Both devices will be available with Google’s stock version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean instead of the custom versions that HTC and Samsung usually install. They’ll also be available contract-free… which means they’ll be expensive.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition phone will sell for $649, while the HTC One with Nexus user experience will cost $599.
If you buy either device from a wireless carrier, you can typically pick one up for around $200 with a 2-year contract. The difference is that if you pay full price you’re not locked into a contract, and some wireless carriers may offer cheaper plans when you bring your own phone, which means you could actually spend less money over the course of 2 years than you would if you bought a device that was cheaper up front.
That said, you can also get a Google Nexus 4 for just $299 and up. That’s also an unlocked, contract-free phone with Google’s version of Android.
What the Nexus 4 doesn’t have is a 1080p display or Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. It’s still a pretty great phone, but if you want the latest hardware, you’ll have to pay around twice as much.
Bear in mind, it’s a mixed blessing that the Google Edition versions of the new phones will have stock Android software and get timely updates
directly from Google or not. It means that you don’t get some of the coolest features of the phones, such as the HTC camera app or the Samsung Galaxy S4’s hands-free features that let you pause a video by looking away from the screen or answer a phone call by waving your hands over the display.