Stock Android running Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 now shipping
Time for some good news, Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 has just begun shipping out to customers. If you have pre-ordered a Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 from Google’s Play Store then expect an email with a tracking number of your package sometime later today. If you haven’t already ordered GPE Galaxy S4, then you can grab one from the Google Play Store
The hardware of the Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505G) and the International-LTE Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505) is exactly the same, the only difference between these two devices is the software. The GPE Galaxy S4 runs stock version of Android, a.k.a Vanilla Android, and the International-LTE Galaxy S4 runs Samsung’s skinned version of Android, a.k.a TouchWiz.
Both versions have their pros and cons, but the biggest benefit of GPE Galaxy S4 is that it will receive Android updates much quicker than the standard Galaxy S4. Even though Samsung is the one controlling the updates, Google will be giving early access to the source code of new Android versions, so that Samsung can make the updates ready on time and release them at the same time as Google releases for its Nexus devices.
We already know Samsung is currently busy in testing Android 4.3 for the GPE Galaxy S4, as we leaked previously, and will be rolling out an update soon.
Stock Android running Galaxy S4 is currently only available in the USA, Google has not announced if it will make these nexus experience devices available in other countries anytime soon. But, if you love pure Android and have an international-LTE Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505) then you are in luck as GPE Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505G) firmwares can be ported to the standard Galaxy S4 (GT-I9505). If you want to taste the pure Android goodness then checkout our port of the Android 4.3 test build for the I9505.