The day that many Android fans have been waiting for is finally here. Google is now accepting pre-orders for the "Google Pay edition" versions of both the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 through its online Play Store, with pricing set at $599 and $649, respectively. Orders of both devices are expected to ship "by July 9." The two phones come preloaded with vanilla Android Jelly Bean, meaning that they don't feature the custom HTC and Samsung overlays that their regular counterparts do. While they're not officially branded as "Nexus" phones, the phones will offer a Nexus user experience that includes timely Android software updates.
Besides the lack of custom manufacturer software, these Google Play editions HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 are fairly similar to the models that have been on sale for months now. The HTC One comes with 32GB of built-in storage, while the Galaxy S 4 features 16GB of included memory along with a microSD card slot for additional space. Both devices work with AT&T and T-Mobile's LTE networks and are also SIM-unlocked and bootloader-unlockable.
To date, Google has offered four Nexus phones with stock Android and speedy updates, but many consumers still want the option of buying other high-end Android phones that run the plain version of Android. Now HTC, Samsung and Google are teaming up to offer just that. They may not be cheap, but it's good to see that the folks that've been clamoring for vanilla Android versions of the One and Galaxy S 4 can finally buy exactly that. Now we just have to wait for the two devices to begin shipping to consumers so that we can see how they perform without their custom Sense and TouchWiz overlays. Are you buying a Google Play edition HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S 4?