updated 10:13 pm EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
GPE owners enjoying the benefits of stock Android install with Android 4.3 update
Google has started rolling out updates to Android 4.3 for their respective Google Play Edition smartphones. Users of both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One have reported that they have started receiving the updates over-the-air. Interestingly, the delta update for the Galaxy S4 is 150MBs in size, but the HTC One update is running at 180MBs in size although no explanation has been provided with regard to the difference in packet size.
The update for the GPE devices arrives around a week after Google first started rolling out the update to its compatible Nexus-branded devices, highlighting the benefits of OEM's loading a stock version of Android on their devices. By comparison, users of the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One with TouchWiz or Sense 5 will have to wait several months longer to receive their updates. In addition to the additional testing required at a manufacturer level, each of the carriers will also have to run tests before they reach users often delaying the process considerably. GPE devices are sold unlocked and at full price through the Google Play store.
At this stage, early reports indicate that the GPE build (JWR66V) of Android 4.3 does not contain anything notably different to the build that has rolled out to Nexus 4 devices. Unfortunately, some Nexus 4 owners have been complaining of instability following the update to Android 4.3 including overheating, crashing, rapid battery drain and a perpetual loop during device boot. At the same time, others are not noting any of the issues. Either way, it may be worthwhile holding fire on updating your GPE GS4 or One for the time being.