Yesterday Google announced the unthinkable. They announced the impossible. They announced that they’re going to start selling a Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android.
Before I jump to the details, I’d like to apologize to Geek.com, the original source of this rumor. They published it less than 24 hours before I/O began, and I called their piece out as linkbait. Boy oh boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
With that, here’s what you need to know: Starting on June 26th, people in the United States will be able to buy an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android for $649 from the Google Play Store. It’s going to have 16 GB of storage, and it’s going to support 4G LTE on both AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s respective networks.
Google promises that they’ll deliver updates to this GS4 “promptly”, which I’m assuming means as fast as the Nexus 4 gets updated. You’re not going to get all the fancy TouchWiz features that Samsung wrote, so you can kiss that fancy camera user interface goodbye. That being said, less bloat means more system disk storage, better battery life, and a more fluid user experience.
One more thing: The bootloader is officially unlocked, so for all you custom Android ROM fans out there, you’ll be able to flash your phone without suffering a heart attack.
Will this phone be sold outside of the United States? God, I hope so, because I want it. Badly. I’d also like to tell everyone complaining about the price to get real. An unlocked high end smartphone will cost you $649, often even more, so this isn’t exactly shocking.
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