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The Galaxy S4 will also be sold as a Nexus phone by Google (Updated)

Galaxy S4 Nexus

Check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition smartphone.

Today marks the beginning of Google I/O, the annual developer conference which often gives tech fans an exciting look at some of the company’s new and future hardware and software projects. One of the most interesting new products will not come from Google at all, but from long-time partner Samsung.

Today at Google I/O, the Galaxy S4 Google Edition was unveiled, which is, wait for it, a Galaxy S4 with stock Android and no sign of the TouchWiz interface. Essentially, it’s a Nexus device. While Google has been involved with the creation of the phone, the report says it won’t be wearing a Nexus name, suggesting it won’t be sold at a lower price (which seems to be a Nexus staple recently) through Google Play.

We’ll just let that sink in for a moment. One of the very best, and most highly specced, smartphones to be released this year, coming with a clean installation of Android. No messing around with a custom ROM, no concerns over voiding your warranty, just lovely Android on a 5-inch, 1080p display. That should help free up a little more of the 16GB Galaxy S4’s internal memory.

We’re a little surprised Samsung is onboard with this, but it doesn’t seem averse to milking as much as it can from the Galaxy S4’s good name though, and rumors of a camera-centric Galaxy S4 Zoom and a waterproof version of the phone have appeared recently.

That said, talk of a Nexus 5 or the Motorola X Phone being revealed at Google I/O has cooled over the past few weeks, so perhaps this is Google’s replacement. The good thing is, we don’t have long to wait until this rumor can be verified, as the keynote presentation begins at 9am PT today.

Updated on 05/15/2013 at 13:00 by Andy: We reported this as rumor earlier, and it was confirmed on stage at Google I/O, Hugo Barra, the VP of Android Product Management, who took a Samsung Galaxy S4 out of his pocket and showed it running a clean version of Android. The phone has Android 4.2 Jelly Bean installed as standard, and unlike devices with manufacturer interfaces, it will receive prompt version updates in the future. Aimed primarily at developers, it’ll also come with an unlocked bootloader.

Google will be selling the TouchWiz-free version of the Galaxy S4 through Google Play, and it’s compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks. To own one of these exciting devices, you’ll need to part with $649, and it’s on sale June 26.

Updated on 05/16/2013 at 06:00 by Andy: Anyone interested in the Nexus-like Galaxy S4 in the UK will be disappointed to hear that, according to a Google representative speaking to CNet UK, Google has no plans to release the phone outside the U.S. at this stage.

Article originally published on 05/15/2013 at 07:00.