By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 28, 2013 04:34 PM EDT
Two of the hottest Android smartphones currently available on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, are now available in "Google Edition" versions.
Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are high-end handsets with a slew of neat specs and features and now both smartphones are ready to deliver a pure, unadulterated, stock Android experience.
This means that users will have more space available with these versions, as the Google Edition models are free of the manufacturer's own user interface and all those pre-loaded apps. In some cases, this might be a minor drawback for fans of the IR blaster, Samsung's special software features, HTC's BlinkFeed or HTC Zoe, to name a few. For those seeking a pure vanilla Android experience, however, the trade-in will likely be worth it.
Getting the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android directly from the Google Play Store not only means ditching those manufacturer-specific skins, it also means getting operating system updates straight from Google. This should translate into faster updates, unlike the regular versions purchased outside of the Play Store.
Google is now officially calling these versions "Google Play Edition" devices, not "Nexus Experience" devices as it did before.
Other than the pure stock Android experience, both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One remain unchanged. This means that users will notice a major difference in terms of software, but the hardware specs and features remain the same as the regular versions of the smartphones.
The Google Play Edition devices are now available for pre-order directly from Google, but only in the U.S. The 32GB HTC One is up for grabs with a $599 price tag, while the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 goes up to $649. Interested buyers in the U.S. can already order their desired handset, with Google promising to ship them by July 9.
The Google Play Edition versions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are currently not available outside the U.S. and Google made no mention of whether it will expand availability to other countries as well.
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