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TheStreet Open House

Pass on the Samsung Galaxy S4

Stocks in this article: GOOGEBAYQCOM

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. You have to make up your own mind as an educated consumer. Take a look at the software on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus (made from November 2011 to October 2012) and compare it with this new Galaxy S4 and chances are you will strongly prefer the Nexus version.

2. The experience down the road: This is the key part of the argument. You don't own your smartphone for a week or a month. You will own it for probably at least two years. It's a computer, and it needs new software to stay fresh and relevant with the rapidly evolving capabilities.

If your Android smartphone isn't a GSM unlocked Nexus, your software upgrades will arrive with the speed of a government bureaucrat returning from vacation: Reluctantly, some time in the nondescript future, if at all.

If history is any guide, Google (GOOG) will unveil the next version of Android on May 15. Odds are that it will be called Android 5.0, aka "Key Lime Pie."

Let's assume that you buy your Samsung Galaxy S4 when it becomes available in the weeks after this Thursday's launch, shortly before May 15. Now you have Android 4.2, albeit in a molested version. When will you get Android 5.0, which Google will unveil on May 15?

I can see the Samsung press release already: "We are working hard to upgrade our software to Android 5.0, and expect an upgrade to become available in the coming months."

Nice. "In the coming months." That's like living in Novosibirsk in 1977 and finding out that you have cancer, your Soviet doctor telling you that treatment will be available "in the coming years."

Eventually, though, the Galaxy S4 will get Android 5.0. If you have the patience to wait for this glorious moment in time, you will be caught up -- except you will still have to deal with a molested version of Android then, too.

However, the goal posts will keep moving. After Android 5.0, Google will follow swiftly with 5.0.1, 5.0.2, 5.1, 5.1.1, 5.2 and so forth -- probably before 2013 is over. When will Samsung Galaxy S4 get any of those software updates? Who knows? Will the Soviet doctor deliver in time for you to still care?

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