updated 07:21 am EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
Samsung said prepping stock Android version of Galaxy S4
A surprise rumor is circulating ahead of Google I/O suggesting that Samsung and Google will reveal a new version of the Galaxy S4 that runs stock Android instead of Samsung's own version of Android, TouchWiz. According to reports, the device will be known as the Samsung Galaxy S4 'Google Edition.' However, it is not expected to form part of Google's Nexus line as it the hardware was not-co-developed with Google as is typically the case for Nexus-branded devices.
A large number of users prefer Google's stock Android operating system, even though it often ships with less software features than the customized Android versions installed on non-Nexus OEM devices. The practice of 'skinning' Android with a custom UI is employed by manufacturers in order to help differentiate their devices. However, some also work with carriers to build carrier services and other software into user devices trying to push them towards certain content and services. Non-essential bloatware is also typically installed on these devices, often eating up valuable storage space.
Google is also expected to reveal a new version of Android at Google I/O, which may also find its way on to the purported Galaxy S4 'Google Edition.' Nexus devices are usually the first to get the latest version of Android because Google tests the new versions of its OS on its Nexus devices. As they run stock implementations of Android, the upgrade process for Nexus users is usually fast and painless (assuming that the Nexus device they own has hardware capable of running the latest OS). Users running manufacturer implementations of Android often have to wait months after the launch of their device before they see any software upgrades arrive for their devices.
Some have criticized the Galaxy S4 with Samsung's TouchWiz implementation as the current version is somewhat buggy, causing slow downs and lag not apparent on HTC's implementation of Android on the HTC One - this, despite both devices sharing the same processor/system-on-a-chip. The HTC One runs noticeably smoother without any obvious signs of glitches. Samsung packed a laundry list of software-based features into the Galaxy S4 that seem to have come at the expense of system stability.
A version of the Galaxy S4 running stock Android will be well-received by users for a variety of reasons, not least of which will be the expectation that the device will in all likelihood be much more stable than the TouchWiz-based model. It may also be hackable and ship without a locked bootloader that is also bugbear with users of the Galaxy S4 who want to customize their device themselves. [via Pocket-lint]