Samsung has yet another variation of its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy SIV, on the way.
The fifth version of the handset will differ from the others already out there because it does away with all frills and extraneous features in favor of a stock Android operating system. Announced at the Google I/O conference on Wednesday, the ‘Google' version is essentially a Nexus handset in everything but name and will be available from June directly through the Google Play site for US consumers.
For those that don't know, Nexus devices, such as the Nexus 7 tablet and LG Nexus 4 smartphone, are developed in partnership with Google in order to present a ‘pure' Android experience. As such they have no third-party apps pre-installed and no ‘skin', i.e., the interface that a company like Samsung or HTC installs over the basic operating system to differentiate their products from those of their competitors. These skins can also offer extra features and functionality but very often can make the devices less than intuitive to use as there are two operating systems fighting against each other in some cases.
Nexus handsets are meant to be the ideal to which all other Android device manufacturers should be working towards and the Nexus badge guarantees that each time there is an update to the Android operating system, that device will get it in a prompt fashion. They're popular with Android fanbois and developers because they are unlocked, meaning that the device's root code can be changed and adapted as the user sees fit without voiding the warranty. However, in the case of the Galaxy SIV, this freedom is going to come at a price -- $649 when it becomes available on June 26.
Neither Samsung nor Google have confirmed if there are any plans to sell the handset in other territories.
As well as the ‘Google' edition, which will ship with 16GB of internal storage, and the standard edition of the Galaxy SIV, Samsung is also set to roll out a ruggedized, water-resistant version of the handset, a smaller version called the SIV Mini; and a version with a bigger camera that is focused on photography and video, called the SIV Zoom, over the coming months.