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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition to launch with stock Android

Google I/O attendees cheer then gasp at the price

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

At its Google I/O 2013 developer conference, Google announced it will sell a version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android.

If you like Samsung smartphones but feel the opposite way about its TouchWiz user interface then, this news will be music to your ears. Dubbed the 'Google Edition', the Samsung Galaxy S4 will come pre-loaded with vanilla Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. See also: Samsung to address Galaxy S4 storage problems by optimising software

"It's Google's take on Android" said the firm, adding that it will provide a Nexus experience on a Samsung smartphone.

The announcement provoked cheers and applause at the event but the pricing details were simply followed by gasps. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition in a 16GB capacity will go on sale for $649.

Google will sell the device directly via the Play Store in June where it will be available unlocked with support for both T-Mobile and AT&T's 4G LTE networks. The handset will also come with an unlocked bootloader.

Since the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is running stock Android, the firm promised it would "receive system updates promptly" in a similar way to its Nexus smartphones and tablets.

With software being the only difference, perhaps the Google Edition will have more storage space available to the user – Samsung's model has nearly half of the 16GB taken up by the operating system combined with TouchWiz. See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3 comparison review.

There was no word on a launch outside of the US but we'll keep an eye out for UK release. Unfortunately, Google didn't announce any new Nexus devices to replace the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 or Nexus 10 but it did launch Google Play Music All Access as a rival to Spotify.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


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