The two smartphones mentioned above are very much in demand, pure Android on known Samsung and HTC hardware. In case of these phones, the manufacturer refused to consider HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz which are not only simple window-dressing but also the main elements of the overall user-experience. So there went an argument, and the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 will not be the same without them. Now, after the advent of Google Play Editions of both we can see how much of it is true.
But this year Google found a way to get HTC and Samsung to offer those saw phones without their so called ‘skins’. The cost lies in the same range. And for the first time, we can compare a customized version of Android directly against stock software running on the same device along with the manufacturer support.
Android started on a low but gained popularity in the mid of 2009. HTC launched HTC Sense a customized User Interface that replaced the old Android User Interface. Sense met with, for the most part, which helped to transform Android and made it more user-friendly.It in turn, triggered a software-arms race, with manufacturers experimenting with bigger and deeper integrated interfaces to use instead of Google’s own.
We all know that Samsung TouchWiz is used in various iterations across its proprietary. Various devices that operate on Symbian and Bada OS.While, on the other hand Android itself picked up some of the best features of the custom User Interface and integrated them into the core code. Custom skins had their own downsides. Although, they are not solely responsible they proved to be instrumental in establishing Android’s fragmentation issue. It often happens that devices miss out on latest OS updates, sometimes because manufacturers are unable or unwilling to create new versions of Android+Skin for the older phones that are in range. In partial response, Google created Nexus program guiding Android device development with a line of “pure” phones and tablets that ran the OS untampered. The commitment with Nexus was that users would get the latest Android version first, not hampered by manufacturer disinterest or carrier reticence.
However as we all know that the range of Android phones is very wide as there are lot of phones launched in the past year. Also different hardware like UltraPixel camera technology of HTC One, or the Super Amoled HD Display of Samsung Galaxy S4. Joining the Nexus, are the Google Play Edition phones.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition
The Samsung Galaxy S4 does not need much introduction. Ever since its advent it has taken the world by storm. It has already set sales record for the company- in TouchWiz form and spawned a number of variants (smaller, more rugged, camera hybrid). In Google Play Edition form, the hardware of Samsung Galaxy S4 is slightly changed. You still get hexaband LTE (700/850/1700/1900/2100/2600) and quad band UMTS/HSPA+(850/1700/1900/2100) making it compatible with both AT&T and T Mobile USA, plus quad band GSM/EDGE to fall back on.
In addition to this, there is Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi (a/b/g/n/ac ) and NFC the latter with the support of Google Wallet. People often debate on the construction and design of Samsung Galaxy S4. It’s plastic chassis and relatively uninspiring feeling in the hand aren’t, we have to say anywhere close to the build quality of HTC One. If we hold the two phones side by side and it’s in terms of night and day in terms of how appealing each is. On the flip side, you get that impressive 5 inch, Full HD Super Amoled Display, fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz Quadcore processor (not the octacore Exynos chip some Galaxy S 4 variants launched with) paired with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of on board storage. A space of only around 6 GB is taken up by the preloaded software, which is comparatively less as compared to 9 GB of TouchWiz version.
You still get a micro SD card slot to add to it along with a removable 2,600 mAH battery. Samsung made sure that its infrared port still works, so that you can use the Google Play Edition as a universal remote with the right application. The main difference is that the Google Play Edition is much faster than the TouchWiz version. The Android version 4.2.2 does not show any kind of slow-down or delay in the case of Samsung Galaxy S4.
HTC One Google Play Edition
We all know that HTC One is the unsung hero of Android devices at moment. The unibody construction of HTC One looks and feels great. Even though it has a 4.7 inch screen with 1080p resolution and the phone as a whole is swift and comes with a clever UltraPixel camera with excellent low-light performance.
For the Google Play Edition, the HTC One is extremely unchanged. Inside, there’s a Quadcore 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM, along with twice the storage – 32GB rather than 16GB. However, there’s no micro SD card slot on the HTC One, so that 32GB – or in fact roughly 25 GB is available to the user. Connectivity is almost at par if compared to Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition, though there are a few disappointing differences.
The HTC One has Quad band LTE (700/850/1700/1900) and Tri band UTMS/HSPA+ (850/1900/2100). This means that the phone will work with AT&T’s 3G/4G networks but it won’t work with T-Mobile’s AWS 3G networks. There’s WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC along with an infrared transmitter. However, as the Samsung Galaxy S4 is compatible with Google Wallet, unfortunately HTC One isn’t; the hardware is incompatible with the app. Just as with the Samsung, the HTC One Google Play Edition’s performance comes down to perception versus potential.
Each of these phones excels with pure Android as we expected them to. You’d be forgiven for not expecting that, given both the Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One will be sold alongside the Nexus 4 at Google’s own Play Store. Indeed, when both phones were first announced, the belief was that Google itself would be responsible for firmware updates. Instead, we’re again reliant on manufacturers working with Google.
The call for pure Android versions of flagships other than the Nexus range has been a consistent one, and it will be interesting to see how many Google Play Edition phones actually get bought. The HTC One comes to $599 whereas Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $649.