the United States, you can start ordering either handset starting today, with Google promising to ship by July 9th. Just remember that Google doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to online ordering – so a little patience might be needed to make it through the whole ordeal.
So how about it, which Google Play edition handset are you planning on picking up?