google editions

The day is here, AOSP fans: you can go pick up a gloriously stock Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One in the Google Play Store now. The "Google Play Edition" phones went live this morning, right on time, and are now for sale next to the Nexus phones and tablets. The GS4 Google Edition can be had for $649, while the HTC One goes for slightly less at $599. Both are running the latest version of Android 4.2 shod of all skins and add-ons, with promised updates via Google itself. At the moment, the phones are only available to United States residents.

s4 one

Both are shipping out on July 9th, with free shipping as a nice bonus. Which one to get? You've probably already decided this for yourself, but here's a quick comparison of specs just in case you haven't. Both phones pack a gorgeous 1080p display: the GS4 uses a 5-inch Super AMOLED panel that's a bit brighter, but with color saturation that some don't appreciate, while the One has a slightly smaller 4.7-inch Super LCD that's a bit easier to read under direct sunlight. The HTC One wins for pure storage with a generous 32GB of space, but the GS4 gets 16GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot. Keep in mind that Google Play Store content (apps, movies, and music) can only be placed on internal storage on a non-rooted phone.

_HTC_HERO_FINAL_smaller2 _GS4_HERO_FINAL_smaller2

Both phones are powered by the quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset, but the GS4 is clocked slightly higher at 1.9Ghz to the One's 1.7Ghz. It won't make a huge difference for everyday operation, but speed demons will probably lean towards the GS4. Samsung's phone also has a bigger battery at 2600mAh versus the One's 2300mAh, with the added bonus of being removable and replaceable. Cameras are hard to compare on the two, since HTC uses a proprietary 4-"ultrapixel" sensor while the GS4 has a conventional 13.1MP rear shooter. Check our reviews of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One for some comparison shots, and keep in mind that you'll be shooting photos and videos with Android's stock camera. Both phones feature 3G and LTE bands that will work with AT&T or T-Mobile, and of course, the bootloader is easily unlockable for development or ROM tinkering.

GS4_BestofGoogle_final_rev htc-one_feat-1-hardware_449by420

But let's be honest here: both phones are pretty amazing, and either would serve and discerning gadget hound well. The biggest difference, and likely to be the deciding factor for many, is the design philosophy behind them. Samsung's is more conventional, with a plastic build that focuses on the screen above all else, while HTC goes for a more sturdy aluminum unibody build. Those who consider loudness and audio fidelity will probably lean towards the One with its front-facing stereo speakers, while those who want a lighter feel in the hand will go for the GS4. The One wins on pure price, but if you're spending six hundred bucks on an unlocked phone, I doubt you'll balk at $650. At the moment, the One is available only in silver, and the GS4 comes clad all in white - these are likely to remain the only color options.

And since you've made it this far, I'll point out that the Nexus 4 is still available at a much cheaper $299/$349 for 8GB and 16GB models. You lose the amazing screen, screaming performance, and access to LTE, but it's still a pretty great device considering the price.

The Google Edition Galaxy S4 and HTC One are likely to sell out very quickly. If you want one, run, don't walk to the Play Store.

Google Play Store - Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

Google Play Store - HTC One Google Edition

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Matt

    So when they said available June 26...they meant for pre-order? That's kinda lame.

    • yankeesusa

      Its not really preorder. Its just shipping later than normal. July 9 shipping is not that bad or far away. Plus if you have $600 laying around what is a couple days gonna hurt.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        This is the definition of a pre-order.

        • yankeesusa

          I guess. Hey at least its not november or october like the pre-orders for the new xbox and ps4.

        • http://samsung-updates.com/ Krzysztof Bryk

          finaly ;] get one for tests fast ;>

  • ProductFRED

    Interesting, neither of them list AWS for HSPA+. For the One GE, this was known, but not for the S4 GE... There isn't even any DC-HSPA+ on the S4 GE (which indicates it's actually an AT&T based model...).

    I really hope this is an error, because a lot of people are going to be disappointed that the S4 Google Edition only does EDGE and LTE on T-Mobile...

    • giant22000

      Without a doubt. No AWS frequencies mean that I do not want either of these phones as I currently use T-Mobile service!
      Hopefully this is a mistake!

      • Adam

        I'm a T-Mobile customer and did not know about anything to do with 3G, HSPA+, or LTE prior to buying my HTC One. I can confidently say speeds are significantly better living just outside a large city than they were on my Galaxy Nexus. I've never seen it display 3G; only 4G and LTE.

        • ProductFRED

          That's because carriers branded 3G as "4G". It's stupid. Also you probably have a T-Mobile HTC One, which supports AWS.

    • tomsliwowski

      Pardon my ignorance but both phones say "AWS" under 4G which is what T-Mobile marketing calls HSPA+. Unless LTE also has AWS.....

      EDIT: Right after I posted this I found this page from T-Mobile going over which bands they use for LTE - http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-5627

      I guess AWS bands for LTE are used which should be fine for T-Mobile customers in areas where LTE has been lit.

      • ProductFRED

        You'll get LTE on T-Mobile, but no 3G (HSPA+) if you're not in a refarmed area. So most people will bounce between EDGE and LTE. That's it. LTE and HSPA+ are two different protocols; AWS on LTE does not mean AWS on HSPA+.

        • dli7319

          there are more refarmed areas than areas with lte, so your more likely to bounce between edge and hspa+ than edge and lte

        • Bob37

          Found this https://support.google.com/playedition/answer/3222967, so might still be ok with Tmobile 3g if these specs are the correct ones.

          • tackhouse1

            so is this page correct? It conflicts with what the Play store says. Ugh...

          • markzip

            If you live in a rural / non-refarmed area the HTC One will not get the old T-Mobile 3G on AWS It will go to edge.

            If you have the GS4 you will be able to use the old T-Mobile 3G on AWS.

    • informer10

      The radio definitely supports AWS HSPA+, it's just that it may need enabling just like with the ATT S4 version once unlocked. http://galaxys4root.com/galaxy-s4-tutorials/how-to-enable-t-mobile-hspa-aws-bands-on-att-galaxy-s4-sgh-i337sgh-i337m/

      • ProductFRED

        I know this mod. I've done it on my AT&T Note 2. It's just that that would require flashing a Touchwiz ROM on your Google Edition S4 to get to the USB Diag menu...

  • sam

    2 Things here:

    1)why does it say snapdragon s4 pro for the samsung s4?

    2) where is the black samsung s4? i don't like the white one

    And it is shipping too late

    • sssgadget

      Shipping too late for what?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      They just fixed the processor.

  • GIBsonCubed

    The other thing that is (i hope) a cut and paste error, the Play page lists the S4 GPE as running on a Snapdragon S4Pro CPU and not the Snapdragon 600...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's fixed now.

  • scuttlefield

    Either one would be a nice upgrade to my Nexus 4, but I think I'll wait for the next Nexus or maybe the Moto X Phone.

  • Scott Kaforey

    Any chance the HTC One would eventually work for Verizon?

    • Greyhame


    • Jdban


    • Wyatt Neal

      VZW keeps bumping the launch date back. Probably because they want to continue to frustrate their customers and piss off HTC (who they never seem to have the best relationship with). Eventually, VZW will come out with the HTC One, with all the VZW bloatware and then it will be magically down graded to 4.0.1 because they just really wanted to make you know who's boss on the phone they let you pay for but not actually own /sarcasm-frustrated-vzw-cust-rant. I'd bet a soda you'll never see it in the Play store.

  • rroburt

    Is there any difference between this and rooting the phone you've already got?

    • 111


      • Mike Harris

        But only from a very technical standpoint. If you root your phone and flash an AOSP ROM, it's really the same thing. The difference is (from my understanding) that the regular versions come with a locked bootloader and by unlocking it, you're breaking your warranty. With this Google version, you don't need to break your warranty. Also, this one will get updates directly from Google. (Although, I wonder if it's possible to flash the stock ROM that comes with this onto your regular phone and thus, be able to get OTA updates. I don't see why not.)

  • Mario

    Hello folks,look in this video at 2:47 ...it's 4.3!

  • Chris Wueste

    Not showing up in the Play store at the moment. Very Strange....sold out already perhaps????

    • Ozair

      The page when I load in Firefox does not show it, but when I try with Chrome it appears. It is not sold out.

  • rick

    Why does not google switch the s4 buttons to replace the hardware menu button with a multitasking one?

  • Matthew

    "Keep in mind that Google Play Store content (apps, movies, and music) can only be placed on internal storage on a non-rooted phone."

    This is incorrect (as I can verify from personal experience with a Nexus 4); did you mean external storage?

    • Greyhame

      A Nexus 4 only has internal storage.

      • Matthew

        Ah, I see what the intent was. The phrasing is ambiguous; it would be clearer as "on a non-rooted phone, it can only be placed in internal storage".

        I took as "can only be placed on internal storage if the device is non-rooted".

  • Sean Lumly

    I'd pay an extra $50 for the S4 camera and screen (I love the larger AMOLED), but that 16GB internal kills it for me. Yes you can add Micro SD, but a 32GB base would have been best mainly for app installs. As it stands, the Nexus 4 is easily the best value.

  • http://filmitnow.moonfruit.com/ Brandon Wood

    Says 4:30 on the clock...dammit Google! Just release 4.3 already! lol :P

    • dhruva

      i think this is 4.3..remember the new camera app that was floating around..these two have got it.

      • http://filmitnow.moonfruit.com/ Brandon Wood

        They have the new camera app, but they're still running the exact same build of Jelly Bean, so it's still 4.2.2.

        • Coen van Deelen

          its even an "old" firmware number. JDQ39. My Nexus 4 rocks JDQ39E

      • hot_spare

        That app looks horrendous and totally cumbersome. I just don't know who came with that 'dial' type setting option in stock camera app. Really hate that. OEMs tend to provide much better camera software. I hate that everytime I look at my N4.

        • Phil Oakley

          The new app is much better.

  • Ashish Raj

    Now.. just have to wait till AP chooses me as the winner (pls, pls, pls) of their latest giveaway!!!

  • rroburt

    OK, what's the difference? Can't you get rid of what you want, and add what you want, and get the latest Android with a rooted Galaxy S4? What does the Nexus version have to offer that's better than that?

  • SetiroN

    Hey hey, it's 4:30 in mountain view! ;)

    • Chris

      Mountain View California is pacific time. Its 3:06 at the time of this posting. It was 11:06 am when you posted yours.....

      • SetiroN

        you must be so smart.

      • Phil Oakley

        You missed the point of his comment.


  • Rob Cook

    I'd like to see a review of the S4 GE vs S4 TW comparing the things that you loose out on when running AOSP. Not what TW brings to the table but things like basic connectivity with BT to a headset or car stereo, battery life, etc. The point here is to see how closely Samsung (or HTC either comparo would work) worked w/ Google to provide drivers and chipset information. The basis for this is having run CM10 on my S3 there are still issues with some basic things that either the dev's don't care about (BT connectivity) or can't code around due to closed sources. Ultimately it would tell us if it's worth shelling out the $$$ for the GE version or waiting for someone to provide a ROM to flash on a subsidized S4.

  • moelsen8

    Very tempting. I'm so, so... so sick of the storage bullsh*t with the Nexus 4. 16gb is simply not enough space.

  • Ashish Raj

    Not sure if anyone cares but... these devices have the new camera UI

    • Thoast

      How do you know that?

      • Lupe Fiasco

        Android Central made an article about it earlier today, they already have the Galaxy S4 & HTC One Google Edition.

        • Thoast

          Cool, gonna check it out =)

    • hot_spare

      which is just as bad as previous stock camera UI.

  • Abhi Kurve

    " Basically the choice boils down to Samsung's icky hardware with better button placement vs. HTC's great hardware and bad buttons. "

  • Ivaylo Stoyanov

    Why does the logo say Galaxy S IV, and not Galaxy S4?

    • Chris

      Roman Numeral. IV = 4

  • dli7319

    My Question: When will the factory images come out so we can flash them?
    Also, I thought Samsung stopped using roman numerals for the s4

  • dhruva

    does anyone know which version of jellybean it has?

    • spacekobra

      The latest.

    • Ryan Dack

      A somewhat newer build of 4.2.2 than what is out for Nexus devices that includes a newer camera app and the red phasebeam live wallpaper

  • BoB1673

    anyone know that if the new vanilla has improved button mapping ?

    • blunden

      It doesn't according to early hands-on articles.

  • Justin

    I just want the red phasebeam wallpaper...

  • kpjimmy

    And lets not forget the Nexus 4 has built in wireless charging. No need to buy extra stuff to make it work (aka SG4). The GEHTC One won't have it because of it's aluminum body. So no go for me. But maybe the wife will get the ONE for work :)

    • Chris

      right because having a cord thats connected to the wireless charging pad to the wall is so much trouble....

      • kpjimmy

        Ever hear about the charging port issues? No trouble there eh?

  • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

    Anyone know where to get a copy of that sweet default wallpaper on these devices?

  • Paul_Werner

    From what I read it will not be getting it's updates straight from Google afterall:


    • Ryan Dack

      Anandtech says Google builds the OS from AOSP, and the OEMS just compile the kernel. Kind of a hybrid operation.

      • blunden

        No, Google builds the OS from their internal tree and then merge most of that tree to AOSP. Nexus devices are not built from AOSP though, it's the other way around.

  • Chris

    Should save your self money and just root.

  • eilegz

    expensive... very expensive. hopefully motorola x will be a more affordable flagship

    • blunden

      The HTC One they sell is about $200 cheaper than what I paid for it so I'd hardly call it expensive. Seems pretty normal for an off-contract phone.

  • blunden

    Might be worth noting that the images produced by the S4 are closer to 9 MP in the default widescreen format if I remember correctly.

  • Coen van Deelen

    Firmware / system dump please :(

  • DonPorazzo

    Can I buy HTC One (non google edition) then unlock it (or s-off it when it'll be possible, whatever) root it and install google's stock android on it?

  • Gaming Gear

    Samsung product cheap on sales
    click more http://sungsamgalaxy.blogspot.com/