Pure Android Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One available for preorder

By on June 27, 2013, 11:45 AM

Two of the leading, top-tier Android smartphones are now available for preorder as "Google Play” editions on the search giant’s online store. The beautifully designed HTC One is $599 and the Galaxy S4 $649. As explained last month, hardware-wise these are the same devices sold through a number of carriers around the world, but they’ll ship with clean versions of Android devoid of any widgets and other third party software.

For Google, this means giving users an option to experience Android (4.2.2) as it was intended, with their apps and features front and center, by taking advantage of flagship smartphone hardware rather than releasing new Nexus devices. Buyers on the other hand are guaranteed timely updates -- which aren’t always forthcoming when it comes to Android -- and lower monthly bills with no long-term commitments to a carrier.

The Google Play devices will work out of the box on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks. Unfortunately, neither will work on Sprint or Verizon’s networks as the radio chips inside them don’t support their CDMA/LTE bands.

Both are available right now through Google's Play Store and will ship on July 9.

Interest in out-of-contract smartphones has been on the rise as of late, partly due to Google’s inexpensive Nexus 4, and partly due to a handful of companies attempting to shake up the wireless industry with more flexible and consumer-friendly plans -- from startups like Republic Wireless and Zact to established carriers like T-Mobile.

The market is still tiny compared to subsidized options, which generally require $200 upfront and two years of cellular bills. The Nexus 4 might have been an odd example given it was priced at $300, roughly half of what a last generation unsubsidized smartphone costs. But Google believes Google Play edition devices will appeal to “purists and enthusiasts” who are willing to pay more upfront for an uncluttered, bootlocker unlocked device.

User Comments: 6

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insect said:

Good idea! Probably the future, but for now I'll just buy the subsidized versions and wait a week for the unlock and AOSP Roms to roll out (especially because CM10.1 just went to full release).

For me, it seems silly that subsidized versions continue to come locked and with junkware on them... you've already locked me in for two years and are getting my money regardless of what's on the phone.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

For the past 10 years I've only bought out of contract pre paid phones. I've no desire to lock myself into a 2 year contract just to brag with the latest & greatest.

Guest said:

Umm.. I just went to the Google Play Store and I don't see the Samsung or the HTC phone listed. Is it something that's only available to US customers?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Umm.. I just went to the Google Play Store and I don't see the Samsung or the HTC phone listed. Is it something that's only available to US customers?

Perhaps. I see them when I go to the Play store.

When they say it doesn't have any of the manufacturer software on it, does that include the camera app and software? I have an HTC One and the camera software is great. The highlight videos are a selling point of the device. If you don't like Sense or Touchwiz (whatever it's called on Samsung's) you can just install a new launcher, but people will be pretty disappointed if they're expecting the cool camera features and they only get a generic Android camera.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Personally I would love to have the HTC One Dual-SIM version, sadly it is only sold in China so far

It seems to become available in Russia though so hopefully the rest of Europe will have it soon!

And yes I too would like less bloat on the phone, my current HTC One S is a joke when it comes to all the bundled crap on it

Guest said:

Yup.. looks like it's for US customers only. I logged on the Play Store with a US proxy server and it showed both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. I'm disappointed to see it's not available to Canada but more disappointed to see the phone is WHITE! I was looking forward to Google releasing a plain android version of the S4 but not so much anymore.

I suppose I could buy a black S4 and flash it with the Google S4 ROM.

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