Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S 4 running stock Android 4.2

Despite being officially unveiled at Google I/O, the stock Android version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 has remained the unicorn of the show, seldom seen by anyone not closely associated with the company's top brass. We ran into Android VP Hugo Barra at the show, who was happy to give us a few brief moments with the upcoming device. There is still a lot of mystery around the $649 phone ahead of its June 26th launch, but we've been able to glean a few additional details nonetheless.

While the model in Hugo's hand was a pre-release model and therefore subject to change between now and the official release, the hardware and overall design are identical to what we'd find on AT&T or T-Mobile's model: it sports a Snapdragon 600 chipset, 13MP camera, 16GB of internal storage, a 1080p display and LTE support (a perk for stock fans who were disappointed that the Nexus 4 came without it). Google isn't officially declaring this a Nexus device (not yet, at least), but the GS4 at least exhibits many of the same qualities, including an unlocked bootloader and the promise of prompt system updates.

The firmware is pristine as well: it's Android 4.2.2 in exactly the same form it would take on a run-of-the-mill Nexus. Samsung's onslaught of smart features -- the S-branding, Air Gestures, special camera modes and the like -- are all absent here, leaving the user with an experience completely untouched by the manufacturer. The phone appears to respond a tad faster without the TouchWiz experience, but we'll need to spend more time with it before coming to any solid conclusions. Sound like the perfect phone for you? Make sure you're in the Google Play Store on June 26th so you can grab one for yourself. In the meantime, enjoy our gallery of images below!

Gallery | 6 Photos

Samsung Galaxy S 4 running stock Android at Google I/O

Myriam Joire contributed to this post.