Just two days ago, Google announced a variant of the Galaxy S 4 packing the "Nexus user experience." Although not an I/O giveaway, Google chose I/O to announce the new variant. I've spent a lot of time at I/O tracking down what information I could about this SGS4 with Nexus experience device, but there's not a whole lot to be known beyond what was announced in the one title slide and blog post. At a high level the details are known — it's an SGS4 with 16 GB of internal storage, unlocked modem and bootloader, with support for T-Mobile and AT&T LTE and WCDMA band support. The price is what you'd pay for any other SGS4 unlocked without a subsidy, $649 through Google Play starting June 26. 

First, the SGS4 with Nexus Experience doesn't really have an official name yet. At present it's just being called an SGS4, and doesn't appear to be getting tagged with the Nexus brand. Next, by process of FCC ID elimination and lots of asking around, I am now fairly certain that the rumors about this being the T-Mobile USA SGS4 hardware variant, specifically SGH-M919, are true.

SGH-M919 has always included support for LTE on Bands 2, 4, 5, and 17 (that's 1900 PCS, 1700/2100 AWS, 850 Cellular, and 700 Lower B and C) and WCDMA on Bands 2, 4, and 5. At another level, this is the same hardware as the AT&T variant but without the arbitrary RAT (Radio Access Technology) locking that AT&T has put in place to restrict use of Band 4 WCDMA which T-Mobile needs for a good experience. This translates to that support for AT&T and T-Mobile LTE and WCDMA. That also means Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064AB) and no Exynos 5. 

Lastly, I'm fairly certain that Google is using the "Nexus user experience" in place of the previous "Google experience device" branding which it used previously. This does however mean updates are indeed delivered by Google and not some other entity. Matias Duarte referred to this work with Samsung to bring an SGS4 with Nexus experience directly during the later Android fireside chat. We'll have a review of the SGS4 with Nexus experience in due time as well. For enthusiasts who like the SGS4 and don't want the TouchWiz software bloat, this might be the device to get, if they haven't gotten one of the skinned, carrier-approved bundles already.


The only other interesting device related news is tangential and unrelated. I had a chance to hold Taylor Wimberly's (of Android and Me) White Nexus 4 which he picked up from an unnamed source at I/O. The white Nexus 4 looks stunning in person, it's stark white on the back and has a slightly cream colored tinge on the lip. There's still the laser etched pattern behind the glass as well, but obviously white. The front of that Nexus 4 remains black however. There's a chrome lip around the camera aperture as well instead of the black ring. Hardware inside remains unchanged of course, there's none of that LTE goodness we hoped might get enabled, but it's still a striking aesthetic change. 

Source: Android and Me, Google

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  • s44 - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    The band table is confusing. Surely that's not *all* the radio frequencies M919 works on? The official specs list GSM 900, and surely GSM and UMTS on 2100 have to work as well...

    Perhaps it's just the bands that would be active in the US?
  • xdrol - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    It is a shot from an FCC document. I'd be surprised if they did testing for bands that is not available in the USA.
  • Brian Klug - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Correct, that isn't the canonical complete listing of bands the device supports, but what was tested and approved as far as the US service markets are concerned. There's no doubt Band 1 and quad band GSM.

  • Affectionate-Bed-980 - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - link

    what about LTE bands? Should we be expecting the same compatibility the AT&T/T-Mobile S4s currently offer? IMT and IMT-E? No DCS...
  • bleh0 - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Since HTC isn't providing the stock experience I and many others want I might as well pick up the "Nexus" S4.
  • Jambe - Saturday, May 18, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I'd prefer a Nexus version of the HTC One, but since there is no such stock option the Nexus S4 seems better. HTC's just losing monies there, I figure.
  • Nehemoth - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Any chance that HTC One get the Google treatment?, would love to get an HTC One (CDMA) with Android Stock.
  • darwinosx - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    HTC announced its not going to happen.
  • darwinosx - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Which is dumb of them.
  • eaanders22 - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Google probably did this because Samsung doesn't sell Its phones to anyone but telcos in the US and they don't service unlocked phones in the US that were imported from countries where Samsung sold them. I'm one of the people who wanted an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note with the exynos processor. Samsung only sold it outside the US, but Amazon sold me an imported one. They assured me in writing that it was warranted for two years. It crashed and Amazon wouldn't stand by the warranty and Samsung wouldn't service it since it wasn't sold by them in the US. Now people are able to get the S4 from Google and get it serviced by Google and won't be left out in the cold by Samsung and importers who don't stand by the products they sell. There are many reasons not to buy phones from the telcos, locking being only one of them, bloatware, different processors, shorter battery life and telco bloatware being others.

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