In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
The Google Play Edition update train keeps rolling along. Hot on the heels of yesterday's HTC One GPE update, Galaxy S4 GPE owners are reporting a new OTA update as well. This update was alluded to yesterday, when Samsung released a new set of kernel source and framework files for the device. The firmware version is I9505GUEUCML4, which is Android 4.4.2/KOT49H. This brings it up to date with current Nexus devices.
This weekend's poll is simple, and quite related to a poll we had at the beginning of this month. After weighing the pros, cons, and costs of a Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 or HTC One, did you end up dropping cold, hard cash to get your hands on one? These "vanilla" Android devices provide a Nexus-like user experience on what are likely the two best Android phones currently on sale, something enthusiasts have been clamoring for since, well, probably before I ever started writing for Android Police.