Is the Google Play Edition program dying? Samsung Galaxy S4 has officially exited Google Play


galaxy s4 gpe gone

It’s nothing to cry or be surprised about, but in case you haven’t noticed the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition has officially exited the Google Play Store. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear this move was made to make room for a Google Play Edition Samsung Galaxy S5.

Its exit makes HTC One M8 the only remaining Google Play Edition smartphone on Google Play, with no signs of a cavalry coming to replenish the forces. As such, Nexus regains the total prominence it’s always enjoyed, with the only other smartphones and tablets available being the Nexus 9, Nexus 6 and the tried-and-true Nexus 5.

We’re not sure what this says about the fate of Google Play Edition. Early rumors did indicate Google was doing away with it, but not without a program called Android Silver that would look to bring the same “pure” Android devices (except carriers would be more involved with selling and distributing these devices instead of them being available only via Google Play).

Whether those plans are still in the works is something that can’t be answered today (the latest rumors say Google has done away with that, as well), but for now it looks like you’ll soon have to head to eBay, Craigslist or other third-party marketplaces for anything but the latest Nexus handsets and tablets.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. The problem with “Google Play Edition” is that most people have no idea that they even exist or know what “Google Play Edition” means. Most consumers will walk into their local carrier’s store, sign a 2 year contact and walk out with a new phone full of manufacture and carrier bloatware. Google Play Edition phones are generally more expensive, off-contract and sold online only. Instead of allowing manufacture’s to sell Google Play Edition phones, they should actively regulate the bloatware that’s installed on their OS. System level alterations and 3rd party applications that can’t be uninstalled (without hacking) should fall under the “OS forking” category. If manufacture’s want to add proprietary features and gimmicks to their phone, they should provide a system level “driver” or “interface” that doesn’t interfere with Google’s UI.

  2. Those were the ones I thought were certainly developer only versions. Full price, no carrier subsidies and no marketing meant they were always going to be the lowest of volume.

    But I hope this means more of a push towards Nexus. Id love to see a new Nexus 5 come out. That way they have a device for normals like me. That N6 looks like a great phone but just too big for me.

    1. I would actually be ok with them releasing two phones a year. One would be the smaller form factor and the other will be the larger form factor (much like Samsung). While I hope it doesn’t get any larger, I can’t see myself going all the way back to 5 or smaller screen. I love this Nexus 6 device and it is great, but do see the appeal for more people to be on a smaller handset.

      1. Considering the plethora of devices Samsung releases every year, I think you mean more like Apple in recent times.

        I think Nexus will stick with a single device, go big or go home mentality. At least the 5 is still available, and still a great device.

        1. I was more referring to the S line and the Note line. I guess I’m not really aware that they have any other devices.

  3. The S4 is also pretty old right? Maybe they are just out of it and don’t see the need to keep an old device in stock. The lack of new editions is more cause for concern, but like others have said, not many people knew about the Google Play Edition devices, and they aren’t as economical as others like the Nexus line.

  4. If GPE goes away that would be a shame. Really liking my LG G Pad GPE running lollipop rooted.

  5. Well, to be fair there are several issues that are easy to spot.

    The pricing is the #1 factor. Most of their devices drop in price over time, which is not reflected in Google’s MSRP for the devices. Why would someone pay $600+ for a device they can get refurbished for $300 and just root away Sense and put on a GPE ROM?

    Secondly, the devices don’t deliver fast enough updates. These updates take a bit longer than they should since they’re running PURE ANDROID.

    Thirdly, the devices that offer unique features are ignored since Pure Android doesn’t take advantage of each feature that can be considered a plus and/or a need. Multi Window in the S4 GPE? Nope. That hurts multi-tasking a bit.

    Lastly, the device list isn’t too in-depth. Where’s the S5, G3, Note, Z2, Z3, etc? Not many choices besides what they have.

    1. Yes, the Android is pure Android, but they still need to test and develop new drivers for newer OS versions. They have to make sure things work properly and that does take some time.

      1. And use the Nexus owners as Guinea Pigs lol?

    2. Not pure. Different hardware = different kernels or kernel modules, and possibly framework changes to support the oem apps added on the GPE models.

      Almost pure, yes.

    3. don’t deliver fast enough updates? Lol they get updated in less than 2 weeks. I don’t consider that a huge con.

  6. It seems like it is. No new GPE phones in a long time

  7. Nexus 4 and 5 were great because they were cheap. GPE and Nexus 6 are too expensive.

    1. The nexus 6 is worth every penny.

      1. It’s really just the one and only Android Silver device though, the Nexus name is a bit of a misnomer.

    2. Plus GPE is only available in some countries and for some reason more expensive than the normal versions.

  8. I would like to get a GS4 and then flash GPE ROM on it…..

    1. Did just that it was probably my favorite android phone thus far. Until it got water damage that is. Bought a Nexus 5 now have the Nexus 6.

  9. Maybe they’ll release the Galaxy S5 GPE now?

  10. Cyanogenmod

    1. For what? A forever bug-ridden experience on the previous iteration of Android?

  11. I’m pretty sure the GPE program has been dead for awhile and they are just finishing off stock never to be replenished. There really hasn’t been anything new to be put under the GPE moniker. I hope they focus all of their strength on the next nexus and make it very awesome.

  12. Just purchased a refurb S4 GPE over the holidays and promptly installed Android 5.0 and loving it! “Upgraded” (?) from a stock T-Mo S5 and I like everything about the S4 GPE better, except maybe the battery life. Never used all the added hardware features of the S5 and Touchwiz is just painfully slow and bloated. Loving the lighter smaller size of the S4 with essentially the same screen and the S4 is so much faster than the S5 probably due to stock clean Android. And Lollipop’s new features are really useful. Best all around phone I’ve ever used! I agree that these phones were too expensive new – I always wanted one but would never pay the high prices. Glad I got one before they’re gone!

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