On June 26, Google Editions -- so called because they feature no third-party apps or user interface ‘skin' -- of Samsung's Galaxy SIV and HTC's One handset both became available to order on the US Google Play Store (they won't start shipping until July 9) and rumors are growing that Sony is poised to do likewise by offering a stripped-back version of its Xperia Z handset.
There is clearly a market for smartphones that run a pure version of the Android operating system and that are sold with a guarantee that when the operating system is refreshed that the handset can not only support the upgrade but will also receive it in a prompt fashion. Google is believed to have sold 3 million Nexus 4 devices over the past eight months. However, what isn't clear is if consumers that demand a pure Android experience are the same as those that demand flagship handsets. The Nexus 4 costs $299, unlocked and contract-free, but the Google Edition Galaxy SIV is currently on sale for $649 and is exclusive to the US.
Ho's comments seem to contradict those of his company chairman, Richard Yu, who, during the Ascend P6's official launch on June 18 in London, said that Huawei's own Emotion UI, which comes installed as a skin on top of the standard Android OS on the device was better than Google's standard operating system and offered "hundreds of improvements."