“Google Play Editions” of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are now available on the Google Play Store. The phones list for $599 and $649, respectively. Both have ship dates of July 9, 2013. Unlike the original models of these phones, the Google Play Editions use a stock version of Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). This means that they’re free of manufacturer skins and carrier bloatware. While some enjoy the features in manufacturer skins like HTC Sense and Samsung Touchwiz, most hardcore Android users prefer the stock operating system. Stock Android is generally leaner and cleaner, while offering better performance and battery life.
While I’ve enjoyed HTC Sense in the past, I greatly prefer stock Android. Some of the features in manufacturer skins are clever and useful, but most of them are superflous to me. I loathe the bloatware that most American carriers install and won’t let you take off. I really loathe carriers and manufacturers that take forever to upgrade to the latest edition of Android. The Google Play Editions help ensure timely updates.
Although I’m perfectly happy with my Nexus 4, the Google Play Edition of the HTC One is so tempting. The design and screen are gorgeous, while the build quality is stellar. The Galaxy S4 has a little more power under the hood, but I don’t care for the cheap-feeling plastic that Samsung uses. To be fair, fans of the S4 point to its removable battery and storage expansion (MicroSD) as advantages. While I understand people that prefer those features, the design, build quality, and speakers of the HTC One give it the nod in my book.
What do you think of the Google Play Editions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4? Any of you tempted to pick one up?