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Samsung Galaxy S4 “Nexus Experience” Edition Will be a U.S. Exclusive

galaxy s4 google edition

When the Samsung Galaxy S4 “Nexus experience” device launches on June 26 for the questionably high price of $649 through Google Play, it will be available to U.S. customers only. According to CNET who spoke with Google on the subject of availability, for now, the device will be a U.S. exclusive. 

Google first unveiled their own version of the Galaxy S4 at Google I/O last Wednesday after being rumored the night prior. The device will run stock Android, receive timely updates like a Nexus, include LTE support on T-Mobile and AT&T, and has an unlocked bootloader. Keep in mind that running stock Android also means that it won’t have any of Samsung’s suite of software add-ons like Air Gesture, Air View, or the Samsung Camera. This is 100% pure stock Android running on the GS4.

We know that most of you are U.S. residents, but our international crowd seems to be growing. So U.S. readers, congrats – international readers, we’re sorry, for now.

galaxy s4 google edition


  • Marc

    Download Custom Rom for Galaxy S4 I9505

    by jamal2367 on XDA-Developers.com

    Have fun



  • John Ross

    I’d love one of these with a contract, other wise it’s way too much

  • oggieboogie

    well with no access to verizon, it’s a bust

  • snapdragon or qualcomm?

  • izick

    You understand that if you were to buy this phone out right from T Mobile or AT&T it’d be the same price. T Mobile makes this a little more clear in their literature and breakdown of your monthly costs. The phone is $649, then you pay for it over 2 years with your plan subsidy (at AT&T) and through 0% financing at T-Mobile. You could take this phone to T- Mobile and it’d be cheaper than taking it to AT&T… Or you could take it to a prepaid carrier like Aio or T-Mobile and get $30-$70 dollar plans that include unlimited data on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Whatever you do, don’t look at the price tag and think you’re paying more for this phone by getting it through Google Play for $649.

  • antonijo

    Im really counting on the europe i9505 being upgradable via ROM.

  • moe6

    So that means it’ll be available in Malaysia within weeks of shipping 😀 … I’ll be honest, I’d upgrade from my N4 were it not for that hardware button 🙁

  • zombiewolf115

    now why would i pay 600 for it when i have a 300 nexus 4?

  • Hatyrei

    ummm….will they gonna omit the cool software features from the orignal GS4 too? 🙁

    • Yep. This will have all the features of stock Android with none of the features of Touchwiz.

  • TheRobotCow

    am i the only one wishing for a motorola built cdma nexus experience device?

    • Artune

      I’ll take one….my first/best google experience was the MOTO Droid and I love my GNEX so that’s saying something.

  • SD_Scott

    Can I not unlock the bootloader on my own and then flash a pure Android experience? Kind of confused on why this is such a big deal…

  • Don’t care about that AirSh..t and all that samsung bloatware which sucks data day and night – 10MB/day, and doesn’t even ask if I want it!

  • Alexander Wekell

    It’s like they don’t want people to buy this…

  • Yes again Verizon gets skipped..

  • Zifh

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo !

  • thedonxr

    It would be cool if they put the buttons in the right order too…

  • Dr0me

    I don’t think this was something samsung brought to google. I think google made a tactical decision to have the nexus 4 be HSPA+ only. They knew this sucked from the get go but was their only card to play at the time if they wanted to solve the carriers blocking the updates issue. They knew that HSPA+ wouldn’t cut the mustard in the long term and this was the easiest way to get an unlocked LTE device running stock android with competitive specs. The alternative was redesigning the nexus 4 which would run up costs and would be hard to keep the price low. Samsung only cares about selling phones, and if a certain market segment would buy an S4 if it runs stock and they make the same profit, it is win win for them. This phone likely is exactly the same hardware as the ATT/Tmo variants but they gave google the binaries to get the thing working properly.

  • Rob Watkins

    I feel damned because I’m a Verizon customer, I shoulda jumped ship when my contract was up in January and got a Nexus 4 and dealt with the lousy coverage….

  • Bobby Cornwell

    I don’t know I just think $649 is too much. I’d rather have a Nexus 4 for $349

    • I’m with you on that one. I could understand it if you were paying double the price for double the phone, but you’re not. The Galaxy S4 is definitely not twice the phone that the Nexus 4 is. I think in the end, Samsung probably told Google they had to sell it for $649 because otherwise they’d be undercutting everyone else.

      • Shilamar Drea Shockley

        I agree with you on this.

    • hkklife

      Yes, they are simply setting this one up to fail. Google can “allow” this to be released on one hand but on the other hand doom it to failure by not subsidizing it and not offering it in any storage capacities larger than 16Gb. A 32Gb or 64Gb “Experience” GS4 in black would be hands-down the best phone on the market IF it receives prompt updates. The more I think about it, I think Shawn has hit the nail on the head and this is shaping up to be a nice device but an expensive disappointment regardless for many.

      • Steve Benson

        Buy a damn SD card.

        • Blue Sun

          For what? Photos? MP3’s? You “Buy a SD card” peeps have no idea what you are talking about. There is no option to move apps to SD card at the moment.

          • hkklife

            Steve, I just played a round of Modern Warfare 4 on my GS3 this morning. It takes up 1.9Gb by itself . Throw in a 3-4 more modern 3D or FPS titles from Gameloft, EA etc and you’ve used on all 9Gb of your GS4’s precious internal storage.

            If I’m going to have a beast of a SoC and a lovely 5″ 1080P screen then damn straight I’m gonna do some gaming on it, especially if I am buying full retail or $650 unsubsidized. So, yes, I need and insist on more internal storage and the presence of the microSD slot is a total moot point. My GS3’s SD card is only used for movies, photos, music and documents.

          • Blue Sun

            And I totally agree with you hkklife regarding a 32GB or 64GB model. I think I could maybe justify the 32Gb at that price. The 64GB model, Nexus edition, with LTE, I can justify that steep price.

          • Steve Benson

            I ask the same question. I’ve never had the need for more storage or an SD card because I have most everything in the cloud.

            People always bitch about Google moving away from removable batteries and SD cards. Well, Google fixed both issues with this phone.

          • Blue Sun

            Google did not fix anything with this phone. Nor did Samsung for that matter. I will concede that several GB have probably been eliminated on this device due to that fact Touchwiz & other Samsung software is not present on the device. Samsung provided an inadequate amount of storage for the device OS & apps. 16 GB is not the total usable storage space for this device. You need to subtract the OS from the 16 GB. Apps of any kind cannot be installed currently in the latest version of the Android OS. Only photos, documents, local storage of music, movies, etc can be stored on removable media.

  • I’ll have to see a screenshot of the build number before I get excited about this phone. Until then, color me skeptical. I’m not convinced that it’ll be a Google ROM. I think the Google Experience S4 will be stock Android, but will be maintained and updated by Samsung. That would put it in the same class as the Sprint Galaxy Nexus, and all the GSM Galaxy Nexus devices running yakjuxx firmware variants.

    Unless it’s a Google ROM (meaning the build happens atmtv.corp.google.com and has a standard 5- or 6-character build ID), I’m not interested. Samsung takes forever to update those Galaxy Nexus yakjuxx variants and even the Sprint variant takes a while (to come from Samsung, not even talking about the extra delays introduced by Sprint).

    So if the build number is something like JWR23 or JWR23B, I’ll consider it. If I see JWR23.M919UCESME2 or something, then count me out.

  • If manufacturers just gave people the option to choose which UI they’d prefer, consumers wouldn’t have to deal with this nonsense. How difficult could it be to, at start-up, ask users which interface they prefer: Stock or TouchWiz/Sense/Blah Blah Blah?

    • PhillipCun

      Although your theory sounds like the best damn idea ever it would NEVER EVER fly. Average consumers do not want choices. They want to be TOLD what’s best for them which is why advertising works so well for Samsung and Apple. iOS is easy. There’s one phone that you know will be the best of the best. Samsung did the same thing, they came out with a great phone (read: not the best phone) and marketed in a way so consumers understood what to buy.

      How difficult would this be to ask what UI they preferred? Improbably without failure.

      • Yeah, it would only fly if we lived in a fantasy world. But it doesn’t hurt to dream, does it? 🙂

      • Amen. The problem is, the majority of people who hang out on Android blogs and Android development areas are not the average consumer. People like us make up maybe 1-2% of total Android user base. For the rest of the people with an Android device, you’re absolutely right. Choices confuse people. People want to be told what they want. Well stated.

      • Pedro

        This is true.
        But the unlock procedure should be much easier. You go to a web page, put in the IMEI, and agree to reasonable risks. If you have absolute root access, and your CPU blows up, it’s on you. If your power button stops responding, then it’s still warranty.
        Legitimate hardware issues should be covered. Huge outliers that only show up when the hardware is put under severe stress should not be.

        Agree? Everyone knows the playing field, you get fastboot oem unlock access. The OEM should have a vanilla ROM available for download when you hit ‘Agree’.

        Think it’s bogus? Then don’t get access. Whine on forums.

    • Mike I agree …. or at least allow you to turn off the skin in the settings menu. I wish Google would build this into android. Imagine if you could kill the skin on your own from a simple press of the screen.

  • T4rd

    I’m wondering if the only reason Samsung made this phone is for devs to port a stock and stable Vanilla Android ROM to the carrier version GS4s so they can support us through different means. I mean, they can’t honestly expect to sell that many GS4s through the Play Store for $650/piece when the Nexus 4 is half that without halving the specs. I like to think this is their way of sticking it to the carriers and supporting the dev community.
    So kudos to them.

    • andydrives2fast

      I highly doubt it, Samsung wants everyone to use the exclusive features it has in TouchWiz. They could care less if we get a Nexus Experience. Personally, I think the lack of a new Nexus to unveil at I/O caused Google to approach Samsung about making this phone real.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants

    Time t start saving money on my Google Wallet for it

  • mustbepbs

    Well that’s good, at least they don’t have to ship them out worldwide TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WON’T BUY IT!

  • NorCalGuy

    Avaible to everyone in the us except all the people on Verizon…

    • Chris Hannan

      It’s still available to you. They didn’t say it’s available on every network.

    • T4rd

      And Sprint.

    • Kyle

      …and Sprint, as well as every prepaid CDMA carrier.

  • Steve Benson

    Wait for the HTC One Google Edition. It’s coming, be patient.

  • sangro azul

    My Google+ has been updating since 7:30 this am. Its now 11:00 am on the west coast … any suggestions???

    • Rich Koos

      just click the update and cancel it, sometimes it just gets stuck, it probably already finished the update.

      • sangro azul


  • Due to the fact that I live in an area where there are more cows than people, I’m forced to stay on Verizon if I want 4G. Despite the fact that I still have unlimited data, I’d probably still jump ship if T-Mobile had better coverage here. Sadly, it’s 2G where I live and work on T-Mobile.

    • “Sadly, it’s 2G where I live and work on T-Mobile.”

      You just spoke for 75% of America.

      • Area, or population wise?

        • Area. The overwhelming majority of T-Mobile’s network is 2G. If you live in a metro area and don’t travel to out of the way places very regularly, they’re great. Otherwise, not so much.

          Population-wise, I’d still venture to say that 50% of America’s population is stuck with 2G, but that’s purely a guess without doing the math.

          I see your point, though. I should have chose my words better. “75% of America” infers population, not area. I edited the post with a better choice of words. 🙂

          • PhoenixPath

            T-Mob’s done a ton of upgrades in my area recently. I doubt it’s the only area…and it’s mostly cows out here. They have better coverage from New Prague, MN all the way to the cities than VZW, which drops multiple times.

          • Maybe in your area, but in new York state unless you live in one of the major cities and never go outside them, you Have no service with t mobile. For god sake sprint has better service around.. It’s so bad with t mobile only places you can find a t mobile store is either in Syracuse or Rochester

          • PhoenixPath

            That sucks, man. They’ve been upgrading like gangbusters though, so hopefully they’ll get to ya sooner rather than later.

            I was quite shocked to find they had service in my area…as rural as it is. Much less, 4G…(Much less, better than VZW…)

          • I doubt it to be honest. But I am still hopeful… T mobile and sprint need to build out their networks more, so that we have more competition between phone carriers

          • N2fw

            they can only build where they own spectrum

          • spunker88

            This, T-mobile coverage is basically just interstates and major cities in central and northern NY. But at least theres still At&ts network that isn’t terrible. Verizon covers a little more area but At&t has better 4G (non-LTE) and they even brought LTE to Watertown which Verizon has yet to do.

          • I live in the Twin Cities, and am looking to drop VZW. Just looked at the coverage map, and T-Mo is killing it in MN. VZW has been horrible here for the last couple of years.

          • PhoenixPath

            My thoughts exactly. VZW used to be so good around here. Not sure when it all went south, but I’m tempted to guess it was around the time the iPhone hit VZW.

            …only hoping T-Mo doesn’t suffer accordingly.

          • Pedro

            They seem to be doing a good deal of upgrading where I live, too.
            I have a Tasker task that turns on WiFi when I’m on tower X to look for my home network.
            In the last month, I’ve added 5 more towers.

            By the way, it’s West Houston (Katy).

      • ImmaDroid

        Where I live Tmobile has it listed as 4G, but everyone is on 2G, so its kinda a crock of crap. I have VZW and we just LTE last moth and its insanly fast!

    • PhoenixPath

      I live in such an area…

      I jumped.

      Best thing I could have done in that regard. VZW dropped calls and data to and from work from the land o’cows. T-Mobile is “4G” all the way and calls are crystal clear.

      It seems VZW has a better reputation regarding coverage than they deserve and T-mobile deserves a better reputation than they have.

      Sucks to be in your shoes though. Hopefully T-Mob will do some upgrades in your area soon.

    • Hungry Hamburger

      I didn’t even know 2g existed.

      • Mayoo

        What, you thought they started at 3G just for fun? lol 😉

      • flosserelli

        Damn whippersnappers

      • apahwa

        on AT&T 2g is the EDGE network. Thats why you see “E” sometimes rather than 3G, 4G, or LTE on the iphone. If you are in a particularly bad area then you will even see a little circle which is for what is essentially 1g and is of course incredibly slow.

  • band 3

    Just release the specs… let 850 band three?

  • gambit07

    Won’t this make it incredibly easy to port to the Touchwiz version of the GS4 though?

    • Skip

      I sure hope so!

  • brkshr

    …because Samsung won’t release source for Exynos chipset (international versions).

    • Actually most of the countries have Snapdragon version, the Exynos version is only in “privileged” countries

      • brkshr

        That’s news to me. Thanks for the correction!

  • Everyone

    No VZW as expected. Guhhh

    • Of course not. Expect anything different?

    • Shouldn’t still be a surprise.

      • he said ‘as expected’ how does that translate to him being surprised?

        • Do you troll for no reason? Its getting annoying and pathetic now.

          • Inquizitor

            He had a fair point. Your comment was more trollsy than his.

          • Bro i truly was just trying to be playful, sorry man, for reals. I think your a good guy 🙂 Droid love!!

    • If VZW can’t update it themselves, they rather not have it. Remember the GNEX?

      • michael arazan

        You Know what else is a U.S. Exclusive, Locked Boot-loaders

        Thx Verizon for trying to slow down innovation, and acting like a paranoid dictator over your network and customers.

        Verizon, the New Red Menace

    • Matt

      Verizon (and Sprint)’s LTE networks still require compatibility with their 3G CDMA systems while AT&T and T-Mobile do not. Makes the decision easy when selling unlocked phones since there is really no such thing as an unlocked CDMA phone.