Share this Story

Reminder: “Nexus Experience” Editions of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Arrive Wednesday

htc one google

For years, Android enthusiasts have expressed a desire to have top-of-the-line flagship devices outside of the Nexus line that are running stock Android and are far-removed from the experiences delivered by OEM skins. In fact, most ultra-enthusiasts still root their skinned devices and then flash stock-style ROMs to give them the closest thing to having a Nexus phone. Come this Wednesday (June 26), some of your prayers will have been answered, as Google has teamed up with Samsung and HTC to deliver both of their 2013 flagship smartphones as “Nexus experience” devices that run stock Android, get updates directly from Google like a Nexus, and will be sold through Google Play. 

Samsung was the first to join this new program, announcing through Google during Google I/O in May that the Galaxy S4 “Nexus experience” would be available on Google Play for $649 without contract. The device sports all of the same specs as the rest of the U.S. line of GS4 variants, but also connects to both AT&T and T-Mobile’s LTE network, has an unlocked bootloader, and 16GB of storage. It’s identical in shape and size to the GS4 that is currently available elsewhere, but again, the difference is in the software. This version will run stock Android 4.2.2 and see updates faster than almost any other device.

HTC joined the party only a short couple of weeks after Samsung made their announcement, making the One a part of the “Nexus experience” program. Android boss Sundar Pichai sat on stage at the D11 conference with the “Nexus experience” One in hand, announcing that it would also be available on June 26, though it would drop in at a slightly lower $599 price. This version of the One carriers 32GB of internal storage, connects to both AT&T and T-Mobile LTE networks, runs stock Android 4.2.2, updates as fast as a Nexus, and still sports Beats audio.

galaxy s4 google edition

Both launch this Wednesday – are you ready to make the commitment?

  • Derek Lockovich
  • Lec

    It’s 2:24p on June 26 and still no Google S4 on the PlayStore site–what is up with this?

  • Shamrock013

    When are they going on sale!

    • Spanky

      I’m wondering the same thing. I’ve already checked the Play Store a few times, and it’s yet to be updated. When the Nexus 4 initially went on sale, it was at 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. EST). I’ll be buying one of these as soon as the sale begins. I’m strongly leaning toward the GS4, but the HTC One is still in the running.

      • Shamrock013

        I talked my friend into purchasing the S4, and I have his account info ready to go when it’s up for sale. He’s in the marines so he won’t have access to his computer until later tonight.

        I’m hoping it’s at 12 EST as well, and I really hope that the Play Store doesn’t get exceptionally bogged down like when the Nexus 4 was released. My God that was a terrible time. :l

        • Spanky

          “I really hope that the Play Store doesn’t get exceptionally bogged down like when the Nexus 4 was released”
          Here’s to hoping! I’m going to log into my Google account and keep the window open.

          • Derek Lockovich

            That’s what I was planning on doing with my friend’s account. I have several work computers that I can set up and just leave him logged in on so when it goes live, I’ll F5 the page and try and order as fast as possible! :p

          • Spanky

            Still nothing on the Play Store. Hmmmm…..

          • Derek Lockovich

            Apparently on Reddit in the Android subforum, a user posted that his very, very reliable source said 1 PM EST…

          • Spanky

            It’s 1:07 p.m. Still nothing. At least we can ALWAYS count on Google to screw up a product launch!

          • Derek Lockovich
  • dave

    really better than the previous nexus 4!!! check it out here the comparison: http://versusio.com/en/samsung-galaxy-s4-nexus-vs-lg-nexus-4

  • Chris

    I thought it would be on sale at midnight PST, but I don’t see it…

    The main reason I want it are for the fast updates directly from Google. I don’t mind rooting and flashing. I just don’t like to keep doing it, and since I can get automatic OTA updates with this, it seems worth the money for me. Well, I really don’t have much other option because 1) I am with Verizon and on contract, months away from a renewal. So, I am going to give AT&T a try…see how their service is for these months until my Verizon expires. If it’s good, then I am going to cancel Verizon. I hate to do it because I am grandfathered on unlimited there, but I am tired of dealing with their phone options and late updates. If they had a kickass Droid with a physical keyboard, large screen, etc., I’d stick with them. 😀

  • gadget_hero

    Any idea what time they are going on sale?

  • D L

    Does anyone know if it only comes in white?

  • Adam Yates

    everyone is so concerned about the price, and yes it seems steep. but the GS4 through any carrier costs this much off contract.

  • realfoxm

    Since when did Google develop red phase beam?

  • Mike

    Verizon wont ever get these sadly. I hope that mfgs learn to embrace AOSP vs their horrid skins. If they want to differentiate, add the features from the skins to AOSP (like google does with g-apps). It will never happen, but wishful thinking.

  • Chloe Moss

    Cant afford it 🙁

  • JMonkeYJ

    i’m really hoping i’ll be able to put the “Nexus experience” on my TMo HTC One. i think it’s pretty promising since it’s fully unlocked…

    • Xanderalmighty

      im hoping too. I bought my tmobile one too soon

  • Allen Byrd

    I just hate the physical keys- otherwise these would be perfect. Hardware keys break, they’re annoying, and software keys are just vastly superior, imo.

  • alfredo

    As many people here think, I do think this phones are overpriced considering the Nexus 4 is $300. They’ll probably drop the price once the next Nexus phone comes out, unless it costs between $400 and $500 (I don’t think so).

  • jack

    I love stock android the best, but I think they should offer these phones for less since they been out for some time now. Well I’m happy with my nexus 4 till Note 3 and Nexus 5 comes.

  • interstellarmind

    I’ll wait for the Nexus 5 -am I being presumptuous in thinking it’ll be $300-$350 like the awesome Nexus 4?

  • Kyle Cordiano

    Maybe they will sneak the Nexus 7 2 in there too 🙂

  • TeeJay1100

    Why not just root the S4 & Htc One and install a pure Android Jellybean 4.2 Rom on it. Save yourself the $649%!%!

    That’s just my thoughts. I already own a Nexus 4 no way I would pay $649 for a Nexus experience, IJS

    • Steve Benson

      This is what I think most people will do.

    • Jarobusa

      So where can I buy a HTC One for free? Either way we will pay $600 for the phone. All in one chunk or in monthly payments.

  • Steve Benson

    I wonder if there will be anything helpful from the S4’s software that will improve development for the S3? AOSP on the S3 is a hot mess right now. Probably too much hardware difference, but one could hope.

    I went back to Touchwiz just so I could have stability and have EVERYTHING work, but I know in a week or two I’ll be craving some AOSP again. Damn I miss the Gnex…

  • Rob Kein

    There is no option for VZW, correct?

    • needa


    • Wyatt Neal

      VZW holds tightly on to the reigns of their devices. I say their devices because, let’s be real, you’re not buy a device that you can use wherever the hell you want, you’re leasing a device with the understanding that they aren’t going to take it back when you want another one. I really wish I could walk away from VZW’s model, but the other providers in my area just can’t match it … and that’s just very, very sad.

      • James Betker

        When was the last time you tried another carrier? This excuse held ground 2 or 3 years ago but T-mobile’s network has grown by leaps and bounds in that time. Granted, they do not have LTE, but they do have HSPA+ which is better than 3G practically everywhere.

        • Megan
          • James Betker

            Yes they “have LTE” in the sense that they can make a news article about it, but they have almost no coverage. IMO that is not actually “having LTE”, more “in the process of rolling LTE out”.

          • Wyatt Neal

            I jumped to VZW just before they dumped the unlimited data bandwagon (about 2 yrs). I’ve got friends who have the latest and greatest iPhones and GS4’s on T-mo and AT&T … and whole stupid family on VZW. Everywhere we go, there’s VZW service, but that’s not always the case for my friends, but I will agree with you, it really is getting better. It’s just that in the midwest, VZW has almost a monopoly on the airwaves and for now, their 4G kicks the pants out of everything else the moment you drive out of a city’s downtown 🙁

          • NYCHitman1

            That’s actually not true. A majority of the NY Metro market is covered by T-Mo LTE and it is sufficient (speed wise) for anyone’s needs.

          • James Betker

            The world is not made up of NYC.

        • Chad

          T-Mo also upgraded their HSPA+ for much longer than any other network which means that the backup is nearly as fast as LTE. Plus coverage will hit 200 million people by the end of the year.

  • Armus

    Shocking, vzw didn’t opt to host an unlocked device

  • SamBithoney

    I recall a rumor that, with the HTC One, there to eventually be an option to let a user boot into stock. I’d pay $20 for access, if that was a thing.
    I wish that was the case, instead of just issuing a $700+ phone, because.. well, it’d be awesome, and really the only option for anyone on Verizon.

  • NYAvsFan

    I’d like that S4 but without access to the Samsung apps it doesn’t seem worth it to move from my N4. Though Samsung does have their own app store. Would this not be able to access it?

    • Kyle Cordiano

      Probably not.

  • David Gray

    Guys I totally agree that $650 is way too much for a smartphone to cost BUT at the same time I am seriously thinking of buying one because I just fell in a pool with my Galaxy Nexus and it’s no longer a usable daily driver. The way I see it is that my smartphone is my window to the world and I would truly be lost without it and for that reason alone….for the amount I use my phone on a daily basis that is whi I would be willing to drop a one time fee of $650…because my smartphone is that important. Now here’s my BIG question and I really hope someone can shine some light on this for me: I am on T-Mobile so I could easily go out, spend $99 today and walk out with a new GS4 but of course the bootloader will be lokced. If I’m planning on ROOTING my device and flashing a custom rom like CM 10.1 anyway is there a reason for me to buy the Nexus Edition GS4 or will my device be exactly the same once I flash that custom rom? Guys I literally have been PINE’IN over this idea for a week now and still don’t know what to do. I love vanilla Android but sooner or later it always gets boring so i KNOW that at one point I will root my GS4 so does it matter is I have the T-Mobile or Google GS4…that I need to know.

    • Harry Ballsachs

      The Google versions are supposed to get updates faster. So when the next version of Android comes out, the Google ones will get it first. The T-Mo one, who knows if you’ll even get it.

    • DiegoKokomo

      If you go into T-Mobile then you pay $99 today but $20 extra per month for 24 months ($480). In the end, you’re paying $579 to get the T-Mobile version vs $650 for the Nexus version. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect after taxes and fees you’ll pay more at T-Mobile.

      Later this year you could sell your GS4 for $300 and get a Nexus 5 for likely no additional cost.

  • jpfrasier

    I really hope these do well and insure that phones like this are offered more in the future.

  • Tyler Durden

    I’ll enjoy the camera on my touchwiz S4. No thanks.

  • ahhh yes

    im waiting for the Sony Z nexus

    • Tyler Durden

      Ew. Worst smartphone screen ever

      • ahhh yes

        is it really that bad? I have not played with it. a friend has it and likes it coming from an S3….i was thinking about getting rid of my N4 for this…Hmmm

        • Steve Benson

          Ignore him. He’s just a Samsung fanboy. Go see one in person and make your own decision. I’ve seen the screen in person and it’s on par with the S4 and One.

          • ahhh yes

            thanks! i will check it out first. people i work with have the s4 and ONE…i really like the one but want the SD.

          • sammy ahad

            Thats no where near true, ive got neither, but ive seen all 3 side to side, the Xperia Z’s screen looks ok if your looking at it at exactly the right angle although the colours still look slightly lifeless, but as soon as you start turning the screen slightly it turns washed out, the HTC One and S4 both look way better! Its not even a close match, I dont think theres anyone who thinks the Xperia Z’s screen is on par with the HTC One’s or S4’s, the S4 has best contrasts and the HTC is best with natural colours and sharpness, the Xperia’s screen looks terrible imo.. Im not even a fanboy of either company, HTC and Samsung are both rival companies ive got no reason to pick one over the other

    • LiterofCola


  • cgalyon

    Wish there were options for Verizon’s network. Stuck in a contract until the end of this year and my Note 2 just took a bad fall (kicking myself for not insuring this time).

  • Bionic

    My big thing is why cant they offer these as subsidized? Even if you charge a nexus premium of $50 or even $100. Why not offer it subsidized? The answer for Verizon is obvious, they are dick holes. But why not t mo or sprint?

    • Pete Labozetta

      Probably because they don’t want them to catch on and become more accepted than the TouchWiz/Sense UI’s so they limit them to people who are most likely going to root their phone and put their own Rom on it anyway.

      • Bionic

        yeah probably

    • PhoenixPath

      What’s stopping anyone from using the source on a subsidized device?

      I fully plan on building the AOSP One source to run on my T-Mo One.

    • I’m guessing because your average joe wouldn’t understand why there are 2 GS4’s sitting on the shelf, and wouldn’t comprehend there is a difference in the software.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    S4 question. It seems this will be the same as the Tmo version hardware wise. The 6 or so LTE bands, antennas support all of them?

    Unfortunately for me, the LTE bands it can use likely will make the decision for me. S4=6 and One=2.

  • BaconEater

    Wish I had an extra $700 I could throw towards a phone right now. That just seems like a lot for people like me I guess.

    • sc0rch3d

      Look at the flip side….even if you had $700 (that you would not miss), would you still do it?

      • KleenDroid

        Yes of course.

  • jacobp1997

    I wonder if someone will be able to port this over to a verizon gs4

    • Walter Partlo

      Its probably more of a question of when.

    • Pete Labozetta

      They will but they probably won’t be 100% bug free. I remember last year when Jelly Bean was first released for GSM and they ported it over for Verizon and it was rather buggy, especially at first.

    • Taylor Hunt

      I’m just praying for photosphere.

      • Pedro

        It’s kind of like Face Unlock.
        Neat party trick when you first get the phone, and then into one of the many options hardly ever explored again.

        • starnovsky

          Let me disagree. I found photosphere a lot more useable than panorama. I’m using it quite a lot.
          Face unlock on the other hand is not really useable.

          • JMonkeYJ

            personally, i found the quality of the stitching in photosphere to be unacceptable.

  • Bobby Cornwell

    I honestly don’t think these phones will sell that well unfortunately. Both are great phones, but why pay $649 for the Nexus experience when you can get a Nexus 4 for $349?

    • LTE, SD Card, Removable Battery, etc. I’m not saying that those things are worth it… but those are some of the reasons some have chosen not to get a Nexus 4.

      • TheDrunkenClam

        I agree. A non removable battery is an absolute deal breaker for me.

        • I never had a phone with a removable battery before. Now I have one, and it would suck to go back.

          Until battery technology can go a week without charging, give me the option to carry a spare!

          • Blue Sun

            Or the ability to add a larger one. I added a 3800 mAh extended battery (still with NFC) to my GNex, & a similar capacity battery to my Droid X. I need moar juice!

          • Jonathan Williams

            Same one here… RAWR!!!

      • Bobby Cornwell

        I can agree to pay more for all these features, and I’m sure many within our Android community would do the same. I’m just saying the average Joe looking for a new phone wouldn’t put down another $300 for these options. Hoping they will sell well, but I doubt it =/

        • KleenDroid

          Why not? I paid 650 for my S4 and would have chosen the stock version had it been on Verizon.

        • LiterofCola

          The average Joe also expects a phone with LTE.

        • morgan boyle

          these are great phones for avoiding contract renewal and switching to a tiered data plan.

        • Jer Mal

          The way I see it is I can buy this model, and when my contract is up with AT&T go out and buy-then-sell an iPhone to cover the costs. So I get a free Galaxy S4 with Nexus and someone else gets their precious iPhone.

      • Sirx

        And I hope that they will continue to not purchase it. Eventually Google might get the picture to stop finding asinine ways to cripple what would otherwise be superior smartphones. One can dream, right…

        • Not sure I’m following you. In what way(s) has Google crippled these phones? It would make a bit more sense to me if you said “Verizon” or one of the other carriers… Anyway, please fill me in.

          • starnovsky

            The conspiracy theory on interwebs is that Google specifically pressing OEMs to limit phone storage so people would be using more cloud storage more.

      • LiterofCola


      • Mike9130

        coming from iOS, I’m use to non removable batteries. SD Card is a must though.

    • I don’t know that they are really hoping to sell that many, but are more or less just trying to give options.

      • Bobby Cornwell

        This is true. I love the availability of extra options, I just don’t believe the average consumer will recognize the existence of these great phones due to their cost

        • neo1738

          The good part for HTC and Samsung is it’s not like they have to make a whole new phone to offer this, just put on a different software. If a bunch of units don’t sell re-flash the stock software and they can sell as they would have before.

        • zionlion02

          I think that’s what Kellex is trying to say. These aren’t meant for the average consumer. At all. They don’t know what a Nexus is. And that’s totally fine, it’s just not their bag. It’s similar to hot-hatch guys being purists and wanting only stick shifts, but the average consumer doesnt want those cars because they want automatics. neither is wrong, just different sets of people.

      • KleenDroid

        I wish Verizon thought like that.

        • Blue Sun

          Seesh, I’d be happy if Verizon would think.

        • michael arazan

          I’d be all over it at verizon, starting to think Verizon just wants to phase out all android phones and only sell iphones exclusively

        • WickedToby741

          You don’t need options when you’ve got the HIGHEST RATED, MOST RELIABLE, MOST POWERFUL NETWORK! NOW SHUT UP AND PAY YOUR BILL!

    • Tyler Durden

      More storage. Bigger better screen. That alone is worth $300.

    • r0lct

      Especially since I have to imagine the next Nexus is going to be around the same price and possibly have a 5″ screen (or close to it) and LTE.

      So the only reasons left would be sdcard and whether it has removable battery or not.

    • Drome

      I agree with you but I think this is a experimental compromise to get more users on stock android with premium devices given the current market conditions of carriers blocking updates and insisting on skinned versions of android. If these phones were on sale at ATT & T mo stores when the Sense and TW models went on sale, I would have purchased one hands down. But the RUU’s will be available to flash on the unlocked skinned phones to convert it to the GE version so it is win win.

      IMO Google should focus on providing a way to have users convert their phones into GE devices opposed to selling phones. Although I am fine with it, most people want to get their phone from a brick and mortar store so they can try it out and have it subsidized by their plan and do not want to order it form google sight unseen.

    • PhoenixPath

      They don’t need to sell.

      Not a single unit…

      So long as the source is available for third-party devs, we’ll happily flash this (with or without modifications) on our existing HTC One/Samsung GS4 devices. This is what we’re waiting for. This is what we’ve wanted.

      Who cares about the actual units. We wanted AOSP source for these…and it looks like we’ll have that on Wed.

      • Hopefully when this comes out, someone will be able to combine the benefits of the skinned versions (ie. the camera software/firmware) and combine it with the AOSP version.

        • PhoenixPath

          Still holding out hope that HTC/Samsung will release some of their apps for these devices as stand-alone apks.

          • NYCHitman1


          • PhoenixPath

            No doubt.

    • Spanky

      The only reason I don’t own a Nexus 4 is the lack of LTE. I’ll be ordering a GS4GE as soon as it goes on sale.

      • KingKilla

        I am gonna get the SG4GE as well, few reason I found not to go with htc one.
        1. buttons are weirdly setup,.
        2. wasted lots of screen real estate space.
        3. no removable battery.
        4. no sd card.
        Let me know what do you guys think ?

      • Carlos Lopez

        Lack of lte? mine has Lte

        • NYCHitman1

          Do you have the white model?

          • Carlos Lopez

            Nope i have the regular black one