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[International] Galaxy S4 Google Special Edition 4.3

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by ironass, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    How many times have I read, "How do I get the pure Android firmware on to my phone?".

    Well, now you can! Two days ago, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Special Edition phone went on sale for $649 direct from Google and it has the pure, unadulterated, Android 4.2.2 on it. Unskinned by Samsung. It is the closest you can get to a Nexus firmware on the S4, i9505.

    I'm sure that there will be a few of you anxious to try out this firmware on your i9505's and already, dev's are creating ROM packages for this. It's early days yet but here are some that I've found...

    DjeMBeY ROM GT-I9505 GOOGLE Special Edition ROM - CWM/TWRP/PhilZ flashable ZIP:

    Google Edition galaxy S4 rom for i9505

    Galaxy S4 Google Edition Online [I9505GUEUAMFD]

    [i9505] Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

    I anticipate that there will be more to follow.

    However, before rushing off to flash these to your phone... in the words of the old proverb, "Be careful what you wish for!".

    The pure Android does not come without its, for some, drawbacks. Gone is the Samsung UI. The camera is perhaps a little basic. Also be prepared to lose some of the standard S4 features such as Smart Stay, Smart Scroll, Motion, Air View, S Voice, etc:

    Here are some early reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Special Edition...

    Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition Review - Watch CNET's Video Review

    Pure Android: Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One 'Google Play editions' review | The Verge

    AnandTech | HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 Google Play edition Review - Nearly Nexus

    Hawker and Shocky like this.

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  2. Sydney99

    Sydney99 Android Expert

    I for one am giving it a wide berth at the mo, i would miss the gimmicky samsung tweaks too much!!
  3. sntaylor

    sntaylor Android Expert

    Yeah I saw these Roms last night and had actually read a review comparing the Google s4 and HTC one against the originals, and it did say about the camera not being as good etc though it did suggest it might be slightly faster.... any hoo, I too am skipping it for now.Lol

    At least it gives us a better chance of decent cyanogenmod and aokp Roms unlike the s2
  4. Shocky

    Shocky Android Expert

    Looks interesting. ;)

    But a few things I'd like to know before flashing, are there colour profiles on the Google edition? if not how does the default profile compare to Samsung's.

    Will we get anymore storage available flashing this rom?

    Are will missing any camera functions compared to the Samsung software? I don't mean the pointless ones like sound and shot, I'm thinking more HDR video.

    Anyway, i'm off to find the answers. :D
  5. Atma

    Atma Extreme Android User

    I ran this on my Tmo phone last night. It is very fast and I had slightly more storage space. From some of the things I've read this isn't Google aosp. Its touchwiz without the bloat and very bare.

    My menu and back buttons stopped working this morning so I had to restore a backup. I kind of missed the Samsung bells and whistles.
    tworn88, ironass and Sydney99 like this.
  6. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

  7. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    Every now and again I go to Android 4.3, Google Special Edition's leaked firmware, I9505GUEUBMFP.

    I use the DjeMBeY GT-I9505 GOOGLE Special Edition ROM - CWM/TWRP/PhilZ flashable ZIP: v3 which is pure stock. Downloads and step-by-step installation instructions are in the DjeMBeY ROM's i9505 - Dummies Guide

    There are no Samsung apps or modifications with this firmware which is as close as you can get to the pure Android 4.3.

    If you like a cut down firmware with no frills then this is one for you. It also means that you can try out Android 4.3 features right now.

    Google Android 4.3 is here, and it tastes like Jelly Bean

    Google releases two new dev videos for Android 4.3

    Here are some screenshots...

    Home screen with Nova Launcher, (APEX doesn't work on 4.3 yet and the basic launcher was not enough for me).





    Contacts (now called People)


    Camera settings 1


    Camera settings 2


    For more details and installation instructions, see DjeMBeY ROM's i9505 - Dummies Guide and DjeMBeY's xda thread, here.
  8. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Android Expert

    Wow a people app. Smells like windows 8.
  9. Hawker

    Hawker Android Expert

    Having used RootBox on the S2 for quite some time, this 4.3 ROM doesn't seem as feature packed.
    I'm enjoying stock Sammy too damn good at the moment, so its a pass for me too.
  10. ironass

    ironass Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    Murphy's Law! Within an hour or two of me writing that, APEX Launcher has been updated in the Play Store to accommodate Android 4.3.

    Google have never been shy about the fact that they will take ideas from other platforms if they seem good. :D

    As I mentioned in post #1...

    It's difficult to know whether to call this a ROM or firmware inasmuch as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Special Edition, i9505G, is essentially the stock i9505 with just the Android firmware on it. DjeMBeY has just ported that firmware leak, as is, and deodexed it and removed the AT&T modem in order to support LTE.

    Basically, this is the Android 4.3 that Google sends to carriers for them to add their features/bloatware. It is a lot lighter/smaller than the stock, unmodified, Samsung firmware, (by almost 1GB), and if nothing else, goes to show the time, effort and resources that Samsung expend on taking pure Android and adapting/improving it for the S4 and goes a long way to explaining why carriers cannot bring out a new firmware straight after Google announce a new Android version.

    In its defence, the SE firmware is fast and slick but because it is designed as the base version for all phones, it lacks the finesse of the Samsung firmware which, when all said and done, adds some very nice touches and flourishes to stock Android firmware and is the reason that my dalliances with Google Special Edition, Android 4.3, tend to be limited.

    On the plus side, I did not spend roughly US$715 inc: tax, (
  11. Gomjaba

    Gomjaba Android Enthusiast

    I assume without TW, the MHL adapter wouldn't work either ?

Samsung Galaxy S4 Forum

The Samsung Galaxy S4 release date was April 2013. Features and Specs include a 5.0" inch screen, 13MP camera, 2GB RAM, Exynos 5410 Octa processor, and 2600mAh battery.

April 2013
Release Date
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