Is Samsung working on a stock Android version of the Galaxy S4?
While it's quite unlikely that we'll see a new Nexus phone at this year's Google I/O, which starts later today, Samsung might have a surprise in store – a pure Android version of the Galaxy S4 flagship, a "Google Edition".
This phone will reportedly drop the company's TouchWiz modifications and use the stock AOSP version instead. Now, we should note that this is an unlikely pipedream, but it would be a great option to have.
Except, there are problems – Samsung has put a lot of custom software on the Galaxy S4, but it's there to run a lot of the custom hardware and features. Air View, Air Gestures, IR remote, Adobe RGB screen mode, Multi-window and so on, all rely on Samsung's proprietary software. Many of the camera features too (though Android's stock Photo Sphere will make a good replacement for 360 photo).
The S4 as it is now runs Android 4.2.2, the latest version available as of today, so at least Samsung has that bit covered. Though without the complications of TouchWiz, software upgrades will potentially come a lot more quickly.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition will launch in June on T-Mobile, or so say the rumors. We have our fingers crossed, but it's still an unlikely thing to happen.