Inline with earlier rumours, Google announced a variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that runs stock Android at the Google I/O event in San Francisco.
Google will be selling the phone bootloader and SIM unlocked on Google Play Store at a price of $649 (Rs. 35,500 approximately) before taxes and shipping starting June 26. Since the phone is SIM unlocked, it should work on GSM operators across the globe. Bootloader unlocked means the users are free to install any custom Android ROM on the phone, or, theoretically at least, any other OS on their phone altogether.
As mentioned earlier, the phone runs 'stock' Android, which means it is free from any third-party skins or software and provides the Android experience as Google intended. Google also confirmed that the phone will receive updates directly from Google, just like the Nexus phones.
As of now, Google has announced plans to sell the phone only in the US and plans to launch the phone in other countries remain unclear.
The phone targets users and developers who prefer the stock version of Android over the version that adds Samsung's TouchWiz user interface layer. We're not sure if many are fans of Samsung's TouchWiz UI, that has been panned for employing big, glossy and cartoon-like icons and menus. So the phone might find favour among Android enthusiasts who'd like to have all the power that the Galaxy S4 carries under the hood along with the simplicity of stock Android.
We wonder what will happen to Samsung's custom apps, motion and hand gestures, and camera features such as dual-shot, employing the use of both front and back camera, eraser shot mode to remove people from photos, and a Cinemagram like feature called Cinema Photo. The phone's apps also make use of its several hardware sensors including temperature and humidity sensors. It will be interesting to see if Samsung has deployed additional apps and software to offer the same functionality or totally get rid of it.
The existence of the phone was reported a day before and now we know that it's in fact a real deal.
Samsung had unveiled the Galaxy S4 (Review | Pictures) on March 14. The phone sports a 5-inch full-HD screen with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels, and pixel density of 441ppi. It is powered by 1.6GHz Exynos octa-core processor in some regions, and a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor in others. It has 2GB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX544MP3 triple-core GPU.
The smartphone comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants but will also feature a microSD card slot for expanding the memory. The Galaxy S4 sports a 13-megapixels rear shooter and a 2-megapixel one on the front.
Previously, HTC had released a developer edition of the HTC One in limited quantities in the US. The phone which is available SIM and bootloader unlocked, is offered at a price of $649. However, that does not run stock version of Android. Previously, HTC had released a developer edition of the HTC One in limited quantities in the US. The phone which is available SIM and bootloader unlocked, is offered at a price of $649. However, that does not run stock version of Android.
Google I/O 2013 keynote