Google’s habit of releasing a new Nexus member with an untouched Android flavor each year has been somewhat altered this time, by the appearance of the mighty Samsung Galaxy S4. The two companies signed a partnership to aid this season’s profits and as a result, a stripped variant of Samsung’s flagship will be launched in June, for $649. As with any other Nexus generation, the Google edition of the Galaxy S4 will come with Vanilla Android.
This new strategy confused Nexus and Android lovers from all around the world, mainly because the device offered for purchase was not exactly what they had in mind. Beyond the disruption of the tradition and the lack of the trademark, the price which those interested will have to pay may seem outrageous.
Disadvantages of the Nexus Galaxy S4
As we mentioned earlier, the biggest drawback of the Nexusified variant of Samsung’s flagship is the outrageous price, specially for those who’re used to purchase Nexus phones at subsidized prices. Each and every handset released in partnership with the search-engine giant was sold for an affordable price, which was usually under the market threshold.
The most relevant example is the Nexus 4, a phone sold almost at a loss by LG. At the time of release, this product came with top-notch specifications, such as a quad-core Krait processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, a large 4.7-inch display capable of high pixel densities and HD quality, a more-than-modest 8-megapixel optical sensor, and an Adreno 320 GPU which could rendered most games. On top of all these, Google’s creation came with the latest Android Jelly Bean version, 4.2.
In November last year, when Nexus 4 was released, the phone held technical specification that could match or even outgun the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and with the advantage of a significant smaller price. Even though almost seven months of development separated them, the pricing figure was nearly halved, a fact which appealed a wide range of buyers. With the phone selling from $299 in USA, even emerging markets started to seen this device as an opportunity and importing became a trend.
Unfortunately, the trend might be disrupted, as this replacement of a Nexus, costs as much as a regular unlocked high-end smartphone.
Moreover, we were accustomed that a new Android version would be introduced by a Nexus member, be it a tablet or a smartphone. In this case, the Google-branded Galaxy S4 will come with Android 4.2.2 and will most likely be one of the first to receive future updates.
With Google shifting its strategy, another important detail of the Nexus brand seems to be fading: its name. As a Nexus owner myself, I long bragged to be one of the few that has a device blessed with this name. Every generation of the family held this advantage, even though only the last one displayed the Nexus name in sight, on the back cover. Now, it is yet unsure how people will actually refer to this Galaxy S4 variant, but a lot of journalists have their bet on the “Google Edition”.
Strong points do exist
We cannot conceal the future advantages of owning a modified version of the Galaxy S4 (or should I say a non-modified version). Besides integrating the full range of technical specifications, such as an octa-core processor (or quad-core), a high end graphical processing unit, a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with over 441 PPI pixel density and 2GB of RAM, this version will also be sold without carrier attachment and, with an unlocked bootloader.
An unlocked bootloader will give enthusiasts the advantage of installing almost any kind of Android applications, without having to worry about voiding the warranty or other stuff like that. Furthermore, thanks to the possibility of attaching a microSD card capable of holding up to 64GB of storage, there will be plenty of room for demanding games and high-resolution videos.
Another premium feature of would be the advanced LTE antenna, which is bragged to be compatible with a high range of frequency bands, from all over the world. Pair that with an removable battery and we have a winner.
Last but not least, the Galaxy S4 Google version will not contain any of the applications served by Samsung on a regular dish, nor its special features. Those who favor them can opt for the standard handset or, to wait for an intelligent Android member to unofficially port them.
Premium, at a cost
In a few words, all of these premium features now available to Nexus lovers come at a cost. The Google variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is certainly a niche product, meant to satisfy the needs of those who want the top-edge, at a rather special price. Even though it’s not quite affordable, it still beats the offers Verizon and its kind are throwing on the table. I only wish Google would actually release a Nexus 5 in the future but unfortunately, this might not happen, as the Galaxy S4 with pure Android might well be the Nexus 5.