Samsung to announce Galaxy S4 “Google Edition” at Google IO [RUMOR]


Samsung Galaxy S4 Nova Launcher

On the eve of Google IO, I’d have to say this is the juiciest rumor we’ve heard to date. Seems Samsung has been keeping a tight lid on a project they’ve been working on closely with Google: a pure stock Android Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition. The Galaxy S4 GE will address concerns from the ever growing vocal minority of Android users demanding a pure Android experience from their Android devices, without having to go through the pains of rooting.

If you’re wondering which carrier will be the first to offer the device on its store shelves, it appears that T-Mobile could be ready and willing, with the device packing T-Mo’s very specific radio bands inside. Still no word on pricing but if true, would you guys be chomping at the bit to get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition? Consider my interests piqued.

[via Geek]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Well, I guess I know what phone I’m buying this summer for my year tour in Korea.

    1. what! thats awesome, go tour samsung hq lol

    2. YES! google is finally listening to us! :)

    3. Don’t they have better phones in Asia? Why not just buy one there?

      1. I want to already have a phone available to get hooked up the moment I get there. And an S4 with stock android is a great phone in my opinion.

  2. It all would depend on the price for me. Sub 400 would be a sale.

    1. There’s no WAY it’ll be offered for sub-400 (if it’s real). They’d have to cut back on some of the specs…

      1. Exactly. Haha. I’ll probably just stick to my N4. The HTC One is really making me itch though. I want to see where aokp goes on it.

      2. What do you figure the material cost is: ~$200?

        1. Maybe for the display alone

          1. the display probably costs no more than $70 to samsung, we aren’t talking retail we are talking cost for samsung to BUILD the phone (parts either made / purchased and assembly) and 200 is a pretty high price per phone

  3. Great! I’ll get it for Veriz-….. Yeah right

    1. Switch to Sprint or T-Mo!

      1. I tried tmo out for a few days. I had absolutely zero service in my house… And I’m in long island, 15 min from Manhattan. I was pissed. I was saving $70 per month on my family plan. Eh, maybe in the future.

        1. your on long island and only 15 minutes from manhattan? Im in queens and im 30 min from manhattan lol.

          1. Well 20 min. I leave for work at 4:40am everyday and I am on the FDR by 5am. Granted I’m driving a bit fast and no one is on the road at that time.

          2. Queens is on Long Island, contrary to the apparent belief of most New Yorkers!

          3. lol yes physically, but when you say you live in long island, you are referring to nassau/suffolk. Just like when you say you live upstate, you are not referring to the bronx.

        2. no shot i cant find a deadzone on longisland i love in nassau and work in hamptons always 4g always service is your house made of concrete?

          1. Well, brick, stucco and mostly granite throughout the house.

          2. that will do it

      2. And get $hit coverage? No thanks

        1. That isn’t the case everywhere. Here in Phoenix some Cox locations have started selling Verizon handsets and my HSPA+21 Galaxy Nexus was doing about 250% of the data speeds of the Note II they had on display on LTE.

          1. It’s not just about speeds. It’s about coverage. Once you get over 5 Mbps, you can’t tell a difference anyway.

          2. That is absolutely false.

          3. False how? If you have no coverage, speed doesn’t apply. If you havehigh speed but low latency, you can’t tell the difference

          4. What he says is pretty much true. There is a diminishing return with speeds for what we do with our phones. 5mbps is plenty quick for browsing, gaming and streaming hd video. T-mobile has great speeds on hspa+ but what’s the point if you don’t have coverage when you travel or go outside the city.

          5. Take it from this guy people, if he says its false, its false.

            Can you please go suck on the exhaust pipe of a running car?

          6. Ah, so I point out just how much of a dumbass you are and you’ve taken to stalking me? Why does that not surprise me?

          7. Yeah…VZW’s “coverage”.

            More towers doesn’t always mean better quality or reliability.

            I just switched to T-Mob recently (for the HTC One) after being on VZW for 6+ years. The last year/year and a half it’s been really degrading. Up to the point that I would lose data and even voice on my way to and from work. Guaranteed. Every time (at least it was reliable!).

            No such problem on T-Mobile…and this is in rural farmland, where you’d expect the opposite to be true. I get 4G all the way and crystal clear voice. I’d love to see the S4 rumor be true, because then I’d switch my wife over to T-Mob as well (I’d pay the ETF on her S3 for that!) because we’re still getting fropped calls on *her* drive to and from work (completely opposite direction and *in* town!)

            The coverage argument regarding VZW needs to be reconsidered by most using it. While I am sure there are areas that are VZW/ATT only, I really am beginning to think it may actually be far less than the hive perception.

            …and you are dead on about the speed thing. HSPA+/LTE…meh. I just want it to work.

    2. This is what happened when I bought my current phone. I really wanted a Galaxy Note but couldn’t get it on Verizon.

  4. The S4 Just got interesting.

    1. Not if its price tag is around $770 off contract.

      1. If Google sells it, it won’t be

        1. Don’t expect it to be much cheaper than regular GS4.

          1. Not sure probably close to the 400 range if google sells it.

          2. Who will buy then a standard S4? What about those who already bought it? This is all nonsense for me. Let’s see..

          3. I think you’re over estimating the ammount of people that care if they have stock android or not.

          4. Cuz standard S4 sucks with no storage and overheats?

          5. People who want multi-window app, and all those other TouchWiz features you saw on the S4 TV ad, will buy still buy the standard S4 over this one, and even pay more it.

          6. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing

      2. Looks like it’s $650. No thanks, I only buy phones on contract.

        1. $200 with a contract through at&t and t-mobile too. (eventually).

  5. If the price is in the range of the Nexus 4, YES, I will buy.

    1. Woah, woah, woah… No way. They’d have to skimp on specs. I think they should keep it as high-end as possible.

      1. I paid $600 for my international GNex and it was on the Play Store a month and some change later for almost half that. I swore I’d never spend that kind money on a phone (at least upfront) again. I guess I may have to rethink that …

      2. High end? It’s made of plastic! Lol. I would still think that it would be discounted a couple hundred dollars if it’s sold on Google though.

        1. Made of plastic??? Only the thin battery cover. The entire front of the phone is Gorilla Glass 3.

      3. I guess people forget nexus devices normally don’t have the latest high end specs. They are normally top end from 6 months ago or longer minus a few things here and there to help keep the price down.

      4. Do you really want to cough up $770?

  6. If it has the same specs as the original S4, I think this has to be the best phone of the summer. Hands down.

    1. Hopefully it is around the pricing of the Nexus 4. But sadly I doubt that…

      1. Ya it would cannibalize standard S4 sales.

        1. wouldnt matter. better to be eaten by your own product than a rivals right?

          1. It would create a problem, because the standard S4 is offered on all carriers, but this one would not be offered on all carriers.

  7. Only if it comes with the ability to take Photosphere pictures.

      1. You can flash the 4.2 camera onto any phone already just get xda for the download

        1. Not really. It constantly crashed on my Note 2.

          1. Funny cause I use it on my note 2 all the time with no problems. Maybe you got a bad file.

  8. And I just got my HTC One


    1. Seriously this thing could be $1,000 and I’d buy it day one

      1. Why? Rooting is not that difficult if you just take your time and read.

        Seriously. It’s not.

        And as soon as the bootloader unlock is made available later this month, you’re golden.

        1. You’re assuming that I don’t know how to unlock a bootloader/root =)

          Maybe I’m a developer/contributor myself…

          1. I WAS assuming that. I guess I was just not understanding the willingness to pay a grand for a device when you can just turn the existing model into the same thing. I especially wonder about that if one is a developer.

          2. “when you can just turn the existing model into the same thing.”

            …but you can’t.

            Maybe later on. Right now, the S4 is hardly developer-friendly. Heck, at this point, after reading about some of the issues, I’d go so far as to say it’s hardly user-friendly.

            If Samsung can do the legwork in getting AOSP 100% functional on this device for us, all the better. It certainly is not there now.

  10. I just hope this isn’t just a rumor, else i’ll be very disappointed tomorrow after this talk of stock android.

  11. Yes please!

  12. No and the reason is T-Mobiles coverage or lack there of in my area 2g just doesn’t cut it in this day and age

    1. Its actually not as bad as you may think for everyday stuff like web browsing….. now don’t get me wrong it is no lte but for what I’m paying on T-Mobile I am more than happy

      1. I had boost mobile before switching to a verizon straight talk phone which has much better coverage then boost mobile. SO yeah I have been using 2g speeds before and it just isn’t enough for what I use mainly music streaming and a few other apps.

  13. I just bought the international version of the s4. I should have waited a little bit longer.

    1. No one ever wins in the wait-&-see game.Enjoy your new phone,lots to like! :-)

  14. This is awesome news! While I love touchwiz, I also like stock android. Hopefully we can port options we need from the GS4. XDA got out back, lol

  15. No. In fact, hell no. Because I’d root it and put CM or PA on it anyway.
    Not to mention, by and large, T-Mobile’s coverage outside of major cities sucks.

    1. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan and I think their service sucks. You can get a good signal outside but inside buildings it’s spotty.

      1. i live in queens and work in manhattan and i find the service to be great. Works just fine inside buildings for me as long as im not in the basement of those buildings.

    2. Wouldn’t this mean official drivers that cm can use? No camera quality issues etc!!!! I say yes. HELL YES, and then I will root it and put CM on it with official drivers etc!!!!!

      1. I’ve seen some speculation that either Google would probably be under some kind of agreement to *not* release the drivers and such, or that this version of the S4 might have slightly different hardware, just enough to make the drivers useless to the “regular” version. But who knows. All of this is just rumor and speculation.

    3. dont be so anti social, move to a city with people

      1. I live about 30 miles from the center of Washington DC. I just checked T-Mobile’s coverage map, and most of my area is only “good” as opposed to “very strong” or “excellent”. Anything beyond that is pretty much labeled entirely as “2G’.

  16. Now it’s the time to vote with your wallets people! I will definitely get it even if it costs $600 :)

  17. I hate to be the stick in the mud, given everybody’s enthusiasm, but I’m not convinced in the viability of this. First off, the specs of the device are quite nice, yes. The 1080p screen is awesome, and the added features of the S4 make it quite a compelling phone. Oh, wait, what added features?

    The SmartScroll feature is not an Android feature, it’s a TouchWiz feature. So, this won’t work… Air View? That, too, is not a stock Android feature. So count this out… Air Gestures? Once more, not going to happen on stock with out significant modifications. So bye bye to this. S Translator? Nope. Multi-Windows? Nada. Multi-Shot Camera? Negatory.

    Given that most of the Samsung S4 features are baked into TouchWiz and are not stock Android features, they won’t work on a proposed S4 GE – and, that’s just not going to fly to anybody who buys a S4, GE or otherwise. I could see this rumor being true if they named it something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, and didn’t leverage the S4 name in any way. But to call it the S4 GE and not support any of the core S4 features would be suicide, and neither Samsung nor Google look that stupid.

    1. SmartScroll= gimmick that no one will use after a week.
      Air View= gimmick that no one will use after a week.
      Air Gestures= gimmick that no one will use after a week.
      S Translator= highly inferior to Google Translate

      Multi-Windows= Useful feature
      Multi-Shot Camera= Useful feature

      What you get instead…

      Smoother Project Butter UX
      No bloat, no shovelware
      Consistent UI
      Greater app compatibility
      Free wifi hotspot

      More onboard memory

      1. Very well-said. Nice list. I agree, the ONLY truly compelling features of TtouchWiz that I wouldn’t immediately disable due to being CPU cycle hogs or gobbling battery are those related to the camera. One gimmick after another comprises 99% of Touchwiz aside from the camera app which seems genuinely improved from the GS3 to GS4.

        1. Agreed about the camera. From the many many reviews I’ve seen. A lot of them put it ahead of the HTC One in every mark except low light.

      2. air view is quite useful. Touchwiz uses project butter and is smoother than stock. you can disable bloat. it has a more consistent UI. apps are all compatible no matter what phone you’re using. T-Mobile and AT&T already include hotspot for free with their current plans. same onboard memory.

    2. If I was going to use any of those features, I might care. The only Touchwiz feature I use is the swipe to text/call feature. Unless some of those camera features actually work. Best face on the S3 is a disappointment, though. I hear the same about the new features.

    3. You don’t seem to understand why people want stock Android. Anyone who wants this phone doesn’t give two shits about the things you just listed. The draw here is an incredibly powerful phone running an untainted version of Android.

      1. Amen.

      2. Absolutely! The only S4 “feature” I’d be hoping for would be the tv remote functionality.

        1. Personally I liked the ability to answer your phone with a wave gesture if your hands are sticky or dirty.

      3. The people who want the stock Android experience are a small group compared to the vast majoirty that buy the phone and don’t care or know the difference.

    4. I wouldn’t miss any of those features in the slightest. I’d rather have my internal storage available…

      I, for one, am very interested in this. I’ve been hanging out for a Nexus with the same specs as Sammy’s flagships + expandable storage – and now I have it (assuming this is true).

    5. The people who are excited here don’t want those “added features” you’re so excited about. They want pure Android on a nice piece of hardware.

    6. Sorry to be the odd one out but I agree. I don’t wanna lose all the air view and stuff. For me the GE s4 is more about getting updates faster. But this whole rumor sounds like a mess. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

    7. The only thing I’d be worried about losing is the image QUALITY (not camera features). I really want an S4 but I keep reading things about touchwiz performance/carrier meddling that are zapping my enthusiasm for a great piece of hardware. Something like a S4 GE addition would (theoretically) solve all the problems of someone like me.

      If I do get the regular S4 I would turn all of those sensors and gestures off anyway. From what I’ve read it seems to improve performance and battery life.

  18. If this holds up,it could force the other mfgs./carriers to follow suit & leave the crapware behind or better yet,if people want it,have it available as a separate one-time purchase.

  19. Why are you showing the phone with it’s app drawer open??? Did Kevin K write this article wishing this was about the iphone 6?

    1. Oh that’s good…put some salt on it too…

    2. You already know Engadget, their cock suckers

  20. Gosh I hope this makes it to a CDMA carrier.

  21. the fact that this will hopefully exists is awesome enough, now an s4 on any carrier will easily be flashed to a WORKING stock experience

  22. This is another unicorn like the X Phone

  23. I hope it comes with the Exynos Octa, but that that’s a rumor though…

  24. Am I the only one who thinks this is going to benefit the S4 dev community immensely? Half the problem with AOSP ROMS on my S3 is the fact that drivers and the RIL stuff had to be hacked to work on non Touchwiz stuff.

    1. Completely agree. I really hope it’s true! Will get a great build of CM with this for the s4

    2. It’ll benefit the developer community. If its true that is.

  25. I would buy it but I wouldn’t pay more than 450.

  26. If this were true, I would be so sad that I just bought a nexus 4. Would something like this be updated by Samsung or Google. The whole point of getting a nexus phone is to run the late software.

    1. Just bought a nexus 4 the other week too.

  27. can it have on-screen buttons?

  28. doubt it…

  29. Is it April 1st?

  30. great now get rid of that home button

  31. Maybe we’ll be able to flash stock android onto our current s4s if this comes out.

  32. If this is true, it could very well be my next phone. I’m currently rockin’ a N4, but have had interest in replacing it with the XFON, if it debuted soon. I loved my CM10 S3 I had, but had to get off Verizon and the interest in flashing ROMS (i.e. trying to maintain a daily phone) kind of wore off. I doubt this would happen, but if so, it’s going to make some waves!

  33. Better not be missing any features but touchwiz.

    1. the features come from touchwiz…

  34. Honestly, some of the Samsung additions are nice. it would be great if they let you choose which features you wanted to keep.

  35. That would be a nice surprise. Even if it will cost $600+ off contract, this is a step in the right direction. I hope that eventually all manufacturers will offer the option to deactivate or even uninstall the “skins” and bloatware with which they are currently sending out their phones.

  36. Galaxy Nexus II !???

  37. If this is available for AT&T, I might go for it. Especially if there is no word on the X Phone.

  38. I’d imagine it’d be easy to port the stock image over to existing S4’s.

  39. Stock android on a s4 ? All I need is the ir blaster universal remote app n I’m good to go. First day.

  40. Meh, other handsets just don’t compare when you can get a Nexus handset for half the price.

  41. If this is real, i’m down

  42. I know this may sound weird, but I prefer TouchWiz > Stock, so I’m not excited for this.

    1. Not at all.If anything,you’re a normal person surrounded by weirdos here. ;-)

  43. I’m starting to think this could be the X Phone Everyone was Expecting, instead it’s not Motorola but Samsung and the Xphone newly leaked sketches are really a GS4 Modified. think about it if it has stock android their is no need for an IR Blaster or the Sensors because those are Touchwiz’s Features, not android, So maybe Samsung just helped them build it and Google provide the Pure Android OS.

    I may be wrong but just a thought.

    1. Dumbest comment I’ve read in some time. You’re definitely wrong and should just stop thinking.

  44. Why do we need a different phone for this? Why not just give us an option to run stock or a touchwiz rom on the standard S4?

    1. Touchwiz is deeply integrated into android, its not that easy to just turn it off.

  45. Read this everywhere, don’t believe it for a second.

    1. You must have never played Parappa the Rapper… You gotta believe bro

  46. I thought the new Nexus 7 rumor was juicier.

  47. Oh man Imagine a HTC One Google Edition! I’d crawl over hot coals for that

  48. It sounds extremely promising but my concern is that a Google Experience device doesn’t necessarily equate to much faster Android OS updates.


  50. I WANT NOW!

  51. If this plays out right, most OEMs will offer a google edition phone of their successful phones. This would be a great thing, especially if these were to be updated directly by google.

  52. This could be the beginning of the end of no updates due to skins by manufacturer.
    If it sells well, and other manufacturers follow suit we could be past skinned devices and onto similar footing as other OS’s and their updates… Idk but this or would be an amazing first step.

  53. why is it T-mobile always gets the Google phones?! I hate the fact Verizon has to be idiots about boat and all that crap

  54. Now, THIS would definitely be my primary backup plan if/when VZW pulls the plug on my grandfathered unlimited data. If this thing is real, doesn’t cost an outrageous amount and comes in a 32Gb version, it’ll arguably be better than a Nexus. This gives us all of the benefits of a non-Nexus (microSD slot, removable battery, bigger screen, tons of 3rd party accessories) without being confined by the glacial upgrade pace of the Nexus line by Google and their partners.
    Sadly, I expect this is just another wild rumor but it’d be awesome if true since I *detest* Touchwiz more and more with each iteration. Sad to say but if true this would just cement Samsung’s position as a market leader even further. HTC *SHOULD* have done something like two years ago but it looks like they are going to cling to Sense and undersize batteries to the bitter end.

  55. Does it still have that home button?

  56. Holy mother of all that is good and pure…..

  57. Not gonna happen. Why would Sammy do this if it wasn’t a Nexus device? If google has to lower the price of the phone to make it sell, then Sammy wont sell their phones. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot. Especially since it will most likely only work on T-Mobile network… This phone is 100% not needed.

    1. Samsung sell more hardware, Google get more stock Android devices into peoples hands, consumers get a high-end stock option. I think it makes sense more everyone.

  58. Absolute bullshit.

  59. Hell. Yes.

  60. Give me a bigger HTC One with on screen keys, pure google and it will have all my money

  61. A galaxy s4 for everyone. Stock Android? Touchwiz? No problem! Samsung has you covered either way

  62. would the updates come from Google or Sammy?

  63. Bring us a stock galaxy note ll and then you’ve really got a winner on your hands

    1. sounds utterly useless. you’d lose the functionality of the pen, multi window, on screen notes, and all the other goodies that make a Note useful thanks to touchwiz.

  64. It would be nice but only if they keep all the camera features from touch wiz…then it will be perfect..

  65. The only problem is that the price is $649 without a contract when the nexus 4 is $299. It’s almost the same phone. Yes!, the GS4 has better specs but is it really worth $350 more? i don’t think so. Changeable battery and microSD would be really nice and this is the biggest selling point for the GS4 when you compare it to the nexus 4. Maybe i’ll get it when it comes to at&t for $200 with a contract, But who know when that’s gonna happen. On the other hand i do hate phones made out of plastic, so maybe not.

  66. For
    me, choosing the best case is a priority to my Samsung Galaxy S4, that’s why I
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