Google made a significant announcement at their I/O conference this year. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. It’s an amazing device and I would gladly replace my Galaxy S3 for the new version. As I’ve learned recently, android is a slightly confusing operating system. Not in use, but in updating.
I have been telling myself that I will now stick with stock Android devices which are Google Nexus devices. The reason is because those stock Google android devices get new android updates first and they get those updates quickly. This is the different between stock android devices vs. android-based devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. The android running on the Galaxy S4 is not stock. It’s tweaked by Samsung and as a result you simply won’t get the new android updates as they are released. Nexus users will get those android updates as they are released. A big deal? Well the way the operating system is advancing with each new release, I would suggest that yes, this is a big deal.
All this said, something changed today. Google will be selling an unlocked, stock android version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. This isn’t a cheap smartphone, but it’s the way to go for the reasons mentioned above. Running a stock version of android feels slightly different and slightly better. Up until now you needed to buy a Nexus device if you wanted the stock android experience. Now that’s changed! I’m not discussing the rooting and modifications that are available out there. There is an entire community of Android modifiers which can get you different versions and even stock android versions on your original Samsung android-based smartphone or tablet.
I’m not quite sure about Canada and this unlocked Google version of the Galaxy S4. Because I want one, I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as details are known. It’s going to be 4G LTE, 16GB and will have an unlocked bootloader.
This is a brilliant move by Google. It’s becoming clear that the biggest weakness of android operating system is the inability for android-based devices to receive updates quickly or even at all. This move by Google is clearly an attempt to deal with android fragmentation. The more devices running stock android, the better for Google. Of course the platform is open and manufacturers love putting their own spin and properties on the android-based devices. Ultimately it’s up to the consumers to decide if the updates are important enough that they will start buying these pure android OS devices.