Among dedicated Android fans, there is a consensus that stock Android is the best experience. That being said, not everyone is smitten with the Nexus hardware. A new option for conflicted users is rumored to be dropping tomorrow at Google I/O. A version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 – dubbed the Google Edition – could be released with the latest version of stock Android on board.
If this is indeed true, it wouldn't be the first time Google has created a new variant of a Samsung product. Back at I/O 2011 Google handed out a special edition Galaxy Tab 10.1 with stock Honeycomb. Although, that device was never sold to the public. This Galaxy S4 GE is apparently slated for release in June with T-Mobile cellular bands. It isn't clear if this device (should it actually exist) would be sold through Google or the carrier. I have to think T-Mobile would be wary of confusing its device line-up in stores as it already carries the regular GS4. So a Play Store device? That would definitely make the Nexus 4 look like yesterday's news. And what about Motorola?
The GS4 doesn't have the most premium-feeling hardware, but the specs are a step up from 2012 flagship phones. Is a Galaxy S4 worth having without Samsung's software modifications? Well, there are plenty of users running AOSP-based ROMs, so maybe there's a demand. If the Galaxy S4 GE is real, we'll know very soon.