Further to yesterday’s pseudo-news that MobiCity will stock the Galaxy S 4 Google Edition in Australia, Google has all but ruled out an international release of this device, stating to CNET that the device will be US only at launch.
While this might not be all that surprising because of the likely frequency support of the US-released model, it nonetheless remains a possibility that Samsung and Google could work together to see this device available in other markets, with support for other networks. If not, the US model — which is said to support LTE on AT&T and T-Mobile networks — will be all but useless in Australia; our LTE frequencies are different, and the devices that operate on AT&T and T-Mobile at the moment do not support 3G on the 900 MHz band, meaning Optus users will miss out on expanded coverage.
I don’t know about you, but $649 US for a device that won’t work on our more advanced networks here seems to me to be a dumb investment. Hopefully — as we mused yesterday — the AOSP-based ROM that will feature on the ‘Google Edition’ (not its official name, we’re just using this) will be readily available to download, as are most other Samsung Android ROMs, so the development community can get this working on our existing Galaxy S 4s in Australia.
Our opinion? A Galaxy S 4 running stock Android won’t be a big seller, and it only appeals to a niche market. Much of what makes the Galaxy S 4 a popular proposition is the software that Samsung uses — an AOSP variant is unlikely to have an advanced camera, and most of the features (read: gimmicks) that Samsung has packed into the GS4 won’t feature in the AOSP variant, making it a rather expensive way to run stock Android.
Plus, it does nothing to help those who’ve already bought a Galaxy S 4, although as we’ve already said, the ROM may leak allowing us to get it that way.
What are your thoughts on all this? Newsworthy? Leave it alone? Tell us!