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Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition announced – GS4 running stock Android

It would seem that Google has been listening to our prayers and has answered. To the surprise of the large majority, it revealed the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition today at its I/O event – a version of Samsung’s flagship that runs stock Android, Nexus-style.

For those out there who like the sound of the S4 but, like many, are put off by the large amount of bloatware and unnecessary apps that come installed, this is the answer. Just like the Nexus 4, the S4 Google Edition runs Android Jelly Bean in its purest form.

The new model will be available directly from Google, SIM-free and ready to use on any network. Unfortunately for us, it will only be available in the US for the forseeable future, and that will be exclusively through the Google Play Store from June 26th for $649.

The handset features 16GB of internal memory and exactly the same specs as the regular S4. The only thing that’s changed is the software, with all of Samsung’s add-ons removed. It’s currently unclear, but we think that’ll mean that Samsung’s extra features like eye tracking, Dual Mode camera snapping and S Voice will be gone, so you’ll be forgoing almost all of Samsung’s key selling points with this phone. Still, if you’re an Android fanatic you’re probably already past caring about that!

Android Jelly Bean 4.2 will be the operating system installed, without a sniff of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI in sight. With Samsung’s hardware this should make for a very fast phone indeed. Now, are there any friendly US folk out there that want to send us one?