In a surprising move at the Google I/O developer conference keynote early this morning, Google has announced its new device: no, it’s not a new Nexus smartphone…but technically it sort of is. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been stripped of the TouchWiz UI skin and in its place is the stock Android experience – so essentially, this is the rumoured Nexus 5 smartphone.
This “deSamsunged” Galaxy S4 will also come with its bootloader unlocked, so users can easily root their devices should they wish to. An unlocked bootloader is particularly important in the US, where bootloaders are locked by carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. With this Google-sold Galaxy S4, however, the LTE radios will work on both networks.
Google will begin selling this unlocked Galaxy S4 from its Play Store from June 26th, at a slightly lower price of $649 (retail prices for the Galaxy S4 in the US are around $700). The Galaxy S4 sold by Google will also have 16GB of storage, and will run on the latest Android 4.2, with the promise of “prompt system updates” – just like all Nexus devices.