July 30, 2014

What a 'Pure Google' Samsung Galaxy S4 could mean for you

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With all the buzz around the next Nexus devices, leaked specs and gorgeous renders have had me (and every fan of AOSP) drooling for the next member of the Pure Google family. Who would think I/O would change that for me?

Deep down, I’m a “Samsung” man. I’ve owned the whole Galaxy S line, the Behold II before that, even my first flip phone was a Samsung. I have a Samsung Chromebook and a Samsung TV.

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The idea of abandoning Samsung is a sad thought that occurs when I consider “jumping ship” for the supposed LG Nexus 5. But, as if to answer my silent prayers, Google and Samsung have announced the “Google S4″ or “Nexus S4″ or just AOSP Galaxy S4. We still don’t know what it’s going to be called officially, but I like “Google S4″.

Everyone has heard almost everything there is to say about the Google S4, but here are the things that really excite me.

First:
If their adoption of the unadulterated Nexus 4 was any indication, I believe T-Mobile may decide to offer the device. Anyone who wants one of these handsets but doesn’t have the near $700 may be able to put the device on a payment plan with T-the carrier. And, since it’s unlocked, after it’s paid off, you can take it to your favorite carrier. Have a contract?

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Have a child who’s ready for a phone? Get the Google S4 for you and throw the SIM into a dumb-phone for them. You can still make payments and justify the extra line.

Second:
From the looks of it, the Google edition will have the Snapdragon 600 processor just like the rest of the US Galaxy S4 variants. Ready for the really awesome part? If you’re familiar with Samsung, they have a habit of “leaking” a beautiful proprietary program for Windows called “ODIN Multi-downloader.” The very same program they would use on your device were you to send it in for service of a software/firmware related issue. This program allows you to flash stock (or unofficial) firmware to the device.

What this means to anyone with a US Galaxy S4, your development community will have instantaneous access to a rock solid AOSP build of the latest API available and with little to no tweaking depending upon your carrier, will make that available to you without even the hassle of rooting your device (if you’re not into that)

It would stand to reason, then, that even if T-Mobile doesn’t pick up the Google S4, presuming the hardware proves to be the same as the T-Mobile model, all you’d need to do is flash the Google S4 factory image over the your device. If that works flawlessly without having to modify the operating system image at all, then theoretically you should even receive the OTAs from Google with the latest version of Android the same day as the Google S4.

Who’s excited about what the Google S4 is going to bring to the development community? Anyone planning on buying one? Anyone else confused about Samsung’s cooperation with Google when they’re supposedly bringing their own OS to the table? Let us know what you think in the comments below!