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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  • marc1000 - Saturday, May 18, 2013 - link

    a lot of people asked about a HTC One with nexus experience. I would like to see that also, as it would surely help HTC survive - having already owned 2 phones from HTC on the early smartphone race I know they are really creative folks. And they should not get smashed by samsung like they are being right now. that's bad for market and for us in the future.

    anyway, I guess this is not gonna happen. for me personally it doesn't matter, as the One is not even sold in my country, and I believe that the software HTC has put in the One outweights the stock android interface. but now i'm not sure HTC will survive much longer...
  • PC Perv - Saturday, May 18, 2013 - link

    HTC not joining the program (even if they could) is a smart move. $649 the One v. $649 the S4..

    People will get to see what the geeks will be buying. And for the HTC, Google Play provides them witheven footing since those who buy there end to be better-informed.

    Doesn't take a genius to predict the outcomes..
  • JimmiG - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    "Nexus Experience" S4 sounds nice. I installed SuperNexus on my S3 and it totally transformed the phone. So much smoother, more streamlined and IMO more user-friendly than Touchwiz. In fact when my mom was getting a smartphone, I made sure she got the Galaxy Nexus, and she always comments how simple and easy it is to use.

    I don't think anyone wants TouchWiz, Sense, etc. It confuses beginners, and enthusiasts just want to get rid of the bloatware to improve performance and battery life.

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