We told you last night about the possibility of this happening, and today at the I/O keynote, Google made it official that they will be releasing an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4 running stock Android. The LTE compatible, completely unlocked phone will come with an unlocked bootloader and will work on AT&T and T-Mobile. Storage will be 16GB and the device will arrive on June 26 for $649. The crowd at I/O went silent, with a few boos audible when they heard about the high price tag.
This is the first non-Nexus device to get this kind of Google treatment. It’s a little surprising Samsung is on board with this, considering how much they market their TouchWiz UI’s additions to the Android experience.
A huge advantage of owning this device will be system updates that will arrive as promptly as they do for the Nexus. Instead of waiting for the carrier and manufacturer to customize and approve the new software, owners of this “Google Edition” device will receive updates very soon after Google releases them. With an unlocked bootloader, this device will be ready to go for developers to test on without having to unlock their device themselves.